what is the top of a roof called

what is the top of a roof called

Your house’s roof is made up of greater than asphalt shingles. There’s a sequence of roof elements that shield your own home from the rain, wind and snow. It’s essential to grasp all the components of a home roof with a view to clarify an issue to a roofing skilled and perceive what she or he is speaking about when she or he is doing repairs.

Right here’s a top level view of each time period we’ll cowl on this article:

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The Architectural Components of a Pitched Roof

Roofs are available all types of sizes and styles, however you solely must know a handful of phrases to explain their important architectural options.

pitched roof components diagram

These are the components of a home’s roof:

  • Roof airplane: That is the floor of the roof. It’s flat, however pitched or on an angle. Additionally it is referred to as the sector of the roof.
  • Ridge: That is the highest or peak of the roof, the place two roof planes meet.
  • Valley: That is the place two pitched roof faces join and undertaking inward. They’re all the time at a decrease slope than the adjoining roof planes.
  • Dormer: It is a roof function that initiatives out from the roof face. It often homes a window and provides further area and/or gentle to the room inside.
  • Abutment: It is a spot the place the roof face meets the wall of the house, as an alternative of a roof ridge. Abutments are widespread on small house additions, comparable to door canopies, bay home windows, hooked up sheds or garages.
  • Hip: That is the place two roof faces join and undertaking outward. A roof with hips will want a particular shingle, referred to as hip and ridge shingles, to cowl the hips.
  • Gable: That is the triangular wall beneath the place two roof planes meet. It’s vital to notice that not all roofs have gables.
  • Hipped finish: The hipped finish of the roof is the sloped roof face between two roof hips. A pyramid roof has 4 hipped ends. A hipped roof has solely two hipped ends.
  • Gable finish: The gable finish of the roof is the sting of a roof above the gable.
  • Eave: That is the place the roof hangs over the sting of the outside wall.

The Anatomy of a Residential Pitched Roof

The anatomy of a roof, or the layers of a roof, give it construction and shield the house.

Let’s start describing the anatomy from the highest of the roof.

1. Shingles

The roof begins with essentially the most recognizable of roof elements: the shingles. Previously, picket and slate shingles have been typical; however, for the final 100 years, asphalt shingles have grow to be the commonest residential roof masking in North America. Typically talking, there are three types of asphalt shingles:

  • Conventional or 3­­­-tab shingles: Conventional or 3-tab shingles keep a uniform look on the roof as a result of the shingles all have the identical dimension and form. They’re a budget-friendly choice that can shield your roof for years to return.

Marathon three tab shingles

  • Laminate or architectural shingles: Laminate or architectural shingles are distinguished by their dimensional look, with accent tabs of various sizes and generally deep shadow bands so as to add character. To be taught extra about what shingles are made from, learn our article describing shingle composition.

Cambridge Laminate architectural shingles

  • Designer shingles: These shingles provide aesthetic enhancements past these offered by laminated shingles. There are a number of seems and types out there. IKO’s Armourshake™, for instance, mimics the look of a wooden shake roof whereas offering Class A hearth safety.

Armourshake designer shingles

  • Starter strip shingles: On the eave edge and rake of a roof, the primary course utilized is a starter strip, comparable to IKO’s Main Edge Plus™; these are referred to as starter shingles.

Leading Edge Roof starter shingle

  • Hip and ridge cap shingles: Roofing professionals set up these shingles alongside a roof’s hips and ridges. Hip and ridge cap shingles are specifically manufactured to adapt to the form of the roof’s hip or ridge. A premium model of hip and ridge shingle, comparable to IKO’s UltraHP®, has an enhanced profile that can complement the look of many roof designs.

IKO-UltraHP High Profile Ridge Cap Shingles

Asphalt shingles are supplied in an array of colours to match or improve your own home’s model. To think about which sort of shingles are best for you, use our information.

After being utilized, shingles must seal to at least one one other. Although the roofing skilled will first safe the shingles to the roof with nails, IKO’s shingles have a heat-activated sealant that can assist obtain higher wind resistance. After adequate publicity to heat climate, the sealant will bond the shingles to the course beneath them.

In case your roofing skilled utilized your shingles in chilly climate, she or he may need manually sealed the shingles to supply wind safety till heat climate arrives. Additionally, IKO presents a high-wind utility process for our Cambridge™ architectural shingles, which a roofing skilled can use to supply an added measure of safety to assist meet the challenges of high-wind situations. Or you may selected a shingle from our Efficiency line for added wind resistance.

