Roofing Terms Defined

When you are researching your next roofing solution, the terminology alone can be enough to make you want to throw in the towel. Don’t give up yet! We have broken down the main roofing terms you will need to know to get through your next roofing project successfully.

Still have questions? Our roofing professionals are standing by to help explain every aspect of your roofing project and help you make the best decisions for your home. Call us today at (682) 730-8430 for roofing advice or to schedule your roofing evaluation.

ASPHALT

A bituminous waterproofing agent applied to roofing materials during manufacturing.

BACK SURFACING

Fine mineral matter applied to the back side of shingles to keep them from sticking.

BASE FLASHING

That portion of the flashing attached to or resting on the deck to direct the flow of water onto the roof covering.

BATTENS

1″x2″x4′ wood strips nailed to the roof, upon which the field tile hangs.

BIRDSTOP

In addition to preventing birds from nesting in the hollows of the tile, this length of formed metal or foam elevates the first course of tile so that it is positioned at the same angle as subsequent courses.

BITUMINOUS

Any of various viscous or solid impure mixtures of hydrocarbons that occur naturally in asphalt, tar, mineral waxes, etc: used as a road surfacing and roofing material.

BLISTERS

Bubbles that may appear on the surface of asphalt roofing after installation.

BUILT-UP ROOF

A flat or low-sloped roof consisting of multiple layers of asphalt and ply sheets.

CHIMNEY BASE FLASHING

A corrosion-resistant sheet metal installed at the base of a chimney to prevent leaks.

COLLAR

Pre-formed flange placed over a vent pipe to seal the roof around the vent pipe opening. Also called a vent sleeve.

COMPOSITION SHINGLES

A thin pressed roofing material made of asphalt impregnated fiberglass or organic mat, covered on one side with colored stone granules. Also called comp.

COUNTERFLASHING

Counter flashing is metal attached to a vertical surface to prevent water from getting behind step flashing.

CRICKET

A cricket is a peaked saddle construction placed at the back of a chimney to deflect water around the chimney.

DORMER

A dormer is a vertical window set into and projecting from the slope of a pitched roof.

DRIP EDGE

A narrow strip of non-corrosive, non-staining, finishing material installed along the eaves and rakes to allow water run-off to drip clear of underlying construction. On eaves where gutters are present, this material is commonly called gutter apron.

EAVE

An eave is the horizontal, lower edge of a sloped roof.

FASCIA

The vertical board at the eaves, oftentimes covered with vinyl or aluminum.

GABLE EDGE

A gable edge is the inclined, outside edge of a sloped roof plane.

HIP ROOF

A type of roof containing sloping planes of the same pitch on each of four sides. Contains no gables.

INTERLOCKING SHINGLES

Individual shingles that mechanically fasten to each other to provide wind resistance.

LIFE CYCLE COST

The total lifetime cost of a roof. Calculated by adding maintenance costs to the installed price, then deducting the added value the roof provides when the home is resold.

PIPE COLLAR

Pipe collars are flanges placed over vent pipes to seal the roof around a roof penetration.

PITCH

The angle of the steepness of a roof.

RAKE

The outer edge of a roof from the eave to the ridge.

RIDGELINE

The ridgeline is the top of the roof formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes.

RIDGE BEAM

The top support beam between opposite slopes or sides of a roof.

RIDGE SHINGLES

Shingles used to cover the horizontal external angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes.

RIDGE VENT

A ridge vent is located on the ridge of a sloped roof to provide air exhaust.

ROOF TRUSS (rafters)

The framework that supports a roof.

SHINGLES

The outermost covering of a roof. Composition shingles are manufactured from materials “composed” of fiberglass, modified asphalt and mineral granules. Wood shingles and shakes (shakes are split rather than sawn) are made from western red cedar. Other roofing options include clay and concrete tiles, slate, metal, mineral roll roofing, and tar and gravel.

SOFFIT

The soffit is the underside area below the eave of a roof.

SOFFIT VENT

Soffit vents are located below the eaves to provide air intake.

STEP FLASHING

A corrosion-resistant sheet metal used to waterproof the angle between a chimney, skylight, dormer, etc. and a sloping roof.

UNDERLAYMENT

An asphalt-impregnated felt laid under most roofing materials as a secondary water barrier. Felt is classified by weight per “square”, (100 sq. ft.) usually 15 or 30 pounds. Underlayment is also called tar paper or felt.

VALLEY

The intersection of two sloping roofs joining at an angle to provide water runoff.

VALLEY FLASHING

Made from aluminum or galvanized steel, this additional water barrier is installed after the roof and valley have been covered with underlayment.

VENT FLASHING

A flat piece of pre-cut sheet metal installed on top of the underlayment to prevent leaks from occurring where roof vents are present.