6 Different Parts of Your Roof

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If you haven’t given your home’s roof much attention, you likely should. Roofs can last years, but they do require regular maintenance to keep them in good condition. If you are unfamiliar with your roof, it may be harder to properly maintain it.

While shingles are the first barrier against the elements, your roof is actually made up of many parts, and they all require maintenance. Check out these six different parts of your roof so you can better care for yours.

1. Underlay Membrane

The underlay membrane sits directly under the shingles. If any water manages to make it past the shingles, this membrane is designed to stop it from reaching the rest of the roof. During construction, the membrane also helps protects the roof while the shingles are added.

Different types of underlay membrane exist, , polyvinyl chloride (PVC),. Regardless of which you choose, they have moisture-blocking properties.

2. Decking

The underlay membrane is largely designed to protect the decking. The decking is sheets of wood that support the membrane and shingles. Plywood is common for decking because of its durability and affordability.

Plywood decking typically comes in thicknesses ranging from 1/4 inch to 1 inch, and the boards are usually four by eight foot sheets. The exact thickness you need depends on the slope of your roof. Roofs with lower slopes need a thicker material because more water, snow, or debris stays on the roof for longer. With a steep slope, everything slides off easier.

3. Valley

A valley is where two different parts of the roof connect and create a divot. Valleys are notorious for trapping water, so they may wear down faster than the rest of your roof. For this reason, you need to ensure you have proper drainage for the valley.

Most likely, the roof was already built with plenty of drainage. The problem arises when debris clogs in the valley too. This can create dams, which prevent the water from draining quickly, increasing the risk of a leak.

4. Ridge

The ridge is the opposite of a valley; it’s the highest part of the roof. It can also refer to the board or beam that actually creates the ridge. Ridges are usually made in one of two ways: with stick framing or with trusses.

Stick framing uses sloping rafters, which meet at an angle to create the ridge. With a truss roof, the triangular trusses that support the roof are prefabricated. Once installed, the roof creates a ridge that looks just like a roof made with stick framing.

5. Saddle

Water can also get trapped behind the chimney. Since roofs slope, the roof is higher on one side of the chimney, and water can become trapped here. A saddle is a device that helps redirect the water. It has a ridge at the top like a mini roof. The ridge allows the water to flow down and around the chimney.

A saddle is often aluminum, galvanized steel, or stainless steel. Without a saddle, water may begin to break down the roof and chimney. If the water freezes and expands, it can worsen the damage.

6. Flashing

The chimney is a delicate area of your roof because it’s basically a big hole in your roof. In fact, anything that passes through the roof has a high risk of developing a leak. For this reason, metal flashing goes around anything that passes through the roof.

This flashing protects the small gap between the roof and chimney or vent so water can’t penetrate. Without flashing, a shifting foundation, general wear and tear, expansion, and contraction from heat/cold can widen the gap.

Your roof needs protection and maintenance, and knowing all the parts of your roof ensures you can take better care of yours. If you would like more information, or if you need a quote on repairs or replacement, contact us at Cloise and Mike Construction, Inc.