One of the most challenging parts of homeownership is being expected to know about all of the various parts and systems that comprise a habitable home. When you rent an apartment, all you need to know is the building manager or landlord's phone number. However, when you own a home, then you need to know about sewage systems, HVAC systems, and even roofs.

When it comes to residential roofs, it's important to know the names and functions of the main parts of your roof so you can speak intelligibly with a roofing contractor about potential problems. The ten main parts of all residential roofs and their functions are listed below:

1. Decking/Sheathing: A roof's decking or sheathing is the plywood underlayment installed between the roofing shingles and the rafters. The decking gives a stable place to nail the roofing materials into place.

2. Drip Edge: The drip edge is a strip of stainless steel metal that's nailed around the very edge of the roof connecting the decking to the eaves. The drip edge encourages water to shed off of the edge of the roof.

3. Eaves: The eaves are the vertical wooden edge pieces on a roof and provide a location to attach rain gutter systems.

4. Field: The field of a roof refers to the large flat spans of shingles.

5. Flashing: The flashing on your roof are the small metal pieces used to seal up areas around vent pipes and chimneys. Flashing is used to prevent water intrusion into the attic.

6. Gable: Roofing gables are the slanted areas of your home's roof that form areas that look like large triangles. Gables are an architectural aspect of a home and also serve the purpose of giving a roof an elevation point so stormwater will easily drain off.

7. Rafter: Rafters are large pieces of lumber used as structural supports for the roof.

8. Rain Gutters: Rain gutters hang from the eaves of a home and their main purpose is to move stormwater away from a home's foundation to prevent damage.

9. Ridgeline: When you stand on the ground and look up at your home, the roof's ridgeline is the straight span at the very top of the roof. The ridgeline has vents in it that allow heated air from the attic to escape outside and prevents ice dams from forming in the winter.

10. Vents: The vents are all of those obstructions sticking up through the roof. Most homes have vents for plumbing as well as heating systems located on their roof.