An Essential Guide To Roofing Components and Materials

April 3, 2023

Essential Roofing Components And Materials
Every Homeowner Should Know

Set Your Roof Replacement Project Up For Success
By Learning These Key Terms

Most Seattle, WA, homeowners don’t understand their roof’s complex design and construction. But the reality is your roof is made up of many different components, all working together to keep you and your family safe from the elements.

If one of these components fails, it can lead to severe problems down the road. That’s why it’s so important to understand the key terms associated with roofing. Knowing the purpose of each component can help you make an informed decision when purchasing and planning your project.

Because there are hundreds of roofing terms, components, and materials, we’ve truncated this otherwise long list into an essential guide for the average homeowner.

Essential Framing Components Of A Roof

A roof frame helps lay the shape and size of the roof. It can be seen as a skeleton, acting as the “bones” of the overall roofing system. Roof frames typically involve quite a bit of lumber, encompassing the bulk of the roof’s structure.

Here are some essential terms to know in regard to a roof frame during a Seattle roof replacement:

  • Roof Rafter – Typically referred to a roof that was hand-framed or “stick framed.” Roof rafters are loading bearing structural members that are used in roof construction. They typically run from the ridge board or hip of the roof at a sloping angle to the roof wall plate, columns, or roof beams, depending on the support system adopted for the entire roof structure. Rafters serve as a load-bearing member for the loads and services on the roof, safely support the purlins and the roof sheeting/coverings, provide rigidity and stability to the roof structure, safely resist imposed loads from wind and snow, be capable of resisting movements due to moisture or thermal variation and be durable so as to give satisfactory performance and reduce maintenance to a minimum.
  • Roof Truss – Roof trusses are roof frameworks that are carefully calculated, constructed, and assembled to give your house aesthetic and structural benefits. Roof trusses are made from either wood or steel or a combination of both, constructed of pieces that are bolted together to support the weight of roofing material, whether it’s slate or tile. Essentially, roof trusses create a roof’s frame. They determine the shape of the roof and ceiling while providing support for the roof. Trusses are pre-engineered in a factory using lightweight materials, like 2x4s, and are shipped to the construction site
  • Beams – Large pieces of load-bearing wood that support much of the roof.
  • Ventilation system – A system of intake and exhaust vents comprising pathways that moves air through a roof. These systems are vital for a roof’s overall health as they prevent organic mold growth and moisture. 
  • Insulation –  Any material sprayed or applied in the rafters of the roof that help maintain temperature.
  • Ceiling joist – Wooden pieces, horizontal in nature, that the ceiling drywall is attached to.
  • Penetration – Any hole in your roof that is made to install a piece of equipment or plumbing.
  • Pipe Jack FlashingRoof pipe jack flashing is a waterproof roof preformed flashing used around plumbing drain pipes that penetrate and exit through the roof, just like those vent and electrical service mast pipes. It is also known as a pipe boot.

Exterior Components And Materials To Know

A roof’s exterior is important when it comes to what meets the eye – it’s what you see when assessing your home’s curb appeal. When considering a Seattle roof replacement, here are some crucial exterior roofing terms:

  • Ridge caps – These are made of the same material as any other shingle, except that they’re thicker and meant to be put on ridges or where two angles meet on a roof. Their shape may be different from the other shingles on the roof to fit over ridges in a specialized fashion.
  • Deck or sheathing – This is the series of plywood planks that all other pieces of the outer roof system itself is applied on. The roof deck sits on top of the rest of the inner workings of the roof, and beneath the other aspects of the outer roof.
  • Roof underlayment – This is what sits on top of the deck and helps prevent water from leaking beneath, especially before the shingles are installed.
  • Fascia – Eave fascia is defined as a part of an eave that is placed as the vertical facing board. An eave can be defined as the edge of a roof that overhangs the exterior side of your roof. There are two parts of an eave, which are: Soffit and Fascia.
  • Gutters – A rainwater collection system that sits under or along the roof’s eaves, meant to carry and transport water runoff from the roof to the ground.
  • Soffit – is the part of an eave that is positioned under the roof’s eaves

Common Roofing Materials Consumers Must Decide Upon

Choosing materials is the fun part of the roof selection because it has to do with aesthetics and design. The type of roofing is what makes a roof beautiful to the eye. It’s where all the curb appeal lies, and where everyone can relate when talking about a roof.

Some key roofing materials to know about are the following:

  • Composition roofing – When you hear this term, don’t get confused; it almost always refers to a roofing system that is composed of shingles. It’s simply another term for asphalt shingles. A majority of roofs are made with composition roofing. 
  • Metal roofing – As the name suggests, this type of roofing is made of metal. However, there are many different types of metal roofing, including standing seam metal roofing, replica shake metal roofing, and copper metal roofing.
  • Flat & low-sloped roofing – This specialized type of roof is challenging because it requires special materials such as PVC or TPO. Roofs like this, as the name suggests, have a very low slope or are completely flat.

Need To Learn More About Essential Roofing
Terminology And Materials?

There’s more that goes into roofing than the terms found in this essential guide. If there’s more that you wish to know about roofing terminology before you commit to a roofing project, RoofSmart™ has your back.

RoofSmart™  makes sure to let every customer know as much detail as possible about their roof replacement, putting transparency above all else.

To learn more about roofing terminology and your Seattle roof replacement, contact RoofSmart™ at (206) 487–4877 today! 

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