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Understanding Your Roof

The following information will provide you with an overview of the different roof designs or styles and how a roof is constructed:

Roof Designs and Styles:

simple hip roof design

Simple Hip Roof

pyramid hip roof design

Pyramid Hip

flat roof design


gable roof design


saltbox roof design


shed roof design


gambrel roof design


mansard roof design


cross hipped roof design

Cross Hipped

cross gabled roof design

Cross Gabled

Roof Components:

roof components

roof components 2

  • Drip Edge: A metal strip that runs the full length of the roof to direct water run-off away from the building. It also serves to protect the sheathing from moisture damage on the end grain.
  • Fascia: A piece of material that covers and finishes the ends of the rafters. Usually made of wood the fascia board is generally where gutters are installed.
  • Flashing: A piece of metal that prevents water ingress around an object that protrudes through or rests directly against the roof, such as a vertical wall, chimney or a vent pipe.
  • Gable: The triangle shaped portion of the end of a building underneath the roof and above the main portion of the house.
  • Hip: The external angle that is formed when two slopped roofs intersect.
  • Rafters: Portion of the roof truss. Beams that run from the bottom of the roof to the top of the roof are termed rafters.
  • Ridge: The upper most point on the roof running the entire length of the roof.
  • Sheathing or Decking: The material that covers the rafters, usually a wood based product, such as outdoor grade plywood or chip board, and provides the surface to adhere the roofing material such as slate, shingles, or metal panels.
  • Soffit: The soffit is the material which is placed under the eaves and fills the area between the house and the end of the eves.
  • Starter Strip: The first layer of shingles, which is installed in a reverse direction, placed at the edge of the eave to provide protection under the cutouts of the first course of shingles.
  • Truss: The roof's skeletal structure. A grouping of beams, supporting the roof.
  • Underlayment: Provides moisture protection. Usually termed tar paper it is either heavy felt paper or a synthetic composition material which is placed on top of the sheathing.
  • Valley: The internal angle that is formed when two slopped roofs intersect create the feature known as the valley.