Your roof is one of the most important components of your home. Providing protection from sun, wind, and water, it is also adds "curb appeal" and real cash value to your property. A roof expertly crafted from quality materials lasts for years. When selecting a new residential roof, you should know some basics about the parts of your roof and how each functions.
- Shingles. These are the most visible parts of your roof. Typically rectangular and made from asphalt, wood or a composite material, shingles overlap each other in rows or courses to fully cover the underlayment.
- Underlayment. Also called roofing felt or paper, this material prevents moisture from penetrating the actual roof structure.
- Decking. This is the part of the roof between the structural trusses and joists and the underlayment. It is usually made from sheets of plywood.
- Flashing. These strips of aluminum, stainless steel, copper or other metal keep water away from the base of the chimney, ventilation stack, skylight or valley on a roof.
- Valley. This is the area where 2 slopes come together forming a channel.
- Pitch. The pitch is another word for the downward slope of a roof. Some roof styles have a very steep pitch. Proper pitch helps carry water to the gutter system and away from the home.
- Eaves. These are the parts of your roof which hang over the edge of the house. Some people simply call them the "overhang."
- Drip edge. This helps to bring water off the eaves and away from the home and foundation.
- Gable. A triangular part of a house just under the roof and the main structure.
- Dormer. The dormer adds usable space with walls and a window. It projects out from the main roof. A dormer brings light into the home, too.
- Gutters and downspouts. Installed at the edge of the roof, gutters direct rainwater away from the house. Usually made of aluminum, they may have leaf guards to keep debris from trees and animals from building up in the gutters.
Besides knowing the basic anatomy of a roof, it is also a good idea to do some research into reputable roofing contractors in your area. This "homework" will ensure good materials, proper and timely installation and a longer life for this substantial investment in your residence.