Shingles can be designed to serve different features on the roof or to create a singular look.

  • Photo voltaic-reflective and thermal-emissive shingles: Producers can produce shingles that replicate or emit warmth, like IKO’s Cambridge™ Cool Colours. Putting in these shingles will help maintain your roof floor cooler, which can assist maintain your attic area cooler in sizzling, sunny climate.

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IKO Cambridge architectural shingles on Multifamily homes

  • Mock slate shingles: Producers design some asphalt shingles to imitate the look of slate shingles, like IKO’s Crowne Slate™.

IKO Crowne Slate asphalt shingles - mimic the look of slate shingles

Be taught extra in our information to the totally different shingle patterns.

2. Flashing

Roof Valley flashing

Flashing is a skinny sheet, often made from metallic, {that a} roofing skilled installs round any vertical floor that intersects with the roof airplane, such because the floor of a chimney.

Of all roof elements, flashing appears to be the least clear to the house owner. To grasp the necessity for flashing, consider a chimney. Chimneys don’t have shingles or underlayment, they usually punch proper via the roof decking into your own home beneath. Chimneys have safety to maintain water from dashing in via the highest (a chimney cap); however what in regards to the sides? What’s to cease water from operating down the outside of the chimney, wiggling proper previous the sting of the shingles, underlayment or decking and into your own home? Flashing is the reply.

There are numerous roof flashing purposes. You will notice flashing put in round different residential roof options, together with:

  • Chimney: Flashing put in round a chimney is bent roughly 90 levels in order that one airplane rests in opposition to the face of the chimney whereas the opposite extends out horizontally above the underlayment, however beneath the shingles.

continuous copper flashing on a shingle roof chimney

  • Skylights: Some skylights producers embrace built-in flashing with their product, particularly for deck-mounted skylights or these which might be put in proper on the roof deck. If the skylight doesn’t include built-in flashing, the roofing skilled might want to add flashing round it.

Goldshield Ice & Water Protector applied around skylight

  • Plumbing vents: The plumbing vent gives air flow to your house’s plumbing. It has to have particular flashing the place it meets the roof.

Plumbing Roof vent

  • Roof vents: A roof can have a number of other forms of vents projecting via the roof face, all of which can want flashing. There are attic vents, gable finish vents, ridge vents and soffit vents (which we’ll focus on beneath). Vents assist maintain the attic area correctly ventilated. Soffit vents, mixed with ridge vents, will permit for air to circulate freely via the attic area.

roof ridge vent

It’s usually mandatory to put in flashing round a roof’s architectural options, the design parts that create the form of the roof. Architectural options that want flashing embrace:

  • Valleys: These are the indented spots the place two roof planes meet. Within the open valley model, valleys are flashed with a protracted, flat piece of metallic with a “v”- or “w”-shaped middle. You may cowl a valley with shingles, in woven or closed-cut types, however these are often much less efficient than open valleys with metallic flashing.

Open roof Valley

  • Dormers: The place dormers join with the primary roof face, they create a valley, which wants flashing for defense. Additionally, roofers should add flashing to the facet and entrance surfaces of the dormer.

roof dormers

3. Underlayment

Underlayment is a fabric-like barrier, historically made from asphalt-saturated felt, however now generally out there as an artificial. It’s utilized on to the decking and serves a number of totally different features. Underlayment protects the shingles from any resin the decking could launch and serves as a water barrier in case water will get beneath the shingles. It additionally presents some fireplace resistance.

Additional, underlayment could assist forestall “image framing.” Image framing is mostly the results of the enlargement/contraction of the wooden panels used for the roof deck. As they transfer, the deck panels create ridges or bumps within the floor of the roof. These bumps look unappealing and will intrude with the water-shedding operate of the roof.

Synthetic Underlayment

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There are totally different sorts of underlayment, together with artificial underlayments. These underlyaments have grow to be extra widespread during the last a number of years as a result of they’re light-weight and have printed grid strains that make them simple to put in. Moreover, artificial underlayments could have options you may’t get in conventional asphalt-saturated felt. For instance, IKO’s RoofGard-Cool Gray is a light-weight underlayment designed to soak up much less warmth, offering a extra comfy floor for the shingle applicator.

