Parts Of A Roof: Which Should You Choose Among The 4 Basic Parts?


A good roof is an important part of any home. Not only does it work to keep your house protected from the elements, but it can also regulate temperature and keep your house safe. While you can get a contractor to put on your roof, it can also be a good idea to do it yourself. However, in order to make that happen, you first need to know the basic parts of a roof, as well as how they all work together.

Know What Roof You Need

Before understanding the different parts of a roof, it is key to first note the type of roof you need. For instance, if you live in a stormy region that sees a lot of rain you are likely going to need extra protection against water. However, in drier climates that may not be such a big concern. There, you might want something that actively shuts out heat. Knowing such information is important because it will allow you to decide exactly how you want to build your roof and how you want it to look.

parts of a roof

When it comes to parts of a roof, the most well-known is the shingles. These cover the outer layer and are what work to protect it from the elements. Shingles often see the most wear and tear out of any part of the roof, which means you want to get ones that can last extended periods of time. That goes double if you live in rough weather. Depending on what type of home you live in, shingles come in a range of colors and styles. For instance, you can get asphalt ones, or you can get clay tiles. The choice is important, not just for looks, but for how long your tiles will last and how easy they will be to put on. Some shingle types can be affixed in a simple overlapping pattern with nails, while others take a bit more work. Always pay attention to that because it will enable you to understand what costs you might incur during the building process.

waterproof layer

Depending on where you live and how much rain you experience, chances are your home is going to need to be waterproofed. You can always customize your roof to match the climate in which you live, which then enables you to plan for any storms. The basic waterproofing layer is known as underlayment. It is typically made of felt and placed right below your chosen shingles. If you live in wet environments, you can build also up from that point and get tougher or more durable materials. That includes rubber or synthetic underlayment. The decision you make is largely based on where you live and what type of protection you want. Getting strong materials can be more expensive, but they also are better at stopping leaks.


Next, there is the sheathing layer. The section sits directly under the waterproof underlayment and above the house's main beams to add in extra support. It is the layer to which the other layers are connected, a link typically made with roofing nails. This section is commonly made from plywood, or a material known as oriented strand board (OSB). The reason for that is both woods are light and cheap, but also strong enough to resist any bending or breaking that may occur. However, if you want, there are also other available materials like particleboard. Sheathing is incredibly important because it helps support both the shingle and waterproofing layers. Good sheathing builds a strong foundation, but what thickness or strength you buy depends on your roof. Steeper roofs can get away with thin sheathing because they do not gather much weight. However, flat and low roofs need thicker sheathing to resist precipitation build up.

Roof Truss

The final part of the roof is known as the truss. This section is made out of roof beams, which are also known as rafters. There are many truss types out there, and all of them work for different homes. Some are visible from the inside, while others are covered up by the ceiling. You can get different looks as well. However, no matter what truss you choose, they all serve the same purpose. They provide a strong base that the sheathing, underlayment, and shingles sit on. Those structures are affixed to the truss as well.

Building from the Foundation Up

The above four sections cover the basics parts of a roof. There are other add-ons you can explore but understanding the four basic parts is key to creating a strong foundation. If you want to build your own roof or start a DIY project, you now have the tools (and knowledge) to make it happen.


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