9 Roofing Components That You Need to Learn

9 Roofing Components That You Need to Learn

Your roof consists far more than the shingles you see: rather it is a complex network of vents and shielding designed to let necessary things out while stopping rain, snow, and debris from getting in. And while it is always the best idea to have professionals work on your roof, it doesn’t hurt to have a little knowledge under your belt when it comes to understanding what they are saying. Therefore, here are 9 components of a roof that you should know when speaking to your contractor.


  1. SHINGLES: The most prominent and well-known portion of the roof. Roof shingles are most commonly asphalt, but wood, metal, slate, and tile are also popular options. It is vital to make sure that these shingles remain securely fastened and regularly cleaned for optimal lifespan.
  2. VENT PIPE: A plastic or cast-iron pipe protruding from the home’s plumbing system and extending through the roof, allowing fresh outside air into the plumbing system. This ensures sinks, tubs, and toilets drain quickly and efficiently.
  3. CHIMNEY: A tall structure usually made of brick or stone that extends beyond the roof to allow smoke and fumes to escape. While they are usually placed next to the roof, they can also protrude up through the ridge or slope of the roof. An important thing to do is make sure that the flashing along the side of the chimney has no leaks and is securely fastened, as a lot of leaks stem from flashing around the chimney coming undone.
  4. FLUE: Within the interior of every chimney is a lining of flue, which helps carry smoke and fumes through and out of the chimney. Typically made of square or rectangular tiles of clay, they prevent smoke from being absorbed within any semi-porous materials lining the chimney.
  5. RIDGE: A sloped roof’s highest point. Often has a vent running along its length to allow hot air out of the attic.
  6. GUTTERS AND DOWNSPOUTS: A roof’s primary drainage system. Is attached along the fascia of the bottom of a roof to collect any runoff rainwater and debris, where the water is then redirected to fall away from the home, to avoid damage to the facade as well as any patios, pathways, and gardens underneath. An important thing to do is clear your gutters regularly, in order to prevent blockages.
  7. FASCIA: A horizontal board fastened to the bottom of a roof along the roof rafters. Rain gutters are usually attached to them.
  8. DRIP EDGE: Metal flashing that is placed along a roof’s edge to ensure that rain does not fall straight down onto the ground below, and is instead redirected into the gutter system.
  9. TRUSS: The framework of the whole roof, trusses run underneath the insulation and shingles, supporting the roof upwards. Usually, if a leak occurs, trusses are among the first to get hit with water damage, so failure to address leaks can lead to serious structural degradation, posing a hazard for anything underneath.


While you may not be a fully-fledged expert, this little tidbit of knowledge should be enough to get you started on knowing what your contractor is saying, as well as help convey what you want done on your roof. If you are looking to have some work done on your roof or are looking to install a new one, feel free to call us at 781-393-4427, or fill out an inquiry form. We’d love to work with you!

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