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  • Writer's pictureSean Connolly

Components of a Roof: Understanding Your Home

Updated: Feb 4, 2020

There are two main framing systems to a residential roof. Below is a description of these two systems and their components:

Rafter System (also called "stick built"): This is a framing system that is individually specified by an engineer to accommodate complicated roof transitions.

Truss System: This framing system is built off-site by a manufacturer who employs a team of engineers and then ships to site. In years past this type was used for tract homes with common roof dimensions. Today, technology has provided the ability to use this system in most applications of residential building.

Roof Components:

  • Roof Sheathing: Standard sheets of ½" to ¾" (depending on engineer specs) plywood are fastened to the rafters. New technologies of sheathing are available such as Georgia-Pacific's Plytanium. This product has a manufacturer's life-time warranty.

  • Underlayment: 15 or 30 lb felt paper. 30 lb is more durable and tears less than 15 lb.

  • Waterproofing Membrane: This product is used in roof valleys and in some flashing applications.

  • Drip Edge: An accessory that wraps around the perimeter of the home. This product replaced the use of shingle mould and helps divert drips away from the facia.

  • Starter Strip Shingles (Starter Strip): Eliminates the need to cut off shingle tabs and fills the spaces under the cut outs and joints of the first course of shingles.

  • Ventilation: Ridge vent ventilation is only effective if you have soffit vents. This allows a flow of air to enter your soffits and exit at the ridge vent. Ventilation is important to prolong the life of your roof system and it helps with reducing energy costs.

  • Shingles: Standard type of residential roofing in our locality. They come in Good, Better and Best quality. Shadow lines, thickness, and warranties differ with each type.

  • Good: Three-Tab Shingles are the least expensive and have a 20 year limited manufacturer's warranty. The use of this type has decreased over the last ten years.

  • Better: Architectural Shingles are a grade above with added thickness and a three dimensional aesthetic look. Manufacturer's warranties are typically limited lifetime.

  • Best: High Definition Architectural Shingles are heavier and outperform the other qualities in regard to the elements i.e., algae, wind and hail. Typically available in more vibrant colors. Manufacturers offer a limited lifetime warranty.

Contact us to speak with a roofing expert to answer any additional questions! (843) 276-5750 or

Other roof products will be discussed in future blogs.

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Oct 12, 2021

Everyone should know all the parts of the roof as it can help you to know more about the roof and while working with roof repair experts they can easily coordinate about the things that are going to install on the roof.

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