Roofing

The Different Layers of a Roof (And Why They're Important)

Many homeowners look at a roof and just see the shingles. That makes sense, right? That’s all you can really see from the street. However, a roofing system is much more complex, and each part contributes to protecting your home from severe weather. Understanding the different layers of a roofing system is crucial to having successful home improvement projects and positive experiences when hiring a roofing contractor.

Here are the layers of a roof, in order of application:

Decking: The roof layer that is installed over the framing in a typical roof install. It provides structure by tying the trusses and joists together.

Ice/Water Barrier: A self-adhering, water-proof and self-sealing membrane applied to the roof deck, designed to protect against water infiltration from ice buildup or wind-driven rain.

Underlayment: Provides an extra layer of protection between your shingles and your roof deck. Helps reduce blow-off by allowing your shingles to lay flatter and more uniformly. Prevents wind driven rain from getting under your shingles and causing damage to your roof structure or the inside of your home.

Starter strip: Special shingles that line every edge of your home’s roof. They are installed after roof decking and before underlayment. Their purpose is to seal the edge of your roof, greatly increasing the roof’s ability to withstand punishing winds and wind-driven rain.

Shingles: The final layer to the roof, highly visible and important aspect of a building’s aesthetics. Asphalt shingles come in two major types, 3-tab and architectural. 3-tabs are less expensive but also less durable, have lower wind resistance, and have a “flatter” appearance. Architectural shingles make up most roof replacements today, as their cost is only marginally more than 3-tab, and they come with far superior specifications and warranties.

Ridge caps: A special kind of extra-long shingle that is installed along the ridge line of a sloped roof. Fits over the joint between these two edges to keep rain and snow out of the home, while also allowing hot air to escape. Helps finish the look of the roof by creating a tightly sealed joint along the two sides.

We hope you found these visuals helpful and gave you a better understanding of the different roof layers. For more useful info, tips, and advice, check out more content on our blog. Ready for your next roofing project? Schedule a consultation with us today and see why Brothers Services became as Maryland’s Most Trusted Name in Roofing and Remodeling.

Thousands of Maryland families trust Brothers Services to put a roof over their heads each year. For over three decades, we’ve grown to become more than the roofing company from which we started, but it’s still one of our specialties. We hope you enjoyed this visual guide to help you identify and understand the different layers of a roof.

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