Roofing Company Florida

Understanding the Parts of a Roof System

Roofing Emergencies - A picture of a sloped residential roof with asphalt shingles.

Roof systems are surprisingly more complex than just pieces of wood with some shingles slapped on top. Roofs are composed of a variety of parts – each serving a unique purpose. Furthermore, some of these parts have confusing names that you don’t hear outside of the roofing industry. It’s important to educate ourselves as homeowners so we know what to look for and ask when it’s time to replace our roofs. Read on if you’d like to learn about the different parts of a roof system and why they’re important. 

How Many Parts Make up a Roof System?

The following are the 8 primary parts of an asphalt shingle roof system.

  1. Roof underlayment
  2. Shingles
  3. Hip and ridge cap shingles
  4. Ridge vents
  5. Gutters
  6. Fascia
  7. Drip-edge
  8. Soffit

What Is Each Part of a Roof System and What Do They Do?

1. Roof Underlayment

Roof underlayment generally refers to the material that is placed between the decking and the shingles. Typically, the material used is either plywood or oriented strand board (OSB). This is a key component of the roof system because it serves as a base and structural support for the shingles. Furthermore, it provides more protection from the elements. 

When re-roofing a home, professional roofing contractors check the integrity of the underlayment to ensure they’re free of wood rot or warps. Replacing damaged or worn underlayment is important prior to installing new shingles. Think of the underlayment as the foundation.

2. Shingles

Shingles comprise the roof surface and are the primary barrier between your home’s interior and the elements. There are different types of asphalt shingles like 3-tab, architectural composition, and luxury. Architectural composition shingles are the most widely-used roofing material in Gainesville, FL because of their affordability and appearance. Architectural shingles also come in a variety of colors and styles. 

3. Hip and Ridge Cap Shingles

Did you know that different types of shingles are used for the hips and ridge of a roofing system? Hip shingles are designed to be used on a specific part of the roof called the hip. Roofs have multiple hips. These are areas where the sloping sides of a roof meet. The underlayment of each roof side meet in the hips and have a joint between them. Hip shingles are designed to overlap this area and provide an extra water barrier. They also bend to the shape of the roof in a way that is functional and aesthetically pleasing. 

Ridge cap shingles are specialized asphalt shingles that are laid over the ridge of the roof. They’re thicker and bent to the shape of the roof’s ridge so they fit securely.  

4. Ridge Vents

Ridge vents are installed on the peak of a roof. These vents allow the home’s attic to exhaust heat without compromising the roof’s waterproofing. Ridge cap shingles are usually laid over ridge cap vents to protect them. Again, these vents help regulate the temperature of the home’s attic space while keeping water, wind, and debris from entering. 

5. Gutters

Everyone is familiar with gutters! Most new gutters are seamless, which means they aren’t installed in sections but are one, continuous piece that is cut-to-fit on site. Gutters are designed to move water away from your home’s foundation as it runs off the roof. Water from the gutters is expelled via downspouts. Keeping your gutters free of leaves and pine needles is important to protect your home. You can have gutter guards installed which minimize debris accumulation. 

6. Fascia

Fascia is the board behind gutters that connects a home’s roofing with its rafters. The fascia usually has a non-corrosive sheet metal attached to it as a barrier. This is what gutters are attached to when they’re installed. When gutters are absent, the fascia gives an attractive, “finished” look to the roof system.

7. Drip-Edge

Drip-edge is a type of metal flashing that roofers install along the sides of a roof line. Drip-edge is designed to move water away from the fascia and to protect the underlayment of the roof system. Drip-edge is essential to keep your roof decking and fascia from rotting – especially in a rainy climate like North Central Florida. 

8. Soffit

Last but not least, soffit is a material used to cover the underside of your roof overhang. Multiple materials are used for soffit but it’s usually composed of vinyl or aluminum. The soffit is most visible from ground level and provides another source of ventilation for your attic. It allows your home to “breath” while simultaneously preventing animals or insects from entering. You must ensure your soffit is securely in place. Otherwise, animals like birds, raccoons, and rats can get into your attic. 


McFall Can Take Care of Any Part of your Roof System

At McFall Residential Roofing, we specialize in roof installation and repair. The benefit of working with a local roofing contractor like McFall is that you get the knowledge and expertise you need to make the best decisions for your home. We follow industry best practices and use high-quality roofing materials to give our customers beautiful roofs that last. 

Contact us today to get started on your residential roofing project.