Denver Roofing 101: Understanding Your Roof’s Anatomy

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What Is Your Denver Roof Made Of? A Roofing Anatomy Lesson

Roofs serve a crucial function for every building, from residential buildings to commercial buildings. You may not think about your roofing very often, but its safety, integrity, and soundness are of the utmost importance to you, whether you realize it or not.

If your roof sustains roof damage, your roofing system may not function correctly anymore. Roofing can help protect your roof’s structure even if there is rain, wind, snow, or rain.

In this way, working with a professional roofing company, such as our highly-regarded team at Denver Roofing and Construction, is crucial to protect your roof.

Because your roof protects your house from water intrusion and improves curb appeal, which can affect your home’s value. If your roof is covered with moss and algae or looks worn down, that’s a sign your house wasn’t properly maintained.

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Understanding Your Roof

In order to properly maintain your Denver roof, you must understand your roof. From roofing materials to the roof deck to your roofing system to roof rafters to roofing underlayment, each and every one of these elements and many more are vital to your roof’s anatomy and integrity.

If that sounds overwhelming, that’s why our team at Denver Roofing and Construction is here for you. Explore Residential Roofing Solutions for homeowners looking to understand the basics of roofing systems.

Working With Commercial Roofing Materials and Modern Technology

As commercial roofers, we must stay informed about the advancements in commercial roofing contractors’ technology. This means that we know which roofing solution suits each project’s requirements.

Recently developed products, such as synthetic materials, offer a robust resistance to extreme temperatures and optimize environmental and energy efficiency. All of these elements work in harmony to reduce stormwater runoff, which will reduce the cost of heat and cooling systems.

Ensure your roof’s health with our comprehensive Roof Inspection Services.

the shape of your roof matters

Shape of Roofs

Commercial roofing systems require an accurate understanding of the different types of roof slopes. These can be classified into categories such as low-slope roofs, gable roofs, or hip roofs.

For homes with less incline, our Low-Slope Roofing Solutions offer practical and aesthetic installation options. Low-slope roofs, by definition, have a slope pitch of one-fourth of an inch in height to every twelve inches in length. Depending on the types of local roofing materials used, the measurements can change slightly while still staying within this category.

Gable roofs have two contrasting slopes that meet in the middle of the building’s top, forming the triangular shape most often associated with residential suburban homes.

A hip roof has four different slopes, two forming trapezoidal shapes and two forming triangles, resulting in an elevated roof with slopes on all sides.

“L” Flashing

Permanent metal flashes consist of many feet of metal flashing. Used on curved walls and curved to look like the letter “L,” these are used as a part of regular maintenance to provide additional layers of protection against water infiltration in vulnerable areas.

Drip Edge & Flashing

Flashings can also prevent leaks and roof leakages from being visible from different angles and levels. It seals holes to keep the roof watertight, notably on roofs’ many angles or slopes.

Roof flashing is highly durable and consistent. It is waterproofed and built from non-corrosive and non-stainable materials such as copper, aluminum, and steel. Learn how to protect your home roof from Hail Damage with our expert tips.

The roof drip edge is a metal cladding that keeps water away from the roof. Built underneath the roof and extended from the edges on either side, these let water escape from the roof and fascia without causing further damaged shingles, water damage, or water stains.

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Choosing a Type of Roofing System

Once you understand the basic anatomy of a roof’s slope, the next question is which type of roofing system will best fit the requirements of your roof. Residential roofing systems can vary greatly, with each essentially representing a different approach to the building of a home’s foundation and roofing materials.

From built-up roofing to slate roofing to membrane roofing and beyond, there are many other materials to choose from that can prevent sagging and protect your home across the four seasons from high winds and extreme cold.

Emergency roof issues? Our Commercial Roof Repair services are here to help.

Modified Bitumen Roof Deck

Enhanced bitumen, the roofing material, combines asphalt and a unique chemical polymer for flexibility. It has been designed to be applied in multiple coats in several ways, such as using self-adhesion sheets or hot-mopped asphalt.

The roof deck is the center of any roofing system, providing a base foundation for the rest of your roofing defenses.

Two Are Better Than One

The two layers are merged by melting them together, resulting in one of the most versatile and effective roofing systems utilized.

They are extremely durable and can be used against wildfires and hail, thus resisting damage during storms. Need a quick fix or a new roof? Check out our Roof Repair Services tailored for Denver homes.

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Roofing Underlayment

In roofs, moisture is a threat. A primary function of a roof is preventing moisture buildup, as it can help to direct rainwater away and keep it from entering your house, avoiding costly repairs.

An underlayment is installed underneath the roof, as the shingles are installed above. Asphalt-saturated felt was the most commonly used underlying choice for decades, and it still serves many roofers today. Prepare for the unexpected with our guide on Storm Damage and Roofing.

However, synthetic materials have become very popular in recent years because of their durability and water-resistant properties.

Built-Up Roof Systems

The built-up roof system consists of three to three layers of concrete tiles to improve protection. This improves proper ventilation, especially under highly climatic conditions of low temperatures.

Built-up roofs have existed for more than a century, and for a good reason: they’re an incredibly effective roofing system. Time for a commercial upgrade? Explore our Commercial Roof Replacement services.

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Metal Roofs

Interested in modern roofing? Learn about the great benefits of Metal Roofing for residential properties. Metal roofing is known for its aesthetic qualities. Many favor a metal look for their roofing project due to its sleek look.

Builders and owners now opt for certain metal roofs to get maximum benefits over traditional roofing materials, as metal roofing materials are also more eco-friendly than traditional roofing materials.

Roof Coating Systems

Roof coatings come in several different types, the most commonly used being acrylic or silicone, and are used to seal a roof securely.

