Jun 24, 2024

Different Parts of a Roofing System And Why They Matter

How-To Different Parts of a Roofing System And Why They Matter

A roofing system is more complex than homeowners may realize. Yet, every individual part plays an important role in protecting your home from the elements and preventing major damage. 

If you’re considering a roof renovation, familiarize yourself with the below components to learn about the vital role they each play.


Roof decking

Roof decking, also known as sheathing or substrate, is the underlying foundation for the roofing system. It’s made up of plywood, wooden planks or another structural engineered lumber that’s specifically designed for the job. 

Examining all the way down to the substrate is the only way to truly detect problems (i.e., mold or mold-like growth, water penetration, structural damage to the frame, etc.) from the previous roofing system. 

For example, if your roof has not been replaced for over 30 years, it may look fine from the outside, but may ultimately require a complete re-decking. Qualified roofers will be able to assess if re-decking is necessary or if you can spot replace, or “scab,” in pieces of wood around the vents, chimneys and eaves. 


Roof underlayment

Roofing underlayment, or house wrap, works as a vapor barrier to protect your home against the natural elements — and without the underlayment, your roofing system would fail within only a few years. 

Traditionally, felt paper was the main underlayment option because it was treated with a petroleum-based product, making it water resistant. Nowadays, manufacturers have developed more modern options like GAF’s Deck-Armor, which is made of polypropylene and similar to the fabric of a Gore-Tex jacket, so it can be cut, but not torn.

Drip Edge

Drip edge roofing system part

Although drip edges are not included in every roofing system, they are critical to preventing water damage. 

Positioned under the shingle and over the underlayment, the drip edge directs water away from your home and into the gutters. 

Without a drip edge, water can roll over the lip of your roof. This will fully saturate the edge of the roof’s substrate and fascia board.

Ice + Water Shield

When water finds a way in, it wins every time. So, it is important to put every possible barrier in place to mitigate that. 

The ice and water shield is a layer that can help prevent roof damage caused by ice damming. This is particularly important for homeowners in northern regions that experience more snow and sleet. 


ridge vent within roofing system

Proper ventilation is just as important as other roofing system components. 

Roof vents maximize air intake into the attic and helps to prevent a buildup of condensation. 

Remember that whenever there is an intake, there also has to be an exhaust. By also installing proper ridge vents at the top of your roof, you enable a consistent intake and exhaust airflow.

Starter Strip

A starter strip helps combat against vulnerable roof shingles and is paramount in keeping shingles sturdy when up against high winds. 

Strong adhesive provides a critical base for the shingles to remain in place.


Roofing shingle

A roof shingle is a rectangular piece of material, commonly made of asphalt or composite, that is applied over the rest of the roofing system. There are many styles of shingles, yet an architectural shingle is the most common. 

Here are some pros of an architectural shingle: 

Although there is no recommended temperature for roofing system installations, extreme temperatures – both hot (above 90 degrees) and cold (below 40 degrees) – must be taken into consideration. Roofing shingles are similar to bubble gum; when it’s cold or freezing, shingles become hard and solid. When it’s warm outside, they are malleable and can even stick together.


roofing flashing

Roof flashing is thin steel that directs water away from important roof-wall intersections, chimneys, and around pipes and vents.

To make sure each roofing component functions simultaneously to provide the right protection, installation is best left to the pros. Check out POWER’s roofing system to learn more about our offerings. 

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