An eave is the edge of a roof. Eaves usually extend beyond the exterior walls of a building, and are intended to throw rainwater from the roof clear of the walls, to stop water getting in between the junction of the roof and the wall.
Before Guttering came into general use eaves often extended well beyond the walls of buildings so that rainwater was thrown well clear of the walls. This would prevent water damaging the wall and washing away the footings of the building.
Building constructed or surfaced with porous materials, such as plaster or cob, usually have eaves projecting well beyond the walls to prevent rainwater damage. This is particularly common with thatched roofs which cannot have guttering.
The overhang of eaves beyond a building’s wall is known as the ‘eavesdrop’ and when this projects beyond the legal boundary of a property an easement of eavesdrop is required.
A building survey will indicate if there are any particular problems with the eaves, the most likely being decay or rot to external timber associated with the eaves, such as Fascia boards and Bargeboards.