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Well-designed and well-constructed residential roofs protect our homes from every type of weather. They also add to the beauty and architectural character of all types of structures. But have you ever thought about what exactly is going on up there above our heads? Here’s a breakdown of the structure of a roof.


The framework is made up of beams (called rafters) and trusses to give the roof its shape. Roof shapes can include gabled roofs (where two sides or peaks slope downward toward the house walls), hip roofs (where all roof sides slope downward toward the house walls), and roof valleys (a V-shaped intersection between two sloping roofs joining at an angle to provide water runoff).


The deck is the foundation base for the roofing system and consists of panels made of wood or plywood.


The underlayment is a protective layer between the deck and the roofing material. Often made of synthetic material or felt, the underlayment adds insulation and waterproofing.


Coverings are most commonly asphalt shingles, but can be wood shakes, metal sheets, or clay or slate tiles.


Flashing is sheet metal used to protect openings on the roof including dormers (a raised section of the roof containing a window), chimneys and skylights to prevent water intrusion.


Vents provide air circulation to reduce moisture that can lead to mold, mildew and rot. Ridge vents run along the peak of the roof to allow warm air to escape from the attic. Undereave vents draw cool air into the attic.


An eave is the lower border of the roof that overhangs the structure, typically by 3 feet.

Gutters and Drip Edges

Gutters and drip edges (a narrow strip of metal at the eave) carry water away from the roof and the home’s foundation.

Ice and Water Barrier

An ice and water barrier is a waterproofing material installed along the eaves and other sensitive areas to protect against ice damage.

Want to learn more about roofing structures and how a quality Hampton roof can protect your home? Contact us today!