What are eaves and why are they so important?

Adding eaves to your house is another step towards sustainability, playing a role in temperature regulation and moisture protection in our harsh Australian climates.

When coupled with optimal home orientation and other sustainable initiatives such as double glazing and solar panel systems long-term savings and more value for money become easily attainable. While you may not have even thought about eaves for your dream home, they are worth paying attention to!

What are eaves on a house?

The Importance of Adding eaves to your home

Eaves are an extension of the roof that overhangs the walls of your house. Specifically, eaves are the edges of the roof that extend beyond the external walls, creating a shaded, exposed underside.

The eaves typically have a horizontal underside called a soffit, which may be vented to allow air to circulate through the attic or roof space.

Eaves can serve both functional and aesthetic purposes, providing protection from the elements and adding visual interest to the architecture of a building. In addition, eaves can help to prevent water from running down the walls and causing damage to the building's foundation or structure.

What are the different types of roof eaves?

There are a variety of eaves you can add to your home. The most popular include:

  • Boxed Eaves: This type of eave is created by extending the roof beyond the exterior walls and enclosing the exposed ends with soffit and fascia. Boxed eaves provide a clean, finished look and can also help to protect the underlying roof structure.
  • Open Eaves: Unlike boxed eaves, open eaves don't have a soffit and fascia, meaning the exposed rafters and roof decking are visible from below. Open eaves are often used for aesthetic reasons or to provide increased ventilation to the roof space.
  • Soffit Eaves: Soffit eaves are characterised by a horizontal soffit board covering the underside of the eaves. This type of eave can be vented to allow air to circulate through the attic or roof space, helping to regulate temperature and reduce moisture buildup.
  • Fly Eaves:  Fly eaves are typically found on many house styles with gable roofs and are created by extending the eaves out from the gable end of the roof. Fly eaves can provide additional shading and protection from the elements, as well as add interest to the roofline.
  • Curved Eaves: Curved eaves are a unique architectural feature often used in modern or contemporary designs. Instead of extending straight out from the walls, the eaves curve upward or downward, creating a distinctive and eye-catching profile.

In Queensland's hot climate, long or wide eaves can reduce the impact of the summer sun, especially over north-facing windows, helping to reduce temperatures of interior spaces.

A steeply pitched roof tends to have narrow eaves due to the smaller angle between the roof and the overhang, while a less angular or low pitched roof can have wide overhanging eaves.

What's the difference between an eave and a soffit?

While "eave" and "soffit" are often used interchangeably, they are not the same. The main difference between an eave and a soffit is their location and function.

The eave is the part of the roof that overhangs the exterior walls of a building. Soffits are the underside of the eave that face downward. Soffits are usually horizontal board or panel that covers the underside of the roof overhang. The soffit can be vented to allow air to circulate through the attic or roof space, helping to regulate temperature and reduce moisture buildup. It can also be solid, providing a finished look to the eave and protecting the underlying structure from the elements.

Home builders typically favour eaves and soffits to protect the building and provide a finished look to the roofline.

What do roof eaves do?

Temperature regulation

Roof eaves provide shading to your windows, protecting your home from the harsh summer and winter sun. In Queensland's sub-tropical climate, you'd want eaves that can shield your home all year long to keep a comfortable temperature inside. This helps to protect furniture from direct sunlight.

Trinity with Eastport Façade by Plantation Homes

IMAGE: Trinity with Eastport facade

Shade and ventilation

The underside of eaves is often covered by a soffit, which can be vented to allow air to circulate through the attic or roof space, helping to regulate temperature and humidity inside the building.

Moisture and leakage protection

By directing the water away from the walls and foundation of your home, eaves offer protection from water, mud splatter, mould and mildew. This protection leads to greater longevity in your build and reduces the need for leakage-related repair.


Eaves can also help define the architectural design of your home and are a popular architectural element. Looking at the styles of houses through history, you’ll notice that eaves have become closely connected with grandeur, such as in the Italianate style. Wider eaves are commonly used in ranch-style homes.

What to consider when choosing house eaves?

Climate and weather

The type of eaves you choose will depend on the climate and weather conditions in your area. In areas with heavy rainfall, choose eaves with a larger overhang to provide maximum protection.

Home design

The size, shape, and materials of house eaves should be chosen to match the overall home design and aesthetic, so they don't look out of place or draw focus away from the home façade.


Eaves can be made from various building materials, including wood, metal, and vinyl. Each material has different maintenance requirements, design and functionality, which will help you determine the best for your home.

When choosing eaves for your home, it's best to speak to your home builder, as they can guide you in the right direction.

Does my roof need a drip edge?

A drip edge is installed under the roofing material and over the roof eaves, extending out and over the edge of the fascia. The primary purpose of a drip edge on eaves is to prevent water from getting underneath the roofing material and into the eaves, which can cause rot, mould, and other damage to the roof and the house's structure.

Specifically, the drip edge helps to direct rainwater away from the fascia board and eaves into the gutters. It also helps to prevent wind-driven rain from being forced under the roofing material and into the roof cavity.

Along with its water-shedding function, a drip edge can also provide a finished look to the roof and help secure the roofing material.

Proper installation of a drip edge on a roof is very important to ensure that it functions effectively.

How do you clean and maintain eaves?

Once your eaves have been installed, maintaining them will ensure they protect your home, provide shade and look good. Clogged or damaged roof eaves can cause water damage to the roof and the house's structure. Here's how to care for your eaves:

  1. Check for damage like cracks, leaks and signs of rot. Repair these as soon as you notice them.
  2.  Remove debris like leaves and twigs to stop them from clogging and ensure water flows properly.
  3. Washing the eaves will help to remove any dirt, grime, or mildew that may have accumulated. While you're washing them, check for any leaks.
  4. Installing gutter guards is a good idea if trees surround your home and your gutters get clogged easily.
  5. To keep your eaves in good condition, inspect and clean them in Spring and Autumn each year.

Talk to us about all things eaves

Ready to talk more about eaves and roofing in your build? Contact your nearest display centre and speak to a New Home Consultant.