Do you know all the parts of a roof?

You will be surprised by the number of people who aren’t fully conversant with the different parts of a roof. Truth is that a building is never complete without a roof. It not only provides shelter and protection, but also contributes to the building’s aesthetic appeal and value. While different types of roofs have been invented, they all are based on similar principals. The following are the main parts of a roof:

  1. – Eaves: This is the lowest horizontal part of a roof. It’s normally the region where gutters are attached and may either extend a few inches off the wall or flush with it (flush eaves).
  2. – Ridge: It’s the topmost /highest part of a pitched roof. (Imagine the sharp point on an inverted letter “V (∆)”. Beneath it lies the ridge board that is linked to a rafter on each side.
  3. – Rafters: At times referred to as common rafters, these are the timber or beams that run from the eaves to the ridge. It also links the rafter ties or ceiling joists that run horizontally from right to the left rafter or vice versa.
  4. – Ceiling joists: They are also known as ties and help to add rigidity to the rafters and entire roof. Without them, the rafters would give in due to gravity as well as the weight of the roof. They also form part of the support structure for the ceiling section.
  5. – Gable: Looking at a pitched roof from the side, you will see the flank or side wall. The triangular shaped section at the upper section is what is referred to as the gable.
  6. – Verge: This section is found on the gable and starts from the ridge to the eave. Due to its sloping nature, it doesn’t support a gutter.
  7. – Ridge tile: This is a special kind of tile that is found on the ridge and covers the ridge board. It’s usually curved/ angled to ensure no water, dirt, dust or debris penetrates through the two sides of the roof.
  8. – Hip: Instead of the gamble found on a side or flank wall, the roof may have a slanting side as an alternative to the vertical wall and will be covered with shingles or tiles. This is what is referred to as a hipped roof.
  9. – Valley: This is the valley that exists when two sloping roofs merge at an angle (usually 90 degrees). Beneath it lies a piece of timber known as valley rafter and also a sheathing that directs water, snow, dust, dirt or any other debris to the outer edge f the roof.

Sheathing: it’s the board that is nailed on top of the rafters. It consists of materials like plywood, OSB, particleboards and its role is to add rigidity to the roof. It also serves as the base for fasteners and nails. Due to its weak nature, it’s recommended not to walk allover the board as this may cause bowing or weak joints.

Underlayment: This is a waterproof material that is placed directly on the sheathing. It’s made from a range of materials including felt, rubber strips, and plywood among others. Underlayment may be lacking in older buildings but has become mandatory in most regions for new buildings.

Roof covering: This comprises of items like shingles, tiles, and iron sheets which form the topmost part of the roof. Their role is to prevent water, snow, sunlight, dust, dirt, animals, insects and more from entering the buildings.

Truss: It’s the wooden or metal framework that comprises of rafters, ceiling joists, and ridge. After installation, the sheathing, underlayment, shingles, tiles, or iron sheets will be laid on top of it.

Battens: These are small strips of timber that form support points for tiles. They are spaced according to the size and length of the tiles. Battens also assist in holding down the underlayment or sheathing.

– Abutment: This section is mostly found in an extension where a smaller building will be attached to a larger/taller building. The region where the roof of the small building merges with the wall of the taller building is the abutment.

Listed above are the main parts of a roof. And as clearly indicated each part plays a unique role but they all work together to provide a good shelter. Knowing the various parts is important in fully understanding the structure and makes it easy to know what a contractor may be talking about. It also makes it easier to explain to a professional what you want when planning for a new roof or repair.

by Plymouth Roofers 01752 967500

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