The Anatomy of a Roof

You've seen your roof many times from ground level. You may have admired it from the street, or stressed about missing shingles, or sighed when you accidentally lost a Frisbee on it. You may have even climbed your roof from time to time to clean the gutters.


Get to know your roof more intimately through this list we’ve compiled, which highlights features every homeowner should be aware of.


Chimney cap: A stone or metal covering that keeps rain and snow out of the chimney flue.


Chimney flashing: A metal covering placed where the chimney and roof meet. The flashing serves to waterproof an area particularly vulnerable to water damage.


Chimney flue: A lining found in the interior of the chimney. The flue is typically made of fireproof clay tiles.


Chimney: Usually made of brick or stone, chimneys serve as an exhaust point for smoke and fumes from indoor fires.


Decking: The structural base for the roof, on which everything else is laid. Made from plywood or wood, the deck is fastened on the rafters during construction of the home.


Dormer: A structure that contains a window that projects through the slope of the roof.


Downspouts: The vertical portion of gutters that guide water toward the ground.


Drip edge: Metal flashing located along the edges of the roof that diverts rain into the gutter and away from the roof surface.


Eaves: The lower edge of the roof that overhangs the exterior walls.


Fascia: Horizontal wooden boards fastened at the lower end of roof rafters. Fascia serve as an attachment point for rain gutters. They also prevent wind and water from damaging the roof or the interior of the home.


Flashing: A waterproof material placed at water-vulnerable areas of the roof. These areas include openings, penetrations, and places where two roof planes meet.


Gable end vent: A vent located high on the gable end wall (immediately beneath the triangle of the gable roof) which allows fresh air to enter the attic.


Gable roof: Located at the top of a gable, a gable roof consists of two sloped roof planes that meet together at a peak. To be considered a true gable, both roof planes must have the same slope angle.


Gable: A triangular portion of the outer wall located between the lines of a sloping roof.


Gutters: Metal channels placed at the edge of the roof plane that collect water and debris. Gutters carry water away from the foundation of the home, preventing leaks from forming and causing water damage.


Hip: A roof style which has four sides that all slope toward the eaves. Two roof planes meet at the center to form a ridge, and the remaining two planes intersect in a triangle at the ridge.


Ice and water barrier: A layer of the underlayment that serves as a waterproofing membrane. Roofers install this layer especially along eaves and valleys to protect these vulnerable areas against ice and rain damage.


Rafter: The solid structures on which a decking is installed. Rafters are strong, sturdy beams of wood or plywood that support the structure of the roof and connect to the plywood support beams in the walls of the home.


Rake: Exterior trim located at the outer edge of the roof from the eave to the ridge, positioned just below the roof shingles.


Ridge vent: The ridge often has a vent that runs along its length which allows hot air to escape the attic.


Roof ridge: The horizontal peak at the highest point of a sloped roof where two roof planes meet.


Shingles: The surface of the roof. Shingles come in varying materials and surfaces, such as wood, shakes, asphalt, tile, and metal. Shingles provide the outer shell of the roofing system. They provide a protective layer that shields the roof from penetration, water damage, and other problems.


Soffit: Wooden boards that bridge the gap between home siding and the roofline. Soffits are located underneath fascia boards. They often have vents installed that allow fresh air to enter into the attic.


Turbine: A vent that uses wind to let air flow throughout the attic. The air movement prevents condensation and lets heat escape the attic.


Underlayment: Installed onto the decking, the underlayment serves as a secondary layer of protection underneath shingles. The most common material used is roofing felt, a durable paper material that is saturated with asphalt. Underlayment is installed to overlap itself to prevent any water penetration.


Valley: A v-shaped intersection where two slopes of a roof meet.


Vent pipe: A pipe that connects to the home's plumbing system. The pipe allows fresh air to enter the plumbing system, preventing a vacuum from developing in the pipes due to moving water. Vent pipes also keep sewer smells from accumulating within the home.


Get to Know Your Roof

You don't need to climb up on your roof to get to know it. Call Century Roofing Limited to have a Calgary roofer perform a maintenance check for you to ensure your roof is in good condition.

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