Whether it looks it or not, your roof is a rather complex construction — trust us, we've been working on roofs here in Massachusetts for years. Roofs are far more than just a few shingles tacked onto the top of your home. Modern roofs have several layers, all of which are crucial to maintain the integrity of your home and its energy efficiency. Your roof will consist of rafters, insulation (hopefully), decking, a waterproof barrier, and your shingles, among other roofing components. Here is the purpose of each component of your roof.


At the base of your roof, and at the ceiling of your attic, you’ll find rafters. The rafters of your home support all of the weight of your roof. That’s why, if you’re planning on installing a heavier roof (e.g. slate tile roofing), you’ll need beefier rafters, and more of them, in order to adequately support the extra weight.


Underneath the deck and between the rafters of your roof, you should have insulation. That pink stuff keeps your home warm in winter and cool in summer.

The Deck

The deck of your roof is usually made out of plywood, and it spans across the rafters of your roof. Like your rafters, your deck has to provide adequate support for your roofing materials.

Waterproof Barrier, Tar Paper, & Felt

A waterproof barrier is next. While your roofing material will provide the majority of the waterproofing that you need, a waterproof barrier adds an additional layer of protection to your roof, and it ensures that water doesn’t penetrate the plywood of the deck of your roof. There are numerous barrier systems available. Tar paper, which is less common on American roofs, is made out of tar and fiberglass or paper. Unlike tar paper, felt is made out of recycled materials, as well as tar. Both provide a bit more protection against water penetration, and they make it easier and safer for our roofers to build your roof.


Finally, your shingles, shakes, or tiles will cap off your roofing project. Now, there are numerous roofing materials to choose from, each with its merits and setbacks. For instance, you might choose asphalt shingle roofing for its cost, although it won’t last as long as slate tile roofing. The most common roofing materials include asphalt shingles, wooden shakes, slate tiles, slate composite, and metal roofing.

Other Roofing Components

Your roof may also be outfitted with a variety of other components, including ridge vents, drip edging, gutters, and flashing that surrounds various protrusions in the roof.

Ridge Vent

Ridge vents may be installed on homes in order to aid air circulation in the home’s attic. Without ridge vents, certain homes may be prone to accumulate moisture. Air flows through the eaves of your home into the attic, and then out of the attic space through a small gap at the top ridge of the home.

Drip Edge

A drip edge should be installed around the lowest edges that surround the perimeter of your roof. Drip edging is installed just below your roofing material, yet above the gutters, and it routes precipitation from the roof into its gutters.


Your gutters serve an important purpose. They keep rainwater away from the foundation of your home. While water cascading off of a roof can be damaging, water can be routed through a system of gutters to be expelled safely at the ground. Once again, gutters are installed at the base perimeter of your roof.

Protrusions (Vents, Chimneys, Skylights)

Your home may also have a variety of protrusions that stick out through your roof. You may note that you have vents, a chimney, and skylights that stick out of its surface. All of these components will require flashing to ensure that your roof remains waterproof. Flashing is attached to the outside base of a protrusion, and it may be attached above or below your roofing material, depending on the direction of the flow of water.

Roofing From Red Dog’s

For professional solutions for all your roofing and weatherproofing needs, you can count on the crew here at Red Dog’s. We provide roofing installation and repair services for folks throughout much of Massachusetts, including Fitchburg, Leominster, Gardner, Westminster, Lunenburg, Lancaster, Ashburnham, Princeton, and Sterling. Feel free to learn more about our roofing services, and schedule an appointment today! Rest assured that you have an unbeatable roof over your head!