9 Residential Roofing Layers You Need To Know About

9 Residential Roofing Layers You Need To Know About

Do you know what’s under your shingles? Your roof might look simple from the outside, but there’s more to the average residential roof than meets the eye.

Each layer of your roof has an essential job to do, and some of those layers don’t often get the credit they deserve. Our residential roofing team is dedicated to making sure every component of your roof is healthy and sound.

We’re also here to provide you with the knowledge you need to make the right decision regarding caring for the roof over your head. Here’s what you need to know about the nine essential layers of your roof.

1. Framing

The framing is the innermost layer—the starting point if you will—of your entire roof. This system of roof trusses or joists is at the top of your house. It supports the weight of all the other roofing layers. Most homes’ framing is simple wooden beams or studs, but heavy roof materials such as slate or tile roofing may need additional support. 

2. Insulation

The insulation in your attic is crucial to halting heat loss through your roof. It boosts your energy efficiency and reduces your heating costs and is also essential to avoiding ice dams. 

Many different types of roofing insulation can be used, depending on the situation. Blankets or batts are among the most common choices. They are put in place between the rafters or joists. Loose-fill or blown-in insulation is also an excellent, energy-efficient choice. 

3. Ventilation

Ventilation helps regulate temperature and humidity levels in your attic space. A typical roof ventilation system consists of exhaust and intake vents installed in the attic or roof. Ridge vents, static vents, and gable vents are a few of the most common types. 

4. Roof Deck

The roof deck, often referred to as decking or sheathing, is the first layer installed over the framing trusses or joists. It’s a flat, stable surface which creates a base to attach all additional roof layers. It also supplies a nail bed for the shingles. 

The decking on most homes consists of sheets of plywood or OSB (oriented strand board). It must be strong enough to support all the additional layers which get installed on top of it. It also needs to withstand the elements. In some cases, corrugated steel or reinforced concrete are used as alternative decking materials. 

5. Ice and Water Shield

The ice and water shield is a waterproof membrane used to keep ice and water from being driven under your roofing by wind, capillary action, or expansion due to freezing. This self-adhesive product sticks directly to the decking. 

Ice and water shield can be installed across a home’s entire roof deck, but it is most common around eaves, chimneys, flashings, rakes, and valleys.

6. Underlayment

Underlayment is installed over the entire roof deck. It’s usually made of asphalt-saturated felt, non-bitumen synthetic membrane, or rubberized asphalt. It creates a waterproof or water-resistant barrier which allows water vapor to escape while preventing water in its liquid form from getting through.

On most roofs, the underlayment is directly beneath the shingles or other roofing material. It’s a layer of protection in case shingles are missing or damaged.

7. Ridge Vent

Ridge vents are a specific type of ventilation installed at the peak of a sloped roof. They exist so hot air can rise naturally to the highest point in your attic and be released outside naturally. Ridge vents are covered by roofing materials, making them invisible and water-tight. 

8. Roofing Material

The roofing material is the outer layer of your roof. It’s the visible part you can see when you look at your roof, and it’s your home’s first line of defense against the elements. There are numerous roofing materials you could choose from.

Asphalt shingles are the most common and widely-used roofing material in the US. But you also have a lot of other options, including metal roofing. Be sure to choose roofing materials from a reputable manufacturer and have them installed by a local roofing professional. 

9. Flashing

The last thing roofers install after the surface roofing material is flashing. Flashing is a thin, waterproof material used to protect potentially sensitive areas of your roof. It is usually made of galvanized steel or aluminum.

Flashing is installed anywhere your roof meets a vertical plane, such as a wall or dormer. It is also used around the edges of chimneys, vents, and skylights. 

Ready to learn more about your roof and how to keep it in tip-top shape? Contact Moore & Sons Roofing today. We’re a family-owned, full-service roofing company with more than 70 years of cumulative roof experience in Grand Rapids and the surrounding areas.

Scroll to Top