Parts of a Roof Explained (Diagram Included)

To begin, there are two main types of roofing material: asphalt shingles, which are more common, and slate, which are more expensive. Both asphalt and slate come in what are called “tiles” of 25 square feet. And, for the same square footage of roofing material, asphalt shingles are cheaper than slate by around $300. So, if you want a roof with a low price tag, asphalt shingles are the clear choice. However, if you are looking for a roof that will last for a long time, slate is the wiser investment.

Did you know that there are three primary types of roofs: Shingle, Tile and Flat? And that they all have different parts that work together to keep your home safe and dry? Our guide will help you understand everything you ever wanted to know about roofs, from the building materials to how they keep out the rain and cold. How to Write a Blog Post Introduction The first step in writing an intro paragraph for a blog post is to get to know your audience . If you’re writing an introduction for a technical blog for a company whose target audience is technology experts, you’re going to write the intro paragraph very differently than if your intro paragraph is for a self-help blog aimed at those going through a divorce. The introduction must be

The next time it rains, remember to think of your roof and maybe say a thank you. With roofing season approaching, it’s important to take a few minutes to analyze the condition of your roof and make sure it’s properly maintained.

After all, roofs not only protect you from the elements, but are often a crucial part of a home’s architectural style and harmony. But this is not the end of his role! Let’s explore all parts of the roof.

Why are roofs important?

The roof is one of the most important structural elements of a house. Aesthetically, the different components and styles of roofing can make or break an architectural design, quickly transforming it from a vulgar mansion into an elegant country home.

Functionally, the shape, pitch and condition of the roof also determine how the house is ventilated, how sound is distributed through the house and how it cools or retains heat in extreme temperatures.

To understand the role your roof plays and the best way to improve or repair it, we need to look at its different components. They all need to be healthy and structurally sound individually, but they also need to work together.

Roofing components

If you look at the roof, you can distinguish three types of parts: structural parts, decorative parts and ventilation parts.

Roofing components

The structural elements of the roof are concealed after the roof is installed. However, they provide the overall shape and often distribute the weight on the main building.

Rear panel

Ribs are thick planks of wood and metal installed horizontally along the top of the roof. They are used to connect the rafters together and to support the rafters.

Agricultural holdings

Trusses are intermediate planks located between the main ridge planks and the rafters. They are often arranged in the form of triangles, the precise angle depending on the number of pivot points. They help distribute the weight across the fabric and prevent the underlying walls from cracking or sagging.


The rafters are essentially part of the binding system described above. These are beams that meet at the top of the roof and provide additional load support.


When two rafters cross at the ridge, there is often a risk that the whole structure will slide sideways. To prevent this, valley beams are added to connect the trusses.


An attic is a series of wooden or steel enclosures that cover the ends of rafters. Sometimes the fascia can be seen from the outside. But more often than not, they have a purely constructive purpose. In the event of strong winds or a minor earthquake, the fascia holds the roof in place without making the walls too rigid.


A viewing platform marks one of the locations where the main roof structure connects to a gable or other addition. Each inspection hatch is a horizontal beam that runs under the façade along the wall plate. They often protrude from the wall panel and provide space for additional decorative elements.


It is the rake that gives the gables their special shape. These are the sloping sides of the gable. You always need at least two rakes per gear section. Depending on the complexity of your facade design, you may need as many as 4 or 6 rakes to delineate the area.

Intermediate packaging

Spacers are the name of the system of boards nailed along the beams and rafters that will cover most of the roof. The covering is usually nailed under the rafters. However, for roofs that need to provide additional insulation or soundproofing, a double purlin system is often used, with the boards alternating on either side of the rafters. This makes it look like a staircase.

Aesthetic elements

Most aesthetic elements of the roof still have a practical function. But because they are visible from the outside, more attention is often paid to their maintenance. Poorly maintained or damaged roofs often reduce the value of a home and detract from its appearance.

Continuous coverage

The continuous planking is often laid directly on the spacer board. Most solid terraces today are made of composite materials. Most importantly, it’s sustainable. For example, it is usually presented in the form of large leaves that look like natural wood.

However, the use of composite decking boards provides a stronger and more stable roof. Many high quality materials are also lighter and put less pressure on the foundation of the house.


Using composite materials instead of thick wood planks has a decisive drawback: It deprives the house of a significant amount of insulation. That’s why most homes that use composite decking have an extra layer of underlayment between the decking and the shingles.

