Knowledge Is Power: 11 Roof Components You Should Know

ThumbsTimbertex ridgeRoofing isn’t something most people think about unless there is a problem. As such, most homeowners are educated by whomever they’ve hired. The problem with that is, it is very difficult to know whom to trust, especially if you have no idea what they are talking about. Having at least a basic working knowledge of your roof will help you understand a problem more clearly and and assist you in making an informed decision should a problem arise.

The following are a few basic terms that you should know to help you understand the different components of your roof and some of the services roofing contractors offer.


Roof shingles are the individual, overlapping, typically rectangle elements that cover most residential roofs from the bottom edge and up. They are made from various materials such as slate, asphalt-saturated mat covered with aggregate (asphalt shingles), wood and sometimes even concrete or clay. Available in a variety of colors and styles, these are what most typical residential roofs in Metro Atlanta consist of.

Leak Barriers

Leak barriers are watertight seals we place on the most vulnerable areas of your roof typically around valleys, eaves, vent pipes, chimneys, flashing, and other areas. Basically any area more prone to leaks.


The roof deck is the surface of your roof, usually plywood or oriented strand board (OSB) to which roofing materials are applied.
Roof-deck protection is basically using a material such as a fiberglass felt or a synthetic underlayment to add an additional layer of protection between the shingles and roof deck preventing damage from rain, ice, wind and/or moisture build up.

Attic Ventilation

Attic ventilation is one of the most important aspects of a roofing system. Proper attic ventilation should keep air circulating throughout the attic year around, preventing moisture build-up and reducing energy costs.


Basically the horizontal lowest edge of sloped roofs, usually where gutters are installed.


Flashing is a weatherproofing component of roofs. Primarily comprised of sheet metal, flashing is installed along areas prone to leakage such as around breaks in a shingled roof-line or around chimneys (stepflashing), skylights, or other areas. Installed properly, they shouldn’t be seen and will seal exposed areas preventing moisture from entering your home.


Valleys are the area where two adjoining roof planes intersect on a roof creating a “V” shaped depression.

Starter Strip

The first course of roofing installed. Usually trimmed from the main roof material


The soffit is the underside of the eaves, balcony or arch. Standing outside your home and looking up at the overhang, it is the material (plywood, aluminum, or PVC) covering the wall and outer edge of the roof.

Roof Plane

A roofing area deined by having four separate edges. One side of a gable, hip or mansard roof.


Asphalt-based rolled materials designed to be installed under the main roofing material for added protection.

Knowing more about your roof will help you navigate roofing estimates as well as helping you not get ripped off by someone who takes advantage of people’s ignorance. Knowledge is power!

Atlanta Roofing Specialists have been providing roof contractor services to the Metro Atlanta area for over 20 years! Call us today for a free estimate on your roofing project! 770-419-2222

Scroll to Top