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Your Roofing Guide

Roofing 101

Welcome to Roofing 101! This article will walk you through just about everything you need to know about roofing projects, from roofing jargon to what to look for in a trustworthy contractor.rnrnHave other questions for us? We’re happy to help. Just click the button below to contact our team.

Let’s start with the basics.

All steep-slope roof systems (roofs with slopes of 25% or more) have five basic components:

The Covering Material

This could be shingles, tile, slate or metal and the underlayment that protects the sheathing from weather.


These are the boards or sheet materials that are fastened to roof rafters to cover a house or building.

Roof Structure

The rafters and trusses constructed to support the sheathing.


Sheet metal or other material installed into a roof system’s various joints and valleys to prevent water seepage.


A roof system’s design features, such as shape, slope and layout that affect its ability to shed water.

Here’s what goes into a roofing project.

We take pride in the work we do, and one of the ways we ensure a quality job is completed is by following these three phases for our work.

Phase 1

  • Evaluation Consultation
  • Fact Gathering
  • Problem Identification
  • Recommendations & Budgeting
  • Phase 2

  • Implementation
  • Customized Project Specifications
  • Proposal/Review/Acceptance
  • Installation/Focused on Quality Control
  • Phase 3

  • Project Closeout
  • Final Quality Check
  • Issuance of Warranties
  • Scheduled Checkups Available
  • Your locally trusted roofing team.

    Why call KY-KO?

    Here’s your roofing glossary.

    Ever wondered what some of those roofing terms and words mean? Here’s your guide to the jargon, lingo, and language used in roofing.


    The surface, usually plywood or oriented strand board (OSB), to which roofing materials are applied.


    A small structure projecting from a sloped roof, usually with a window.

    Drip edge

    An L-shaped strip (usually metal) installed along roof edges to allow water runoff to drip clear off the deck, eaves and siding.


    The horizontal lower edge of a sloped roof.


    The material covering the rafter tails at the end of the roof.


    A sheet of asphalt-saturated material (often called tarpaper) used as a secondary layer of protection for the roof deck.

    Fire rating

    System for classifying the fire resistances of various materials. Roofing materials are rated Class A, B or C, with Class A materials having the highest resistance to fire originating outside the structure.


    Pieces of metal used to prevent the seepage of water around any intersection or projection in a roof system, such as vent pipes, chimneys, valleys and joints at vertical walls.


    Slatted devices installed in a gable or soffit (the underside of eaves) to ventilate the space below a roof deck and equalize air temperature and moisture.

    Oriented strand board (OSB)

    Roof deck panels (4 by 8 feet) made of narrow bits of wood, installed lengthwise and crosswise in layers, and held together with resin glue. OSB is often used as a substitute for plywood sheets.


    Vents, pipes, stacks, chimneys anything that penetrates a roof deck.


    The supporting framing to which a roof deck is attached.


    The inclined edge of a roof over a wall.


    The top edge of two intersecting sloping roof surfaces.


    The boards or sheet materials that are fastened to rafters to cover a house or building.


    Measured by rise in inches for each 12 inches of horizontal run. A roof with a 4-in-12 slope rises 4 inches for every foot of horizontal distance.


    The common measurement for roof area. One square is 100 square feet (10 by 10 feet).


    Engineered components that supplement rafters in many newer homes and buildings. Trusses are designed for specific applications and cannot be cut or altered.


    The angle formed at the intersection of two sloping roof surfaces.

    Vapor retarder

    A material designed to restrict the passage of water vapor through a roof system or wall.

    Here are the questions to ask your roofer.

    Sure, we want you to choose KY-KO Roofing. However, we also understand that buying a new roof system is an important investment. So, before you choose anyone, we want to make sure you understand how to evaluate roofing contractors.

    Is the company professional?

    Insist on working with a professional roofing contractor, such as KY-KO. This will help get the results you expect – a quality roof system at a fair price.

    Not all roofing contractors are alike and we highly recommend that you pre-qualify a roofing contractor to get the job done right the first time.

    Do they have a permanent address?

    Always check for a permanent business address, telephone number, tax identification number and a business license. Here’s ours.

    Do they have proof of insurance?

    Don’t hesitate to ask a roofing contractor for proof of insurance. In fact, insist on seeing copies of his liability coverage and workers’ compensation certificates.

    Verify the effective date to make sure they have coverage during the duration of the job. Many building and home owners have been dragged into litigation involving uninsured roofing contractors.

    In addition, if a contractor is not properly insured, you may be liable for accidents that occur on your property. (Read our blog on why you should only hire insured roofers).

    Learn more about our insurance.

    Are they licensed and bonded?

    Check to see if the roofing contractor is properly licensed and bonded. The Arizona Department of Professional Regulation or Licensing Board will have this information.

    Do they have a track record or a financial record?

    A professional roofing contractor can provide current financial information about his company.

    Look for a company with a proven track record that offers client references and a list of completed projects. You can also look at prior customer reviews online.

    Do they offer a written proposal?

    Insist on a detailed, written proposal and examine it for complete descriptions of the work and specifications. If a roofing contractor in Phoenix is unwilling to put together documentation for your project, move on.

