Anatomy of a Complete Roofing System

Knowing the parts of a roof helps when discussing roofing matters with roofing contractors or when narrowing down your options without getting bogged down by all the jargon. At Roofing by Curry, we would like to help you understand the parts of a complete roofing system.Complete Roofing System

  • Roof deck – This is the roof’s foundation, consisting of plywood or composite sheeting nailed to the rafters. Keeping the roof deck dry is important: once the other parts of the roof are installed, it will be difficult for moisture in the roof deck to evaporate, which could cause damage to the roof deck in the future.

  • Underlayment – The underlayment goes on top of the roof deck as a secondary waterproofing layer in case rainwater comes through the shingles or tiles, such as wind-driven rain. Traditionally, tar paper or wax paper is installed by roof companies, followed by a layer of roofing felt; manufacturers like GAF offer specialized underlayment products, with breathability features that allow moisture on the roof deck to evaporate.

  • Flashing – Flashing refers to the metal pieces used to protect areas where water tends to collect, such as hips and valleys. Another type of flashing is used to protect breaks in the roof, such as chimneys, dormers, and skylights.

  • Shingles or tile – Roofing material, such as asphalt shingles, wood shakes, tile, or metal, cover the main roof area. Installation begins from bottom to the top to create overlaps that help keep rainwater and snow out of the roof deck. The bottom row is vulnerable to being blown off by strong winds, so some roofing systems, such as GAF’s Lifetime Roofing System, feature starter shingles optimized for protection against blow-offs.

  • Trim – Also known as ridge caps, trim is installed to protect the hips, ridges, and other roofing seams. Cut-up shingles are traditionally used for trim, but specially-designed ones such as GAF Hip and Ridge Cap Shingles are available. Exhaust vents are also installed along ridges for proper attic ventilation, to increase the roof insulation efficiency, and to prevent ice dam formation.

Roofing by Curry serves residents in Sarasota and nearby areas. If you would like to know more about roofing systems, or our other services such as roof repair, call us today at (941) 270-4770 or fill out our contact form for a free estimate on your roofing needs.