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As a homeowner, you should be aware of the basic things to consider for a traditional roofing system, such as the types, models, etc. But there is much more to a roof than just the type and model, especially in the case of sloped roofs. Sloped roofs are usually composed of different layers that work together as protective and structural elements. The main purpose of these components, or layers, is to protect your roofing from different external elements. These layers include, in no particular order:


  • Underlayment
  • Sheathing
  • Roofing material
  • Flashing
  • Gutters and downspouts


As each of these components plays a vital role in the performance of your roof, careful attention is essential for the selection and installation of the same.




Roofing underlayment performs the predominant job of preventing water from penetrating through the roofing and causing leaks. Expert South Jersey roofing and siding contractors also add additional membranes underneath the underlayment for an extra level of protection, especially in areas that are susceptible to leaks. The most commonly used underlayment material is builder’s paper, also known as tar paper or roofing felt, but this choice is likely to vary depending on the pitch of your roof and various other factors. Today, roofing felt is made with fiberglass, mainly because this material can withstand tears. The thicker the felt or paper is, the better the level of protection from leaks will be. Installation of this roofing component has to be performed by professional South Jersey roofing and siding contractors because the underlayment could store moisture and cause damage if not installed properly.




Also widely known as the roof deck, sheathing does the job of stabilizing and securing the roofing elements. Today, the most commonly used sheathing materials are flakeboard (oriented strand board or OSB) and plywood. If you are planning on having your roof replaced, you can ask your South Jersey roofing and siding contractor to install a layer of flakeboard or plywood on top of your existing sheathing to level the roofing surface for further processes. Ask your contractor if this extra layer will be of any benefit to your building before proceeding with the next steps, especially if you are on a tight budget. In addition to plywood and OSB, you can also choose between paper fiber and tongue-and-groove as your sheathing option.


Roofing Materials


The roofing material you choose will make up the topmost layer of the entire roofing system of your house. In addition to determining the overall appearance of your roof, the material also plays a vital role in helping determine the maintenance requirements and durability of the roof. Bear in mind that the roofing material you choose will also influence the cooling and heating of your home and hence can have an impact on your energy bills.


Though there are lots of choices when it comes to roofing materials, the choices available to you will depend on the pitch of your roof as well as its load capacity, because the weight of the material you choose should be compatible with the capacity of your roof. You can enlist the guidance of a professional South Jersey roofing and siding contractor for these matters. Some commonly available and used roofing materials are asphalt shingles, fiber cement, concrete tiles, wood shakes, aluminum, steel, slate, and clay tiles.




This is yet another important layer that protects your roof from leaks. Flashing is a thin piece of bent metal that is often used in joints, or areas such as chimneys and valleys, to prevent the passage of water into the roofing structure. Many new flashings are made from galvanized steel because the material is less harmful to human health and water quality when compared to other materials like lead and copper and is environmentally friendly as well. If you prefer something even better, you can choose stainless steel or powder-coated steel flashing. Stainless steel flashing is much more durable than galvanized steel and can also be recycled and reused.


Gutters and Downspouts


Gutters should always be watertight, durable, and not affect water quality. South Jersey roofing and siding contractors recommend aluminum gutters mainly because they are highly durable, have a longer lifetime than other materials, and are also capable of maintaining good water quality. In order to make sure that water from the roof gets drained properly, proper installation of gutters and downspouts is essential. Have a discussion with your roofing and siding contractor and compare the different options and benefits of each before making a decision.


Each of these layers or components is crucial for the performance of any roofing system, so take your time and choose a material that’s high-quality and right for you.