Understanding Your Roof – Its Parts and Needs

Your roof has needs?  With work, family, and friends, you have enough on your plate.  Who wants a needy roof?  Yet, we all have one.  Roofs need upkeep just like other parts of your home.  Your house has to be cleaned.  Repairs have to be made.  Bushes have to be trimmed.  The list can seem never-ending.  A roof isn’t too needy, but it does require upkeep to function properly and keep you and your home dry and safe.  Understanding the various parts of your roof and its needs helps you take proper care of it so it can take care of you.

Roof ridges, valleys, gutters, eaves, soffits, vents, and shingles are the main parts that make up the exterior of your roof.  The interior of your roof consists of the framing, roof decking, and underlayment.  Your roof requires care.  Cleaning the gutters, clearing debris, and annual roof inspections will all serve to keep your roof in excellent condition.

You may think of your roof as one entity when, in fact, it is made up of multiple parts.  Roofs also have multiple needs – ways to upkeep them.  Once you understand the parts of your roof and its needs, you can keep your roof in tip-top shape!  This article will break down the parts of your roof and how to care for it so you can get many years of service out of it.

External Parts of a Roof

  • Roof ridge – This is the highest peak of your roof. It will have special shingles running in the opposite direction of your regular roof shingles to protect the joint where the roof peaks meet.
  • Valley – A valley is where two sides of your roof meet, creating a “V”. Flat roofs do not have valleys.  If your roof is pitched, then you will have ridges and valleys, just like a mountain range!  Valleys are usually protected with flashings or overlapping shingles.  Flashings are made of metal.
  • Gutters – Gutters are like small troughs on the edge of your roof. They also consist of a downspout.  This is to help with water runoff.  The downspout helps direct water away from your home’s foundation.
  • Eaves – The eaves are at the edge of your roof. They usually overhang your house structure by a few feet.  The trim is on the eaves and is usually painted a color that is complementary to the color of your house.  The eaves contain your gutters.
  • Soffits – Soffits are on the underside of the eaves. They are usually covered with a material made of metal, composite, vinyl, and sometimes wood.  You only see the soffits when standing under the eaves, but the material you choose can add a nice finishing touch to your home.  More importantly, the soffits protect the eaves from the elements and pests.
  • Vents – Roof vents allow air to move through the roof, keeping your attic space cooler which helps keep your house cooler.
  • Shingles – This is generally what people think of when they think of roofs. The main surface of your roof will be covered with some type of shingles unless you choose a metal roof.  Shingles may be made of wood, asphalt, or tile. Shingles protect all the interior parts of your roof to help prevent roof leaks.

Internal Parts of a Roof

  • Framing – This is the wood that actually forms the basis and shape of your roof.
  • Roof decking – The decking is the plywood that is placed over the framing to form all sides of the roof.
  • Underlayment – Underlayment can be made of felt or synthetic material. Think of it as a blanket, tucking in your roof decking.  It is the layer between the decking and your shingles, the last line of defense to protect your roof from water intrusion.

Your Roof’s Needs

Understanding the parts of your roof gives you a better understanding of your roof’s needs and how to care for it.

  • Clean the gutters – Gutters not only catch rainwater and move it away from your foundation via the downspout, but they also catch whatever is washed off your roof from the rain and items flying through the air like leaves, pollen pods, and twigs. Small birds may even think building a nest in your gutter is a good idea.  All of this can clog your gutters.  Clogged gutters can cause roof damage.  It is essential to clean your gutters.  Gutter systems can be installed to cover your gutters and keep debris out, essentially eliminating your need to clean them.  To save money, you can also make gutter guards as a DIY project.
  • Clear debris – Debris can collect on your roof, especially during hurricane season as Florida experiences high winds. Once the storm passes, you should take a peek at your roof.  If there is a lot of debris, you can use a leaf blower to clear off the debris.
  • Annual inspection – Seal Tight Roofing Experts can conduct an annual inspection for you. This is highly recommended, especially because of the extreme heat, humidity, and storms we have in Florida.  We will inspect all the parts of your roof to ensure it is still water-tight.  We will check for damaged or missing shingles which can lead to water intrusion.  Most years your roof will be fine, but checking it annually is important.  You never want to allow water to invade your roof as it has a snowball effect, causing multiple issues.


The exterior of your roof is made of many parts –  roof ridges, valleys, gutters, eaves, soffits, vents, and shingles.  The interior of your roof is made of the framing, roof decking, and underlayment.  All parts of the roof are important and play a role in keeping your roof watertight.  Cleaning your gutters, clearing debris, and getting annual inspections will help keep your roof in great shape.  Seal Tight Roofing Experts is here to answer your roofing questions.  We offer free estimates.  Whether it’s a roof for new construction, replacing an old roof, or performing roof inspections, Seal Tight is your local roofing expert!

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