Besides the house itself, your roof is the biggest investment you will make in your home. Your roof plays many vital roles to keep your family safe from the elements and pests that may try to make their way inside. It acts as a resilient barrier against rain, snow, hail and ice. It also prevents water from seeping into the structure where wood rot, mold and other issues can develop. In short, your roof has many key roles but there is not just one component that does it all. In this article the anatomy of a roof will be discussed in detail.
The anatomy of a roof is complex and for good reason. Each component does its part to protect the home and minimize damage from environmental factors. That is why when a component of your roof fails, no matter how insignificant the component may seem, it is important to have it repaired or replaced. It is like missing a piece of a puzzle. When you are missing a crucial component to your roof, the roof is unable to do its job efficiently. Here is a look at the anatomy of a roof and the functions that each element performs.
The decking or sheathing of a roof is typically made up of ½-inch plywood. The deck acts as a structural base after the rafters are installed. It also provides a nail bed for the shingles.
Once a solid deck has been built, underlayment is installed which provides the roof with a protective layer between the decking and roofing material. The fire-resistant underlayment offers a certain amount of insulation and is designed to be watertight. This fabric-like barrier is usually constructed of asphalt-saturated felt and is applied directly to the decking.
Roofing materials can greatly range from one home to another. Some of the most common types of roofing materials used on residential homes include shingles, shakes, metal, tiles and stone. Shingles are the most affordable and widely-used roofing material and can be found in a variety of styles, such as traditional, 3-tab, laminate or architectural shingles.
Mechanical fasteners are used to secure insulation and the roof membrane to the structural deck. While these fasteners are usually metal, some types of roofs require sticky tar or paper that bonds the roof together. The average roof has thousands of fasteners that help improve installation, security and energy efficiency.
For even greater weather resistance, many roofs contain a coating layer which help reduce the effect of heat and UV rays, while also providing an extra layer of insulation. Roof coatings are essentially designed to extend the life of your roof by creating a barrier that can range in thickness, depending on the product used. Most coatings used on roofs are elastomeric or elastic which allows the coating to stretch and shrink without causing damage.
Flashing is made up of thin sheets, usually metal, which are installed around vertical surfaces that intersect with the roof plane, such as a chimney. When flashing is installed around a chimney, the metal is bent at a 90-degree angle to allow one plane to rest on the chimney while the other lies horizontally between the underlayment and shingles.
Eaves refer to the edges of a roof which create an overhang on a wall and typically project beyond the side of a building. These eaves are designed to throw water away from the walls of your home to prevent issues like foundation flooding and soil erosion. Sometimes you will find decorative eaves that add architectural interest to the home.
The fascia on a roof is the sheath covering found at the end of the rafters. It acts as the topmost vertical component of the exterior part of the roof where is meets the roof edge. As the fascia board is installed where the roof comes into contact with the outside walls of the home, it can easily become damaged.
Drip edge is a type of metal flashing that is installed along the edges of a roof to help control where water flows. The drip edge and gutters are designed to keep water away from the fascia, to protect the underlying roofing components and prevent water from pooling around your foundation or in your yard. The drip edge is non-staining and non-corrosive so that it remains structurally stable and aesthetically-pleasing to the eye.
If you live in a climate prone to snow and ice, having snow guards on your roof can be quite beneficial. Snow guards are a type of rooftop device that allow ice and snow to drop off of the roof in small amounts or completely melt before falling to the ground. The main purpose of snow guards is to prevent heavy snow and ice from dropping from the roof all at once, otherwise known as a roof avalanche.
You can find your vents located under the eaves of the roof. These vents allow your roof to “breathe” by drawing dry, cool air into the attic. If your roof did not have vents, your attic would suffer from too much moisture, resulting in a wide range of problems like rot and mold. Air intake and exhaust vents are typically used on steep-roof assemblies and encourage natural air flow without the use of motorized fans.
Many roofs contain various types of perforations and penetrations that must be protected from the elements. These perforations are often vulnerable to leaks and therefore must be reinforced. Examples include combustion vent connections and stack vents which extend from the roof’s surface.
By simply looking at your roof, you would probably never know the amount of materials that go into the building process. Roofs contain thousands of materials that all come together to protect the roof and home from hazardous external factors like rain, snow, ice, hail, wind and pests like birds and squirrels. For more information about the anatomy of a roof or to inquire about professional roof repair services, contact Beyond Exteriors today!