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Parts of Roof and Their Functions Explained

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You may have known some parts of a roof, such as a gutter, beams or chimney; however, there is more to it, especially with the latest architectural trends. Mostly, we look at the roof as one, not knowing there are other parts to it as well, which equally play their part in making a roof into a single final piece. And for that reason, it might be hard to keep how each part works, what their functions are and what they are composed of.

One should know about the parts and their functions so that when it comes to maintenance and repair, one will have enough information.

Different Parts of the Roof and Their Respective Functions:


Shingles is a roof cover made in flat and rectangular shapes; after the roof deck is placed, the shingles are installed at the roof’s eaves. These are made from several weatherproof materials, such as metal, wood, steel or slate. One can choose depending on the location and layout of their house. The primary function of this part is to prevent water from coming and damaging eaves and to make it waterproof for an extended period; shingle underlayment is installed.


It is also referred to as a ridge board, roof board or beam. A ridge is a metal or wood placed at the roof’s top, creating a triangular roof. The ridge makes the frame of the roof, and it connects the rafters and trusses.


Valley forms an angle of 90° degrees and connects two sloped or pitched roofs together. The function of this part is to collect the water that falls off and also support the internal gutter, where the water eventually falls down into the external gutter. This part should be chosen and installed carefully otherwise the homeowners could face serious leaking problems.

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Eaves are also known as roof edges and are considered the lowest point in a mansard, pitched or gabled roof. It is responsible for connecting the gutters to the roof. Technically, it clears the wall by allowing water to trickle down the surface.


It is a fixture seen to be beautiful, aesthetical and functional. It is situated between the eaves of the roof and the wall and can be seen when the roof structure is straightened up. In essence, it hides the rafters and ceiling joists.

Its primary function is to shield and protect the rafters from environmental risks like dampness and mould; this also promotes the durability of the roofing materials.


Though it is part of the roof, it is only found on the sides of the gabled roof. These rakes are on the sloped sides of the roof and can be designed as both flat or overhang.

Overhanging rakes can be either left opened or closed; one can close the rakes with soffits of fascia.


The sidewalls are used in the roof flashing, precisely step and base flashing. Sidewalls help in joining the edges of a slope roof deck.


Flashing main function is to prevent water infiltration. It is manufactured by using different materials such as plastic, aluminium, galvanized steel and plastic. This prevents water from coming from roof openings. They are usually used in skylights, pools, vents, chimneys, or roof valleys.

There are several types of roof flashing, which includes:

  • Chimney flashing is used to prevent moisture from penetrating the house and is installed where the chimney and roof intersect.

  • Next is vent pipe flashing, which is installed externally on the roof to prevent water from leaking through the openings.

  • Another one is dormer flashing, which adds an extra layer to the roof to prevent damaging it from water. It can be installed at the dormer roof’s end or bottom, or it can be installed under the sides of the roof’s steel.

Flat Roof

This roof structure has been used in construction for a long period of time. It adds extra space, which is why it is also known as a living roof.

Flat roofs are most commonly used in commercial and dry areas. Flat roofs are:

  • Durable and robust

  • Easy to install; hence cost-effective

  • Less prone to damage

  • Requires less repair and damage

Ceiling Joists or Ties

These are installed along the rafters to increase their strength and durability. These ceiling joists also help in attaching the soffits.


The sheathing is plywood, which is installed over the rafters to strengthen the roof and support underlayment. 


Battens are metal or timber metal strips that hold the tiles in place.

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