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Two key components of your roof system

Note: this is a partnered post and consideration was received for its publication.

As a homeowner, you may think shingles, a wooden deck and some tar paper make up your whole roof system.

Your roof, however, is built of more than woods and nails. Let’s take a look at the whole roof system and explore the importance of two key components: shingles and ventilation.

The anatomy of a whole roof system



Asphalt shingles are the first line of defense for your roof. Asphalt shingles are affordable, durable, low-maintenance and look great. They are found in a wider array of colors and styles than any other type of shingle.

Will asphalt shingles stand up to tough weather?

Asphalt shingles are manufactured to withstand extreme conditions such as fire and wind. Asphalt shingles are divided into three class types: A, B and C. These ratings are used to identify fire resistance, (Class A is the most resistant).

Shingles are also rated for wind resistance as Class D, G or H (90-, 120- and 150-miles per hour, respectively). Your contractor should provide you with recommendations based on the weather conditions in your region.

How long do asphalt shingles last?

Asphalt shingles typically last roughly 30 years, but make no mistake - it is important to fully understand the roofing warranty provided by your roofing contractor. Be sure to work with a contractor that can provide a warranty for the expected life of the shingle.

Do asphalt shingles require a lot of maintenance?

No. Asphalt shingles are pretty low-maintenance. They do not need to be cleaned, power washed, painted or sealed. If your roof has multiple elevation changes, you may find yourself removing debris from any intersecting valleys. Leaves are a big problem - they can obstruct the flow of water to the gutters and cause damage.

Roof Ventilation

Ventilation is one of the most critical components of the whole roof system. Most people don’t know much about their roof’s ventilation system. There’s a decent chance you didn’t even know your roof needed to be ventilated.

What is roof ventilation?

Ventilation is the flow of air on the underside of a roof deck due to passive and thermal forces. Proper roof ventilation allows warm, moist air to escape while allowing cooler, drier air to enter the attic space of a home.

When condensation is trapped in the attic of an unvented home, moisture can damage wood, insulation and other building materials. Basically, it can rot your roof from the inside. The vented attic has specially-designed gaps at the roof ridges and under the eaves that allow moisture to escape.

The benefits of roof ventilation for your roof system and entire home

Roof ventilation extends the life of your roof, reduces energy costs and minimizes indoor temperature extremes.

Roof ventilation works with the climate of where you live. Ventilation prevents the formation moisture buildup in attics, and ice dams for homes in colder climates. In warm climates, heat is vented to help keep the home cool and comfortable.

So what is the most important part of the whole roof system?

Roofing experts agree that no single part of a whole roof system is “most important.” In fact, most major building products suppliers now promote the system as a whole rather than just marketing shingles. Think of your roof as a team – every “player” has a special role.