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New Homeowners: Understand How Your Asphalt Shingle Roof Is Constructed

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As a new homeowner, it is your responsibility to take care of all aspects of your home. One of the biggest parts of your home that you are now responsible for taking care of is your roof. In order to take effective care of your roof, it helps to understand how your asphalt shingle roof is constructed. This will help you more easily understand any roofing care articles that you read or any advice that your roofer provides you with. Here is a basic breakdown of the layers that make up your roof. 

The Skeletal Structure Of Your Home

The first component of your roof is actually the skeletal structure of your home. The top part of the skeletal structure of your home is composed of trusses and rafters. These are the wooden structures that outline your home and support your roof. The style of your trusses determines which type of roofing material can be used on your home since the structure of your home has to be strong enough to support the weight of the roofing material. 

The Sheeting Or Roof Deck

The skeletal structure of your home is supported with sheathing, which is also known as sheeting or a roof deck. The sheathing layer is generally made out of plywood or oriented strand board. The sheathing is attached to your trusses. It is used to create a more stable foundation for the additional layers of your roof. 


After the right support structures are in place, insulation is added to both the floor of your attic and around the rafters. This helps keep the heat in your home and prevents it from escaping through small cracks in your roof. Generally, you don't have to do anything to your insulation.

However, if you get a leak in your roof, you may have to replace any insulation that is damaged. Also, if you have an older home, you may need to add more insulation in order to make your home more energy efficient. 

Underlayment & Protective Barriers

On top of your insulation are a few layers of underlayment and protective barriers. These layers are in place to prevent water from leaking through the shingles into your attic and home. These layers generally consist of some type of ice and water barrier, a layer of starter shingles, and a layer of felt underlayment shingles.

The exact material that is used on your particular roof is generally determined by the type of shingles you use and the type of climate that you live in. Almost every roof has additional layers of material between the shingles and the insulation to keep water out and protect the layers above and below it.

The Asphalt Shingles

The asphalt shingles that you use comprise the top layer of your roof. You can easily see this layer when you look at your roof. Asphalt shingles are composed of multiple layers -- they are made out of fiberglass mats that are coated with asphalt and strengthened with ceramic granules. This process makes asphalt shingles incredibly strong and durable. The shingles are attached to the starter shingles and the layers of felt shingles through a specialized adhesive coating. 

Asphalt shingles come in a variety of different shapes and colors. They can also be made to look like other roofing material, such as granite. You can customize the look of your roof through the asphalt shingles that you put on it. 

Additional Roof Features

In addition to your regular shingles, your roof is also composed of what is referred to as hip and ridge shingles. These types of shingles are designed specifically for areas of your roof where it is pointed and meets one another. They are made out of the same materials as the rest of the shingles on your roof. The only difference between them and the other shingles is how they are shaped.

Your roof will also have at least a few ventilation ducts in order to keep the air circulating in your attic. The amount of ventilation your roof needs is determined by local building codes. 

Now that you know how your asphalt roof is composed, you will be able to better understand any articles or materials that you read concerning how to take care of your roof. If you need further assistance in understanding how your roof is made and how to care for your roof, contact a local roofing contractor, like those from Premier Contractors, and see if they are willing to give you a short lesson on the construction and basic maintenance needs of your roof.