7 Most Important Parts of Your Roof - Bonus Part Will Shock You




The 7 Most Important Parts of Your Roof are:

  1. Decking

The part of your roof called the decking is the plywood or other wood under the shingles. The framing of your house is the foundation supporting the decking. Your decking doesn't have any waterproofing properties, but it is the glue holding the other 6 important parts of your roof together. The decking must be kept dry and your attic must be very well vented. If any moisture reaches your decking, it will begin to rot to wood. When we are reroofing a home, we always encounter decking repairs where we replace areas of the decking before installing the new roof technology.

We'll discuss more on the importance of proper ventilation on step 7 because ventilation controls the flow of air in your attic and it affects the life expectancy of your roof. Most of the problems that are not storm damage related are from improper ventilation. The seasonal changes from heat to cold and the moisture from humidity, rain, snow create the need for attic ventilation.

1 - Decking

Decking homes today will involve using plywood or OSB boards. Homes that were decked before the 1990's were decked with lumber boards. These boards are great quality, but what is not ideal are when the boards were spaced apart, leaving gaps in the decking. Spacing boards creates very large problems for the waterproofing of your roof. Roofing technology manufacturers have specifications for how many nails to use per shingle or per piece of metal. Some manufacturers are very strict on the requirements of the nails to be in a very precise location of the shingle. The boards having gaps doesn't permit consistent placing of the nails where they provide proper security to the roofing shingles.

More often, the boards have large gaps between them that cause problems when installing shingles. If a roof deck isn’t solid and consistent, some of the shingle nails will miss the boards entirely, and over time you’ll lose shingles. These roofs require plywood or OSB decking to be added on top of the existing boards.

We tell the homeowners the biggest change order surprise, as long as all variables have been taken care of, can come from bad decking where the severity of its condition was not visible through the attic. We inspect the attic and really try to assess the condition of the decking before taking on large jobs so we can price them correctly.

The proper way to install a roof is to, first, strip the roof down to the bare decking. Do not reuse old drip edge or anything else (some homeowners really like holding on old skylights and don't want to replace them, which doesn't make sense because many leaks come from there. I tell the homeowner that if you're spending so much for a new roof, the additional amount per skylight is worth every penny of it.) on the roof. Remove the old roof system, inspect the decking and make all repairs then. The new roof goes over a good quality deck, no short cuts.

If you live in a coastal region, there are special inspections that must be passed in order to satisfy that governmental body. In Texas, for example, it's the Texas Department of Insurance (https://www.tdi.texas.gov/wind/index.html) which oversees this process. Their inspectors offer the inspections at no charge, but the waiting period is very long. You can have an inspection quickly if you call an engineering firm and pay them around $350 to $500.

  1. Ice and Water Shield

Rain, Snow, and Ice accumulates around roof edges and roof valleys. In these critical areas, it's necessary to install an extra layer of protection called an ice and water shield. In colder parts of the country, ice and water shields prevent ice damming (snow melting and refreezing at the roof edge, which forms a dam that traps additional snow and prevents the water from draining, guiding the water into the house as a leak (Starting at the bottom and continuing the installation up and out onto the roof as necessary to a point not less than 24" past the interior warm inside wall of the house or above the expected level of ice dams or according to building code requirements).

2 - Ice and Water Shield
  1. Drip Edge or Edge Metal

There are three materials used for drip edge: aluminum (more variety of color availability), galvanized steel (24 gauge minimum to withstand strong winds), or copper (minimum 0.69 mm or 20 ounces). These are used because of their corrosive resistant properties.

Drip edge comes in different shapes and are considered different types: Type C, Type D, Type F.

Drip Edge Type C should have been called Type L (sometimes it is) because it's bent down to a 90-degree angle at the edge and has a lower flange at the bottom.

Drip Edge Type C

Drip Edge Type D resembles a T and the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA) prefers this drip edge profile to Type C because it keeps the water further away from the home. Either way, Type C is an acceptable standard in building codes across the country.

Drip Edge Type D

Drip Edge Type F or Gutter Apron

It's a type of drip edge is longer at the leading edge. The protrusion is most helpful when installin drip edge on rake edges.

Drip Edge Type F, also called Gutter Apron

Side Note: there are slightly conflicting instructions you should ask your contractor about. Manufacturers of roof technology sometimes differ with the building code on the detail of what gets installed first: the drip edge or the ice and water barrier. If we're covering details, then we need to tell you about it because you have roof shingle warranties you don't want voided and you also want to have your roof built to local code. Here are the boring details which includes a hybrid method to help satisfy both instructions.

