Beyond Your Shingles: Understanding Your Roof's Anatomy

18 May 2015
 Categories: , Blog


While you may know you have asphalt, slate or rubber shingles sitting on top of your roof, have you ever wondered what else was up there? The truth is, there is a lot more than meets the eye when it comes to roofing materials.

The Roof Deck

The surface area that your roofing material sits on is called a roof deck. Roof decks are made entirely out of wood. A roof deck is just as important as the metal body of your family vehicle. Without the deck, your house wouldn't have a roof at all.

The roof deck provides a base to install the shingles. The shingles, in turn, protect the roof deck from rotting away after being exposed to ice, snow, water, or sun. This is why maintaining your roofing material is so important. If you let water or other elements get through the shingles to the roof deck, you could end up with a rotting roof deck that needs to be replaced.

Roof Valleys

The valleys on your roof acquired the name "valley" because they work exactly the same way as a water valley sitting between two mountains. The valley on your roof peaks provides water with a place to flow down and off of your roof. Without valleys, water would pool on the roof and cause all sorts of damage. It is vital to make sure your roofing valleys are clear of debris to allow the water to flow freely. The pooling water could cause your roofing material to warp or collapse.

Leak Barrier

Think of your roof's leak barrier as a coat your roof deck wears to protect it from moisture. It is intended to be a backup plan in case any water or moisture manages to leak through the shingles. If you are having a new roof installed, talk to the roofing contractor about making sure you have a leak barrier on top of your roof deck. If you do not, have one installed while the shingles are being replaced.

As you can see, there are a lot going on besides the shingles on your roof. All of these components work together to keep your home safe and dry. However, because they work together, small problems can become big problems quickly. Make sure you call a roofing specialist if you see anything that might be wrong with your roof, before you end up with a big problem.