Naming the Parts of a Roof

Roofing contractors of Washington list the basic parts and functions of roofing.

From Trusses to Shingles: The 5 Essentials of Roofing Anatomy

Even a child knows that you cannot have a house without a roof. It is what truly provides the protection. The simplest of shelters have only a roof. But as humans have developed technology, culture, and society, homes have grown into larger and more complex structures than the simple lean-tos of our ancestors. 

Roofs now have at least five basic parts: support structure, sheathing, underlayment, shingles, and guttering. Each of these parts can be equated with an area of animal anatomy.

The Skeleton: Roof Support Structure

Just as the skeleton supports the body, the roof structure supports the layers of the roof. This layer includes support beams, trusses, and the attic area. Just like an animal skeleton, this structure determines the shape that the roof is going to take, whether there will be multiple ridges and whether gables or dormers will be incorporated. 

While this layer is the base, it needs to be protected by the upper layers in order to function. Roof maintenance needs to be done in order to prevent leaks that could damage this layer. 

The Muscle: Sheathing

The support structure of a roof may hold everything up, but everything cannot be directly attached to it. This is where the sheathing comes in. The sheathing is the layer of plywood that is attached directly to the support beams. It not only provides structural support, but also provides an area to attach the other layers of the roof.

The Dermis: The Underlayment

From elementary biology, most people know that the skin has two layers: the dermis and the epidermis. Likewise, the outer layer of a roof has two waterproof layers: underlayment and shingles. 

These two layers work together to keep water and weather out of the house. The underlayment is essentially a sheet of either felt or synthetic fabric that has been coated with asphalt. While it is water-resistant, it cannot take much battering and is fairly easily damaged. Thus, it is a protective layer, but it still needs more armor.

The Epidermis: The Shingles

The topmost tough waterproof layer of the roof structure is the shingles. There are many different types of shingles, but they all have the same function: to prevent damage to the home and its inhabitants. Here are just a few of the shingle types:

  • Traditional Two- or Three-Tab Shingles
  • Laminated Architectural Shingles
  • Clay Shingles
  • Metal Roofing

Each type of shingle provides a different sort of protection and aesthetic. This is definitely an area to discuss with a roofing supply company if you are thinking of a change or are in need of roofing repair.

The Excretory System: Guttering and Drainage

It is easy to forget the fact that part of a roof’s design is intended to actually shed water or detritus from storms. The excretory system in the body gets rid of waste so the body can function properly, so the roof keeps the home safe primarily by allowing easy removal of precipitation from it. There are several different parts of a drainage design for roofs, as listed below:

  • Ridge: This is the topmost edge of the roof, the top of the triangle, so to speak. It presents the primary angle for water removal.
  • Hips: Hips are other high points on a multi-angled roof.
  • Valleys:  Valleys represent the lowest V-shaped area on a multi-angled roof.
  • Flashing: Thin sheet metal is often used as an extra layer of waterproof protection around vents, chimneys, and the like.
  • Guttering: This metal or vinyl piping catches the water coming off the roof and funnels it away from your home’s foundation.

About Cobalt Exteriors

By providing the best materials and highly-trained technicians, Cobalt Exteriors makes sure the job you want done is done well and correctly. We offer personalized solutions to all your siding, roofing, and decking needs. Call us today for a roof inspection or a free quote in the Woodinville area.