When hiring a roofing contractor to install your new asphalt roof, we get how stressful it can be. A roof replacement and installation process are never cheap, and we can understand the fear that can come as a result of this process. Here at Champion Exteriors, we never have this issue with our clients, however, we have heard horror stories from them about roofing contractors they have hired in the past.
We have heard everything from contractors rushing through a job and leaving work that didn't even hold up against one storm, all the way to stories of contractors who took a deposit from the client, and then never showed up to work! That is why we have taken the time to write this article. In it, we will be discussing everything that should go into a roof installation process. We will explain the main components of an asphalt roofing system, each one's individual functions, and why you should trust Champion Exteriors with your roofing installation process!
What Makes Up An Asphalt Roofing System?There are many factors that need to be considered when installing an asphalt roof the correct way. In this section, we will list out each of the main components of your roofing system in the order that they are installed, a quick description of their purpose:
- Rafters- Provides a framework for your roof.
- Insulation- Helps maintain the interior temperature.
- Sheathing- Acts as a solid base layer.
- Ventilation- Helps remove interior moisture from the attic.
- Underlayment- A primary waterproofing layer.
- Water And Ice- A secondary waterproofing layer for certain areas of the roof.
- Flashing- Seals gaps along seams in the roof.
- Shingles- Your tertiary and most exposed waterproofing and protective layer.
- Ridge Vent- Allows for proper venting of hot air in the attic.
- Ridge Cap- Seals of the ridge vent.
- Fascia Board- Acts as a base for your gutters and protective layer for overhang.
- Gutters- Allows for proper drainage of water and debris.
- Soffits- Covers the underside of your roof's overhang.
Teamwork Makes The Dreamwork: What Purpose Each Roofing System Component Serves, And How Each Part Works With One Another!Now that you have a basic understanding of the order in which all of your roofing system components have to be addressed and installed, we will further highlight their functions. This should provide you with a further understanding of just how important each of these components is at keeping your asphalt roofing system functioning properly.
- Rafters- Your rafters are an essential part of your roofing system. They are the first thing that is installed, active structural support for every other part of your roof. If your rafters are not in good condition, this is one of the biggest issues you can have. If even one of your rafters fails, it will result in a weak spot on your roof which can increase your risk of a roof collapse.
- Insulation- having a roof that is properly insulated is very important. This will help reduce your energy bills throughout the year, along with preventing any access or built-up heat from leaking through your roof and melting snow that may be resting on top of your shingles. When the snow melts this way, it creates a snowball effect where the Snow will melt into water and then turn into ice. This will continue happening until you have a large buildup of ice on your roof or along your gutters.
- Sheathing- sheathing is a layer of plywood that goes over your rafters. Your sheathing acts as the base for every other part of your roof. Having sheathing that is in good condition it’s just as essential as having rafters that are in good condition, as they both serve similar purposes.
- Ventilation- there are many different types of ventilation systems for your roof, they all serve the same purpose. Having a properly ventilated roof is essential for the health and longevity of your roofing system. When the heat rises, it all goes up to your attic, and with that heat comes moisture. If your attic is not properly ventilated, that moisture has nowhere to go and will get trapped up there. This becomes problematic because in your attic is exposed wood, such as your rafters and possibly even your sheathing as well if your insulation is not properly installed. When moisture meets the exposed wood, it can result in a lot of problems. All of which have the same effect, damage to the structural integrity of your roofing system.
- Underlayment- typically made out of felt or more recently, a synthetic fiber, underlayment works as a last resort waterproofing layer to protect your sheathing from water damage. If water were to ever get under your shingles, Underlayment should buy you the extra time you need to have your roof maintenance without suffering too much damage to your sheathing or rafters.
- Water And Ice- Although this does not apply to every state, ice and water shield are a legal requirement when installing an asphalt roof in areas of New Jersey that can experience heavy downpours and strong winds. Ice and water are similar to the underlayment, however, it is a little thicker and more durable. Ice and water are required to be laid at least 1 foot up each side of your roof's overhang, or any area that is extremely vulnerable to wind-driven rain damage.
- Flashing- Your flashing is thin pieces of metal that need to be installed near any gap or seam. Examples of these areas include any section of roof where two pieces of sheathing meet at an angle, along the foundation of where your chimney meets your roof, and along the edges of any dormers that your house may have. Without flashing, Your home would have weak spots all along with these areas.
- Shingles- The most obvious aspect of your asphalt shingle roofing system would be the shingles themselves. Acting as the first line of defense from any exterior damage, your shingles play an important role. Not only do they have to function properly and keep water away from the lower components of your roofing system, but they must also look aesthetically pleasing, as they are the most exposed aspect of your roofing system. Without shingles, your roof would sustain all kinds of damage not just from rain but from other circumstances, such as falling branches and hail.
- Ridge Vent- A Ridge fan is the most popular way to ensure that your roof is being ventilated properly. This is a long strip of plastic or metal that leaves a gap between the very peak of your roof, and the ridge caps that waterproof and seal off the rest of the roof. By allowing this extra space, warm air and moisture that would otherwise be trapped in your attic can escape through the crack and into the outside air.
- Ridge Cap- your ridge cap works in concert with your ridge vents. The way that asphalt shingles are installed, laid one on top of the other with a slight overlap on the shingle below it, means that if they were to be laid to the very top of your roof, they would not be able to properly seal it. Ridge caps are designed to cover and waterproof the space that would otherwise be left open to the elements.
- Fascia Board- Fascia board gives your gutters a strong and sturdy foundation to be screwed into, all the while sealing up any gaps that may be exposed from the overhang of your roof. Facia board connects directly to the edges of your rafters, and if installed properly, should join up seamlessly with your soffits. If your facia boards were to fail, your gutters would also not function properly which could lead to big problems down the line.
- Gutters- Your gutters play a very crucial role in keeping your home's foundation from being damaged by falling rainwater. When water slides off of your asphalt shingles it heads downwards due to gravity. The rainwater then falls into your gutters which funnel the water into one central location, your downspout. The downspout travels along the exterior of your home and deposits the water far enough away from your home's foundation so that it cannot cause any problems. If your gutters were to fail, water would just slide off of your roof straight down onto your foundation which will loosen the ground around it and can result in sinking or pitching of your entire home.
- Soffits- Your soffits cover the underside of the overhang of your roof. This prevents any insects or pests from entering your home and works to completely seal off your roofing system from the exterior. Without soffits, there would be a large gap leaving your roof open and exposed to the elements.