Rooftop panels and shingles part of the most essential apparatus that protects your home from weather and the elements.  On the market today there is a seemingly unlimited number of options of shingles available when it comes to style, quality or colour.  The shingles themselves can be made of asphalt, ceramic, metal, slate and there are even solar roof shingles!  We will help break down these options, give you a basic understanding of what makes up a roof structure and the importance of why rooftop panels/shingles need to be installed correctly. On most homes, you will find shingles that are made of asphalt or an asphalt/composition mix of material. On the shingles surface, there are tiny little granules that help shield any damage that comes from weather or the elements.

When shingles are correctly installed along with the proper roofing underlay and rooftop sheathing it all combines to give a waterproof protection system for your home.  It is critical that each layer of the roofing is installed correctly. If there is an issue with just one it could compromise the entire system!

So where are these shingles being placed?  

There are 6 main “parts” that form a roof including:

1. Top (or Ridge) – This is the highest point of the roof. And this is what helps determine exactly what the pitch and slope are

2. Hip – This is an external angle that gets formed when two slopes come together to create an intersection

3. Valley – This is an internal angle that gets formed when there is an intersection where two slopes come together

4. Rafters – These are most often wooden beams that run from the top of the roof to the base of the roof

5. Truss – This is the skeletal structure of beams that support the roof

6. Fascia – (pronounced “fey-shuh”) this is the trim that covers the eaves. If the roof has gutters, they are usually attached directly to the fascia.

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There are 3 main layers to set up the proper base structure to make sure your shingles install properly.

#1. The Sheathing

Firstly, there is the sheathing that gets laid on top of the rafters of the structure. This is most often made of either plywood or particleboard. And it offers structure and support for the layers to come.  It is very important to consider that if you are performing this work yourself that there may be minimum building code requirements. You should always check to see what minimums/requirements must be adhered to when performing this type of construction.

#2. Underlayment Layer

Secondly, there will come an underlayment layer. This is usually made of heavy felt or some other type of felt material.  This helps to form the waterproof barrier, and like the sheathing, there might also be requirements to meet code – check with your local building office!

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#3. Shingles

Third and finally, it’s time to place your shingles.  Once you have decided on what material you want for your roof, using the overlapping approach, you will start at the very bottom of the roof and work your way up.  This means that when rain falls, it cascades and flows over the top of each shingle easily and into an eavestrough or downspout.  This completes the waterproofing and will help you keep your home warm and dry for years to come.

A quick note on solar powered shingles. While solar power technology has been around since the mid-1800s, in just the last couple of years they’ve made significant strides into new forms of solar panels.  Many homeowners aren’t interested in installing big bulky solar panels up on their roof. But now individual solar panel shingles can help make roofs far more stylish without the large giant panels. Not only will these shingles protect your roof they will also generate electricity to help lower costs for the home. For more helpful tips or to learn about the materials in the construction and building industry, visit us at

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