What Are The Main Areas Of A Basic Roof System?

Your roof’s main job is to protect the entire house from the weather and cover you safely. Though the foundation of a home is considered an essential element, the roof also carries a vast significance, much like it. The house structure depends on a well-built roof system.

Your roof system includes all the components of your roof that contribute as a frame, cover, insulator, ventilator, and so on. You don’t need to be an expert like the roofers to understand the structural science behind the roof system, but you should have a minimum knowledge of the components and how they support your home. This article will discuss the major areas of a basic roof system, and you can read more to check them out.

Let’s dive in.


The truss is the most crucial part of any roof system, as the entire system stands over this. It is a structural framework that provides support. You can simply call it the skeleton of the roof system. Trusses work as the foundation, and they help all other roofing materials get attached. A truss roof is mainly made of timber, and you will get a truss roof more cost-effectively than a traditional roof.

There are many common types of truss structures seen. Some of the examples you might be interested in include:

  • Mono Pitch Truss
  • Double Pitch Profile Truss
  • Howe Truss
  • Vaulted Truss or Scissor Truss
  • Warren Truss
  • Gambrel Truss
  • King post Truss
  • Fink Truss
  • Pratt Truss

However, no truss structure is best; instead, you have to choose a specific truss per the roof’s demands.


Flashing is a thin material installed at the joint of two parts of your roof. This flat, waterproof material prevents water from entering the roof’s opening. It also prevents water and snow from seeping through the cracks of roof shingles.

Basically, it’s put in place around the edges where the chimney gets out of the roof or where the wall meets the ceiling. It is also used in a valley or where two downslopes meet. Flashings are usually made of metal, and stainless steel, aluminum, and galvanized steel are common materials for roof flashings. Note that roof flashing must cover the roof materials.

There are several types of flashing available, like:

  • Counter flashing
  • Chimney flashing
  • Step flashing
  • Apron flashing (or headwall flashing)
  • Valley flashing


A chimney starts from the fireplace and extends directly to the roof. The primary purpose of a chimney is to push the smoke and ash away from the house. And it also works to bring in fresh air to burn in the fire. It works on the general theory that hot air rises above cold air.

Several kinds of chimneys are available, like:

  • Masonry chimney
  • Metal Chimney
  • Fireplace Insert Chimney
  • Wood burning stove Chimney
  • Factory Built Chimney

And for the kitchen, mainly four types of variations are found, including:

  • Corner Chimney
  • Wall Mount Chimney
  • Built-in Chimney
  • Island Chimney

Vent Pipe

Another vital element of your roof system is the vent pipes. They are also often referred to as plumbing air vents or vent stacks and work along with the drain pipes. It does not carry water but fresh air that keeps progress inside drain pipes. They are often neglected due to their minimal cost.

The vent pipe is crucial, though it’s small, and it allows fresh air to enter through the plumbing system, which helps to flow the waste and water away through the waste pipes and evacuate toilets, tubs, and sinks quickly.

Some common forms of vent types are:

  • Plumbing vent
  • HVAC vent stack
  • Attic Fan
  • Small box vent
  • Large box vent


Roofing underlayment, or roofing paper, stays between the shingle roof and your home. It’s an extra layer on the roof that holds the top layer of shingles, and at the same time, it also works as a moisture-resistant layer. This part of the roof is essential to your home as it protects the entire cover of the house from rain and water entry where any shingle gets missing or damaged.

It also helps to hold an additional layer of air that prevents the home from extreme cold and heat. The most common type of roofing underlayment is black, asphalt-saturated felt paper. However, non-bitumen synthetics, synthetic felt paper, and rubberized asphalt are also available.


Shingles are the visible part of the home that we see as the roof. Once the roofers set up the underlayment, the shingles are fixed with it.

Shingles are categorized in the following ways:

  • Traditional Shingles
  • Architectural Shingles
  • Luxury Shingles
  • Accessory Shingles
  • Performance Shingles

Asphalt shingles are the most common type of shingles found these days. They are affordable for most average homeowners while being durable and requiring low maintenance. However, the following materials are also used as shingle roofs:

  • Aluminum Shingles
  • Metal Shingles
  • Wood Shingled Roofs
  • Wood Shake Roofs
  • Rubber Shingles
  • Solar Shingles
  • Slate Tile Shingles
  • Clay Shingles


The sheathing is another layer between the underlayment and the skeleton. It is addressed as the first layer of the actual roof, it holds underlayment and shingles and connects all these layers with the roof frame or truss.

As the sheathings are large pieces of board, they need to be durable, lightweight, and water-resistant. Oriented strand board (OSB) is the standard sheathing material nowadays. Moreover, OSB is non-expensive for an ordinary homeowner too.

Ridge Vent

The Ridge vent is the top peak of a roof system. It’s a kind of ventilator that goes along the length of the roof and allows the moisture to get away from the attic area of the roof. Any surplus moisture is a threat to the roof system, and the ridge vent keeps the whole system healthy from being rotten or molded.

Final Verdicts

A roof system is divided into different areas and consists of several components. All of them are equally important as they play their individual roles. A good understanding of roofing components gives you the confidence to continue correct maintenance, and spotting a weak or damaged part becomes easy for you.

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News Reporter
Hi, I am Rylee McGlothin; I am an entrepreneur, father, mentor, and adventurer passionate about life. At this moment, I am working with decor and design.

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