Eaves protect a building from water, wind and sun, but they add to the aesthetics of the building, too. Rafters, which are the long beams that support the roof, are exposed on the underside of this eave. When rafters extend beyond the roof, they are called rafter tails, and this area forms the eave.
An eave creates a sheltered area below the roof. It also diverts water runoff, which protects many parts of the home — including the landscaping, roof, wall junction, base walls and structural footings.The soffit of the eave shown here may be finished with painted fiber cement panels or painted wood.
Eaves provide a location for venting of the roof. Air circulation is necessary to release moisture and hot air, and to allow cool air to enter. Keeping the attic cool prevents snow from melting and refreezing in the gutters, which can cause ice damming and ultimately damage to the roof system. Snow and rain cannot enter vents in the soffit, because they face downward.Browse more eave photos