step flashing

Understanding Flashing, Shingles, & Underlayment

Insight into Flashing, Shingles, & Underlayment in Roofing

When it comes to roofing, understanding the basics of essential components is crucial for homeowners and professionals alike. Flashing, shingles, and underlayment are integral elements that protect your roof from water damage and ensure its longevity. In this blog post, we will delve into the details of these roofing components, their functions, and the importance of proper installation. By familiarizing yourself with flashing, shingles, and underlayment, you’ll be better equipped to maintain and protect your roof, ensuring its durability for years to come.

  • Flashing: The First Line of Defense

Flashing is a vital component of any roofing system, designed to prevent water infiltration at vulnerable points such as roof joints, valleys, chimneys, and skylights. Here’s what you need to know about flashing:

  1. Material Types: Flashing can be made from various materials, including galvanized steel, aluminum, copper, or rubber. Each material offers specific advantages in terms of durability, flexibility, and resistance to corrosion.
  2. Locations and Types: Common flashing locations include step flashing along the roof edges, valley flashing in roof valleys, chimney flashing around the base of chimneys, and vent pipe flashing around plumbing vents. Each type of flashing is specifically designed to seal and protect these areas from water penetration.
  3. Installation: Proper installation of flashing is critical for its effectiveness. It should be securely fastened to the roof, overlapping adjacent flashing pieces, and integrated with the roofing material to create a watertight seal. Improperly installed flashing can lead to leaks and water damage.
  • Shingles: The Protective Outer Layer

Shingles are the visible layer of your roof, providing protection against the elements and enhancing the aesthetic appeal of your home. Here’s what you need to know about roofing shingles:

  1. Material Options: Shingles can be made from various materials, including asphalt, wood, metal, slate, or synthetic materials. Each material has its own advantages in terms of durability, cost, and appearance.
  2. Types of Shingles: The most common type of shingles is asphalt shingles, which are affordable, versatile, and widely available. Other types, such as wood or slate shingles, offer unique aesthetics and long lifespans but may require more maintenance and have higher upfront costs.
  3. Installation: Proper installation of shingles is essential for their effectiveness. Shingles should be installed according to the manufacturer’s guidelines, ensuring proper alignment, secure fastening, and appropriate overlap. Improperly installed shingles can lead to wind damage, leaks, and premature deterioration.
  4. Maintenance: Regular inspection and maintenance of shingles are necessary to identify and address issues such as missing or damaged shingles, granule loss, or signs of wear and tear. Prompt repairs can extend the lifespan of your roof and prevent further damage.
  • Underlayment: The Hidden Protector

Underlayment is a layer of material that is installed beneath the shingles and provides an additional barrier against moisture. Here’s what you need to know about roofing underlayment:

  1. Purpose: Underlayment acts as a secondary line of defense, protecting the roof deck from water intrusion. It also provides temporary protection during the roof installation process and can help minimize the impact of any shingle leaks.
  2. Types: The two most common types of underlayment are asphalt-saturated felt and synthetic underlayment. Asphalt-saturated felt is traditionally used, while synthetic underlayment offers advantages such as increased durability, moisture resistance, and easier installation.
  3. Installation: Underlayment should be installed directly on the roof deck before the shingles are applied. It should be laid in a staggered pattern, with overlapping edges to create a continuous barrier against moisture.
  4. Importance: Underlayment is particularly crucial in areas prone to heavy rain, snow, or wind-driven rain. It provides an added layer of protection, safeguarding the roof deck and interior of the building from water damage.
  • The Importance of Professional Installation and Maintenance

While understanding the basics of flashing, shingles, and underlayment is valuable, it’s important to emphasize the significance of professional installation and regular maintenance. Hiring a reputable roofing contractor ensures that these components are correctly installed, minimizing the risk of leaks and damage. Additionally, scheduling regular roof inspections and maintenance can help identify and address issues early on, prolonging the lifespan of your roof and avoiding costly repairs down the line.


Understanding the basics of flashing, shingles, and underlayment is essential for homeowners and roofing professionals alike. These components work together to protect your roof from water damage, ensuring its durability and longevity. Proper installation, material selection, and regular maintenance are key factors in maintaining a watertight and secure roofing system. By familiarizing yourself with these roofing basics, you can make informed decisions, effectively communicate with roofing professionals, and take proactive measures to protect your investment. Remember, a well-maintained roof not only provides shelter but also contributes to the overall integrity and value of your home, so make sure you give us a call at 817-857-ROOF or contact us here, to schedule your free consultation.