Everything You Want to Know About the Hidden Parts of Your Roof

Residential house roof depicting hidden features of a roof.

Do you think of your roof primarily as shingles?

Maybe you know it has something to do with rafters and beams. Did you know there are significant components to a roof done right?

Most of them can’t be seen once the final product is installed. However, they each do an essential part of forming a weatherproof system to protect your home.

Hidden components roof

Hidden Features of Your Roof

Let’s go over these parts from the inside out.

Beams, Rafters & Decking

If you have visited this blog before, you know we talk a fair amount of about the health of your wood decking.

The beams and rafters that give your roofline its structure are considered part of the bones of the house. They do their part by creating a slope for water and snow to run off your roof.

However, your wood decking is what forms the base layer for everything else. Decking is usually built using plywood or oriented strand board.

In some homes, the decking could be polystyrene, concrete or metal. Those materials are more common on flat roofs on commercial buildings. Finally, decking is attached to your rafters with nails.


The next layer up is called underlayment. The shingles will entirely hide it.

The underlayment is essential to provide a temporary barrier between the decking and any rain or wind while your shingles are being installed.

Ice and Water Shield is installed 2’ inside of heated walls from eaves or more, centered in valleys and around all penetrations.

Underlayment also provides a second layer of protection in case of leaks. The most common underlayments are traditional felt and synthetic felt. They are a kind of paper covered in asphalt, and it gets installed starting from the bottom edge of your roof and overlapped to help protect the seams.

Long-lasting polymers give synthetic felt underlayment its strength and longevity. It’s impervious to moisture and, when installed correctly, offers a higher degree of weather protection than felt.

Drip Edge

The drip edge is also called eave flashing.

Aluminum strips are nailed into place over the underlayment at the sides and beneath the underlayment at the edges of your roof to guide water into the gutters.

They help to prevent the buildup of water at the edges by giving water a route down to the gutters and back to the ground.

Roof flashing


We have talked before about the importance of flashing and what it does.

In a nutshell, flashing is sheet metal that is cut to size and installed around t the places prone to leaks like chimneys and joints.

Anything that sticks out of your roof will need flashing. Furthermore, it helps to direct water away from potential weak spots and off of your roof.


You may see a vent pipe, but the ventilation function of your roof is one of its most hidden features.

It is also one of its most essential functions. Vent pipes are installed near the top of the roof to allow hot air to escape your attic as it rises.

Soffits enable your roof to intake fresh air to create natural circulation. Soffit boards span the space between the house and the edge of the roofline.

If your soffits aren’t constructed to allow air intake, look for another method the builders used for cold air intake.

Gutters depicting gutter options

Gutters & Downspouts

We talk extensively on this blog about the importance of gutters. They aren’t hidden, but sometimes a break or a leak in the system is.

Clean your gutters and downspouts twice every season.


Fascia boards are placed vertically along the roofline to help protect the interior of the house and the roof.

Gutters and downspouts are applied to this part of your roof. Fascia is essential, and its maintenance is vital to the health of your whole roof.

You don’t want rotting fascia, which means you need to clean it along with your gutters on a regular basis.


Your shingles are what you can see, but they must be installed correctly to work.

The seams of your shingles are completely hidden so that they form the best possible barrier against the worst weather.


Hopefully, this gives you a sense of how the whole system of your roof works together.

If properly installed, a roofing system is a marvel of modern construction, and it will protect you and your family for decades.

Lastly, if you are interested in getting a quote and live in Southeast Michigan, please give us a call. We would be honored to help!

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