While still usable and suitable for other roofing materials, metal roof coatings are the most popular and common, as they help the metal roofing material retain warmth while increasing its energy efficiency.

Steep Slope

Steep slopes refer to roof construction materials adapted to roofs with slopes greater than 3/12, greater than traditional low-slope roofs.

While this is generally seen in homes, commercial buildings such as hotels sometimes have this style of steep slope roofing as well.

The roof slope affects the materials that will be utilized, which range from asphalt composite roll, fiberglass three-tab shingle, fiberglass laminate architectural shingle, particular asphalt shingle through wood shakes and wood shingles, clay tiles and cement tiles, and more.

Considering an upgrade? Discover our Roof Replacement Options for a durable and stylish roof.

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Cap Flashing

A portion of a vertically mounted flashing protective barrier that prevents water from moving behind the base flashing is generally used at key areas where the roofing material meets a vertical object, such as chimneys. Chimneys are a great example, as the cap flashing can be installed to ensure no water seeps between the chimney base and the roofing system, preventing water damage or mold.

Cap Sheet

A roof covering an existing structure that works like an extra layer of protection can be installed.

Class “A” Fire Resistance

The best fire resistance rating for roofs meets the ASTM E108 standard (the golden standard of roof testing when it comes to fire resistance). This rating is reserved for roofing material that can withstand severe fires and is thus the safest to utilize.

Closed Cut Valley

When it comes to two separate planes of asphalt shingles meeting in the middle, there are two viable options: open valley or closed-cut valley. Open valley means that the shingles will not cover the meeting entirely, leaving an ‘open valley’ of sorts between them.

Closed-cut valley sees the shingles meeting right in the middle, entirely covering the roofing. Commercial Roofing Services are available for Denver businesses seeking reliable roofing solutions.

under layer roof protect

Waterproof Underlayments

A waterproof underlayment is designed to seal wood roof surfaces and protect against critical leaks on commercial and residential rooftops.

At Denver Roofing and Construction, our roofing company strongly recommends this for any and all of our clients, as utilizing waterproof underlayments can counteract more common materials or a less-than-ideal roof type and extend the lifespan of your roof and house greatly. Extend the life of your commercial roof with our Roof Coating Solutions.

Hip Legs

These are the official names of the inclined planes of a sloped roof.

Asphalt Shingles

The most traditional type of shingles is found in most suburban homes.

Organic Shingles

Shingle crafted from a paper product that has not been utilized in active production since 2008.

roof 101 faq's


How do you describe the parts of a roof?

Understanding the parts of a residential roof is essential for anyone involved in building, maintaining, or improving homes. Here’s a concise description of the key components that make up a roof, presented in a clear and informative style:

Shingles or Tiles

These are the outermost layer of the roof, visible from the exterior. They can be made from various materials, including asphalt, wood, slate, metal, or clay. Shingles or tiles provide the first line of defense against weather elements.


A protective, waterproof layer placed between the roof deck and the shingles or tiles. The underlayment serves as an additional barrier against water and ice damming.

Roof Deck

The structural base of the roof, usually made of plywood or oriented strand board (OSB). It provides support for the underlayment and shingles or tiles.


Thin pieces of waterproof material are installed to prevent water from entering the roof at critical points, such as valleys, chimneys, vent pipes, and the edges of skylights. Flashing directs water away from these vulnerabilities.

Gutters and Downspouts

These components collect and channel rainwater away from the roof and foundation of the house. Appropriately functioning gutters and downspouts are crucial for preventing water damage to the home’s exterior and foundation.


The highest point of the roof is where two sloping sides meet. It often features ridge vents to allow hot air or moisture to escape from the attic.


The lower borders of the roof that overhang the home’s walls. The eaves include the soffit (the underside part) and the fascia (the vertical facing).

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The underside of the eaves can be vented to allow airflow into the attic, helping ventilate the space and reduce heat and moisture buildup.


A vertical finishing trim connected to the ends of the roof rafters, trusses, or the place where the gutter is attached to the roof. The fascia is visible from the home’s exterior and can be made from wood, aluminum, or plastic.


The internal angle that is formed by the intersection of two sloping roof sections. Valleys must be carefully sealed to prevent water infiltration.


The external angle that is formed by the intersection of two sloping roof sections. The hip helps to shed water and snow.

Ridge Vent

A ventilation strip that is positioned along the ridge of the roof. It allows warm, humid air to escape from the attic, regulating the temperature and moisture level in the attic space.

Trusses and Rafters

These are the structural components that support the roof deck and shingles or tiles. Trusses are pre-fabricated frameworks, while rafters are usually site-built.

Ice and Water Shield

A waterproofing underlayment applied at the most vulnerable areas of the roof, such as the eaves and valleys. This shield protects against ice dams and wind-driven rain.

Each of these segments plays a crucial role in the roof’s overall function and durability. Understanding these parts helps homeowners make informed decisions about roof maintenance, repairs, and replacements, ensuring their home remains safe and dry through all seasons.

What is the triangle on a roof called?

Roof gables are triangular sections of the exterior wall used to support or connect legs.

What is the underside of a roof overhang called?

In roofing terms, the overhang green roofs are sometimes called roofs and rafts. Under these overhangs is also called the soffit.

What does a 4-12 roof mean?

A 4-12 roof means that for every 12 inches that the roof runs in length, it rises 4 inches in the height of its slope. So, for instance, a 48-inch long roof would need to rise 16 inches.

Have questions or need expert advice? Contact Us for all your roofing inquiries!

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Hello! I’m Kfir, owner of Denver Roofing & Construction. From climbing rooftops in Austin, TX, as a kid, to servicing Denver’s roofs daily, my passion has only grown. Ready to elevate your roofing experience? Call me or fill out our form today.

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