You see a roof. Your roofer sees a complete set of interconnected features. Let’s get to know your residential roofing system and its eight integrated components.


Keep the treated air in your living space. Keep untreated (outside) air in the attic. That is the key to good insulation. Sufficient insulation, properly installed once, will save you money year upon year. 


A properly ventilated roof will not allow mold, mildew, or odors. Whether your roof and attic ventilate through soffit and ridge vents, or you rely on gable end vents and fans, your roof must be able to circulate air. 

An ideal attic is exactly the same temperature as the outside air.   

Roof Deck

Oriented Strand Board (OSB) or plywood is used to span the roof deck (rafters) and support underlayment, water and ice shield, and whatever your roof’s field is covered with. 

Water and Ice Shield

Strong, resilient water and ice shield is added protection for valleys and along the bottom three feet of your roof. It helps prevent ice dams from backing water up under your roof’s edge, into your attic. 


Either self-adhesive, human-made or organic underlayment sandwiches between sheathing and the finished roofing material. It closes around staple and nail holes, sealing against water leaks. 

Ridge Vent

Air rises by convection. It enters your attic space at the soffit vents and rises until it exits the ridge vent. Proper ventilation is vital to a healthy (and long-lasting) roof. Ridge vents typically run the entire length of a home’s principal ridge. 


The thin metal that covers gaps between unlike materials on your roof — think chimney masonry and the roof deck — also helps shed water. Sometimes flashing is used in valleys. Sometimes flashing comes loose and costly water infiltration results. 

Field Material

Your home’s roof may be surfaced with one of many great roofing solutions

  • Concealed fastener steel roofing
  • Copper, tin, and sheet metal roofing
  • Exposed fastener steel roofing
  • Fiberglass-asphalt shingles
  • Natural wood cedar shakes and shingles
  • Slate
  • Tin

Every roofing material covering the field (the major expanse of your roof) has its pros and cons. Talk with your helpful roofer to learn what is best for your budget, home, and needs. 

Your roof benefits when you have a good relationship with your local residential roofer. By contacting us at Roof Rescue, we can help you preserve your home’s roof and provide watertight peace of mind.