Understanding the Different Parts of Roofing: A Guide by Preferred Roofing Supply

When protecting your home from the elements, few things are more important than a solid and durable roof. But with so many different roofing parts and materials available, it can take time to know exactly what you need for your particular situation. That’s why Preferred Roofing Supply is here to help! 

In this blog post, we will look deeper into the components that make up a roof and how they work together to keep your house safe and secure. We’ll cover everything from shingles and sheathing to flashing, underlayment, gutters and more. 

With our guide, you’ll gain an understanding of each component’s purpose as well as be able to choose the best materials for your specific needs. So let’s get started learning about all the parts of roofing today.

The Roof Deck

A roof deck is the base of a roof structure and is made of plywood or oriented strand board (OSB). It is an integral part of the roofing project, providing a sturdy platform for shingles, tiles, shakes, or other materials. A properly installed roof deck also helps protect your home from water damage and keeps out unwanted pests.

Materials commonly used for the roof deck

When selecting a material for your roof deck, you should consider your climate.

  • Plywood tends to work better in dry climates as it has less tendency to warp or rot due to moisture-induced changes like shrinking and swelling.
  • OSB works better in wetter climates, as it is more resistant to water damage due to its wax coating.

Importance of proper installation

Proper roof deck installation is key for a successful and long-lasting roofing system. Make sure to follow all manufacturer’s instructions regarding fastening techniques and spacing so that everything stays securely attached. Also, use suitable flashing around any chimneys, walls, or vents so that water does not leak through any gaps in the roofing system.


Underlayment is a material layer between the roof deck and the shingles. It serves as a protective barrier against moisture and helps keep the deck dry, ultimately prolonging the roof’s life. In addition, it provides insulation to help maintain comfortable temperatures in your home or business throughout the year.

Types of underlayment

There are two main types of underlayment: felt paper and synthetic.

  • Felt paper is a traditional form made from recycled paper fibers and asphalt,
  • While synthetics are newer materials made from polypropylene or polyethylene-based films with rubberized asphalt coatings.

Importance of underlayment

Underlayment’s primary purpose is to act as a secondary waterproofing layer. This is in case water gets past the shingles due to damage from wind or hail, melting snow, etc. The purpose of this is to prevent the water from reaching the structural elements beneath it.

It also creates an airtight seal between shingles and reduces heat loss in winter months, helping maintain comfortable temperatures inside your home or office building year-round.


A shingle is defined as a piece of roofing material that overlaps with adjacent segments to form a single layer on a roof. A single gutter system that isn’t properly sized can cause flooding problems throughout an entire neighborhood. It does this by redirecting excess water into streets or other areas instead of safely away from homes.

Types of shingles

When it comes to types of shingles, you can choose from asphalt, wood, slate or metal.

  • Asphalt shingles are the most popular choice for residential roofs because they’re affordable and come in various styles to fit any house design.
  • Wood shakes and shingles offer an elegant look but require more maintenance than asphalt.
  • Slate tiles have a long life span but cost significantly more than other materials. Metal roofs are becoming increasingly popular due to their longevity, low maintenance requirements and energy-efficiency benefits.

Importance of proper shingle installation

The shingle installation must be balanced. Even the best quality shingle will only protect your home if installed correctly! 

  • When choosing a contractor for your project, be sure they have experience. 
  • Installing the specific type of shingle you’ve selected is important. 
  • Before committing to them, make sure they have the experience. 
  • This will help ensure a job well done.

Underlayment’s primary purpose is to act as a secondary waterproofing layer. In case water gets past the shingles due to damage from wind or hail, melting snow, etc., it prevents it from reaching the structural elements beneath it.


Preventing water from infiltrating through the points of transition helps safeguard both the structure and interior of the building from any potential damage.

Flashing is essential to any roofing system and is vital in keeping roofs watertight. Flashing is a thin material (typically metal or rubber) used to cover the joints between different materials, such as roof tiles and walls. This helps to prevent water from seeping through points of transition and causing damage to the structure or interior of the building.

