In New Zealand, soffits play a vital role in commercial buildings, serving decorative and protective purposes. They are essentially the underside of building elements, designed to shield structures from environmental elements. Soffits prevent moisture ingress, aiding in mould prevention and maintaining the integrity of building materials.
Beyond functionality, soffits contribute to a building's aesthetic appeal. They come in various styles and colours, some featuring ventilation holes, especially beneficial for buildings with attic spaces, ensuring proper air circulation.
Soffits are not exclusive to exterior applications. In commercial settings, they are often visible beneath architectural features such as cornices, staircases, or in the form of curved plasterwork (coving). In Auckland office environments, soffits might be part of the design, forming the underside of ceiling tiles within suspended grid systems.
During your renovation project, you'll encounter not only soffits but also fascias. How do these two components work together, and what lies beneath the soffit?
When you examine the exterior of your business, you'll notice the exterior soffit positioned beneath the rafter tails. On the other hand, the fascia is visible at the ends of the rafters, exposed to the outside.
In New Zealand, while modern soffits are often made of wood, aluminium, or composite materials, many older commercial buildings have soffits made from fibre cement, which frequently contains asbestos. Determining the presence of asbestos in soffits without professional testing can be challenging.
Fibre cement gained popularity for soffits in commercial properties due to its cost-effectiveness, lightweight nature, and the strength imparted by asbestos fibres. However, the health risks associated with asbestos were not initially recognised.
Asbestos-containing soffits were favoured for their ease of installation, low preparation requirements, and some degree of fire protection. If there's a suspicion of asbestos in your commercial property's soffits, consulting with an asbestos removal company like Revolve Asbestos Solutions is recommended for expert advice and safe handling.