This support is usually made of felt or another organic and dense fabric. It is then laid in layers on top of the terrace boards. The number of layers used determines the level of insulation, so in the colder northern states underlay is often mandatory as an energy saving measure.


When most people think of roofing and roof repair, they often focus on shingles. Eventually, most of the visible parts of your roof will consist of alternating rows of carefully laid shingles.

Shingles are generally flat, rectangular pieces of asphalt, stone, slate, wood, metal or plastic. Curved tiles are also used in some regions. They are especially popular in hot regions where asphalt shingles cannot withstand the heat.

Since shingles are highly visible, it pays to take care of them. As a general rule, thicker shingles are considered to be of better quality. However, when using slate or tile roofing, it is important that the rest of the house is not overburdened.

Valley lighting

Sometimes called valley flashing, it is an additional waterproof layer applied along the roof valley. The stone lining of the valley ensures that rainwater cannot penetrate the edges of the valley, preventing leakage and providing additional ecological insulation.

Ventilation elements

Roof hatches are often visible from the outside (or at least from the neighbor’s roof). However, their main task is to ensure air circulation in the building. Of course, that doesn’t stop the vent pieces from being beautiful and well made.


The chimney is one of the most visible parts of any roof, especially in cold regions. This long vertical pipe allows smoke to escape from your home, especially if you have a chimney, water heater or stove.

Many fireplaces in country houses and colonial styles are clad in stone. This is not mandatory, but it is still important to ensure that any material used for the inside of the chimney is sufficiently fireproof and able to withstand the temperature fluctuations caused by the fire underneath. In addition, for ground floor homes, it is important to match the appearance of the fireplace to its primary function: A chimney that is too short cannot effectively carry smoke upward and outward.

Chimney cover

The chimney must allow fresh air to escape through the smoke, but must also not let in rain or snow. Similarly, homes in high humidity areas should also add a chimney flashing to the chimney/roof interface. This prevents moisture from penetrating or damaging the wooden beams.


Skylights are an additional element of the roof and are not only functional but also decorative. These are flat windows integrated into the roof or ceiling. They are designed to let daylight in during the day. Depending on the design of the house, the hatch may be permanently closed or have a latch that allows it to be opened for additional ventilation.

Drainage pipes

Gutters connect the upper part of the roof with the lower part of the gutter. They ensure that rainwater runs off the roof and falls to the ground in a controlled manner. They are often visible from the street, but maintenance is usually limited to staining and de-icing them.

Breather plug

The vent pipe connection is an optional roof component and is only required if your home is equipped with vents. The flashing covers the opening and prevents water from entering through the opening. This prevents water damage to beams and rafters.


The stability of the roof over your head is often determined when creating the house plan. This is where the weight and pivot points are distributed. This may also be the last time you inspect the structural components of your roofing system.

On the other hand, the decorative and ventilating elements are made accessible to the public. You need to make sure they are up to date!

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the parts of a roof?

When it comes to roofing, not only is it a big job to repair or replace, it can also be very dangerous for those who do not know what they are doing. It is always a good idea to have your roof inspected by a professional, or at least get a contractor’s opinion of your roof before you decide to replace it. Knowing the parts of a roof and their use can help you decide whether or not you need to get a new roof. Roofs are the most important aspect of any house. Roofs do more than just keep us dry and protected from the elements; they also let us express our individuality, with materials, shapes and colours. The goal of this post is to help you understand one of the most important aspects of your home—your roof.

What is the basic structure of a roof?

The basic structure of a roof is definitely something that needs to be understood. Whether you are replacing a roof or building a new roof, it is important to understand the basic components that make up the structure of a roof. There are many factors that come into play and you need to have a good understanding of all of them. As you probably know, a roof is the protective covering on top of a building, which shields the interior from the elements. However, there is more to a roof than the shingles that cover it. In order to understand the structure of a roof, it helps to understand the basic parts of the roof structure. The structure consists of the rafters, the trusses, and the decking.

What are the things on a roof called?

A roof is one of the most important parts of a building. It keeps the elements out, or at least tries to! The roof of your house is made up of many different parts that have different names. They are called things like hips, valleys, ridges, chimneys, skylights, dormers, and more. This glossary will teach you the names of all the parts of a roof and explain what they are for. There is a lot more to a roof than just shingles. Depending on the layout of a home, a roof can have many different styles of trusses, panels, tiles and shingles. There are even some structures, like flat roofs, which don’t have any of the supporting components of a typical roof. When talking about these different components, there are a lot of different terms that are used. The following roofing glossary covers everything from A-frames to valleys.

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