Putting On A Roof Goes Far Beyond Choosing Shingles

For most homeowners, putting a roof on your home is a once in a lifetime experience. If you choose the right roofing products, they should last you for the rest of the time you will live in your home. Where many homeowners make a mistake is just focusing on the shingles, or roofing materials that are going to be seen, and not putting enough thought in the other components that will not be seen. If you are ready to put on your new roof, here are some areas you will want to consider.


Did you know a properly ventilated attic can make or break your roof repair or replacement project? Without proper ventilation, your attic space will have the potential to allow heat to build up during the hot days of summer, and moisture to build up during the winter. Proper ventilation will not only extend the life of your roof, but it will also make your home below much more comfortable. It will:

  • Create a healthy flow of air up and out of your attic
  • Create a cool, dry space
  • Keep moisture from damaging your insulation, roofing structure, roof deck, and shingles
  • Prevent mold, mildew, and rot
  • Assist in maintaining more balanced energy cost

To accomplish this, you need to ensure your home gives air a way to get in, as well as out of your attic. You must have an intake and an exhaust system which is balanced to produce the proper flow. When you replace your roofing, have your roofing contractor to install eave, or soffit vents for proper intake, and vents in your gables, deck, or roof ridge for proper exhaust.

Roof Underlayment

Another material which is out of sight, but should not be out of mind is the underlayment of your roof. This is the material which is applied to the wood underneath your shingles, or roofing materials to create the foundation on which your outward roofing materials will be applied. 

Traditionally, this has been constructed from felt, but it can now be found in fiberglass, as well as many new synthetic materials which are now on the market. Underlayment will:

  • Create a water-shedding barrier for any moisture which may penetrate your roofing materials
  • Reduces the potential for leaks
  • Creates UV protection for your roof decking

Always remember, the most important part of a good roof starts with a great foundation.

Roof Flashing

If you have ever had water drip from one particular spot in your roof, there is a good possibility it was due to a bad place in your flashing. Flashing is the barrier which is created at, or around, a joint to make a waterproof seal. Without a proper seal, it is guaranteed at some point you will experience a leak.

Although this is usually made from some type of galvanized metal, many roofers prefer to work with aluminum because it is lightweight and easy to bend. Other materials flashing may be constructed from are:

  • Lead
  • Copper
  • Stainless steel
  • Rubberized asphalt
  • Butyl rubber
  • Acrylic and more

Many times the choice of flashing used will be determined by the type of roofing materials being installed. Certain flashing should not be used along side of certain roofing materials due to the potential for corrosion. 

For example: Copper and lead flashing should not be used with most types of metal roofing. This is because over time, the metal in the flashing and the aluminum, zinc, or coated steel in the metal roofing will create a potential chemical reaction called galvanic corrosion. Over time this will cause your flashing to fail, and your roof to leak.

Where your home is located also needs to be taken into consideration when choosing your flashing. Homes which are located on the coast near salt air, will have a much higher chance of having metal corrosion, than homes which are located further inland.

Always choose a quality roofing contractor. Do not allow someone to come along and install flashy outer materials with little thought to what lies underneath. Keep in mind this is the last time you want to have to put on a roof.