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The most visible part of your roofing system are your shingles. When they begin to age, it’s a sign that other parts of your roof may be too. Understanding the different parts of your roofing system will help you understand a roof replacement quote from your local roofing company. The primary components of your roof other than the shingles are: the roof deck, underlayment, insulation, venting, flashing, fascia, soffits, and gutters. Over the next two weeks we’ll cover how each of these play an important part in keeping your home protected.

Roof Deck

Your roof deck is the plywood that the underlayment and shingles are attached to. If there isn’t a substantial leak and you’ve maintained your roof, chances are good that your deck is in good shape. If your home has sustained a roof leak and it’s not been repaired for some time or your roof deck over about 25 years in age, you may find that your roofing company recommends replacing all or some of your roof deck.


Underlayment goes on top of the roof deck to provide an extra layer of protection from wind driven rain. There are many types of underlayment. The most common are what many homeowners know as felt or tar paper and synthetic underlayments. Synthetic underlayments cost slightly more. They are also thicker and up to 30 times stronger than felt paper. They also continue to protect your home when exposed to the elements longer than traditional felt.


Few homeowners realize that their attic insulation not only helps keep the temperature inside their home regulated, but also plays a big part in the health of their roofing system. Insulation helps keep moisture from rising up into your attic where it can cause mildew growth and dry rot. Along with proper venting, it helps regulate the temperature inside your roof preventing ice dams from forming along the roof line.


Proper venting is necessary to keep your roof healthy. There are several different types of exhaust vents used in homes. One is a ridge vent. This is most easily identified by a raised area along the peak of your roof. The other common roof vents are box vents, that look like a raised box and wind turbines with a chef hat look that spins as heat escapes from your attic. Some homeowners install solar or electric vents to maximize ventilation. (Soffits are also vents but they are intake vents so we’ll cover those as a separate item.)


The importance of adequate and properly installed flashing can’t be overlooked. Flashing is made of metal, most often aluminum, stainless steel, or copper, and helps prevent roof leaks. There are two main areas flashing is required – in valleys and where the shingles meet a protrusion from the roof. A roof valley is anywhere that two different angles of the roof meet and form a valley. Roof protrusions include venting, chimneys, skylights, and dormers.

Stay tuned for part two of our blog series on the elements of your roofing system. If you have questions or need a roofing inspection for your home, call Cooley Roofing to schedule your no obligation appointment. One of our team members will provide you with an inspection of all the elements of your roofing system and a quote for a roof repair or roof replacement. We can be reached anytime through our contact form or during business hours at 366-766-6488.

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