What Are the Parts of a Roof? Components and Functionality Explained

standing and looking at house

When obtaining roofing services, customers are often curious about the different parts and components that make up the roof. The only parts that you normally see are the shingles along the exterior of the home or the plywood underneath when you are inside the unfinished attic.

Understanding the different components of the roofing system, and how they function, can often help you identify small problems that may be present. Then you can immediately repair the problems yourself or get expert help so that the small problem doesn’t become worse. Let’s first go over the exterior aspects of the roof, and then we will dig deeper into the actual structure of it.

Exterior Aspects of Roof Construction

Every angle, pitched side, and place that the roof joins with another section of the roof has a specific construction term. These terms simply help to identify the specific area of the roof.

Roof Plane: The entire roof is called the roof plane. It may also be called the field of the roof. This includes all the flat and angled surfaces. Dormers, gables, eaves, soffits, flashing, and gutters will be connected to the roof plane.

Side Wall: The term side wall simply references the exterior wall on the side of the house that connects to the roof.

Eave: The eave is the section of the roof that overhangs the exterior wall’s edge.

Fascia & Soffits: Fascia is the side of the eave, while the soffit is the underside of the eave. These are architectural features that may be added to the roof to give it a finished look.

Ridge: The ridge is at the very top of the roof where both roof sides meet.

Dormer: Dormers are roofing structures that typically feature a small window to allow light and ventilation to the attic space. It projects up from the roof. Not all houses will have dormers.

Abutments: Abutments are roofs that do not go up to meet the ridge of the roof. Instead, the abutment meets the side wall of the house. They are common on additions, attached garages, and bay windows. You will also find abutments on door canopies.

Gables: Roofs can have many planes. When two roof planes meet, there may be a triangular wall underneath that is called a gable. The roof’s edge above the gable is called the gable end.

Valley: When a house has two roofs or many connecting roof faces, the part where the sides of the roofs connect is called a valley. Imagine the roof faces are like mountains as the lowest space between them are the valleys. This feature would be the same on your roof.

Hip: The place where the two roof faces connect yet project outward is called the hip. If there are two roof hips that have a sloped roof between them, it is called the hipped end.

Roofing System Components

After hiring a roofing service, they will often ask you about the problems with the roofing system on your home. The roofing system refers to the components installed on the roof that help protect your home from the exterior elements. We will go over each exterior component and its function.

Roof Frame: The roof frame is a collection of boards that are interconnected to shape the slope and pitch of the roof. This framing is referred to as trusses, rafters, and ceiling joists. They make up the entire roof.

Roof Decking: Decking is the material, often plywood, that is placed on top of the roof frame to give it a flat surface. Decking is also referred to as sheathing and can also be made of metal, gypsum, or concrete.

Underlayment: Underlayment is a type of material that is placed on the decking before the shingles are put into place. This material helps to provide an additional layer of weatherproofing and protection.

Shingles: Shingles are what people usually visualize when they think of a roof. They are the overlapping pieces that cover the roof.

Flashing: Flashing is a thin metal material that is used whenever certain house components come up through the roof structure. These components may be chimneys, roof vents, plumbing vents, skylights, and dormers. The valleys may also have roof flashing. Flashing helps divert water away from certain areas of the roof.

Roofing Service: Pocono Mountain

Now that you know more about the components and function of your roof, you’re better equipped to identify issues and communicate with roofing professionals. Contact Overmyer Roofing when you are in need for roof services to have a comfortable and safe home.

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