Most modern homes built with conventional lumber and either hand-cut or trussed rafters are fitted with fascia boards to cover the exposed rafter ends. The fascia protects the rafters from weather and potential decay, makes the installation of gutters and downspouts much easier and most people think the fascia is a handsome accent to the finished appearance of their house. Several types of fascia material are available.
The most common fascia material is wood. Generally, No. 2 construction lumber of spruce, pine or fir is used. This type of wood is primed and painted to give it durability. Wood is the least expensive option but to maintain it properly means having to repaint the fascia on a recurring basis. Homeowners wanting a more rustic look often choose cedar as a fascia material. Cedar is naturally weather resistant, and even more so when it's stained or painted.
Siding manufacturers always have fascia material identical in colour to the other products they sell. If you have an older home being resided with vinyl, you may wish to include refacing your fascia with vinyl to match the colour of the siding or trim being applied to the rest of the home's exterior. The cost of adding vinyl fascia won't appreciably add to the cost of the rest of the project. The vinyl will attach directly over the existing wood fascia.
If the existing fascia on your home is weathered and may even have rotted spots, aluminium can weatherproof the underlying wood and arrest the decay. Experienced workmen can bend the aluminium sheets to encapsulate the existing fascia and, once it's in place, it can be good for decades. Because of the ability to completely encapsulate the fascia boards, some builders prefer using aluminium stock to cover wood fascia instead of vinyl. The cost of aluminium vs. vinyl is similar. Installation costs of aluminium will be somewhat more than the cost of installing vinyl.
Composite lumber was introduced to be competitive with pressure treated lumber for building decks and other outdoor structures. The exact composition depends on the maker, but it's usually made from a mix of recycled plastic, wood chips or sawdust and bound with epoxy resin. For some, the fact it's made from recycled materials is paramount. For most, the fact that it's colour fast and totally resistant to rot and decay is most important. The cost of using composite lumber for fascia material can be twice that of any other material, but for many, the durability over the life of the home makes it a reasonable expense.