Roofs come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but their most essential features are the following:
- The roof plane is the pitched face of a roof.
- The ridge is the roof’s peak, where the two roof planes meet.
- The hip is the place where the two roof faces meet and connect, and then project outward.
- Valleys are the opposite, in a sense, of the hip: it’s where the two pitched roof faces connect and project inward.
- Dormers project out from the roof face and usually house a window. This helps bring in more light or adds extra space to the room inside.
- A gable is the triangular wall under which two roof planes meet.
- The decking is the base of the entire system upon which everything else is laid. Decking material is essentially the skeleton to your structure, and it can be made of plywood, polystyrene, concrete or metal, depending on what works best for your needs. This to where all the other roofing parts are nailed.
- Underlayment. The most commonly used underlayment material is felt, which is paper that is saturated with asphalt. Designed to prevent leaks from occurring, it is installed onto the decking to provide an extra layer of protection against broken or torn shingle.
- Flashing. Made up of thin sheets of metal, flashing lines cover up intersections and possible gaps where water can leak in and cause damage to the home. Usually made of aluminum, this component prevents water from building up and infiltrating the roof. and is used to lead moisture over the eaves into the gutters.
- Shingles. These form the outermost layer of your roofing system and are the first line of defense for your home. These could be made of asphalt, tile or other material, each bringing its unique character to the home. Asphalt shingles are currently the most popular type of roofing material in the U.S. As the topmost part of the roof, shingles withstand the most exposure to direct sunlight and the weather. Any damage to this layer can lead to long-term roofing problems, so quick replacement is called for once problems arise.
- Gutters are an essential part of the roof. They drain water away from the home and into downspouts to prevent it from seeping into your walls and foundation. An effective gutter system protects your home from water damage, especially in areas where water tends to pool.
- Vents are necessary to keep the air circulating properly so that the roof remains safe from moisture damage. Vents help reduce heat, which can decrease wear and tear on the shingles and prevent the formation of destructive ice dams.
Now that we’ve identified the most essential components of the roof as a whole, let’s look into the functions of some of its most important parts. First up, your gutters and flashing, and the role they play in your roof’s functionality. Stay tuned for this in Part 2 of this series.