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What Are the Parts of a Roof?

Parts of a Roof

Knowing the parts that make up your roof is important, especially when it comes to noticing damage or seeking a new roof installation. As you can see in the above photo, there are six major components that make up your roof. These include shingles, a rain gutter, fascia, a drip edge, hip and ridge caps, and underlayment. Each of these work to protect your home by preventing water, wind, and pests from entering. Below, I will outline the primary materials and uses for each of these products as well as signs they may need repair or roof replacement Atlanta GA


Shingles are the visible tiles that make up the surface of your roof. Manufacturers make them from asphalt, metal, clay, and several other materials. They protect your home with a water tight, wind resistant seal. In particular, their seal stops water or debris from entering your attic or ceiling space and causing damage. Roofers install each type of shingle differently, but they connect each firmly to your roof’s surface and other shingles. This prevents moisture from edging under or between your roofing. 

Beyond their necessary function of protecting your home, shingles are also decorative. Manufactured in a wide variety of colors and textures, you can select whatever design best suits your home’s architecture. Depending on the color and material you choose, shingles can also increase the energy efficiency of your home. For example, lighter colors and Cool Roof shingles can decrease the surface temperature of your roof by up to 50° on hot days. 

Shingles serve several important roles for maintaining the structural integrity of your roof. For this reason, they need annual maintenance and replacement every 15-25 years. If you notice that your shingles are curling, cracked, or coming off, it is time to consider repair or roof replacement. Also, an interior water leak is a good sign that your shingles may have some damage. 

Rain Gutter

A rain gutter runs along the perimeter of your roof, collecting run off water and channeling it inside the gutter. However, it functions not only to remove water from your roof, but also discard it away from your home. This water removal is vital to maintaining the structural integrity of your home’s foundation. After all, if your home didn’t have a gutter, water would collect along the exterior walls. As large amounts of rain or debris collected without removal, they would eventually cause your foundation to deteriorate. That is why it is important to maintain the rain gutters on your home, making sure they drain correctly and are not clogged with debris. 


Your roofing fascia is the board that runs parallel below your rain gutter.  Roofers refer to it  as a finishing edge because it completes both the functional and visual aspects of your roof system. The primary role of the fascia is to shield the edge of your roof from environmental conditions. It also supports the weight of the gutter during heavy rain or snow accumulation. In terms of cosmetic uses, the fascia also creates a smooth, even appearance for your roof’s edge.

Manufacturers make fascia boards from wood, metal, or other composite materials. Depending on the material of your fascia, it may need more frequent maintenance or replacement. If you notice rotting, bending, or cracking, you should consider having this replaced by your trusted Atlanta GA roofing specialists. A roofing inspection expert can examine it along with the rest of your roof system and determine the best options. 

Drip Edge

The drip edge of your roof is an L-shaped, metal piece fitted to your roof’s edge. Roofers attach it below your shingles, and it stretches 3-4″ onto your roof and 1″ over the edge. This is a vital element of a roofing system for both new construction and roof replacement. In fact, it recently became part of Georgia building code to include a drip edge on all roofs. It is so important because it functions to prevent wind driven rain, stop gutter overflow, and help with critter control. That means this long, thin piece of metal stops roofing damage from rain, wind, and pests. 

Replacing the drip edge on your home is usually part of the standard roof replacement procedure. Because roofers install it under the shingles, your roofing company should install the two products at the same time. This will prevent the most future environmental damage. However, you may need to replace a current drip edge that storms have damaged or one that is not protecting your home adequately. In this case, you can attach a new drip edge to an existing roof and gutter system. But a professional should do this to ensure the seal and correct water flow. If you were to install the drip edge incorrectly, it could allow water to run along the exterior wall of your home and cause rot or mold. 

Hip & Ridge Caps

Roofers consider hip and ridge caps the finishing touch of a new roof installation. They are the triangular shaped shingles that line the peaks and slopes of your roof. Because they have an arched shape, they create a seal where the shingles of the two ridges meet. Like most elements of your roofing system, their main purpose is to prevent wind, rain, and pests from entering your home. But they also have an aesthetic element. These shingles seal the slopes of your roof and create a seamless appearance. You can thus see the extra curb appeal that these special shingles add to your home. 

Because these are important to sealing the edges where your shingles meet, you have to keep them maintained. Like with flat shingles, you should examine hip and ridge caps for cracking, rotting, or peeling. If these were to get damaged, it would allow water to flow below all the shingles lining the slopes of the roof. 


Roofers attach underlayment directly to your roof’s unfinished surface. It is a waterproof layer—usually felt or a synthetic material—installed corner to corner across your entire roof. Although shingles are your first line of defense, underlayment does the true work of protecting your home from damage. If wind curls the edges of your shingles or rain seeps through, your underlayment prevents any water or pests from entering your home.

Since underlayment is the final line of defense for your home, it needs to be correctly installed and high quality. That is why it is important that you hire a knowledgeable and experienced roofing company, such as your reliable Atlanta GA roofers, when it comes to installation or replacement.Also, when it comes time to replace your shingles, your underlayment probably needs replacement as well. After all, both the shingles and underlayment have withstood the same lifespan and environmental conditions.

Contact Perimeter Roofing

Perimeter Roofing has over 20 years experience in the roofing repair and replacement industry. That means we have the knowledge to assess your current roof and install a new roof with the finest workmanship. With five locations between GA and TN, we can also meet your residential or commercial roofing needs no matter your where you live. Contact us today for a free roofing inspection! We would also be happy to answer any questions your have about the above roofing parts and when they need replacement. 

About Atlanta GA

Atlanta is an incredible tourist attraction due to its irresistible Southern charm, historic sites, and the thriving culture that makes everyone want more. It’s an ideal destination for families with young children who’ll enjoy its Georgia Aquarium and scenic parks. At the same time, it has an exuberant nightlife scene that grown-ups can thoroughly enjoy.

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