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What's Up with Your Roof?

To the typical homeowner a roof is just one big unit that sit on top of our house but in reality its a combination of many different components that work together to keep the elements outside while protecting your important investment.

roofing house

The Components of a Roof

A standard roof is going to consist of a variety of components:

Roof Pitch

Your roof pitch refers to the steepness and is measured in the number of inches in height for every 12 inches in length. A 6:12 pitch would be 45% angle but in the roofing world would mean that for every 12 inches the roof rises 6 inches.

Roof Ridge

The roof ridge or ridge of a roof is the horizontal line running the length of the roof where the two roof planes meet. This intersection creates the highest point on a roof, sometimes referred to as the peak. There are special hip and ridge shingles are specifically designed for this part of a roof.

Roof Vents

Roof vents are important and are used to vent you attic. Roof exhaust vents are also known as turtle vents, and allow warm, humid air to escape from the attic. There are lots of different kinds of vents to choose from.


Flashing is a metal material installed at joint openings, around chimneys, and any dormer windows or skylights to help prevent water intrusion. Flashing is also used along side a chimney or side walls on a roof.


The hip on a roof is the intersection of two roof planes that meet to form a sloping ridge running from the peak to the eave.


The roof deck is the structural foundation base for the roof system and is usually made of wood or plywood, typically 5/16” or 1/2" in thickness. Older roofs used slats of wood and often need replaced when roofs are replaced.

Roofing Underlayment

Roofing underlayment is a synthetic sheet material that helps repel moisture and provides protection against water infiltration. In the past a material called felt has been used but the most all new construction and replacements now use synthetic underlayment material.


The roof valley is the V-shaped intersection between two sloping roofs joining at an angle to provide water runoff. Valleys need to be protected with an ice and water barrier as well to prevent leaking.

Laminated Architectural Asphalt Shingles

Laminated architectural asphalt shingles contain more than one layer of tabs to add dimension, performance and durability to a roof. Architectural shingles are sometimes referred to as three-dimensional shingles or laminated shingles.

Laminated architectural asphalt shingles typically replaces the older three-tab shingles, which are produced as a single layer of tabs and appear flat or without the dimension of a laminated shingle.

Roof Gable

A roof gable is the triangular section of the outer wall at the peak of the roof between a sloping roof and eave. A roof gable is sometimes referred to as a rake.

Metal Drip Edge

Metal drip edge is a narrow strip of non-corrosive metal used at the rake and eave to help manage dripping water by facilitating water runoff to protect the underlying section of a wall.


A dormer is a raised section of the roof. Dormers commonly contain a window that projects vertically through the slope in the roof.

Ice and Water Barrier

An ice and water barrier is a self-adhered waterproofing material installed along eaves, valleys, side walls, and other sensitive areas to protect against ice damage and wind-driven rain.


An eave is the lower border of the roof that overhangs the wall usually located in the first three feet of a roof. Some roofs still have ventilation openings under the eaves.

Under-eave Vent

Some homes have under-eave intake vents located under the eaves of the roof that help draw cool dry air into the attic and will typically exhaust it at the high point of the roof creating a flow thru system to keep the attic cooler.

Pipe Jack Boots

Rubber sleeves that prevent leaking from any vent pipe penetrating thru the roof. Pipe jacks can range from 2 inches to 6 inches in diameter and the rubber sleeves must remain soft to work well.

These are just the main components of a roof system and there are some variations seen in different parts of the country and will also change from country to country. Many old buildings have roofs that are thatched, made of stone, slate and tiles. For a free roof inspection and estimate call ARRT Construction at 918.697.0390 today!


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