First Solution: Install the ice-barrier membrane according to the manufacturer’s instructions with the ice and water barrier installed below the drip edge. Then install regular roofing synthetic underlayment over the drip edge. This approach will satisfy a code-conscious inspector as well as the manufacturer’s recommendations.

For example: In order to stay compliant with the Malarkey Emerald Pro Warranty, the eave metal gets installed under the underlayment and the rake metal is installed over the underlayment.

Second Solution: The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) proffers a different solution. Install the ice barrier first with the drip edge over the top, then apply a 4- to 6-inch-wide self-adhering “stripping ply” to bridge over the top of the drip edge and onto the ice barrier. The stripping-sheet method relies on the adhesive bond of the stripping ply to seal out water. This does run counter to the shingling method that we all use for shedding water properly.

Hybrid Solution: First apply a 4 inch to 6 inch eaves strip of ice and water shield, then install the drip edge on top of it. Finally, apply the ice and water barrier on top of the eaves drip edge, running it up to the height detailed in the code.

Multiple Methods and A Hybrid for Complying with Roof Code and Roof Manufacturer's Guidelines
  1. Synthetic Underlayment

Synthetic underlayment is the most under-respected parts of your roof. Roofing contractors skip discussing underlayments with the homeowners and also rob the homeowner of a very important decision: which underlayment to pick. The roofing contractor makes the decision that benefits him/her and not the homeowner. This subject is not exciting and sexy like picking out the color of shingles, but homeowners need to know details of the value they will receive for the price they are paying. I've heard from so many conversations with roofing contractors the roofers strategically avoid detailing the brand and type of underlayment they will install because they don't want the homeowner to know they are using the cheapest underlayment they can find. In other words, they are billing the homeowner (or insurance company, if it's a roof insurance storm claim).

4 - Underlayment

Two product examples from one of our suppliers, ABC Supply (great company with great people):

- HBS Polaralum (8 squares per roll ) $396.00 per roll (most expensive)

- 15# & 30# Felt  $20.50 per roll (least expensive)

Example: You purchase the F-Wave Designer Slate Estate Series and you don't know that the contractor installed an underlayment that doesn't meet the specs of the approved accessories according to F-Wave Warranty documents.

(F-Wave Installation Manual Page 2: "F-Wave requires the use of synthetic underlayment that complies with ASTM D226, Type I or Type II; ASTM D4869, Type I or II; or ASTM D6757. In addition, F-Wave requires the use of self-adhering waterproofing underlayment (compliant to ASTM D1970) for critical areas, such as valleys and eaves. F-Wave does not approve of the use of any radiant barrier type products as a shingle underlayment installed above the deck when used with F-Wave REVIA Roofing Shingles. Underlayment must be applied flat and unwrinkled to the roof deck and the selection as well as the installation of underlayment should always be done after consulting and adhering to local building codes. The underlayment and installation method used must comply with or exceed local building codes, the published installation requirements of the underlayment manufacturer, and F-Wave requirements. After the application of the underlayment, our shingles should be installed as soon as possible."). This action then voids the warranty and the homeowner loses because the roofing contractor tactically removed the decision of which waterproofing layer of underlayment for the homeowner to pick from. Please seek more information and we are here to help you every step of the way, even if you don't choose us as your roofing contractor.

  1. Starter Shingles

Starter shingles are the first row of shingles along the eve and rake of your roof.

Starter shingles, placed at the eave and rake edges of the roof. They are reinforced with enhanced sealant and are modified in designe to stretch beyond the fastening point of the first course of shingles to strengthen the other shingles to help prevent wind damage.

5 - Starter Shingles

Please ask your roofing contractor about the starter shingles they are using for your roofing project. Most roofing systems manufacture their own starter shingles. Use the same manufacturer as the shingles you've chosen. I've heard of roofing contractors cheating homeowners (and insurance companies, when the roofing project is a roof insurance claim) by charging for starter shingles, but not installing them. Instead, the unethical roofers flip regular shingles upside down and install them as if they were starter shingles. Sure, that was they way it was done many many decades ago, but those are not current best practices. Turning 3-tab shingles upside down and installing them as starter shingles risks the roof being vulnerable to strong winds. "Old timers" need to adapt to the improved standards that benefit the homeowner, even if it doesn't benefit the roofing company financially.