4. Ice and Water Protector

Ice and water protector is one other skinny layer of fabric that’s put in beneath the shingles. This materials helps defend a roof from ice dams and wind-driven rain, which might drive water up between shingles. IKO’s ice and water protectors are self-adhering and made from modified bitumen. This materials closes round nails, offering a watertight seal. Some, like ArmourGard™, additionally act as vapor retardants, which suggests they permit little or no water vapor to cross via them.

ice and water protector

In some climates, it is sensible to make use of an ice and water protector over your complete roof deck, notably in high-wind and hurricane-prone areas of the nation. Nevertheless, if the attic doesn’t have correct air flow, the ice and water protector might make them worse. Even in climates with much less extreme climate situations, ice and water protectors can present an added water barrier for weak areas of the roof, like valleys or the roof’s edge, or round roof options like skylights.

5. Roof Body

After they construct a house, contractors will add a picket body for the roof on prime of the home. This framing, additionally referred to as a roof truss, serves because the roof’s skeleton, which the opposite components of the roof will all relaxation on. There are numerous nationwide and native development codes that dictate the construction of your roof body. On this article, we’ll give attention to the components of the roof above the roof body.

sloped roof frame

  • Decking: This contains the decking. The whole roof body is roofed in a skinny piece of wooden referred to as decking or roof sheathing. Roof sheathing materials is often plywood or oriented strand board (OSB) that’s just below half an inch. Decking is supported by the roof body and the layers of a roof, which we cowl beneath, and all relaxation on prime of the decking.

roof deck

6. Components of the Roof’s Edge

The fundamental layers of a roof that we’ve coated to date aren’t sufficient to guard your own home. Water can’t simply roll off your shingles and down the face of your home, or your bricks or siding could be broken. Plus, the water would acquire across the base of your own home, which might trigger basis points. So, on the roof’s edge, a sequence of roof drainage elements are put in to guard your own home from these potential issues.

First, you need to perceive that there are two forms of edges on a roof: eaves and rakes. An eave is a horizontal edge the place the roof hangs over the outside wall. A rake is a sloped edge the place a roof hangs over the outside wall. It’s important to deal with the drainage from a roof on the eave correctly and shield in opposition to wind-driven rain on the rake.

Listed below are the components of a roof edge:

  • Drip Edge: When water reaches the eave fringe of a roof, it meets the drip edge, additionally referred to as the eaves flashing. It is a skinny metallic strip that directs the water into the gutters. Generally, the roofing skilled ought to set up the drip edge earlier than the underlayment on the eaves and after the underlayment on rake edges. And not using a drip edge, water could not correctly drain and will circulate down the wall floor and “wick” or take in into the uncovered fringe of the picket decking. This may rot out the sting of your roof, doubtlessly resulting in extra issues.

drip edge and shingles

  • Fascia: A fascia is the topmost vertical element of the outside the place it meets the roof edge. The roofing skilled locations the drip edge on the fringe of the roof deck, and the rain gutter is hooked up to the fascia.


  • Gutters and Downspouts: Gutters are the plastic or metallic troughs that take the water away from the sting of the roof. They hook up with downspouts, which deliver the water down and direct it to empty away from the house’s basis. With out the downspouts to direct the water away from your own home, you may develop basis points or different harm.

gutter and downspout

  • Soffit: Many roof types embrace a soffit. When the eave fringe of a roof extends previous the outside wall, the soffit is the horizontal underside of this extension. Usually, soffits are perforated or have built-in vent openings to supply air flow for the attic area. Soffit vents, coupled with ridge vents on the prime of the roof, is usually a very efficient strategy to obtain correct roof air flow.


All of those roof elements work collectively as a system to empty water away from your own home and shield it from the weather.

Need to Be taught Extra Concerning the Components of Your Roof?

Understanding and having the ability to title the components of your roof are useful once you get your roof repaired or attempt to describe an issue to your roofer. Plus, should you’re constructing a customized house, realizing the components of a roof is invaluable. You should utilize the architectural components of a roof to explain what form you need your new roof to be.

There’s extra to be taught in regards to the form, construction and fringe of residential pitched roofs; uncover it by visiting IKO’s Roofing 101. Or, should you need assistance with one element of your home’s roof, contact a roofer in your space via our Contractor Locator.

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