Your home's roof is one of its most important forms of armor against the outside world. It protects you, your family, and your investment. But how does it do this?
To better understand the roof over your head and how you can protect it, here's a short guide to the four main layers of material involved.
1. The Sheathing Layer
Sheathing, or decking, is the layer of treated wood laid down over the trusses or other frame structure. This layer's benefits are obvious in that it forms a solid base on which everything else is built.
The decking's main enemy is usually moisture which can form rot or mold. This moisture can come from above if it gets through upper layers or from condensation when the attic is improperly vented.
2. The Flashing Layer
Flashing takes a few different forms depending on where it's installed and why. It's a solid — usually metal — layer that helps to protect the structure from water at strategic locations. These include the edges of the roof, points where something (like a skylight) perforates the roof, or where roof angles meet.
The most important thing you can do for flashing is to have it regularly inspected for damage. It's a tough layer, and it may even outlast many other materials. But it can't work if it's broken, curling, or missing.
3. The Underlayment Layer
Over the flashing, the underlayment is rolled on. This is a water protection barrier made from asphalt-soaked felt or an artificial material. It resists water, providing an additional buffer between the shingles and the wood decking. The best way to help your underlayment is to select high-quality materials that fit your climate. You may want additional ice-and-water barrier if at risk of snow and ice in winter.
4. The Shingle Layer
Finally, there is the layer of shingles or tile. The most common roofing material is asphalt shingles which are installed in overlapping rows to build a secure barrier.
Inspect these on a regular basis and especially after storms or other extreme weather. Trim trees near the roof to prevent their limbs from falling and damaging shingles. And if you notice the asphalt granules coming off, it may be time for new shingles.
Where to Learn More
Could you do more to prevent damage to any of these layers? Could any of them work better for your climate, roof shape, and budget? Start by learning more in consultation with an experienced roofing contractor in your area today. A company like Diversified Roofing has more information.