Types of flashing

When installing flashing, it’s important to understand the available different types.

  • You’ll most commonly find metallic flashing made from galvanized steel, stainless steel, aluminum, lead-coated copper or zinc-coated copper.
  • In some areas, you may also find rubberized asphalt flashing for added waterproof protection against moisture penetration in otherwise tricky places.

Importance of proper flashing installation

Regardless of the material used for your flashing installation, it must be correctly installed and maintained throughout its lifetime. Poorly installed flashers can leak water and damage the roof and interior structure. Flashings must also be inspected regularly for signs of wear or degradation over time due to weather exposure or other causes.

Gutters and Downspouts

Gutters and downspouts are a vital part of any roofing system. They are designed to collect and remove water from the roof and divert it from the foundation, walls, and other sensitive structures around the home.

  • Gutters are installed along the eaves of a house and collect water as it drains off the roof.
  • Downspouts carry water away from the home to a designated drainage area.

Materials commonly used for gutters and downspouts

For gutters and downspouts to work correctly, materials must be chosen to withstand heavy rains, extreme temperatures, UV light and all weather conditions.

  • Aluminum is one of the most common materials used for gutters and downspouts because it is durable, economical, lightweight and available in various colors.
  • Copper is an attractive option, but it costs significantly more than aluminum and can last up to two times longer if well-maintained.
  • Vinyl or plastic are popular for homes in mild climates as they are lightweight and easy to install. However, they can become brittle over time due to extreme temperatures or weather elements, so they may not be ideal in harsher climates.

Importance of proper gutter and downspout installation

Proper installation of gutters and downspouts is essential for homes located in areas with frequent or heavy rains where flooding could be an issue. These systems must be installed correctly to effectively collect water without overflowing or clogging due to debris such as leaves or twigs. 

A single improperly sized gutter system can cause flooding problems throughout an entire neighborhood by redirecting excess water into streets or other areas instead of safely away from homes.

By understanding their purpose and knowing what materials best suit your climate. You can correctly choose gutters and downspouts for your home’s roofing system. This will help ensure proper drainage around your property. Reducing potential damage caused by water intrusion or flooding due to inadequate installation methods or poor material selection is also important.


When it comes to roofing, ventilation is a critical component. Ventilation provides fresh air flow through the attic or roof space to remove excess heat and moisture. This air must flow throughout the home to maintain an ideal living environment.

Types of ventilation

Ventilation can be broken down into two different types: intake and exhaust.

  • Intake vents are located at ground level, typically at the soffit area, allowing air to enter the attic from outside.
  • Exhaust vents near the top of the roof help remove warm, humid air from the attic or roof space.

Combined, these two types of ventilation create a balanced airflow system that helps keep your home comfortable and well-ventilated.

Importance of proper ventilation

In addition to providing good ventilation for your home, proper intake and exhaust venting also help prevent damaging condensation buildup in your attic or roof space. This buildup can cause rot and other structural damage if left unchecked, leading to mold growth due to high humidity levels. 

Proper ventilation helps reduce your energy bills. It keeps your home cooler during hot summer and warmer during colder months. It also reduces ice dams during winter when the snow melts off your roof too quickly.

To ensure that you have a properly ventilated home, provide enough intake vents at ground level near eaves, overhangs and exhaust vents near ridges or peaks of your house’s roof.


At Preferred Roofing Supply, we understand that roofing can be complex and time-consuming. That’s why our team of experts is committed to providing you with the best quality materials for your project and helpful tips about getting it done right. 

We offer competitive prices on all roofing supplies, so you can rest assured that you’ll receive top-notch service at an unbeatable price. If you want help getting started or need advice regarding what type of products would work best for your needs, contact us today! 

Our knowledgeable staff is here to assist in any way possible and ensure your next roofing job goes off without a hitch.