Roofing Company Florida

What Are the Parts of a Roof Called?

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

A roof is far more than just a “roof over your head.” Roofs are complex systems 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 repair or replace our roofs. Let’s delve into the question of what are the different parts of a roof called and explore their role and importance.

What Are the Parts of a Roof Called?

The following are the 9 primary parts of a common roof system.

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

What Are the Different Parts of a Roof and What Do They Do?

1. Roof Underlayment and Decking

Roof underlayment refers to the material that is placed between the decking and the shingles. Typically, the material used is a type of synthetic material. It functions as a moisture barrier.

The decking is a key component of the roof system because it serves as a base and structural support for the shingles. It’s often composed of OSB (Oriented Strand Board) or plywood. During roof replacements, professional roofing contractors check the integrity of the decking and replace the underlayment to ensure they’re free of wood rot or warps.

Replacing damaged or worn decking is important before installing new shingles. Think of the underlayment as the foundation of the roof.

2. Common Roofing Materials

Shingles, metal, and concrete or clay tiles are used in both residential and commercial roofing. In every case, these materials compose the roof surface and are the primary barrier between your home’s interior and the elements. There are different types of these materials including the following.


  • 3-tab
  • Architectural composition
  • 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.


  • Exposed fastener
  • Standing seam

Exposed fastener and standing seam metal roofs are the most common types. They’re used frequently in commercial and residential applications. Metal roofs also come in a variety of colors.


  • Concrete
  • Clay

Plywood is often used as the decking for concrete and clay tile roofs. These types of roofs last for a long time when properly maintained.

3. Ridgeline

The apex of a roof is called the ridgeline. A ridgeline is where 2 opposing roof planes join together. It’s the top of the roof gable and where ridge cap shingles and/or ridge vents are installed. We talk about these parts in the following section.

4. Hip and Ridge Cap Shingles

The shingles installed on the ridge cap are unique from the rest of the roof. 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 meets at the hips and has 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.

5. 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.

Ridge vents - another example of the parts of a roof.

6. 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.


An image of a person cleaning out gutters. Gutters are another part of a roof sytem.

When gutters aren’t functioning properly, water falls around your foundation during heavy rains–causing erosion. This may damage your foundation over time.

7. 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 like aluminum attached to it as a barrier. This barrier is known as fascia cover. This is what gutters are attached to when they’re installed. Besides protecting the wood, when gutters are absent, the fascia gives an attractive, “finished” look to the roof system.

8. 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.

9. 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 “breathe” 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 and wreak havoc.

The Importance of Maintaining and Repairing the Parts of a Roof

Maintaining your roof system and quickly repairing any damaged areas is crucial. Routine inspection and cleaning of these roof parts will maximize the life and effectiveness of your roof. When you need roof repairs, it’s important to call a certified roofing contractor like McFall. Here are a few issues to look out for when it comes to your roof parts:

  • Clogged gutters
  • Bent drip-edge or gutters
  • Cracking or peeling shingles
  • Higher-than-average electric bills
  • Broken or misaligned downspouts
  • Exposed or improperly secured soffit
  • Loss of shingle granules/discoloration of roof material

If you notice any of these issues, it’s important to address them quickly and call a roofing professional.

McFall Will Take Care of All the Parts of Your Roof in Gainesville, FL

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.

When it comes to knowing the ins and outs of the parts of your roof, McFall is your local industry expert here in Gainesville, FL!