When most people refer to their roofing system they simply use the term “shingles” to describe the barrier that keeps their home dry.  Although shingles are an essential component, the common roofing system is actually made up of components that work together to keep your home dry and safe from the elements of nature.  That is why most roofing contractors will often use the term “roofing system” when discussing any type of roof.

Overview of a Common Roofing System

A good roofing system is designed to work in harmony with the many components that make up the roof as a whole, and is generally comprised of the following:
Rafters
Roof deck
Soffit
Roof felt or Underlayment
Ice & water shield/barrier
Shingles, Rubber or Metal roofing
Perimeter or edge flashing
Gutter apron
Step flashing
Valley
Saddle
Pan

Analyzing the roofing system as independent, integral units makes it easier to get a better understanding of the purpose of each component, so I have broken the entire roofing system down into three main categories:

Structural
Rafters
Roof deck
Soffit
Follow this link to learn about the structural components of the roofing system.

Barrier
Roof felt or underlayment
Ice & water shield/barrier
Shingles, Rubber or Metal roofing
Follow this link to learn about the roof barrier components of the roofing system.

Metal Flashing’s
Perimeter or edge flashing
Gutter apron
Step flashing
Valley
Saddle
Counter flashing
Follow this link to learn about metal flashing’s of the roofing system.