Guide to Roofing

Ferris Home Improvements is committed to offering the best quality roofing products and services to our customers, however in order to better communicate with you, the customer, regarding these points of quality, we have found the following resources, key concepts and terms to be useful for customers.  We hope you find this to be a useful resource.

How Do I Know It’s Time For A New Roof?

Here is a useful guide on identifying when it’s time for you to replace your shingle roof before it drains your pockets and your patience when bad weather hits. Still not sure after reading this? Not a problem. Give us a call and we’ll give you an honest assessment of your roof’s current status. We’re in the business of building trust, so you can rest assured that the answer we give you will be straightforward and in your best interest. Click the brochure to read more.



Vulnerable Areas of Your Roof

Your roof is only as strong as its ability to effectively repel and efficiently channel water off of itself, so it is extremely important to properly seal any interruptions of protrusions in a roof’s flat of uniform surface. Typical vulnerable areas of the roof occur where the roof changes direction, or where a change in materials occurs (for example, where the roof meets a chimney or a wall). Below is a diagram of possible problem areas.



Roofing Basics & Key Terms

Our Ferris Home Improvements roofing specialists ensure these vulnerable areas have proper flashing during installation and repair to ensure your roof and the home beneath it are adequately protected from costly water damage and/or energy waste. While discussing your roof and its unique challenges with you, you might come across some or all of the following terms:

Sheathing/Plywood/Decking. The first, undermost layer of material on your roof is a wooden foundation of sheathing installed directly to your roof’s wood frame. The heavier your roofing materials, the thicker your plywood sheets need to be.

3-Tab Shingles. 3-Tab Shingles are a basic shingle whose design is centered around a three “tab,” or horizontal block, pattern that makes it easy for one to spot its installation lines on a roof and less desirable for aesthetic appeal. Because they are a basic shingle that lays flat with minimal material overlap within each shingle unit (and therefore reduced barrier to the elements), 3-Tab Shingles usually have a shorter lifespan than the more advanced design of dimensional shingles.

Asphalt Shingles. Asphalt shingles are a proven roofing material that consists of a base material, coated with asphalt and infused with granulated minerals.

Architectural Shingles / Dimensional Shingles (see #3 in diagram below). A shingle that is textured, overlayed, or laminated, and designed to produce a 3-D effect (source: Calfinder.com).

Dormer. A window or other dimensional protrusion from a roof that is integrated into the roof’s structure, but interrupts the roof’s long, flat surface.

Drip Edge. A drip edge is a type of metal flashing designed to help channel water to the gutters and off the main surface of the roof; it is a rust-proof layer frequently installed at the lower edges and rake of the roof.

Eaves. The overhanging, lower edges of a pitched roof that are horizontal, generally running parallel to the foundation of the home.

Fascia/Fascia Wrap. Fascia is a vertically standing wooden board that runs directly along the underside of the roof’s perimeter. Fascia wrap is an aluminum material that is custom fitted to cover the fascia, designed to protect and preserve the existing fascia wood and instantly update its appearance.

Felt Paper / Vapor Barrier (see #4 in diagram below). Once plywood sheathing is laid on the roof framework, a vapor barrier (either synthetic underlayment or 30-lb. felt paper) is installed prior to the asphalt shingle layer. This vapor barrier is designed to buffer the differing expansion and contraction rates of the plywood and the shingle materials to prevent the shingles from cracking or warping. In addition, this breathable layer also allows warm attic air to pass through the plywood, preventing moisture buildup in the wood that can eventually lead to wood softening and/or rot.

Flashing. Flashing is a layer of sheet metal installed to help waterproof a roof in areas vulnerable to water collection, such as roof valleys, the base of chimneys, and other joints in a roof (source: Merriam- Webster.com).

Hip & Ridge Shingles (see #1 in diagram below). Hip & Ridge Shingles are shingles designed to cap the peaks of a shingled roof and/or finish the border of a row-home shingle roof that jut up against different roofing materials.

Ice & Water Shield. A solid roofing membrane, installed beneath shingles to prevent water seepage into the house; this shield is usually installed at roof edges and other areas of the roof where water, ice, and snow may collect.

Pipe Collar / Stack. A vent pipe that protrudes from the roof, allowing ventilation from designated areas inside the house.

Ridge Vent (see #2 in diagram below). A ventilation area installed at the ridge, or highest point of the roof where the slopes of a roof meet. It is an area where the roofing material is removed and replaced with a one-way ventilation material that allows hot air to pass through, but also protects outside entry from the elements and animals. A ridge vent is concealed with an elevated layer of shingles that match the roof.

Soffit. The area underneath the eaves, or lower horizontal edges of a roof; the soffit is usually ventilated, working in conjunction with a ridge vent to keep the attic cool and dry.

Valley. A low point in a roof where the bases of two slopes meet.


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