Ever gazed up at your house and noticed the overhanging edges of your roof? Those are the eaves, a vital component of any building’s architecture. With time, these eaves may need replacement due to weather damage or aging. In this situation, you might wonder how to replace eaves on a house. Please don’t fret; we’ve got you covered! Read our comprehensive, step-by-step guide below.

Understanding the Basics of Eaves

Knowing how to replace eaves on a house is essential to maintain your home’s structural integrity and aesthetic appeal. But before we discuss the steps you need to take to install them, let’s first get a few facts straight about them.

What are Eaves?

Eaves refer to the lower edges of the roof, which overhang a building’s outer walls. Their primary function is to divert rainwater away from the walls. This protects them and the foundation from water damage.

Additionally, eaves help reduce erosion around the house and prevent water from seeping into the basement or crawlspaces. In warmer climates, wide eaves can also provide shade to the windows, aiding in cooling the house’s interior.

Importance of Well-Maintained Eaves

Eaves serve a vital protective function for your home, hence the need for their regular maintenance and repair. Well-maintained eaves can not only extend the lifespan of your home but also contribute to its aesthetic appeal. By diverting water away, they prevent moisture-related issues like mould growth, rotting, and paint peeling, thus preserving your home’s structural integrity and beauty.

Furthermore, in terms of energy efficiency, eaves in good condition can help regulate the temperature in your home. This can help you save money on energy bills.

Signs You Need to Replace Your Eaves

Warping, cracking, peeling paint, or leaking during rainstorms indicate that your eaves may need replacement. An inspection may reveal hidden problems like wood rot or insect infestations.

Different Types of Eaves and Their Benefits

There are primarily two types of eaves: boxed and exposed.

  • Boxed Eaves. These are enclosed with a soffit (the covering on the underside), providing a clean, finished look to the house. They are more resistant to pest infestations and are great at concealing the underside of your roof. Boxed eaves can also provide extra insulation, improving your home’s energy efficiency.
  • Exposed Eaves. These leave the underside of the roof rafters visible. They provide a more traditional, rustic look. They can be easier and less expensive to install and maintain due to their simplicity. They also allow for better ventilation which can help prevent moisture buildup and subsequent damage to the roof structure.

Choosing the type of eaves for your house depends on various factors, including your home’s architectural style, climate, and personal preferences. Ensuring they are well-maintained, regardless of the type chosen, is crucial to protecting and preserving your home.

The Right Tools for the Job

Next, let’s discuss the tools you’ll need to complete the job correctly.

Essential Tools

For starters, you’ll need:

  • a ladder
  • pry bar
  • claw hammer
  • measuring tape
  • saw
  • nails
  • new eave boards.
  • Safety gear such as gloves, safety glasses, and a hard hat is also essential.

Safety Precautions

Remember, safety comes first! Ensure the ladder is sturdy and properly positioned. Wear protective clothing, especially when removing the old eaves. This way, you can avoid injury from splinters or falling debris.

Warning: Asbestos in Eaves in Australia

If you’re living in an Australian house built before the mid-1980s, please be aware that there’s a possibility that your roof eaves may contain non-friable (bonded) asbestos sheeting. This was a standard construction material until it was discovered that asbestos fibres can lead to serious health issues when inhaled.

Visible signs of asbestos degradation include discolouration, cracking, or splitting in the eave material. If you notice these signs, handling the situation carefully is crucial to avoid releasing hazardous asbestos fibres into the air.

Do not attempt to drill into the eaves or conduct DIY activities that may disturb the asbestos material. If you suspect the presence of asbestos in your eaves, immediately seek the help of a licensed professional trained to handle and remove asbestos safely.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Replacing Eaves

Now that you know how eaves work and what tools you need to replace them, let’s proceed with the steps you’ll need to take to ensure a successful and satisfying outcome.

Step 1: Assess the Eaves’ Condition

Begin by assessing the condition of your existing eaves. Look for signs of damage, such as rot, cracks, or pest infestations. Take note of any areas that require immediate attention or replacement. It’s crucial to have a clear understanding of the scope of the project before proceeding.

Common Causes of Eaves Damage

  • Water damage from inadequate drainage, clogged gutters, or roof leaks.
  • Pest infestation, including termites, carpenter ants, and birds.
  • Formation of ice dams during winter, leading to water seepage.
  • Lack of regular maintenance, neglecting inspections and minor repairs.
  • Physical damage from falling branches, storms, or accidental impact.
  • Improper installation or inadequate sealing, which allows water and pests to infiltrate.

Common Signs of Eaves Damage

  • Visible rot or decay on the eaves, including discolouration, soft spots, or crumbling wood.
  • Peeling or flaking paint or finish on the eaves.
  • Sagging or uneven eaves, indicating structural damage.
  • Presence of pests like termites, carpenter ants, or birds nesting in or around the eaves.
  • Water stains or watermarks on the eaves or adjacent walls.
  • Gutter overflow or water pooling near the eaves.
  • Dripping sounds or water leaks from the eaves during rain.
  • Visible cracks, splits, or gaps in the eaves.
  • Unusual drafts or increased energy costs due to poor insulation caused by damaged eaves.
  • Loose or detached eave components, such as fascia boards or soffits.

Step 2: Measure and Order the Necessary Materials

Getting the necessary materials (with the proper measurements) is vital when replacing eaves. Accurate measurements ensure that you have the correct dimensions and quantities of materials required, minimizing wastage and potential delays. Meanwhile, ordering materials in advance allows you to plan the project timeline effectively and avoid interruptions due to material shortages.

Different eave materials may also vary in size, style, and colour. By taking measurements before buying, you can pick the best materials that match your other eaves or desired aesthetic.