  1. Roofing Technology

This part of the roof is the most popular and the most fun. It involves choosing between asphalt manufacturers, perhaps F-Wave, metal roofs that look just like Spanish tile roofs, you name it.. the possibilities are endless and exciting.

6 - Roofing Technology

In asphalt technology, we want to share a case study about Malarkey asphalt shingles. There was a hail storm in Bryan, Texas in April 2021 where baseball size hail demolished hundreds of roofs across the city, except the roofs that had Malarkey roof systems.

In metal roofs, there are several manufacturers like DECRA and Roser leading the way, stone coated steel is slowly gaining momentum with homeowners that desire the Spanish clay tile look, but don't want the heavy and bridle clay tile. Stone coated steel is 90% lighter in weight than the traditional clay tiles. Clay tiles weight up to 12 pounds while DECRA Villa Tile and Roser Cleo Tile weigh around 1 pound per tile. This translates to a great benefit of you not needing to hire a structural engineer to evaluate if your structure can sustain the heavy load of clay tiles. The stone coated steel roof technology is lightweight and installs either direct to deck (DECRA) or over battens (Roser Cleo). It's expensive, but worth it! The average price for DECRA Villa Tile or Roser Cleo Tile is from $8.50 to $10 per square foot of roof. There is a large range and the exact price varies depending on the complexity of your roof project.

Malarkey, F-Wave, DECRA, Roser

F-Wave deserves its own category. F-Wave is considered a thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO). The amazing technology is extremely difficult to destroy. F-Wave is literally bulletproof, and heals itself with heat after it is bent. When impact resistant tested, heat applied will also heal it back to its original state. It's an amazing roof product. In our opinion, it's the greatest value in roofing technology. It's priced around 30% more than asphalt shingles, but it's ten times the value as to what you receive in price appreciation of your home, insurance premium discount, energy savings from electricity bills, and return on investment in around 5 to 7 years.

Take your time looking at all of your roof technology options before you purchase your new roof. Ordering a new roof for your home is your opportunity for your roof to be the exclamation mark to your neighborhood. Don't settle for just another boring roof. Spice it up and match the roof of your dreams to the home of your dreams.

  1. Hip and Ridge

The highest peak surface on the roof is referred to as the ridge. The Official Roofing Dictionary defines ridges as: The uppermost horizontal external angle formed by the intersection of two sloped roof planes.

Hips, as defined by The Official Roofing Dictionary, are: The external inclined angle along the ridge length to the eaves formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes. These high points can often experience greater damage from events like hail and debris. Hip and ridge shingles are manufactured to provide added impact protection from hail and tree debris.

Example of a Ridge Component

Ridges are the first places to show visible wind storm damage.

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Bonus part, even though not technically part of the Roof. It's importance will shock you.

  1. Ventilation of Attic

The secret to having proper attic ventilation is to apply the basic principle of hot air rises. Below the eve of the roof, as soffit vents, set up intake vents that allow cooler air inside (relative to the hotter air inside the attic). Placing exhaust vents under the ridges of your roof is the most efficient place to hide these vents.


A balanced system requires 50% intake and 50% exhaust. Do not have more than 50% in exhaust. FHA and HUD have established a requirement of 1/150 rule.


  • 1 square foot (or 144 square inches) of net free area (NFA) ventilation per 150 square foot of attic space.
  • FHA and HUD require this rule and they refer to it as the 1/150 rule of ventilation requirements for attics.
The roof ventilation formula

Soffit / exhaust vents must be free from debris, insulation, or obstruction. Do not use gable vents with roof exhaust vents. Install ventilation products per manufacturer’s instructions.

Please monitor your soffit intake vents don't get clogged by anything, including attic insulation. Improper ventilation of the attic is the leading cause of roof failure, roof buckling, roof blistering, and any other non-storm related roof damage. So why is ventilation the achilles heel to my roof system, when it isn't technically part of the roof? Moisture slowly destroys the decking and accumulated moisture accelerates preventable damage to your complete roof system. Maintaining your roof is mostly preventing moisture by keeping your attic well ventilated and your roof clear of debris. Wash your roof and treat it with oxydized bleach to remove algae and you have the proper preventive maintenance package.


When the shingles on your roof are removed as part of your re-roofing project, the nails removed from your existing roof will leave behind these holes on your decking. Does this look like a "sound structural surface" that not only meets code but will keep water out of your home?

