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Understanding the Anatomy of a Roof


Have you ever wondered what makes up a roof? There are many elements that come together to provide the first line of defense against the elements. Learning more about what makes up a roof helps us understand why they’re so important and the role they play in keeping our homes safe and comfortable. 



When builders construct a home, the frame is the first part of the roof that’s built. The rafters, trusses, and joists work in tandem to create the roof’s structure. Decking, also referred to as sheathing, goes over those elements to provide a foundation for the rest of the roof. Having this base layer helps minimize leakage and evenly support the weight of roofing materials. Common decking materials include plywood and oriented strand board (OSB). It’s important to note that a heavier product, such as concrete or clay tile, will require the roof’s structure to be engineered and built to support the product. These heavier products cannot be installed on trusses and decking engineered for a shingle or metal roof.   



Underlayment is the next roofing layer and acts as an extra layer of protection for the decking, shingles, or other roofing materials. Different underlayment materials are designed to work with different roofing materials and climates. For example, rubberized asphalt, with fiberglass reinforcement, is particularly useful when paired with metal or tile roofing in the abundant Florida sunshine. 

Most underlayments aren’t waterproof, but they do offer a water-resistant barrier against moisture that could damage the structure below. They also provide protection to the roofing materials from any resin released by the decking. 


Top Layer

The top roofing layer is what you see when looking at a home and acts as a barrier between the outside elements and the interior of the home. Common roofing materials include shingles, tile, and metal. Each material has its own benefits, price point, and average lifespan. Examples of common roofing materials include the following:

  • Asphalt shingles: A popular option because they come in a variety of colors, they’re relatively inexpensive, and they work with many different styles.
  • Concrete and clay tiles: Offer a Mediterranean vibe while adding a textural element to the roof. However, tiles can be expensive and heavy.
  • Metal: A durable option that offers a sleek, modern look. 


Additional Elements

Like any effective system, roofs work in tandem with other elements to maintain the structural integrity of your home. Each element is designed to prevent damage like moisture from permeating the roofing shingles. Without them, moisture could become trapped between layers, causing significant structural damage. Roofing extras include: 

  • Flashing: Made of thin material, usually metal, this element prevents moisture and pests from entering the home around chimneys, vents and other vertical surfaces that cut into the plane of the roof.
  • Drip edges: This element protects the eaves – the overhanging edge of the roof – from moisture while directing the water into gutters or away from the roof.
  • Gutters and downspouts: This essential system collects the water that runs off the roof and carries it away from the foundation of the home.


People often use the phrase “a roof over your head” to illustrate the safety and security that comes with having a home. Taking care of that roof is essential to making sure it keeps you safe and secure while protecting the interior of your home from possible damage. We recommend having your roof inspected periodically to stay ahead of maintenance issues. Contact Florida’s premier roofing company, Carroll Bradford Roofing, for an expert consultation today.



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Carroll Bradford Roofing is a full-service roofing company proudly serving Florida. Unlike others, we are more than JUST a roofing company though. We provide end-to-end solutions that address our customers’ issues and requests along with the answers they need to get the job done well. As we continue to grow throughout the state of Florida, our quality will never be compromised, and our commitment to helping you get the job done right will always remain at the very top of our priority list.

Contact us today to see how we can assist with your commercial or residential roofing needs!

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