25 Parts of A Roof of The House And Their Functions

With all the recent trends in architecture, it will be hard to keep up especially without an understanding of how each structure works, what they are composed of, and the functions of their parts.

Wouldn’t it be nice to know which part of your roof needs repair before the rainy season? Aside from that, having a general idea of the parts of your roof’s anatomy is always useful. For these reasons, we will focus on the parts of a roof today.

Parts of A Roof And Their Functions

In this case, it’s clear you know the basics. You know what the gutters, the chimney, the vents, beams, and rafters are.

However, aside from these, we do not know more and that is why we view roofs as a final piece to construction. We do not realize that there are other equally important elements inside the roof that make it stable. Here’s a rundown of the different parts of a roof and their functions.

1. Skylight


Skylights are often a part of the common roof area. It is often not considered as part of the roof because it is both esthetically pleasing and functional. Skylights provide additional light and sky views, which are both aesthetically pleasing and functional.

A skylight is a window or ceiling installed directly in the roof. It lets in natural light and provides egress in case of emergencies. It can be moved up and down, depending on the weather. You can find more beautiful skylight designs on Decoist and Home Designing.

2. Chimney


The chimney, a cornerstone of the roofing system, has a lot of practical uses. For example, it can be used as a ventilation system. Chimneys are vertical structures, usually connected to the roof, through which smoke and other combustion gases pass through the atmosphere.

3. Valley


ValleyIt is a 90-degree connector that connects the two roofs of a pitched or sloped roof. It supports the valley rafter, which in turn supports the internal gutter that collects water and debris as it falls to the external gutter.

Essentially, the roof valley is the part of your roof that collects the water that will fall off the roof. This is why choosing the right installation type for your roof valley is so important. If you don’t, you’ll have serious leaking problems.

4. Rafter


The rafter is the main support of the roof. Since it is a diagonal structure, it supports the roof deck from heavy loads. It is included in the truss and meets at the apex of the roof. The rafter is one of the most important parts of a roof because without it, there would be no frame to support the roof.

When you’re building a deck, you want it to be stable and not fall apart. This means that you have to attach your deck to the house or other structure so that it will be even more stable. One way to do this is by using metal brackets. You can learn more about how to use them in this video from NSM Construction.

5. Soffit


The soffit is a part of the roof that has two functions. The first one is aesthetic, and the second one is functional. It hides ceiling joists and rafters in between the wall and the roof’s eaves.

The basic function of insulation is to protect the rafters from natural elements such as moisture and molds. At the same time, it also helps preserve the longevity of the roof.

6. Drip Edge

Drip Edge

A metal flashing is a type of metal used to protect roof fixtures. It is installed along the eaves to re-route water away from the fascia. It hangs from the roof’s sides and has a small flange that is bent away from the fascia.

A traditional gutter is certainly helpful, however, it still needs a drip edge to complete its job. The drip edge is one of the most basic roofing accessories. Despite the fact that it is frequently replaced with a gutter, it is still essential for your home. If you want to learn how to install one, look at this tutorial from Your Average Roofer.

7. Sidewall


Sidewall flashing is a type of roof flashing. It is used to prevent water infiltration in roofing. Specifically, it is used on the base and step flashing. This type of flashing is vertical and joins the edges of a sloping roof deck.

8. Flashing


FlashingIt is a water-resistant cover that prevents water from getting into the roof. It can be made of different materials including plastic, galvanized steel, and aluminum. The main function of FlashingIt is to prevent water from entering through the roof.

Flashings are installed in many parts of the roof to protect against water ponding and leaking. Flashings are typically found in valleys, chimneys, skylights, and vents.

  • Chimney flashing is a waterproof material used to prevent moisture from entering the home through its roof. It is installed in the intersection between the chimney and roof.
  • Vent pipe flashing is a device that prevents water from entering the roof cavity. It is placed on top of an existing vent pipe to seal it and prevent the penetration of water through openings around it.
  • Valley flashing is a rooftop waterproofing material. This is because it’s installed in the roof’s valley line. Valley flashing is also known as a valley liner.
  • Skylight flashing is a waterproofing fixture applied in between the skylight’s glass and frame. It is applied on top of skylight sealants to contain moisture on the glass surface.
  • Dormer flashing is essentially used to protect the roof against damage. It’s installed under the sides and on top of the roof’s steel, at the dormer’s bottom or end wall.

9. Hip


The hip end is a triangular sloping surface usually formed by the intersecting hips in the roof’s edge/eaves. It is also called an external angle functioning as the intersection where adjacent sloping sides parts of a roof would meet.

It is associated with parts a roof with a hip. A “hip” roof is known for its slanted sides and inward slopes on all of its sides. This design is commonly used to avoid accumulation of snow, which would easily slide off from the slanted sides.

10. Flat Roof

Flat Roof

Flat roofs have been around for centuries. They are called living roofs because they can be used as gardens and patios. Flat roofs are excellent in arid climates because they can prevent heat buildup inside the home. Flat roofs are also easy to install, which makes them more affordable than other roofing alternatives.

11. Dormer


Dormers are called dormers because they provide extra space for the skylight. They project out of the surface of a roof (or beyond the plane of a pitched roof). A dormer increases usable areas in compact rooms/lofts.

Attics are often dark, cramped, and uncomfortable. But a dormer window will make it better. It will let sunlight and fresh air in, creating a brighter, more pleasant space. Better air flow will make it healthier, too.

12. Solid Decking

Solid decking

What is roof decking? It’s a new type of composite decking made of lightweight materials. It’s like real wood, but it can withstand heavier loads due to its sturdy construction.

