understand roofing lingo

Key Terms to Know Before Installing a New Roof

Is it time for a new roof? There will likely be a slew of new terminology you may not be familiar with it comes to interviewing roofing contractors. Getting into unfamiliar territory when it comes to home repairs can prove to be costly. Consenting to spend thousands of dollars on anything without being a hundred percent sure of what you’re getting can be tragic.

To help any average homeowner get a grip of the basic roofing terms, below are basic terminologies and definitions to get you started.

Roof Materials Related Terms

1. Underlayment

Underlayment is a black paper that is placed over the plywood sheeting to seal and protect the rooftop from harsh elements such as snow, rain, ice, and sun. The underlayment serves three functions: 1) as a waterproof barrier; 2) sweat absorber, and 3) vapor sheet.

2. Flashing

Flashing on a roof refers to the metal pieces that are placed to redirect and prevent water from reaching parts such as hips and valleys.

There are different types such as 1) galvanized flashing; and 2) galvanized alloy (copper, lead coated copper or stainless steel).

Flashing has four main types:
A) Base flashing.

Also known as step flashing. Applied directly to the roof.

B) Cap flashing.

Used around chimneys or walls. Also known as counter flashing.

C) Drip edge.

Applied at the roof’s edge, where the gutter is installed.

D) Valley flashing.

Applied at the roof valleys.


Parts of a Roof

Roofing Parts

image from: https://roofingaboveall.com/glossary/

  1. Decking

This is the integral structure of your roof. The deck holds the roof structure against the walls of the upper room. This covers the rafters and balances the heaviness of the roofing materials. Most decks are commonly produced using plywood or OSB (oriented strand board).

  1. Eaves

It is the edge of the roof that hangs over the outer perimeter wall of the house.eave of a roof

  1. Eave flashing

This is an Extra layer of material connected at the eaves to help keep damage from water back-up. Flashing is a term that alludes to the placement of thin sheets of material onto your rooftop to keep water from going into undesirable corners and joints of the house.flashing

  1. Gutters

These are found at the edges of the eaves. Its function is to channel the water from the eaves to the downspouts.

  1. Ridges

This is the highest peak on the roof. It is where two lines on the roof meet. Ridge vents ought to be introduced at edges to enable hot air to escape upper room spaces. It is shaped by the convergence of two inclining rooftop planes.ridge of roof

  1. Roof valleys

At the point when two segments of the rooftop slant downward and meet. It is one of the primary spots where water will infiltrate in a failing roof.image of valley

  1. Ventilation

This is critical to the longevity of your roof. Ventilation is the flow of air through your attic space. This air flow allows moist, hot air to escape, keeping your roof deck cooler and your home more comfortable

  1. Hip

This is the high point where two connecting rooftop segments meet. The hip is the piece of the rooftop where two slants meet to make a ridge. This is another zone of the rooftop inclined to leakage, and unique bent tiles known as hip tiles are utilized to cover any holes.


A hip style roof. The hip is located in the sections coming down vertically from the ridges.

  1. Pitch

This refers to the slope or steepness of the roof. The level of rooftop slant expressed as the proportion of the rise in feet, to the span, in feet.

  1. Drip Edges

A non-corrosive, non-staining material utilized along the eaves and rakes to permit water run-off. The main use of this is to permit drips of rainwater along the edges. They cover the edge while the roofing felt is covering them.the drip edge

  1. Gables

These are the triangular bits of the ends of the home, which reach out from the eaves to the peak of the roof.the gable

  1. Rake Edge

The inclined perimeter edge of a roof which is along the eaves and runs through the ridge. Perpendicular to the eaves and ridge is the rake.rake edge roof

  1. Soil stack

A pipe that enters a rooftop and is utilized to air out a building’s plumbing.soil stack

  1. Dormer

These are the segments of the home that protrude from the rooftop. They’re generally to bring light into the attic.roof dormer

  1. Rafters

Rafters are the wooden pillars which give your rooftop’s skeleton. It can only be seen inside the property. This serves as a base for insulation, tiles or slates.rafter roof

  1. Fascias

This is a panel of wood between the roof and the wall where gutters are fixed on. This is vertical trim situated at the edge of the building.Fascias example

  1. Square

This is a unit of rooftop measure covering 100 square feet.

  1. Cricket

This is a saddle installed at the back of the chimney to anticipate and catch snow and ice. Also, it is used to prevent water coming into the smokestack. It can also be installed to manage the runoff of water between two roof peaks as shown in the image.sample of a roof cricket

These are just some of the common terms used. You will probably encounter more as you progress deeper into your roof project. It is always important to keep yourself knowledgeable with the terms and updated with trends in roofing techniques and materials so that you can get the full advantage of consulting with a professional. Also, gaining knowledge on these trends and terms will facilitate better understanding between you and the roofing professional.

TeamEstrellaAuthor posts

Juan del Leon is the owner of Estrella Roofing Company in Phoenix, Arizona. He has severed Arizona since 1997 with repair and installation services. Throughout the years he has gained knowledge of of the industry and utilizes his website as a place to blog about his experiences and share his expertise.