Roof Anatomy 101

Looking to remodel your roof? It’s important to know the anatomy of the roof as you’re speaking with contractors, trying to get the best estimate and what’s best for you.

roof anatomy

Here are 16 elements you must know before you get started.


Also known as the topcoat of a roof. Metal and tile are the most popular, with asphalt shingles being the most commonly installed roof shingles.

Vent Pipe

Helps sinks, tubs ad toilets drain efficiently and quickly by poking through the roof and admitting fresh air into a home’s plumbing system. Usually made of plastic or cast-iron pipe, connected to the home’s plumbing system.


Made of brick or stone, a noncombustible structure that rises above the roofline to drain out smoke and fumes. Chimneys are protrude through the ridge or roof slope or position alongside the roof.

Chimney Cap

Placed above the chimney to keep out snow and rain, usually made of metal or stone.


Made of clay, shaped like squares or rectangles and found inside the lining of a chimney. The flue allows smoke and fumes to be carried out of the home safely.


A sloped roof’s highest point; the peak. A vent is installed along its length at times, which allows hot air exhausted from the attic.

Hip Roof

A roof design that has four roof planes and no A-framed gable-end walls. Two planes at the ends of the house are slanted down from the ridge to the top of the end walls.

Hip Ridge

A peak, usually angled, between two joined sections of a hip roof.

Gutters and Downspouts

Known for carrying away rain, they are channels attached to the fascia.


Horizontal board attached to the lower ends of roof rafters. Usually, rain guttered are attached.

Drip Edge

Used to divert rain away from the house and gutter, this metal flashing is placed along the edges of the roof.


A portion of exterior trim that goes at an angle from the peak of a gable-end wall down to the eaves.


A-framed sidewall of the house that forms a peaked roof.

Gable-End Vent

Positioned high on a gable-end wall, this vent keeps the attic cool by allowing fresh air into the attic.


Eaves located on the underside that projects over the exterior wall. Fitted with vents that allow air circulation into the attic.


Located on the lower edge of the roof and spreads beyond the exterior walls.