bigstock-Red-Tile-Roof-3037415-300x199Living in the lovely city of Jacksonville you know the weather tends to be hot and humid. While this is great for your outdoor adventuring it may not be so good for your roof. The wear of summertime heat and humidity can damage roofing structures. Part of home ownership is the continued roof upkeep. The thing with a roof is it’s not something you’d normally work on yourself. Roof repair can be complex and you’re going to want a professional to do it.

Before getting to repairs however you’ll want to know some roofing basics. It saves you time and frustration if you understand basic concepts. This allows you to recognize a problem before it becomes too severe and it lets you better explain to a repairman what you need repaired. Never underestimate how useful understanding even the basics can be.

To understand what could go wrong you have to understand the parts that make up a roof. A roof is far more complex than it looks on the surface and a lot of parts go into its construction. What follows is a brief explanation of the parts.

The Underlayment: this is a base component of the roof’s construction. It’s a waterproof film coating that goes over the wooden frame and sheeting of the roof. It’s one of the first steps a builder will perform after the basic frame is built. Its purpose is to keep water and moisture out thus preventing rot and mold.

Flashing: refers to a roofs built in drainage system. These metal parts are used for water removal. Water can collect into standing puddles on a roof causing damage. Flashings are made out of several different types of metal that can include stainless steel and copper. As long as the metal is rust resistant it can be used effectively.

Tile and Shingles: these are the outermost elements of the roof structure. Shingles are a series of overlapping plates made out of various materials. Normally rectangular in appearance they can be made out of treated wood, stone, ceramic, and asphalt. Tiles differ from shingles in a few different design areas. Tiles are almost always made of ceramic materials. While tiles are harder and tend to last longer in general they can to be brittle. This can result in breaking from pressure damage if someone walks on them or falling damage if something lands on them from high up like a tree limb.

Trim: is designed to protect the roof in areas where there are seams in the tiles or shingles. This normally occurs in areas where the roof is uneven or not entirely flat. For example where the roof meets a higher outer wall, a section where the roof slopes, or a hip.

Parts aren’t the only thing there is to know about roof construction. There are also the design elements. As no two roofs are exactly the same different elements apply to different roofs. Just like materials can vary in how they are used in construction so can design elements. What follows are seven design elements you can find in roof construction. Know which ones relate to your roof because different designs have different features, repair steps, and issues that may arise.

Ridge: this is the highest point of a roof’s construction. They are found where two areas of the construction meet forming a slopping peak. Because of its high location it needs to be properly sealed and water proofed to avoid leaking. Aside from being waterproofed for protection ridge sections are also designed to be pleasing to the eye as well.

Hip: this design element is where two roof sections meet forming a point. There are entire roof designs based on hip design and they are very common. Hip roofs resemble pyramids and are either square or rectangular shaped in appearance. All sides angle downward towards the ground from a center point.

Valley: a valley on a roof is where two downward slopping sections meet forming an indention. This is where drainage becomes important. Valleys need properly working draining systems to avoid water accumulation which can cause damage.

Pitch: a pitch is a measurement reading. It measures the slope of the roof and how steep it is.

Eaves: these are the part of the roof that hangs over the outer walls. You’ve probably used them yourself as either shade or shelter from the elements.

Gables: these are the triangle shaped sections of the home’s outer wall found under and along the peaks and eaves of slopping roof designs.

Dormer: these are parts of a home that extend from the roof itself. They are mainly built to add usable space in the attic area of a home. A great many of them have windows or other openings used for added lighting. This illuminates the attic itself or upper floors of the home.