The Elements of a Proper Roof Installation: What You Need to Know

Roof Installation Process

Are you considering a roof replacement for your home? The process of getting quotes from roofing companies can be daunting, and understanding the elements of a proper roof installation can help you know what to look for. It is important to make an informed decision so you know that you are getting a roof installation and roof replacement that will last a lifetime from a professional roofing company.

Roofing Shingle Installation

The first element of a professional roof installation is the roofing shingles. The roofing shingles you choose will determine the roof’s overall durability, longevity, and appearance. For asphalt shingles, which are the best bang for your buck as far as modern residential roofing is concerned, some of the best roofing shingles on the market are manufactured by CertainTeed – such as their Landmark, Landmark Pro, and Landmark ClimaFlex shingles. 

Roofing shingles are not all made the same. During the process of choosing the roofing contractor you will use for your roof replacement project, it is important to make sure the shingles you choose are not too lightweight and have algae and mold resistant features built into the shingles themselves. The weight of the shingle is important, because over time the exposure to the outside elements will gradually reduce the weight of the shingles – when they become too lightweight, wind will be more likely to adversely affect them or even lift them off the roof. Also, if the shingles do not have algae or mold resistant features (usually copper mixed into the granules), the shingles will have to be treated every few years or algae and mold will grow on them and hasten their decay.

Installing the Roof Underlayment

Roofing underlayment is a layer of water-resistant material that is installed directly over the roof deck before the roofing shingles are installed. The underlayment serves as the main layer of protection against water infiltration and helps to prevent leaks. The most common types of underlayment on roofs currently are asphalt-saturated felt paper, however when starting the roof replacement process it is important that you choose a roofing company that uses synthetic roofing underlayment such as polyethylene or polypropylene. There is a reason that the warranties for asphalt shingle roofs with felt paper are typically only 10 years – felt paper degrades quickly and is unreliable over a long period of time. Because felt paper underlayment was commonly used for roof replacement projects, it is likely that your current roof may have it installed – for this reason, it is also quite important during your roof installation that your roofing contractor properly inspects the roof decking for water damage and replace the roof decking as needed.

Roof Flashing

Flashing is an essential component of a professional roof installation, as it prevents water infiltration around roof penetrations such as chimneys, skylights, vents, and wall connections with brick or stucco. Roof flashing is typically made of metal, such as aluminum or copper, and is installed in layers over the roofing shingles and roofing underlayment around these penetrations. Properly installed flashing should be sealed with roofing cement to prevent water from seeping in around the edges.

Some particular components that fall into the category of roof flashing are: drip edge, gutter apron, apron flashing, chimney flashing, and metal or copper valley flashing on closed valleys. The latter is typically installed on roof replacement projects with luxury asphalt shingles, composite shingles, and slate or cedar shake.

Roof Ventilation

Proper roof ventilation is critical to ensuring the longevity roof, as well as the general energy efficiency of your home. Roof ventilation allows air to circulate through the attic, which helps in reducing heat buildup and preventing moisture from accumulating. Without proper ventilation, moisture can lead to mold and mildew growth, which can compromise the structural integrity of the roof and pose a health hazard. Proper ventilation can be achieved through the use of roof vents, soffit vents, and ridge vents, depending on the design of the building. It is important that you choose a roofing company for your roof replacement that is able to speak in an educated manner about roof ventilation – without proper ventilation, most manufacturers’ warranties will be voided.

Attic Insulation

Attic insulation is another important element of a properly installed roof. Proper insulation can help reduce energy costs, prevent heat loss, and protect the roof from damage caused by ice dams. Without proper insulation, heat can escape through the roof, melting snow, and causing ice dams, which can lead to leaks and water damage. The recommended level of insulation will depend on several factors, including the climate and the design of the building. A professional contractor can help you determine the right level of insulation for your attic and ensure that it is installed properly.


Your roof is one of the most important parts of your home, as it protects the interior from external elements such as rain, snow, and wind. A proper roof installation is crucial to ensure its durability, longevity, and effectiveness. A well-installed roof can last for decades, while a poorly installed one can result in costly repairs and even compromise the safety of the structure.

The essential elements of a properly installed roof include roofing shingles, undamaged roof decking, roofing underlayment, flashing, and ventilation. Quality shingles and attic insulation are also critical to ensuring the roof’s performance and longevity. Remember to choose a reputable roofing contractor that will not only follow local building codes and manufacturer’s specifications, but uses high-quality materials and to ensure the durability and longevity of your roof.

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