Unless you’ve worked in the construction trade, you’ve probably never considered just how intricate a system your roof actually is. It’s not just a bundle of shingles placed across plywood but instead is well thought out to protect your home. A well planned roof doesn’t just keep your home secure against the weather, but directs the flow of rainwater away from the structural aspects of your walls and foundation so you can rest assured the house will stand over the course of multiple generations.
The Roof as a System
Of course the roof starts with either trusses or joists, which hold particle board in place. The particle board is then protected with tar paper which waterproofs the fixture, and the paper is further protected with an additional layer of waterproof shingles. Typically asphalt shingles are used, although there are options for metal, cedar or tile as the final layer. Whatever material is used, it is precisely aligned to allow the water to flow smoothly down the roof without leaking into the attic but rather into the gutters.
Gutters serve a far more important purpose than to simply look nice. Without gutters, water drains directly off the house and erodes the soil next to the home. Not only is it bad for plants by the house, but as the soil erodes it makes a place for water to collect and cause further damage, eventually leaking under the home and compromising the foundation. The gutters, when installed properly with a slight angle, control the water to make it go where it can safely drain across the yard by directing it to the downspouts.
Downspouts are the final step in the process. A simple form of downspout places the water on a stone, plastic, or concrete ramp to flow away from the house. A more complex may involve an underground drain attached to the bottom of the downspout to take the water further away from the home. A French drain system actually links the downspout into the foundation drainage system where it can then run off under the ground and back into the water table.
Don’t forget how important a function your gutters serve rather than being only a convenience. Keep an eye on how they function when it rains, and if there seems to be a problem contact your local contractor to have them fixed and set to work properly.