A roof is surprisingly complicated. When laymen look at it, they might just assume it’s a single layer of material designed to keep out the elements. However, there are many types of architectural elements that they’re made up of. If we provide a steel roof deck for a project, you’re also going to need a frame, roof covering, and more. 

Whether you’re curious about how buildings are made or you’re trying to figure out why a structure might need repairs, our goal is to help you find the vocabulary you need to understand roofs

exposed interior structure of unfinished Steel roof deck

What You Should Know About Your Roof


Your building’s frame is its skeleton. It forms the initial structure on which all other aspects of the edifice are built. The same can be said of the roof. 

If you’re in the attic of a house and you look up to see wooden beams meeting in the center of your roof, you’re looking at the roof’s frame. While it isn’t always visible, exposed frames have become an increasingly popular architectural flourish. 

Roof Deck 

By itself, the frame can’t support all the materials needed to create a proper roof. This is where decking comes into play. It supports that weight while also providing a surface where other parts of the roof can be installed. 

There are many materials a roof deck can be made from: 

  • Steel 
  • Tin 
  • Aluminum 
  • Wood 
  • Composite 

We’re partial to metal roof decks for several reasons, two of the most prominent being the material’s strength and longevity. 

Roof Covering 

Neither the frame nor the deck should be regularly exposed to the elements. It makes sense, then, that you need to choose a material which can go over the frame and deck, helping them preserve their longevity. 

Roof covering can be made from many different types of materials, including: 

  • Metal 
  • Asphalt 
  • Wood 
  • Vinyl 

Other Protective Elements of a Roof 

While a roof’s frame, deck, and covering are three of its most important features, there are many others that can also be added. After all, your roof protects a building from the elements, and it needs many forms of protection to last a long time. 

Some of these are also architectural elements, allowing home and business owners to enhance the building’s style: 

  • Underlayment – This layer of material is installed directly on top of a deck, and it’s designed to provide many kinds of protection. Along with preventing warping, it’s also typically useful for protecting against fire and moisture damage. 
  • Flashing – This is important for preventing leaks, since it’s made from water-resistant material. 
  • Roof Insulation – Heating and cooling is one of the biggest expenses facing many homeowners, and the roof is one of the most common areas where that air escapes. Insulation keeps the temperature-controlled air inside your home. 

Does the Composition of Your Roof Determine How Long It Will Last? 

Yes, many of the components of a roof are designed to increase its lifespan. Underlayment, for instance, wasn’t always considered an important part of a roof’s construction. Over time, though, it became more important as building owners demanded longer roof lifespans. 

This sort of protection becomes increasingly essential as weather events become more erratic. You don’t want to deal with a leaky roof! 

If you’re wondering about the tradeoff between protective roof features and cost, it’s worth speaking with a roofing supplier. They’ll be able to let you know what’s going to give you the most value for your money, especially when considering the climate conditions of the building’s area. 

Do You Have to Replace Your Whole Roof at Once? 

Now that you understand the various parts of your roof better, you may be wondering – is it possible to replace just the one aspect of a roof that’s facing issues? 

The roof is one of the most expensive parts of many buildings, especially homes. Luckily, if it’s been damaged in one area, it can often be replaced. There are some roofing materials that are designed to be replaced without necessitating a whole roof replacement as well. 

This is especially common for homes with shingle roofs. They can be reroofed, which refers to the process of taking off old shingles and attaching new ones. This saves you money since the structure of the roof is likely to be less damaged than the shingles, which are exposed to the elements. 

Looking for a Steel Roof Deck? 

Miami Metal Deck is here for you. For more than 40 years, we’ve been supplying decking to our customers. Over that time, we’ve gained a reputation for combining fast turnaround times with high-quality craftsmanship. When you choose us, you’re choosing a roof deck supplier you can trust. 

Have any questions about what we can do for you? Want to speak with one of our representatives about getting decking? Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us today. We offer same-day pickup, and our representatives speak both Spanish and English!