Meet Your Roof

Roof structureDo you know the basic components of your roof?

Most people don’t. When they think of the roof they are mostly thinking of the roof’s top layer. They don’t realize the roof is a complex system whose components work together both to keep water out of the house, and to force water to roll off the house.

But today we’re going to rectify that by introducing you to every part of your roof.


Let’s start at the lowest level of your roof—the structure that holds it upright. This is where you’ll find the rafters and trusses that make up the top of your house’s frame. If your trusses and rafters start rotting or taking damage they won’t hold up the roof, which is why we inspect these thoroughly before making a quote. Sometimes, we need to get in and replace this layer too.

No homeowner likes hearing it, but there it is. The structure is made of wood, and wood doesn’t last forever, especially if termites, water damage or other problems start dealing direct damage.

The Roof Deck

You’ll find either wood or sheet metal has been fastened to your rafters or trusses. This is what forms the ceiling of your attic, though if you’ve finished your attic with drywall you might not see it. This is an important component because we fasten the roof coverings to the sheathing. If it weren’t there, or if it were defective, we wouldn’t be able to do that.

The roof deck is a little easier to fix than the structure—it’s just a matter of pulling one bad board, usually, and replacing it with another. However, we do have to get all the way down to the structure to work with it.


This is a roll of materials that creates a waterproofing layer. This could be paper, felt, or fiberglass, but it’s usually saturated with asphalt. It’s not tough enough to protect against water on its own, but it does offer some protection when water works its way under your shingles (for an asphalt roof), or when a tile breaks, on a tile roof.

The Covering

This is the part of the roof most people think about first. These are your tiles, shingles, or what have you. The covering does the “heavy lifting” of protecting your roof from the rain.


Flashing is a strip of sheet metal installed wherever you find a joint in the roof. You should also find flashing around chimneys, roof lights, and roof vents. The flashing helps to seal vulnerable leak points and forms a channel which allows water to collect and run to the gutters.

If any part of this system is compromised, the roof will not do the job you want it to do.

Thus, when you think about roof problems it’s vital for you to understand there are multiple components we should look at. Sometimes this will be good news for you. Bad flashing causes many roof leaks, for example, which is a very cheap fix. Other times, it will be bad news—like when your roof is sagging because your rafters are rotting away.

Either way, when you call us you’ll receive one of the most thorough roof inspections in town, as well as one of the most honest, thorough quotes. We won’t always tell you what you want to hear, but we will tell you how to protect your home.

Image credit: Riisipuuro