The anatomy of your roof

The anatomy of your roof

Here's a look at some common parts of your roof and problems associated with them:

  1. Flashing: The material around pipes, vents or other protrusions is a prime spot for damage or water leaks.
  2. Gutter: Gutters are susceptible to water buildup and ice damming.
  3. Fascia: The front board along your roof line is easily damaged by moisture.
  4. Soffit: Small animals and insects are attracted to the wood beneath the roof overhang, so pay close attention for cracks, holes and rotting.
  5. Shingles: Discolored or curling shingles can be a sign that repairs will be needed soon.

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To Julia Richter
I work for a roofing company so let me see if I can answer some of your questions.
1 ~ Without a warranty or contract that is going to be a challenge. Seems unusual the previous homeowners didn’t keep a copy of the contract. Perhaps they had a back of a pick up truck kind of company do the work. Depending upon where you live usually for roof work, repair or new shingles a permit is not needed.
2 ~ Again this depends on the warranty, the shingle manufacture may warranty the shingles but an improper installation may void any warranty. A legitimate company would want to make the work right but who did the work is unknown.
3 ~ Would have to see your house but this is possible. If you do not have adequate attic ventilation (ridge vents or at the very least gable vents or attic fans) it is possible that the shingles could be “baking”. The ventilation is more important than having a second layer of shingles. Doing a lay over (adding a second layer of shingles over the first) is common industry practice, I never recommend it but if it comes to a price issue (layovers are less expensive than a tear off) or if the homeowner is planning on selling the house in the next 5 years a lay over (adding a second layer of shingles) might be considered.

4 ~ No

5 ~ Get 3 estimates, ask for references. Don’t buy price only, you will never get the best value buying on price alone. Check records with Angie’s List and the BBB. Also most states have a license division for home improvement companies.

Linda W


This is not an informative article. It is very vague, and does not go into details that would help your readers.



how important is "pitch" ? and can anything be done to correct it without a complete makeover?

Angie's List staff


We appreciate your feedback, Panda.
We're currently working on making improvements to our sites, which will include related story and video links with each article. This will help you and other homeowners find comprehensive coverage of home-related topics.

This page, in particular, is meant to be a very basic guide to the important parts of a roof., along with Angie's Blog, Angie's List Tips and Podcasts (links to those sites are at the top of the page), are chock-full of more stories about roofing and its related components. Please do a search at the upper right of the page for the topic or term you're interested in.

In the meantime, we'll continue to work on our sites' improvements and will research and report on the topics you've mentioned.

Thanks for your comment!



Sorry to be blunt, but this is a VERY WEAK "article". There is a TON of information available online and I would have expected AL to provide much more detail than this. I would have liked to have seen a comprehensive, unbiased, and informative article written for people who are unfamiliar with the subject and have found other blogs/articles/sites too overwhelming and confusing. No mention of any type of attic ventilation? Chimney caps? Plumbing/foundation pipes? Slate roofs? Flat roofs? Rubber roofs? Edge drips? C'mon...

Oh, and why people post questions as comments and expect an answer - as if this is a forum - is beyond me. Ignorance, I guess.



Like Lisa, I to am interested in a metal roof. Anyone out there have any input on them? I live in a very hot region and think it would hold up better than asphalt shingles. Can you tell me the pros & cons of a metal roof? Thanks!

Will Krosky


I need brick chimney repair on 70 year-old home with slate roof.



Julia: Please get 3 different bids and do not tell the bidders what each other has said about the repairs until you have the bid in hand. Then, ask them to comment on the others recommendations.

The first roofer you talked to sounds like he is piling on some BS.

Lisa E


What are the best metal roofs to install?

Julia Richter


We have a small leak that just started when there's a heavy rain. When we got the first estimate yesterday, they said they would need to replace 3 lead pipes and add 3 vents I believe. We asked them to check out the whole roof while they looked at the source of the leak. They said the shingles were all "baked" and in poor condition. Our roof is only 8 years old, and the previous owners have no idea who the roofer was. The new roofer said it could be that there's a second roof on it or that the ventilation is so poor it is prematurely aging it. So, my questions are as follows:
1) How do we figure out who the roofer was (e.g. are there permits they would have gotten)?
2) What recourse do we have against the original roofing company if any?
3) Does it seem reasonable to be replacing a roof after only 8 years due to the possible 2nd layer and ventilation problems?
4) Would insurance enter into this at all?
5) Any other suggestions?
THANK YOU for your time and for any help you can provide!

Jane P.


Would like to know about gutters. I think I need new ones?

Kevin Rashid


I need to repair a nearly 100 year old slate roof and am considering putting in solar panels. Is it too costly/complicated to add solar panels too a newly-repaired slate roof?

Aaron B


Lots of us city folk have flat roofs. How about some info relevant to us?

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