A sturdy roof on your home is what keeps your family safe and dry throughout the year. Day in and day out it takes on the onslaught of the weather, rain or shine, and keeps you comfortable. Have you ever wondered how your roof works to keep your home safe and dry? The makings of a sturdy roof are more complicated than what most people imagine.
Roofs involve much more than what meets the eye. In addition to the shingles you see on the outside, many other elements make a roof strong and stable. What are they? Here are the essential elements of a roof that work together to make it sturdy and strong:
Under any good roof is a solid framework upon which everything else is secured. Just like the frame of a house that bolsters the walls and floors, the decking of a roof holds up everything necessary. Usually, the roof decking is made of OSB board or plywood. These sheets of wood provide a stable, flat surface upon which the rest of the roof rests. Without a solid decking, your roof can sag or sink, creating areas in which water will pool and damage your roof.
Whenever a major repair on your roof is done, the decking should be evaluated. Any rot that begins to affect the decking can quickly result in leaks. When caught in time, damaged roof decking can be repaired instead of completely replaced.
The underlayment lies right on top of the decking. This is another essential piece of the roofing that plays the important role of water barrier. Usually made of felt paper or synthetic material, your underlayment prevents leaks. The best underlayments are artificial, as these are durable and lie very flat on top of the decking. Synthetic underlayments rarely tear and withstand even strong winds.
Drip Edge and Ice and Water Shields
Certain areas of the roof are more vulnerable to leaks than others. To minimize the possibility of water seeping in, ice and water shields are applied to the eaves and valleys. These are areas where two pieces of the roof are connected together. This area is reinforced with additional material to prevent leaks.
The drip edge runs the perimeter of the roof to protect from potential leaks. Typically made of metal, this protective edge helps prevent water from dripping behind the gutters and causing rot. The drip edge also helps direct water into the gutters, avoiding a whole host of problems related to poor drainage.
Another element of roofing related to the joints of a roof, flashing adds extra protection to vulnerable areas of the roof. Flashings are typically made of metal or rubber. The most common areas to find flashings are around the chimney, along channels, around windows such as gabled or dormer windows or lining roof vents or pipes. Flashings are great for preventing leaks because they protect areas where water typically runs in greater quantities due to the shape of the roof.
Finally, the part of the roof you typically think of: shingles. Shingles provide the first line of defense against the weather, offering protection from rain, wind, snow and any other weather conditions. Shingles offer the best protection when they are placed uniformly in an overlapping pattern that prevents water from seeping in. Instead, shingles make sure that water flows off the roof and out to the gutters.
Shingles can be made of many different materials. From the standard asphalt shingles to shakes, architectural roof shingles and even clay shingles or tiles, there are many choices, all of which have advantages and disadvantages.
Most people don’t prefer holes in their roof. But, without the moisture creates problems related to condensation and mold. Vents (technically holes) are placed along ridges and soffits and must be balanced to offer the best outcomes. With proper ventilation, you can preserve your roof structure by eliminating problems like dry rot and moisture issues. Furthermore, proper ventilation reduces your energy costs.
A sturdy roof is an integral part of your home. To ensure that your roof remains sturdy, have it inspected regularly. This will ensure that you catch potential problems early. By finding problems early on, you can avoid repairs that are costly and damaging to the rest of your home.
Always make sure that you choose a quality, trusted roofer to perform your roof services. With a dedicated professional on the job, you can have peace of mind knowing that your roof is well-cared for.