Recommended Materials for Eaves Replacement

  • Fascia boards. These are typically made of wood or composite materials and are attached to the ends of the rafters, providing a smooth, finished look to the eaves.
  • Soffits. These are installed underneath the eaves and can be made of aluminium, vinyl, or wood. They provide ventilation and help maintain proper airflow in the attic.
  • Eave drip edges. These metal strips are installed along the edges of the eaves to prevent water from seeping underneath the roofing material, protecting the eaves from water damage.
  • Gutters and downspouts. These are essential for directing water away from the eaves and foundation of the house, preventing water-related damage.
  • Siding or cladding. Depending on the desired aesthetic and durability, various siding materials, such as vinyl, wood, fibre cement, or metal, can cover the eaves.

Step 3: Remove the Old Eaves

Carefully remove the damaged eaves, starting at one end and working along the length. Use a hammer and crowbar to pry off the nails, screws, and eaves, being cautious not to damage the underlying structure. Take note of any damaged areas that may require repair before installing the new eaves.

Wear protective gear, including gloves, goggles, and a dust mask throughout the process. This will safeguard you against debris and potential hazards during the removal process. Afterwards, responsibly dispose of the old eaves and debris, following local regulations and guidelines for waste disposal.

Step 4: Prepare the Installation Area

Once the old eaves are removed, recheck the underlying structure for any signs of rot or damage you missed from the previous inspection. If necessary, replace or repair the damaged sections to ensure a solid foundation for the new eaves. Clean the debris area and ensure it is dry and free from obstructions.

Step 5: Install the New Eaves

Once you’ve done that, proceed with installing the new eaves. To make sure you get it right, follow these tips:

  • Double-check the measurements of the materials to avoid errors or unnecessary adjustments during installation.
  • Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific materials you are using. Adhere to their guidelines regarding installation techniques, tools, and recommended fasteners to ensure a successful and long-lasting installation.
  • Follow the Standards Australia’s HB 39:2015 guidelines to ensure the new eaves properly redirect rainwater to the stormwater drainage system. This also helps weatherproof the eaves and the exterior of the house.
  • Use appropriate fasteners, such as nails or screws, to securely attach the new eaves to the underlying structure. Follow recommended spacing and positioning to ensure stability and structural integrity.
  • Check for alignment before and after nailing each board. Misaligned eaves can lead to water seeping into your walls or wind damage. Ensure each board is securely attached to prevent it from coming loose over time.
  • Ensure proper ventilation is maintained by installing soffits or vents. This allows adequate airflow to prevent moisture buildup and potential issues like rot or mould.
  • Apply appropriate sealants or caulking to seal any gaps or joints in the eaves, preventing water infiltration and enhancing weather resistance.

Step 6: Add the Finishing Touches

After installing the new eaves, all that’s left is adding the finishing touches. Start with the following:

  • Inspect the entire length to ensure uniformity. Make any necessary adjustments, then seal the joints or seams to prevent water infiltration.
  • Apply a suitable paint or stain to the eaves, following the manufacturer’s recommendations. This gives them a polished look and protects them from weathering and UV damage.
  • Enhance the aesthetic appeal of the eaves by adding decorative elements such as trim, moulding, or corbels. Ensure they’re installed securely, as well as aligned with the architectural style of your home.

Hiring a Professional vs DIY

If the job seems too daunting, the eaves are placed too high, or the damage is too complex, it may be best to hire a roofing professional from North East Plumbing. They have the skills and equipment to do the job safely and efficiently.

Are Eaves Easy to Replace?

The ease of replacing eaves largely depends on your level of handyman skills, the tools at your disposal, and the extent of the damage. If you’re a DIY enthusiast with some experience in similar home projects, you may find the process straightforward. It’s just a matter of assessing the damage, measuring and ordering materials, removing the old eaves, and installing the new ones.

However, remember that replacing eaves can be time-consuming and requires a reasonable degree of precision and patience. Safety should also be a primary concern, as you’ll be working at height. Hiring a professional is recommended if the job is too much for you to handle alone.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace Eaves on a House in Australia?

In Australia, replacing eaves ranges from $25 to $170 per metre. This price variation depends on the extent of damage, the amount of salvageable roof and eaves, and the chosen replacement materials. For precise costs, consider obtaining a detailed quote from a local contractor.

What are the Australian standards for eaves?

Australia has specific standards for eaves as per the National Construction Code (NCC). For starters, the width of your eaves should ideally be 45% of the height from the bottom windowsill to the bottom of the eaves. This ensures optimum shading and solar access, depending on the season.

The NCC also provides standards for eave gutters. The gutters must be supported by suitably fixed brackets spaced at no more than 1.2 meters along the entire length and a minimum fall of 1:500 unless they’re fixed to a metal fascia.

Meanwhile, the minimum size of the eave gutter is influenced by various factors, a key one being the location of the building. This is because different locations experience different rainfall intensities that the roof drainage system must be designed to handle. According to the National Construction Code (NCC), when selecting eave gutters, there must be a rainfall intensity at least 5 minutes long and a 5% annual exceedance probability. Still, to properly ensure you get suitable eaves for your house, visit the Australian Bureau of Meteorology to check your local climate conditions.


As a homeowner, you play a crucial role in maintaining your house’s integrity and safety, including the eaves. By following the guide above, you can ensure a proper and safe eave replacement process. And with attention to detail, adherence to safety measures, and professional assistance, you can enhance their homes’ longevity and protect your loved ones from potential risks.

So invest in your home’s well-being and follow the guide to learn how to replace eaves on a house.