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5 Roof Parts to Know Before a Roof Replacement

Navigating roof replacement as a new or veteran homeowner can often feel overly complicated. 

You might worry about incompetent contractors neglecting components or parts of a roof during installation.

Roof parts are varied, and understanding the different features of a roof that make up your complete roofing system can prove beneficial when it comes to dealing with contractors, even if they’re veteran roofers like us at Shake Guys.

This article aims to clarify a couple of the most important core parts of a roof, helping you make well-informed decisions about what’s best for your home.

What to Consider When Replacing a Roof

cedar roof replacement

When replacing a roof, homeowners should consider the age of the pre-existing roof, the extent of damage (if any), and the cost involved in repairs. Opting for a full roof replacement to ensure all components are new and properly installed is often the better value and wiser choice.

Shake Guys can address issues rooted deep within the roofing system and provide a long-lasting solution against leaks, rotting wood decks or improper sheathing.

We also ensure that the new roof materials bond better with the entire roofing structure since old shingles or other components won’t interfere with their installation.

Setting a realistic budget for your roof replacement is essential.

It helps you plan and avoid unforeseen financial strains down the line. The costs should account for all roofing components, including sheathing, insulation, roof vents, the roof deck, and shingles (roof tiles) — not forgetting labor charges from your chosen roofing contractor.

Variations may arise based on factors like the roof’s shingles, the rates offered by various contractors, and the extent of water damage or repairs needed.

A comprehensive estimate can provide necessary information about these potential costs while helping ensure that nothing catches you off guard during your roofing project.

5 Essential Roof Parts

Choosing the right roof material involves considering factors such as roof slope, regional climate, and budget. Research different types of roofing materials and understand their pros and cons to make an informed decision for your roof replacement.

  1. Roof decking (roof sheathing) is a hugely fundamental component of a roof — be it a gable roof or otherwise. This provides the nail bed for the other roofing materials and roof system. A roof’s decking acts as the foundation upon which your roof’s structure is connected. This is most commonly composed of half-inch plywood, which a contractor should install waterproofing material over.
  1. Vents are another essential component for a durable, long-lasting roof. They allow your roof to breathe. All kinds of roof vents require roof flashing, and help allow humid air to escape through your attic in the form of ridge vents or gable vents. Conversely, soffit vents help to circulate fresh air through the attic.
  1. Ridge tiles are specialized tiles that help cover ridge gaps to keep out moisture and water. Ridge tiles can be used to match the tone of the roof, or provide an accent. The roof’s “ridge” forms the horizontal line at the top of the roof peaks, creating that triangle. It is the highest portion of the roof and connects to rafters to form the frame.
  1. Flashing is a key component of your roof’s weather barrier system. It is made from thin strips of waterproof material. Drip edge is simply metal flashing, which is installed at the edges of the roof to keep water away from the fascia and from getting up underneath other vital roofing components. Roof flashing is essential, because without it, water can get behind the gutters and cause roof rot in the decking and fascia.
  1. Underlayment serves as a protective covering – helping to waterproof your roof. It is directly installed onto the roof’s decking, creating a moisture barrier between your home and the exterior elements. Underlayment is typically made from a number of materials, including fiberglass and rubber.

Consider factors like roof slope, roof structure, and roof decking

When choosing the right roofing material for your roof replacement, there are several important factors to consider. One of these factors is the slope or pitch of your roof.

This refers to how steep or flat your roof is. A roof slope downward will dictate that improved drainage measures are required. Low slope roofs with improper drainage end up with a lot of standing water.

Different roofing materials are better suited for different slopes, so it’s crucial to select one that matches the slope of your roof.

Different types of shingle materials

There are a variety of roofing materials available for homeowners to choose from when planning a roof replacement. Each type has its own unique benefits and considerations. Asphalt shingles, the most popular option, are affordable and easy to install.

Metal roofing offers durability and energy efficiency. Wood shakes, namely cedar shakes, provide a natural look and exceptional durability but require a little more maintenance. Clay tiles offer excellent longevity and fire resistance. Slate is known for its timeless elegance but comes with a higher price tag.

Green roofs add an eco-friendly touch by incorporating vegetation into the roof structure. Rolled roofing is commonly used on low-slope or flat roofs due to its affordability and ease of installation.

Determining Your Roof Replacement Budget

contractor calculating estimate for roof replacement

Determining your roof replacement budget is crucial. Understand your insurance coverage and calculate labor, materials, and permit fees. Don’t let unexpected costs catch you off guard — Shake Guys offers a comprehensive quotation so you know exactly what to expect.

Understanding your insurance coverage

It is crucial to understand your insurance coverage when it comes to roof replacement. A typical all-perils homeowners insurance policy usually covers the cost of replacing a damaged roof.

However, the type of coverage you have may affect the reimbursement amount. There are two main types: actual cash value (ACV) and replacement cost coverage. ACV is often used for older roofs or those in poor condition, providing a less expensive option but with reduced compensation.

On the other hand, replacement cost coverage takes into account the current market value of materials and labor needed for a new roof. So before embarking on a roof replacement project, make sure you review your policy and speak with your insurance provider to fully comprehend what is covered and how much you will be reimbursed based on your specific situation.

Calculate the cost of labor and materials

Determining the cost of a roof replacement involves calculating various expenses, including labor, materials, and permit fees. Labor costs typically account for a significant portion of the overall budget, as skilled roofing contractors need to be compensated for their expertise and time.

Materials such as shingles or tiles also come with their own price tags that depend on factors like quality and durability. Additionally, obtaining permits is often necessary before starting any construction work, which incurs additional fees.

By accurately estimating these costs upfront, homeowners can better plan their budget and avoid any surprises down the line.


Understanding the key roof parts before a roof replacement is essential for homeowners. By opting for a full roof replacement and considering factors such as budget and material choice, individuals can make informed decisions.

It’s crucial to choose the right roofing materials based on factors like climate and slope to ensure longevity. 

Lastly, finding a reputable roofing contractor and being aware of proper ventilation and potential structural issues will help minimize the worry associated with your roof not holding up. 

Shake Guys have seen a number of improperly installed roofs, and we have the experience to ensure you rest at ease with your newly installed roof. We’ll walk you through the entire process! Contact us today to get your free quote.

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