    Do they work with specific manufacturers and use quality materials?

    Have the contractor list the roofing manufacturers with which his firm is a licensed or approved applicator. Most roof systems require special application expertise to achieve lasting quality.

    At KY-KO, we promise to use only top-quality materials on your roofing project. Learn more about our Owner’s Pride Guarantee.

    What is their process like? Do they have one?

    Have the contractor explain his project supervision and quality control procedures. Here’s our three-stage process.

    Does the company have any affiliations?

    Check to see if the contractor is a member of any regional or national industry associations, such as NRCA. Being a member of industry associations demonstrates a commitment to professionalism.

    Does the company have a history with the Better Business Bureau?

    Check online to see if the company has a Better Business Bureau profile. Or, call the Department of Professional Regulation to check for possible complaints filed against the contractor.

    Do they have online reviews?

    Visit consumer review websites to hear what customers are saying about the contractor.

    Do they offer roofing warranties?

    Carefully read and understand any roofing warranties offered, and watch for provisions that would void it.

    Do they care about safety or training?

    Choose a company committed to worker safety and education. Ask the contractor what type of safety training he provides for his workers and what industry education programs they have attended.

    The best roofing contractor is only as good as the workers who install the roof system.

    (By the way, never attempt roof repair by yourself!)

    Is their bid too good to be true?

    Keep a healthy skepticism about the lowest bid. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

    Many fly-by-night contractors offer below-cost bids that seem attractive, but these contractors often are uninsured and perform substandard work.

    What is the total deal?

    Remember, price is only one of the criteria for selecting a roofing contractor in Phoenix. Professionalism, experience and quality workmanship also should weigh heavily in your decision.

    What are the threats to your home’s roof?

    A roof system’s performance is affected by everything that nature throws at it. Keeping that in mind will help you make an informed choice regarding your next roof system.


    Heat and ultraviolet rays cause roofing materials to deteriorate over time. Deterioration can occur faster on the sides facing west or south.


    When water gets underneath shingles, shakes or other roofing materials, it can work its way to the roof deck and cause the roof structure to rot. Extra moisture encourages mildew and rot elsewhere in a house, including walls, ceilings, insulation and electrical systems.


    High winds can lift shingles’ edges (or other roofing materials) and force water and debris underneath them. Extremely high winds can cause extensive damage.

    Thermal Shock

    Thermal shock is the expansion and contraction of the roof system due to extreme temperature changes. For example, thermal shock often occurs when a cold rain shower suddenly cools a heated roof on a hot day. Of course, this means we live in a prime target for thermal shock damage, especially during the monsoon season and winter when temperatures can rise and drop suddenly. Foam roof systems are the only ones not affected by thermal shock. This constant movement of the roof system can lead to a shorter life span and leaks.


    This results from the buildup of relatively warm, moisture-laden air. Moisture in a poorly ventilated attic promotes decay of wood sheathing and rafters, possibly destroying a roof structure. Sufficient attic ventilation can be achieved by installing larger or additional vents and will help alleviate problems because the attic air temperature will be closer to the outside air temperature.

    Trees & Leaves

    Tree branches touching a roof will scratch and gouge roofing materials when the branches are blown by the wind. Falling branches from overhanging trees can damage, or even puncture, shingles and other roofing materials. Leaves on a roof system’s surface retain moisture, causing rot, and leaves in the gutters block drainage.

    Missing Or Torn Shingles

    The key to a roof system’s effectiveness is complete protection. When shingles are missing or torn off, a roof structure and home or building interior are vulnerable to water damage and rot. The problem is likely to spread since nearby shingles also are ripped easily or blown away. Missing or torn shingles should be replaced as soon as possible.

    Shingle Deterioration

    When shingles are old and worn out, they curl, split and lose their waterproofing effectiveness. Weakened shingles easily are blown off, torn or lifted by wind gusts. The result can be structural rot and interior damage. A deteriorated roof system only gets worse with time-it should be replaced as soon as possible.

    Flashing Deterioration

    Many apparent roof leaks are actually flashing leaks. Without good, tight flashings around chimneys, vents, skylights and wall/roof junctions, water can enter a home or building and cause tremendous damage to walls, ceilings, insulation and electrical systems. Flashings should be checked as part of a biannual roof checkup and gutter cleaning.

    Poor Ventilation / Insulation

    One of the most critical factors in roof system durability is proper ventilation. Without it, heat and moisture build up in an attic area and combine to cause rafters and sheathing to rot, shingles to buckle, and insulation to lose its effectiveness.

    Therefore, it’s important to never block sources of roof ventilation, such as louvers, ridge vents or soffit vents, even in winter. Proper attic ventilation will help prevent structural damage caused by moisture, increase roofing material life, reduce energy consumption and enhance the comfort level of the rooms below the attic.

    We address your top roofing questions.

    Your FAQs now have answers.

    How can a homeowner recognize when a roof system has problems?

    What are my options if I decide to reroof?

    My roof leaks. Do I need to have it replaced completely?

    How long can I expect my roof system to last?