How much do you know about your roof? Not much, other than the fact it is a protective barrier, which stands between you, your family, and the wild outdoor elements? If so, you are certainly not alone. Most homeowners only see shingles or tiles when they look at their roofs. And, when it comes to repairs or replacements, their roofers bombarded them with roofing jargon that they do not understand.
Indeed, there is a lot more to the roof than meets the eyes. Here we peel back the shingles or tiles and introduce you to the various components that make up your home’s roofing system. This inside information can be handy in several occasions like roof inspections, during the maintenance of your roof, or when the time for a roof replacement comes. Well, not to mention you will be able to keep up with your New Albany roofing contractors when they talk too much roofing lingo.
Roof Decking and Rafters
A house needs a solid foundation to stand on, and so does the roof. In the case of roofs, this foundation comes in the form of a deck and rafters. You have probably seen your roof’s decking and rafters from the attic but have no idea what they are or what function they serve.
Rafters are wooden beams that run from the top to the bottom of roofs. They are critical to the overall health of a roof and as such need to be kept in mint condition at all times. Rot on rafters can cause the roof to sag, which can in turn create breaches within the outside roofing material causing water to leak into the home.
Decking on the other hand consists of panels (commonly made of plywood or composite material) that cover the rafters. The decking provides the final layer of protection for your home and also supports the rest of the roofing system. It is also what shingles and other roofing materials are nailed to. A poorly installed deck or one that is damaged can void the warranty of a roofing material. Fortunately, there are many New Albany roofing contractors who can check on the deck’s condition whenever you are repairing or replacing your roof.
The roof deck may be the last line of defense between the inside of your home and the outdoors, but it too needs protection from outside elements. And this is where a sub-roof comes in. Also referred to as an underlayment, the sub roof is typically made of a breathable synthetic waterproof material. A sub-roof is laid directly on top of the roof’s deck where it acts as a barrier, which prevents water from accumulating and ice from building up beneath roof shingles or tiles in the event of windy rains or heavy snow.
This is the part of the roof laid by roofing contractors and visible from the outside of the home. Roofing materials come in several options ranging from asphalt shingles and metal panels or shingles, to clay, concrete and slate tiles. These materials come with all manner of features (waterproof surfaces, UV reflection capabilities, wind resistance, etc), which help keep the inside of your home dry and comfortable during all weather seasons.
Gutters and Downspouts
While a roof’s underlayment and the roofing material itself do a great job at ensuring water does not seep through and compromise or ruin the deck, water from rain or snowmelt can be more than the roofing components can handle. This is where gutters and downspouts step in to offer some much-needed backup. Roof gutters, (also known as eavestroughs) collect excess water and channel it away from the roof and into downspouts, which run the water to the ground.
Ventilation is an important part of the roofing system, which helps extend a roof’s service life by keeping everything functioning well. Proper ventilation balances air intake with air exhaust to keep the attic free of moisture, which is a precursor to wood rot. A roof’s ventilation intake, or soffit as it is known, is located under the gutters while the exhaust is situated on the roof.
Termination Points and Flashings
Areas on a roof where chimneys, skylights, vent pipes, and other rooftop accessories create an opening on the roofing material are called termination points. These points are fitted with metal pieces (known as flashings) which cover the edges of the opening. Flashings provide an airtight seal that prevents water from seeping through even as two different components (e.g. roofing material & chimney surface) expand and contract between each other. Flashings come in different types including:
Remember, knowing the basic roofing system layout will help you understand what you are paying for and why it is important to fix should the need for repairs arise. Unfortunately, some roofers may take advantage of unknowledgeable homeowners and overcharge for their services. It is always prudent to ask questions (and even proof in the form of photos) when having your roof repaired to avoid paying for non-existed problems. Good New Albany roofing contractors will explain everything you need to know in as far as repairs are concerned.