Parts of a Roof

A residential roofing system has six main layers that work together to create a durable system

  • A self-sticking membrane that helps protect against leaks caused by wind-driven rain and damaging ice dams.
  • Typically applied to eaves and rakes, in valleys, and around chimneys and skylights.

  • An underlayment that provides a secondary layer of wind-driven rain protection between your shingles and roof deck

  • Starter strips shingles have specially positioned sealant applied at the factory
  • Installed at the eaves and rakes to help reduce the risk of shingle blow-offs

  • Asphalt shingles are the most popular shingle type in the U.S. because they’re affordable to buy, install, and maintain.
  • Made from a sturdy fiberglass base, coated with asphalt and tiny mineral granules

  • Balanced attic ventilation helps reduce damaging heat and moisture in your attic*
  • Helps reduce the risk of ice dam formation in the winter

  • Installed on the hip and ridge areas of the roof to help provide additional protection
  • May have colors available to complement your chosen shingles

*Always have a balanced ventilation system. In no case should the amount of exhaust ventilation exceed the amount of intake ventilation. Visit for details.

Common roof terminology and other roof components to know

The top peaks where two roof slopes meet. Ridge caps - pre-bent shingles installed along ridges - to help prevent leaks and give roofs a finished look.
The outward diagonal joints where two roof slopes meet. Hip caps serve the same purpose as ridge caps.
The exposed portions on the sides of a gable roof that extend to cover the top edge of the roof.
The term for the measurement used for the steepness of a roof.
Windows that stick out vertically from a dormer roof to add space and light to a top floor or attic.
Thin metal sheeting, such as aluminum, that diverts water away from areas like chimneys or vents.
Drip Edge
Strip of metal that sticks out past rakes to keep rainwater from curling around the shingles and back onto the house.
Roof Decking
The wooden boards that make up the framing of your roof. All other parts of the roof are attached to the deck.

Understanding warranties for your roof system

GAF warranties are recognized as some of the best in the industry

Lifetime refers to the length of warranty coverage provided and means as long as the original individual owner(s) of a single-family detached residence [or eligible second owner(s)] owns the property where the qualifying GAF products are installed. For other owners/structures, Lifetime coverage is not applicable. Lifetime coverage on shingles requires the use of GAF Lifetime Shingles only. See the GAF Shingle & Accessory Limited Warranty for complete coverage and restrictions. Visit for qualifying GAF products. Lifetime coverage on shingles and accessories requires the use of any GAF Lifetime Shingle and at least 3 qualifying GAF Accessories. See the GAF Roofing System Limited Warranty for complete coverage and restrictions. For installations not eligible for the GAF Roofing System Limited Warranty, see the GAF Shingle & Accessory Limited Warranty. Visit for qualifying GAF products.

Which shingles are right for my home?

The answer depends on your budget, the weather in your area, and your personal style. GAF can help you make the best choice.

How to choose shingles

A guide through the options you have, and facts you need to consider, when you’re ready to shop for shingles.


Shingle style guide

Find shingle colors that complement your home and and surroundings, and reflect your personal sense of style.


Our most popular shingle

See why Timberline HDZ® is North America’s #1-selling roofing shingle and find out if it’s right for your home.


Work is getting underway in Greater Charlotte, North Carolina, as GAF supports Habitat for Humanity with the 2023 Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project. The five-day build event began in 1984 when former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalyn Carter led a group of Habitat for Humanity volunteers to New York, building alongside 19 families in need of safe, affordable housing. For 36 years, the Carters have worked side by side with professional builders and volunteers at locations around the world to build and raise awareness of affordable housing.
Training women in roofing and other trades can help strengthen the US economy by addressing the country's massive skilled labor shortage. On an individual level, skilled trade training can help improve women's lives.
The commercial and residential roofing industry is booming, with demand for 19,000 new jobs expected by 2028. Accordingly, now is a great time to begin a career path in the sector by enrolling at the GAF Roofing Academy. Hundreds of students have gone on to jobs in roofing after learning the necessary skills and gaining the required experience.
The commercial and residential roofing industry is booming, with demand for 19,000 new jobs expected by 2028. And while most people join the roofing industry for a fulfilling career, it also pays well, with a starting annual wage of $19.22 per hour. This is why now is a particularly good time to begin a career in the sector. A great way to get started is by enrolling in the GAF Roofing Academy, which provides hands-on training and helps students build the skills needed for entry-level positions in residential and commercial roofing.