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Get To Know The Different Parts Of Your Roof


Different Parts of Your Roof

A roof is more than shingles. A roof also includes the underlayment, decking, insulation, supports, and gutters. These parts work together to protect your home from the weather in all of Maryland’s seasons.

How well do you know your roof? In Harford County, the four seasons of Maryland cause expansion and contraction of your roof material. Keep reading for a basic understanding of your roof!

This blog article will explore the different aspects of a typical roof with a Bel Air roofing service, whether it is a three-tab system with conventional underlayment or a premier architectural shingle roofing system.


In Maryland, the most typical type of roof is asphalt shingles. These can be a three-tab or an architectural shingle. These shingles have a life span of 30+ years now (depending upon the option you choose) and come with warranties.

3-Tab Asphalt Shingles

3-tab shingles are named for the “cut” of the shingle. The strips have three cuts that give a flat appearance when laid on the roof. These have been around a long time and can be seen throughout Bel Air, Maryland’s community. 

It is a common roofing material that is still used today but has less of a lifespan than the more aesthetically pleasing architectural shingles, also known as dimensional shingles.

Architectural Shingles

Architectural shingles, also known as dimensional shingles, are the most common throughout Harford County (new construction). These products are composed of two or more asphalt layers, fused for a thick, varied look. In our opinion, they are the most visually appealing roofing option available for homeowners in Maryland.

Other Shingle Options

Luxury shingle systems are available as well. These options vary, but a common one seen in the local area in Harford County and Baltimore County, Maryland, are synthetic slate systems.

Underlayment and Decking

The underlayment and decking encompass the components below the shingles, which are supportive and another protective barrier between the elements and your home.


Underlayment options are varied but often asphalt and felt paper materials are used as another moisture barrier and protective sealant when installing shingled roofs. The valleys of roofs (where two portions of the roof meet in a low point) are usually sealed with an adhesive asphaltic underlayment, often referred to as weather guard.


The decking on a home is often 4×8 plywood. Each house can have different dimensions of thickness, depending upon how it was originally built. When installing a new shingle system, we inspect the decking for any damage, often caused by moisture and leaking of the previous system. The best course of action is to remove (by way of cutting out) any damaged plywood and replace it with new material.

When we install roofs, our roofers in Bel Air keep in mind the pitch and overall construction of your home.

Insulation and Support

The insulation and support are “inside” of the home and are referred to as the truss system or “bones” of the home (which can also be systems other than trusses) and the insulation provides a barrier against the cold and heat. These systems are below the shingles, underlayment, and decking. 

Insulation is rated with an R-Value which indicates the insulation’s ability to maintain the home’s temperature. Remember, in Maryland, the weather changes constantly, and an appropriate R-value of insulation is essential to maintain a healthy home and not stress out the other systems, such as the HVAC.

We often inspect the attic area, if available, to see any damage from underneath the shingle system. The decking is readily visible as well as the insulation and support system. 

As a professional roofing contractor in Bel Air, we encourage homeowners to inspect their attics if it is safe for them to do so, at least once a year to spot leaks and issues before they grow into anything more serious.

Gutter System

The gutter system collects water and funnels it away from the home’s foundation. In Bel Air, Maryland, we often see water issues in people’s basements due to improper gutter installation and clogged gutters. 

Once you’ve installed an adequate gutter system in Bel Air, MD then you should consider annual maintenance such as cleaning and inspection. 

Over time, water can do a lot of damage to a home, and the solutions are often based on remembering a simple principle: water flows downhill. Ensure the foundation of your home, where the soil or substrate meets the home, is sloped away from the house. This will ensure water flows from the roof, into the gutter, through the downspout, across the properly graded yard, and to an eventual drainage system or body of water.

Other Roofing Questions?

Call Tar Heel Construction Inspects Roofs (410) 638-7021

We take great pride in serving the local Harford County and Baltimore County Communities with their roofing needs. We have over 15 years of experience in the trade and would love to speak with you. Call us today for a free estimate.