house with gray siding and new asphalt shingle roof in a residential neighborhood
  • Roofing Materials

Roofing Systems: What Are They Made Of?

We all know that a roof is a crucial part of the structure of a home, but many people often give it little to no thought. Have you ever wondered what the components are that make up your roof and how they work? We think it is important for everyone to understand their roofing system and how each component works:

Decking or Sheathing

The first part of your roof or the base of your roof is the decking or the sheathing. The decking or sheathing is usually large sheets of plywood or OSB. These sheets are placed directly onto the framing of your roof or onto the trusses. The decking provides the base or surface for the rest of the materials to rest on and be secured to. The decking also allows the weight of snow and other things to be spread across the roofing surface, so your roof does not cave in after heavy snow.

residential roof replacement in progress with wood decking visible

Ice and Water Barrier

The next portion of your roof is the ice and water barrier. This component of your roofing system is exactly like it sounds, a barrier against ice and water from reaching the decking or sheathing. This barrier is placed at the lower edge of the decking and goes 24 inches up towards the pitch of your roof. The state of Minnesota requires the ice and water barrier to go up at least 24 inches in order to meet the building codes. This part of the roof protects the decking from any ice dams in the winter and from any water that could get under the edge of your shingles.


After the ice and water barrier is the underlayment. The underlayment goes over the rest of the roof and the decking. The underlayment is usually waterproof or water-resistant and goes directly under the shingles. This layer is protection for the decking in case any moisture gets under your shingles in a strong storm. The underlayment provides an extra line of defense against moisture so that your wood decking boards can stay dry, and strong, and keep their structural integrity.


Last but not least we have the shingles. The shingles are often the part people are most familiar with. Shingles are constructed in three parts: The first part is the base mat which can be made with organic or inorganic materials. Next, the mat is coated with asphalt which allows the shingles to repel water. And finally, the asphalt is covered in small granules or little rocks that give the shingles their color and appearance. The granules serve a larger purpose than just appearance. The sun can be damaging to the asphalt so the granules provide a layer of protection for the asphalt that will prolong the life of the shingles. Shingles can come in many different colors and styles and there are sure to be shingles that make your home look great!

close-up view of new asphalt shingles on a residential home roof

Roofing isn’t always something people want to replace, but it is one of the most crucial aspects of your home’s exterior and is important to have done right. To learn more or to get your free roofing quote, contact us today!

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