Different Elements of Your Roof Explained
What Goes into a Roof?
A roof is a complicated piece of your home. It’s also one of the most important, since it braces all of the elements, protects your family, and can help regulate things like airflow, temperature, and moisture.
While there are many pieces of a roof, here are the major ones you should be aware of that make up the backbone of your home’s roof. Note that not all roofs are built the same, so you may not see all of these on every roof.
Decking creates a structural base for the roof and the elements that go on top. It’s usually made from pieces of plywood or another type of wood. This is one of the first materials that will actually cover the opening to your home.
When you look at the surface of a finished roof, this is what you’re looking at. Shingles add dimension, style, and protection to a roof. Usually made out of asphalt, this is one of the key pieces that help a roof sustain rain and other natural elements.
There are several types of vents you might find on a roof.
- An undereave vent helps bring cool, dry air into an attic if you have one.
- A plumbing vent is a pipe that sticks out of the roof, where air can escape and allow wastewater to flow properly throughout the house.
- Roof vents are metal or plastic structures that have side openings that allow for ventilation in the attic.
Skylights are often aesthetic pieces of a roof, giving additional light sources and style to any room. But they can also act as additional ventilation sources and an emergency exit if needed.
Even if you don’t have a traditional fireplace, you’ll still need a chimney for your home, which connects to your roof. The chimney releases exhaust fumes from a fireplace, boiler, or stove to the outside and is an essential part of properly ventilating your home. A chimney will also have what is called a “flashing,” which is a form of sealing the chimney to the roof in order to prevent water from collecting.
Gutters are the ducts that collect water at the edges of the roof. Through the system, the gutters will transfer water through a pipe, known as the downspout, to the ground. You might also have a splash block, which redirects the water away from the house.
Rafters are diagonal beams that connect the edges of the roof to provide a foundation for wood decking and shingles. They are a major part of the truss, which is the foundation of the roof which connects to the main structure of the home.
This long piece of wood or metal is what makes the roof into a triangle. It runs the full length of the roof at the top and is the starting point from which the shingles are laid. The rafters are also connected to the ridge board, which helps the whole frame of the roof come together.
These two pieces make up the overhang of the roof. The eave is the actual overhang and is the lower edge of the roof. The soffit is the structure of boards that seal the bottom of the eave, which sticks out from the side of the house. Gutters will usually connect to this part of the roof.
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