Get to know your roof

CTR00PRELXNCS0001EAlthough you may think of your roof as one big “cap” on your home, your DC area roofing system consists of several components, all of which must work together to provide the best protection against the weather.

  • Roof Deck – This is the flat panels that are attached to the rafters of your home and form the base layer of the roof itself. Usually made of construction-grade plywood.
  • Underlayment – Specially made felt paper or rubber membrane is installed on all exposed roof decking. There have been technological advances that have upgraded this component resulting in greater strength and breathability, which prolongs the service life of wood decking.
  • Ice and water shield – This component is critical for watertight integrity in critical roofing areas, usually along the roof’s edge. The leak barrier is installed a minimum of 6 feet up your roofline from the edge of the roof at gutter/eaves (which is code), down valleys (where two roofing planes intersect), around the chimney, at the intersection of a roof plane and a vertical wall, and around any penetration through the roofline (soil stacks, vents, fans, skylights, etc).
  • Starter strips – Another critical component, the starter strip is specifically manufactured for installation at all edges of your roofline to prevent wind and water intrusion under shingles.
  • Shingles – These can be asphalt (most popular), fiberglass, tile, wood or slate. All shingles should have a written manufacturer’s warranty against defects.
  • Flashing – Flashing is metal or copper seals that are placed around vent pipes, chimney or other protrusions to prevent water from leaking through a gap between the object and the roof. Also used in high volume flow areas like valleys and joints.
  • Ventilation – Perhaps the single most important component of the roofing system in a temperate zone. Proper ventilation provides longevity to your wood decking and every other roofing component. Even more critical than this, proper ventilation helps to provide for a healthy home.
  • Shingle cap – An overlooked area, this special shingle is manufactured specifically for different grade of shingles. It covers the peaks of your roof, enhances the roof’s look and validates the system’s warranty.
  • Warranty – It is only as good as the company behind it! Warranty options available in the marketplace vary widely. NDL (no dollar limit) warranties are the best available because the manufacturer pays for labor and material at no diminished value.

Of course, the most important component of your roof is the Maryland, DC, and Northern Virginia roofer you choose to install, repair and maintain it! Make the best choice with Roof Masters.


Let the professionals from Roof Masters inspect and evaluate your roof. Call today for a FREE roof inspection and estimate.