A deck is a flat surface that sits between the roof and the house. Not only does it protect your roof from rotting, but it provides an extra layer of protection against moisture and insects. The solid decking is attached to the house with strong metal pieces called trusses. This decking is then stretched across the roof on top of the joists.

13. Low Pitch Areas

Low Pitch Areas

Low pitch areas are the lower slopes of the roof. When these areas are left untreated, they can be damaged by ponding water. Roof sheaths and wood rafters can be damaged by water when it pools there for a long time.

14. Downspout


The downspout is a pipe that’s installed vertically from the roof down to the ground. It’s an extension of the external gutter and channels water down. It’s usually made of PVC, but it can also be made of galvanized steel or other plastic materials.

15. Rake


Rake Although the rake is not technically a part of the roof, it is often used to describe the sloping side at the tip of a pointed roof. It can be flat or with an overhang. The word can also be used to describe fascia or soffit on gabled roofs. This section of the roof can be adjusted for aesthetic purposes.

16. Fascia


Fascia is the board where your roof meets the outer walls of your house. It is also nailed to the rafters to support the gutter. This improves the aesthetic value of your roof, especially if you have a hipped roof or a flat one.

17. Gutters


Gutters are an important part of your home’s architecture. They’re the system that carries rainwater away from your home. If you want gutters to work, you need to install them at an angle so that the water they carry off doesn’t fall directly on the ground around your house.

Water is bad for your house. If water gets too close to your house’s foundation, it can cause the foundation to weaken and crack. Water can also damage your basement if you have one.

18. Eave


Roof edges are considered to be the lowest points in a pitched/gabled/mansard roof. They connect the gutters to the roof by overhanging from the wall’s face. They clear water trickling down the wall and connect the gutters to the roof.

19. Underlayment


The underlayment is also called as the underlay membranes. They protect the roof decking from too much moisture. The underlayment material is made of felt and rubber strips but the trend has shifted to reinforced fiberglass and synthetic material.

Waterproofing is a material that acts as a barrier for water and moisture, and it’s installed directly in the roof deck. There are different types of waterproofing materials, and they’re placed in different key areas in the roof where water ponding could be a problem.

  • Rafter underlayment is a great way to keep water out of your attic. It creates a barrier against moisture by adding an extra layer of protection where water cannot get in.
  • Valley underlayment is a waterproofing layer that protects the roof from leaking at the “valley”. It adds protection to the roof valleys and inhibits it from leaking.
  • Felt underlayment is the traditional underlayment made of felt paper. One of its main functions is waterproofing the roof. It is installed above the solid decking board usually covered by shingles.
  • As the name suggests, it is a type of underlayment that is not made of felt. It is considered high-tech due to the fact that it is installed before roof shingles. It is used on areas of the roof decking that are not covered by water and ice shields.
  • Vent pipes are also called plumbing vents. They usually extend from the building’s waste pipes and go through the roof. Through vent pipes, gases from sewers can be released outside the house/building instead of being trapped inside it. Vent pipes also allow more oxygen into the waste pipes, lessening the bad smell that comes from them.

20. Collar Beam

Collar Beam

The collar beam is basically a horizontal beam that connects two rafters at the ridge of the roof. It provides stability to the entire structure and forms the ceiling frame.

21. Ridge


The ridge board is formally known as the ridge. It is the horizontal piece of wood or metal that sits at the top of the roof, creating the peak. Technically, it is the highest point on a roof. Functionally, it is connected to the rafters and trusses to make the frame of the roof.

Remember, a rafter is used for roof support. But it has other uses as well. It can be used as a ridge of a roof or it can be used to make the frame of a door or kitchen window. A rafter can even be used as a ladder.

22. Ice And Water Protector

Ice And Water Protector

Ice and water shields are types of underlayment used to prevent ice dams and heavy, wind-driven rains. They are more commonly called ice and water protectors. They may not be necessary, but some states require them in their building codes.

This is a very detailed description of the installation of the roof. In the eaves and rakes you may have water leaks. Roof valleys are areas where water can pool up after a rainstorm. Flashings and chimneys are the parts of the roof that allow wind-driven rains to flow back up.

23. Shingles


A shingle is a roof covering that comes in flat and rectangular shapes. They are installed at the eaves of the roof after the roof decking is placed. Depending on the style of your house, they can be made of various weatherproof materials such as flagstone, slate, plastic, wood, metal and other composite materials.

A new trend in roofing is solar shingles. These shingles are made of solar panels that produce electricity. The main purpose of solar shingles is to prevent water from entering the eaves. The best way to make them waterproof is to apply a layer of underlayment after the installation of the shingles.

24. Lookout


The look-out rafter is also called a roof look-out or a roof over-looker. It is a wooden beam that extends to the cantilever. The fascia boards will be fastened here, and it will support the roof sheathing. It is also used as a beam where finished materials of the eaves are fastened.

25. Abutment


The abutment is a term used in building roof systems and bridges. It refers to the spaces in the roof where the roof’s slope intersects with vertical areas such as chimneys or walls. The abutment can be found on the side, top, or around the vertical areas where they connect.

The average homeowner might not be able to tell you what all of the parts of a roof are called, but there’s a lot of detail that goes into repairs. It’s good to know the basics, but it’s also true that you shouldn’t wait until something is wrong before you know it. The details will come in handy if you ever have to do your own repairs.

Roofing is really complicated, but you can make it a lot simpler by just knowing about its parts and their uses. This will greatly help you in the future when you have to repair your roof.

Knowing the parts of a roof and their functions is important, especially if you are going to do the maintenance work on your own. It’s not hard to add this new knowledge set to your credentials because you can find this information online. This will save your life when you’re out there on the job.

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