What is Roof Overhang?

Brian Carpenter Author: Brian Carpenter|Date: October 18, 2019

The roof overhang refers to how much the edge of the roof goes beyond the house siding. Under the overhang is a structure known as the soffit. Most homes have an overhang, however, length varies greatly depending on the architectural style of the roof, with slate roofs having longer overhangs typically.

Roof With Shingle Overhang


The main purpose of an overhang is to give the house protection against strong winds and heavy rain. Aside from preventing water from running over the edge of the house, snow and other debris are also caught by this extended edge. The overhanging edge of a roof also gives extra shade to the windows, preventing glare and a major heatwave from entering the home. This keeps your internal home environment comfortable.

Usually, homeowners or contractors adjust the overhangs to fit the weather in an area. Most homes in Frederick have standard overhang lengths. Homes in areas where rains are more frequent have longer overhangs, with the maximum overhang length measured at 2 ft. This type of overhang is great for preventing most types of damage against bad weather. Extending beyond that length is possible with the installment of additional support.

Dry Climate

Areas that have a dry or arid climate are characterized by little rainfall. This makes it less likely for roof decay to occur. Because of less rainfall, overhangs are often not as long as areas with more rainfall and minimal overhangs or, in some cases, no overhangs extend from the roof.

Moderate Climate

Majority of areas in the United States, especially Frederick, experience moderate climates where adequate rainfall can cause some chance of roof decay. Areas closer to the coast experience similar amounts of rainfall but, due to higher humidity, tend to receive more damage to roofing. Homes that are located in areas experiencing moderate climates should have som overhang, which should extend from 12 to 18 inches in length.

Wet Climate

Cities that receive a higher rate of rainfall within a year can experience a lot of damage from the heavy rain. Most affected areas are near the Southeast border. The mixture of the warm tropical climate and extremely humid atmosphere can aid in fungal growth, leading to a lot of roof decay. Homes in locations experiencing this type of weather should opt for longer overhangs of up to 24 inches.

Roof Eaves

The proper term to use when talking about the roof overhang is to call it the roof eaves. The eaves of a roof refers to the edges that extend beyond the wall face. It forms that overhanging structure which makes sure that the water does not damage the siding of house walls. Aside from being a practical and protective component of a home, eaves also add to the style and design of the property.

Types of Eaves

Depending on how the eaves are at the edge, it is classified into 3 categories.

Closed Roof Eaves

A closed roof eave is one type that you would most likely see in houses that are built in areas with hotter weather. This type features very little overhang and sometimes appears as just a slight extension beyond the house siding. In some cases, no overhang is seen at all.

Open Roof Eaves

Open roof eaves are more extended and are usually the types that measure beyond 12 inches. A nice design that you would often see with this type of structure is the exposure of roof brackets or beams.

Boxed Roof Eaves

Boxed roof eaves are enclosed at the edge. The soffit is under the boxed structure. By closing off the edge of the roof, this adds better protection to the overhanging structure. Thus, preventing the likelihood of damage at the end.

Roof Rakes

The rakes refers to the edge of the roof located at the gable ends. These are pretty similar to the roof eaves and differ mostly in the location, rather than form.

Importance of A Roof Overhang

Many homeowners fail to acknowledge the significance of overhangs in the design of their home. These structures have an important function which encompasses the protection of doors, windows, siding, and walls from the rain and heat. Without the right overhang protection, sides of a home could rot from rain exposure or your house could easily feel overheated over the summer.

Know what type of overhang would best suit your home with our expert opinion. While even the longest overhang won’t be able to able to prevent your walls from ever getting wet, choosing the right length roof overhang should be able to give you optimum protection at a reasonable cost.

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