Understanding Your Roofing System

When you look up at your roof, you’ll likely notice the shingles, since they’re the most prominent element.

However, the shingles are just one of a number of essential components that work together to ensure the health of your roof. If you need to file a homeowner’s insurance claim for storm damage, all of the following components should be covered:


Shingles come in various quality grades, profiles, and colors to suit different budgets, tastes and styles. More than one type of shingle is used in a single roof system too: starter “strips” go around the edges, hip/ridge shingles are installed along the top, and flat shingles are used on the slopes.


Plywood decking or sheathing is secured to your home’s attic trusses and joists to create a stable roof surface. Underlayment and shingles installed on the top shield the decking from the elements.


Underlayment provides a vital layer of protection against leaks between the roof decking and shingles. In our Minnesota climate, two layers of underlayment are recommended: ice and water shield installed directly on the decking, topped with asphalt-saturated felt paper or synthetic underlayment.


Flashing is used to prevent leaks in transitional areas of a roof. The areas that typically need flashing include the perimeter edge, along with roof/wall intersections, in the valleys, and around penetrations of exhaust vents, plumbing stacks, skylights and dormers.

Attic Insulation

Ample insulation installed on the attic floor keeps warm air from entering the space and rising up to the roof ridge. Not only does insulation help protect the roof by minimizing temperature variations in the attic, it makes heating and cooling your home more efficient.


Having a 1:150 ratio of ridge and soffit roof ventilation per square foot of attic space is crucial to let overheated air escape. During the winter, proper ventilation reduces the risk of ice dam formation along the roof edge. In the summer, it helps prevent premature aging of the roof’s structural components and shingles.

Gutter System

Gutters perform the vital task of catching rainwater as it comes off the roof and redirecting it a safe distance away through strategically-placed downspouts. A well-maintained gutter system lowers the likelihood of ice dams and deterioration of the fascia and roof edge.

If you have questions about the roofing system on your Twin Cities home, or you need dependable, quality roofing services, contact us today at Midwest Roofing, Siding & Windows.

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