Roofing Basics: From Shingles to Roof Decks
Your roof is an integral part of your home. It helps keep you and your family dry and warm as it protects you from the elements. And while it’s providing cover every day, it’s probably not something that you think about unless it’s time to replace it. If you’re thinking about replacing your roof, you’ll find you have many options. You’ll also learn that not all contractors or roofing shingles are created equally! In this post, we wanted to share some roofing basics with you so you can understand the various components that go into a roof and why they matter. Then, as you meet with contractors, you’ll be better able to understand some roofing basics and lingo and what components of your roof they intend to replace.
Roofing Basics: Components
If you were to think of your home as a cake, you might consider the roof the icing on the cake because it goes on top. However, a roof isn’t just shingles. There are multiple layers and components that make up a roof, and each has an important role to play in protecting your home. It’s more like a cake in itself with a supportive We’ll start with the visible layer, the shingles, and work our way down.
Most Florida homes have visible shingles thanks to pitched roofs. Because of the lovely rains we get in our corner of the U.S., flat roofs aren’t too practical. The pitch allows water to drain rather than pool. Depending on the pitch of your roof, your shingles will be more or less visible from your walkway or the road, making them an important aspect of a home’s curb appeal. Shingles truly add to the beauty of a home. Shingles that are coordinated well with the color and style of the home help to enhance the visual appearance of a home—all while protecting it from wind and rain.
The main purpose of shingles to protect. Shingles keep water away from the wooden components of your roof. Shingles also stop wind from entering the home or damaging other roof components. In order to do this well, shingles must be aligned and installed properly.
There are many different types of shingles and each has its own pros and cons.
Asphalt shingles are the most commonly used shingles. They range in price depending on style and are made from fiberglass and asphalt. Depending on the manufacturer and style, asphalt shingles may be ENERGY STAR rated. (This Owens Corning brochure highlights their ENERGY STAR rated shingles.) By selecting an ENERGY STAR rated asphalt shingle, you can save on cooling costs during the hot Florida summers. Asphalt shingles can stand up to the Florida elements and can last upwards of thirty years. Plus, they come in many different styles and colors.
With their unique, natural look, wooden shingles have always been popular. They are generally pricier than asphalt shingles and are not fire retardant. In addition, coloring of the wooden shingles may change due to direct sunlight or exposure to water.
There are multiple types of tile shingles, including clay and concrete. Price varies by material, however, most tile shingles are more expensive than asphalt shingles and cost more to install. Tile shingles are long-lasting in general and can help provide a specific look for your home. In Florida, clay roofs have always been popular because of their Spanish style.
Metal shingles or tiles are long-lasting, however, they may not be the best fit for the Florida sunshine. Because metal conducts heat—which we have plenty of—it could eventually be disastrous for your electric bill. While unique and beautiful, it’s important to consider our climate when picking a roofing shingle.
Made from stone, slate shingles are naturally waterproof and durable. However, they are pricey and in addition to being installed by a professional, they must be maintained by a professional as stepping on them improperly could break them.
Underneath your chosen shingles there should be a layer of underlayment. Made from felt or a synthetic material, the underlayment helps create an additional water barrier to protect the wooden components of the roof and the home in general.
The roof deck is what everything is attached to. Sitting on top of the trusses and joists, it is usually made from wood and must be strong enough to support your chosen shingles. The sheathing, usually made from plywood, is the top part which covers the joists and provides the anchor point for the underlayment. Because it is generally made from wood in residential properties, keeping the roof deck dry and free of moisture is important for protecting your home.
The Total Protection Roofing System
Westchase Roofing is proud to be an Owens Corning Platinum Preferred Contractor. We serve the Tampa area and exclusively install Owens Corning asphalt shingles and their patented Total Protection Roofing System.
The Total Protection Roofing System is comprised of three components that aim to seal out water, to defend against the elements, and to provide ventilation.
To seal out water, the Total Protection Roofing System relies on WeatherLock, a self-sealing water barrier that provides additional waterproofing and an underlayment. As an innovator in the roofing sector, Owens Corning continues to create products that are long-lasting and high quality to protect their customers’ homes. Their underlayment products are no exception. With two top-of-class synthetic roof underlayments and one fiberglass-reinforced felt, customers can choose a reliable product that works best for their home and budget.
To defend against the elements, Owens Corning relies on three shingle types: starter shingles, regular shingles, and hip and ridge shingles. Starter shingles are the first line of defense against blow-offs and water. Once affixed, shingles can be installed up the roof. Lastly, hip and ridge shingles cover corners and edges to protect areas where water might otherwise try to seep in.
It may come as a surprise, but just like you, your home needs to breathe. Proper ventilation reduces the chance of mold inside a roof and lessens roof deterioration. Ventilation essentially reduces heat and moisture buildup that can create problems for a roof’s structural elements. Just like we breathe in and out, your roof needs to bring in air via an intake vent and allow air to flow out via a ridge or back roof vent or an exhaust fan. Owens Corning understands that how your home looks matters. Most of their vents are unobtrusive, flowing seamlessly with your shingles.
As an Owens Corning Platinum Preferred Contractor, we’ve received specialized training in the Total Protection Roofing System. We have extensive experience working with Owens Corning products and believe they are the highest-quality asphalt shingles.
Additional Roofing Information
For more information about roofing basics, check out the following links:
- When Should I Replace My Roof?
- Planning For a Roof Installation
- Selecting the Asphalt Shingles That Are Right For You
- The Ultimate Roofing Shingle Guide
- How to Vet a Roofing Company
- Why Online Roofing Contractor Ratings Matter
- Roofing Warranties
There’s plenty more useful information in our blog archives, plus we’re always happy to answer your questions so don’t hesitate to contact us.
If you’re ready for a free quote from a top-rate Tampa roofing contractor, contact us today.