Picture taken from inside the attic after shingles removed from roof.

I don't consider this a sound surface and I also don't believe it will keep water out. Technically, the entire decking of your home can also be covered under your roof insurance claim. Contact us and it will be our pleasure to help you through the insurance claim process to install the most technically correct roof ever.

Please let me know how I may continue to serve you. It's my pleasure to provide you with helpful hints and tips we've accumulated over the years. Thank you for taking the time to read my article. My email is: info@roofs.one and you may call or text to: 713-480-1168.


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I have black stains on my roof. How can I get rid of them? My neighbors have them, too; now that I think about it

Hi Aristi, thank you for your question. Use oxygen bleach to clean your roof and please read the article we wrote because it explain with great detail how to do it correctly. We even gave tips on ladder placement. Better yet, let us do it. Contact us for exact pricing. (https://www.roofs.one/the-roof-report/how-to-remove-algae-stains-from-your-roof) Our roof cleaning service starts at $200 and goes up from there. Thank you

It's my understanding buying a class 4 shingle will lower my insurance premium, but will it lower my coverage?

Hi Bailey, thank you for the excellent question! The safe answer is "please check your coverage detailed in your policy". For the more thorough and deeper way to answer your question, I asked many colleagues and only one had a unique answer. Robert from Oklahoma City said one of his clients that bought class 4 shingles did receive a lower premium, but he lost the hail coverage. I was shocked to learn about this real world example about how this specific insurance company handled this upgrade. It could strictly be a case of correlation and not causation, but it's still interesting. Thank you for taking the time to ask your question.

One of your employees left a postcard on my door and I figured you could answer my question - What questions should i ask roofing companies before i hire them?

Hi Chad! thank you for your question. Several very important questions you need answered before hiring a roofing company are: - what is the square footage of my roof? - what waste % are you calculating for the complexity of my roof? - what brand/type of shingles are you offering me? - how much are you paying for the shingles from your supplier? - show me your certificate of insurance - show me your certificate of worker's comp insurance - show me where you have added me as an additional insured on your insurance policy - do you have a 3 day cancellation fee? if so, waive it. - how much will deck repairs be per sheet of plywood when decking is exposed and visible? - show me the list of materials necessary to install to keep the asphalt shingle warranty valid - what are the additional steps you are taking to protect my home from debris and nails being left behind? - provide me a full list of materials that are being installed on my roof. - what is warranty for labor? for how long? This list of questions is a great place to start. Most roofing companies don't want you to ask them because they are underinsured, overcharge for materials, cut corners by reusing your old roof parts, etc... I hope this helps!

A company is telling me I can get my roof for free from the insurance and they would cover the deductible if I hire them. Is this true? (I'm in Texas)

Please don't do that. The insurance deductible is a contractual agreement you have with your insurance company. In Texas, Texas Law House Bill 2102: It is illegal for contractors or roofers to offer to waive a deductible or promise a rebate for all or part of a deductible. Under the new law effective September 1, 2019; violators could get up to a $2,000 fine and up to six months in jail. If a contractor offers to waive a deductible, report it to the Texas Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-621-0508. Do not commit insurance fraud by accepting unethical and illegal practices. Thank you for your question

This article will certainly help me make an informed decision.

Hi KD, glad we could help. We'll have a new feature on the website where you'll be able to get a Date of Loss for your insurance roof claim. Coming soon, FREE!

How long should it take for a company to give an estimate?

Hi Holly, responsiveness is a great way of showing a customer we care. We can do an informal estimate within a few hours and a formal estimate within 24 hours.

The last roofer gave me a two line estimate so I asked for more information. Haven't heard anything yet.

Hi Melinda, a detailed estimates should have detailed line items of the type of products including brand, quantity, color (if possible), with price. If you would like contact us and we can help you with a detailed quote. Thank you.

Great information. What city are you referring when you give the $350 to $450 average?

Hi Sally8100, thank you for your comment. This article is referring to Texas and Oklahoma City.


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How will I know how many layers of flat roof my house has before I commit to re-doing the roof? I don't want the roofers to discover a second or third layer and then the job exceeds budget

Hi Kasey, thank you for your excellent question. Pay the roofing company to perform the test on a small area of your flat roof before you start the project. Have the contingency in place that the price paid for the test includes the repair in the event you don't proceed with your new flat roof.




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