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How Your Roof Works

Roofing
Your roof protects your home: here’s how a roof works.

How does your roof work? Does it just sit up at the top of your house, enjoying the view? A roof is one of the hardest-working parts of your home. When you add a new roof to your home or repair an existing roof, you’re creating your home protection system. A roof protects your home from the rain, snow, wind, heat, and cold. It’s an integral part of your home design. Here’s how your roof works.

How Your Roof Works

Your roof is not just made up of a few shingles. It begins with the rafters and continues on in layers of protection that prevent water and the wind from damaging your home. On top of the rafters, your roof has plywood, followed by sheathing, a material that’s designed to protect your home from moisture. Layers of shingles or other roofing go on top of the sheathing. Each layer protects your home.

How Does a Roof Protect Your Home From the Rain?

How does your roof work in a rain storm? Unless your roof has a leak, this is what should happen when it rains:

  • The rain falls on your roof
  • The shingles and sheathing prevent the water from soaking into the roof
  • The rain runs down your roof
  • Rain moves into your gutter system
  • The gutters move the water into downspouts and drains
  • The water moves out into the garden or an underground drainage system.

To make sure that your roof continues to act as effective protection, you need to inspect your roof or have it inspected regularly. This helps you avoid:

  • Broken shingles that cause leaks
  • Damaged sheathing that causes leaks
  • Improper slopes that lead to poor drainage on your roof
  • Leaks around seams such as chimneys
  • Clogged downspouts and drains

Gutter guards can complement the protection that your roof gives to your home. With a gutter guard, your roof will drain effectively no matter whether it’s fall leaf season or spring blossom season. Debris will fall off of the roof rather than get stuck in the gutters.

How Does a Roof Protect Your Home From Snow and Ice?

In theory, snow and ice should work in a similar way to liquid rain. As they melt, the water should flow down the roof and into your gutters.

In practice, your roof needs some extra features in order to prevent problems from snow and ice. If your attic gets too warm in relation to the surrounding environment, that can cause trouble. In the winter, when snow lands on a warm roof, it will turn to water if the roof is very warm. While this might seem like a good thing at the beginning, that water can freeze again, causing a layer of ice that gets under your roofing and starts to damage it. A cooler roof is a benefit on snowy days.

To prevent this problem, your roof also contains vents that come from the house and allow air to move out of the house. Roof vents help move damp air from the inside to the outside, and they also move a small amount of warm air to the outside as well. They help regulate the temperature of your home.

Snow and ice can also back up in your gutters. If this happens, they can push up onto the roof, moving under shingles and causing damage to shingles, sheathing, and the roof as a whole. To prevent this, some people install gutter heating systems. Gutter heating melts snow and ice, allowing water to move and drain freely at any time of the year.

Roofing
Make sure that all parts of your roof are secure to protect your home from the wind.

How Does a Roof Protect Your Home From Wind?

Your roof needs to protect your home from storms, and what is more fearsome to your roof than a wind storm? Through hurricanes and seasonal storms, your roof is designed to stand strong.

Your roof has two barriers. The shingles or tiles are the most visible, but underneath that is sheathing. This is fastened to the rafters. If the sheathing lifts off during a wind storm, your roof will not last. When you’re adding a new roof in a high wind area, you need to ask:

  • How are the roof rafters secured to the rest of the home to ensure that they do not fail?
  • How is the sheathing applied to ensure that it does not come off the roof? Are you using strong nails or less secure staples?
  • What are the requirements for securing sheathing and shingles to the roof, based on local wind conditions?
  • Have you taken the roof style into consideration when thinking about what wind could do to the home?

Secure rafters and sheathing are a vital part of how a roof works, preventing your roof from lifting during a severe wind storm.

The other layer of protection is your top layer of shingles or tiles. In an ideal world, these shingles work to protect your home from the wind and rain that come with seasonal storms. In reality, if they are chipped or loose or simply the wrong type, shingles can fly off the roof in a storm. To make sure that your shingles are strong in the wind, you need to choose the right type of top layer for your roof.

Roofing TypeBenefits
Asphalt ShinglesEasy to repair, layered and secured with adhesive.
MetalStrong and resistant to damage as well as the wind.
Concrete TilesHeavy, resist the wind because they are hard to blow off.

Your house is a system, and its overall design can help it resist the wind. Certain shapes of roofs have better resistance to the wind than others. According to Science Daily, “roofs with multiple slopes such as a hip roof (4 slopes) perform better under wind forces than gable roofs (2 slopes),” and a roof with a 30-degree slope has the best wind resistance. Overall, square, octagonal, and hexagonal floor plans perform best in the wind.

How Does Roofing Protect Your Home From Heat and Cold?

When it’s not snowing, blowing, and rainy, your roof still has a job to do. It needs to protect your home from everyday changes in temperature. This helps keep the temperature inside your home stable.

Your roof and your attic work together to provide some resistance to the heat and the cold. Home insulation is a way to reduce the temperature shifts inside your house. In the winter months, warm air will rise and move out through the attic walls and roof if you don’t protect your attic with a layer of insulation. Insulation works because it’s made up of many tiny air pockets that trap the heat. It’s like a warm down jacket for your home. However, if this jacket gets wet, the air pockets deteriorate. Maintaining your roof helps prevent your insulation from getting wet, and this protects your home from the cold and the heat.

Are you looking for a roof and gutter systems that will help protect your home, no matter what the weather? Contact Harry Helmet. We’ll work with you to create a roofing and gutter system that will help your home last.

Written by Del Thebaud

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I recently had the Gutter Helmet by Harry Helmet installed on my house. It not only looks amazing, but the guys arrived on time, were professional and efficiently got the job done. I am very satisfied with Gutter Helmet's attention to detail and fulfilling their work as promised. I will definitely tell my neighbors about the Gutter Helmet.
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I have had Gutter Helmets for 20 years. In all that time I've never had a problem until recently a bird's nest found its way into one of my gutters. The installer who came to replace the product was the same installer from 20 years earlier. Now that's impressive. Everyone at Gutter Helmet inclusive of the office staff were professional and a pleasure to work with.
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We needed our roof repaired due to wind damage. After several quotes, Gutter Helmet was the only company that went into our attic to look and see if more damage had occurred. If it wasn't for them taking the extra time to look at everything, we would have had rotting wood under our new roof. They were very professional and gave a fair quote.
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