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Beyond Shingles: Exploring the Science of Roofing Systems

Your roof is made up of much more than just the shingles you see from your front yard. In fact, the multiple components that create your home’s protective layer work together as a “roofing system.”

Roofing systems are scientifically designed to deliver protection to your home under continually varying weather conditions. Their components work together to waterproof, ventilate, and safeguard your property.

Read on to understand the vital job of each part of your roofing system, and understand how they work together to provide total protection for you and your home—no matter what Mother Nature decides to dish out.

Your Roofing System’s Waterproofing Components

Roof deck

Made of plywood or a composite material, your roof deck is located under all the other roofing components. It is closer to your home interior than any other part of your roofing system. If water penetrates down through your shingles to your roof deck—wood rot, mold, and damage result. If problems are going on in your roof deck and they are left unaddressed, they will increase over time and impact your time and wallet significantly.

Ice and Water Barrier

When your roof is sealed properly, it won’t leak, rot, or mold. It needs a waterproof barrier to protect it in the places where moisture tends to flow—including your roof valleys, eaves, chimney, and skylights.

An ice and water barrier protects your home when heavy winds drive rain against your home exterior and roof shingles blow off. This barrier also protects your roof from damage related to ice dams.


This added layer of water resistance or water-proofing—depending on which type of underlayment you choose—is located directly on your roof deck. It offers a layer of protection for the plywood that supports the weight of your roof.

Located under your shingles, this breathable barrier can also be fire-rated and decrease the spread of a fire in your home. Ask your roofing contractor for advice on which type of underlayment to choose based on Dayton’s weather and your roof’s needs.

The Roofing Components that Protect Your Home from the Elements


This is the corrosion-resistant metal applied to your roof at the edges of your chimneys and walls. These edges are known as:

  • Eaves - The roof edges that reach beyond the exterior walls of your home
  • Valleys - The low, angled areas formed where two sloping roof planes come together to create a seam

Flashing is typically made of galvanized steel, aluminum, stainless steel, or copper. It’s a vital component of your roofing system because it helps protect your home from water infiltration, extending the lifespan of your roof.

In a nutshell, if you had the best shingles and underlayment, but you didn’t have roof flashing, water would creep in through your eaves and valleys and cause damage to your roof that would require repairs, early roof replacement, or both.

Roof Shingles

Shingles come in many styles and colors, contributing to your home’s curb appeal while defending your home from ever-changing weather elements by shedding water. They make up your home’s first line of defense against Mother Nature, and in addition to covering your entire roof, they cover areas that are vulnerable to high winds like your eaves.

Hip and ridge shingles are designed to bolster your roof’s protection and add stunning dimension along the angle formed where two adjacent sides of your roof meet.

  • Popular asphalt shingles cover the largest percentage of homes in America. These cost-effective, attractive shingles last up to 30 years when installed properly and maintained over the years. Asphalt is highly customizable, and homeowners choose colors and textures that bring out the best in their home’s beauty.
  • Attractive cedar shakes add classic warmth and distinct beauty to a home.

Components that Make Your Roof Breathe

Intake Ventilation

Adequate attic ventilation helps air to circulate. Balanced ventilation prolongs the lifespan of your roofing system by decreasing heat and moisture buildup that causes destructive ice damming, unwanted roof deterioration, and unhealthy mold to grow.

When your attic is properly ventilated, warm humid air will be replaced by cooler, dry air, keeping roof problems at bay.

Exhaust Ventilation

Without appropriate ventilation, your attic gets warm and moist. The moisture can damage the wood in your attic when it is trapped there without proper ventilation. Adequate attic exhaust ventilation helps protect the interior components of your roof from heat and water damage.

A correctly ventilated attic has gaps at the roof ridge and under the eaves to allow moisture to escape and air to flow from the inside of your attic to the outdoors.

Benefits of a Properly Ventilated Attic

  • Lower energy bills throughout the year
  • Avoid rot in your roof decking
  • Extend the life of your roof
  • Maintain comfortable temperatures inside your home
  • Defend your home from damaging ice dams and icicles

A Roofing Component that Adds Comfort and Energy Efficiency

Blow-In Insulation

You’ll optimize the value, performance, and indoor comfort level of your home throughout the year when you add the type and amount of attic insulation that meets the Department of Energy’s recommendations. Blow-in insulation creates a buffer between the comfy air temperature in your home and the extreme temperatures outdoors.

Want to know more about your home’s siding?

Our “Ultimate Siding Guide for Homeowners” is a great place to start.

Get an Integrated Roofing System for Your Dayton Home

At American Way Exteriors, we install cost-effective asphalt shingles, low-maintenance standing seam metal roofing, eco-friendly synthetic shingles, and timeless wood shake roofing. A properly installed roofing system will safeguard your Ohio home from the elements and bring out the best in its beauty.

Learn more about our residential roofing services today!

Read Our Rave Reviews

American Way Exteriors has earned numerous positive reviews for our outstanding service. Read about our customers’ pleasant experiences working with us, then contact us today to learn how we can improve your home with new siding and roofing.

"Jake Preston is amazing! We had wind damage to our roof. Jake assisted us through every step. Making sure we had no unanswered questions. His professionalism and kindness is unmatched. The crew was respectful and detailed oriented. Thank you Jake and American Way!"

Michelle G.

"Replaced the existing siding on my home. Contact and price were discussed thoroughly during the initial discussions. Workers arrived at the scheduled time and were professional in the removal, new installation, cleanup, and onsite conduct. Communication between supervisors, installers and myself was on a daily basis and any issues were addressed immediately. Would not hesitate to use this company again or recommend them."

Beecher R.

"We chose American Way Exteriors to replace our old vinyl siding with Hardie board siding and trim. Throughout the entire process we found the team to be very professional and receptive to our questions about the project. They were constantly in touch with us about when work would start, what to expect each day of the project, and followed up to see if we had concerns. As the project began it was very apparent our house had suffered from poor installation by the builder years ago. The American Way team worked to fix the problems, keeping us well informed along the way. We could not be happier with the finished project both cosmetically and structurally. This is definitely a company we highly recommend exterior projects!"

Kathy G.

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