What Are the Layers of a Shingle Roof?

When you look at a roof, the only visible part that we see is the shingles. But in reality, there are several components or layers involved, all designed to protect your home from the outside elements. 

Whether you are just shopping for quotes or ready to get a jump on your next roofing project, it’s important to understand these components, and how they work together to protect your home.

Roof Decking

This is the base layer of the roof. It’s the plywood that completes the framing. A solid and sturdy decking is necessary for the rest of the layers and components of your roof to be able to function adequately. 

That means that if any of the old decking is rotted out, it should be replaced. The difficult aspect of this is there’s no way to know if this is necessary until the old roof is removed.

The rest of the layers or components to your roof are designed to keep water away from this base.

new plywood roof install

Ice and Water Shield

The ice and water shield is a waterproof material designed to protect your roof in the valleys and other areas where water could potentially pool or seep through the outer layers of your roofing. Ice guards go on all eaves, some rake edges, valleys, around pipes, chimneys, dormers, and other complexities. It also helps prevent heat transfer in freezing conditions, preventing ice damming and protects the wood around the perimeter of the roof. 


The flashing is a metal ridge at the edge of the roof that prevents water from seeping behind your gutters where it can cause rot.

Flashing is also used around vents or chimneys to prevent water from seeping in.

chimney flashing


The underlayment is a moisture-resistant material placed between the decking and the shingles to help protect against moisture. It is there as a final layer of moisture protection for the decking.

Charcoal roof install


Shingles are the outermost roofing material. Asphalt shingles and other roofing systems are designed to provide protection for the other elements of the roof. They’re also what’s visible when you look at the roof.

Ridge Capping

This is a trim that is installed over the shingles where two slopes meet on top of your roof. It’s important to use the proper materials for capping in order to prevent future leaks on your roof.


Your roof and your attic need to be properly vented in order to ensure the life of your roof. This allows the air to circulate so that moisture doesn’t build up.

roof in akron oh by craig roofing

Professional Installation Is Critical for Your Roof

When your roof is properly installed with all the necessary layers, it can last up to 20 to 30 years. It’s important to select an experienced roofing company that understands what’s involved in the installation process. If you would like to talk with us about your roofing project, contact us today!