An Introduction to Your Roof: What You Need to Know About Your Roof

The roof is inarguably the most crucial component of your home. But how much do you really know about your roof? Understanding the basics of a roofing system will help you identify potential problems and prevent them from escalating, allowing you to keep the roof in the best possible condition. To that end, here are the critical components of a roofing system. 

Visible components


While your roof’s shingles boost your home’s curb appeal, they also serve a practical purpose. They protect the plywood sheath base of your roof. They make your roof water and wind-resistant and protect it from environmental damage. From asphalt to metal, there are a variety of shingle options available in the market. You can choose the one that best suits your roof’s needs.


The sole purpose of a chimney is to direct the smoke out of your house. They are a must-have for homes that have fireplaces. However, their function is not limited to venting. When they are connected securely to the house, they resist wind loads. They can even be waterproofed to prevent rainwater from entering the house.

Roof drainage system

Moisture can damage your roof and cause problems such as mold growth or mildew. An efficient roof drainage system can prevent this from happening. This system diverts water and debris off the roof. The two crucial components of a roof drainage system are a gutter system and downspout. The gutter system allows water, leaves, and debris to collect off the roof and flow towards the downspout, which further flows onto the ground.


Roof flashing is a thin material installed on the roof to direct water away from the vulnerable parts of the roof, such as walls, roof valleys, and chimneys. From aluminum to copper, there are different flashing options available in the market. The most common material that the professionals use is steel as it is pocket-friendly and gives the roof a clean look.

Roof ventilation

Roof vents are another essential component of your roof that reduces temperature extremes, extends the lifespan of your roof, and reduces energy costs. They are even helpful in protecting roof shingles and preventing them from cracking. They are also a critical element of the roof as they keep it ventilated and alleviates excess moisture.

Roof ridge

The roof ridge is the peak of your roof where the two roof planes intersect. It is the highest point of your sloped-roof house. Many homeowners prefer to place some specially designed vents along the ridges. This decreases excess heat from attic spaces.

Hidden components


Often considered usable spaces, attics are the area between your roof and your home’s ceiling. Attics have a significant impact on your home’s temperature levels and energy efficiency. If you keep your attic properly ventilated, you can significantly reduce the cost of your energy bills as you won’t need to use your HVAC systems much to compensate for the extreme temperatures.


Rafters are used as a part of your roof’s construction. They are a structural component and are usually laid in a series to support your roof’s decks and coverings. They are made up of timber or steel and get covered by the roof’s structure.


Joists are another hidden member of your roof that enhances its structural integrity. Joists are horizontal beams that span across your ceiling and run between the rafters. They are used in framing and are essential elements that provide much-needed support.


Roof decking is the plywood boards that fill the spaces between the structural elements of your roof. These boards are used to fasten the shingles, and the workers use them as a path to further construct your roof.


Underlayment is a layer that is placed between the decking and the shingles. It acts as a waterproof barrier that gives you an added protection from severe weather. Roof underlayment can either be made of asphalt-saturated felt, non-bitumen synthetic, or rubberized asphalt.   

These are the essential components of your roof. Knowing them and their basic functions will surely help you remain aware of all potential issues and provide special attention to your roof’s needs.  If you suspect that you may have an issue with any of your roofing components, give us a call at (831) 758-2749 today! Williams Roofingwill be here to help whenever you need us.