Every day you walk into your home, probably never stopping to think about the materials and systems that were used to create it. It is true that your home is made up of a foundation, floors, walls, windows, and doors. However, the biggest, and arguably most important, part of your home is the roof. That’s why having at least a basic understanding of a roofing system is important.
Why is it called a roofing system?
You may be wondering why we’re not just referring to your “roof,” that’s what it’s called, right? Yes, that’s true, however, when we start to break down all of the components of your roof, you will see that it is, in fact, a system that works together in order to protect your home. When it comes to a roofing system, there is definitely more than meets the eye! We’re happy to be the roofing contractor to explain the components so you can make an educated decision about the state of your roof.
Types Of Roof Coverings
The first thing you notice when looking at your roofing system is the shingles or other covering, and there are plenty of different types that we could be talking about. There is tile, slate, metal, wood shingles, and asphalt shingles, just to name a few.
However, the most common type of roof covering is asphalt shingles, but your roofing system doesn’t stop there.
Within the asphalt shingles, there are a couple of different options: Three-Tab or Architectural. The three-tab shingles make a flatter-looking roof, but are less expensive than architectural shingles.
Architectural shingles typically have a higher warranty/lifetime period to them, and can make a difference in the look of your roof.
You also have a higher-grade architectural shingle option in a designer shingle, that typically is what’s known as a “lifetime” shingle, with the warranty period being 40 to 50 years, and is referred to as “impact resistant.” The benefits to impact resistant shingles are many, but the cost is considerably higher than three-tab shingles. These details are all important to keep in mind when selecting a new shingle for your roof.
Roof Decking And Underlayment
Before you can put any shingles on your roof, you need a base to the system. If you were to strip your roof of the top layers and accessories, you would be left with the decking. This is typically a plywood board that is attached to your rafters to help create a stable base.
On top of the decking, there is a first layer of water protection, which is underlayment and valley protection. Underlayment is typically made of a synthetic material. Although it can be made from felt, most roofing contractors are upgrading to the synthetic version as it lasts longer and creates a more watertight barrier.
For the valleys in your roofs, an additional form of protection within the roofing system needs to be applied. Older homes may have valley metal, but again, most contractors are upgrading to using a synthetic material known as ice and water shield. This is a water shedding material that is known as “peel and stick” that runs down the center of your roof valleys. The benefit to using this material over a valley metal is that it will actually form itself around the nails that are used to secure your shingles, meaning it will provide more protection.
Heat rises, and that means your attic gets pretty hot. If the heat couldn’t escape, you’d be in big trouble. Luckily, that has been worked out, and your roofing system is equipped with ventilation. You may have turbines or box vents. You may even have ridge vent which many homeowners prefer, as it creates a more streamlined look. However, they all work to achieve the same goal.
These items form the basis of your general steep-slope roof. However, you may also have an area of the flat roof that has separate needs for making sure your home is protected properly. For a flat roof, which might be over a patio or some other special area of your home, you wouldn’t put shingles here. You would typically see ice and water shield (the same material used in valleys) if the patio is made of wood decking or a metal roof.
When it comes to your roofing system, these are just the basic components, and we could go into even greater detail. However, this should give you at least a starting point to be able to understand your own roof. You may even start to appreciate the protection your roofing system provides your family and home.
If your roof isn’t providing the protection you need, one of these elements of your roofing system may be faulty. Give us a call to come out and take a look. At least you’ll know where your roof envelope is failing and you will get a free quote from an honest, experienced roofing company.