When it comes to having repairs, installations or maintenance works done in a roofing system, knowing certain terminologies are not required for homeowners.
However, it cannot be denied that having a general idea on a few of these terms could definitely help one make the best decisions.
This is especially true when it comes to choosing the right materials which are suited to the style and location of the home. Knowing the following terms should also give one a clearer grasp of what the project contract covers and what it does not.
When you speak to a roofing contractor you will be in a better position if you are familiar with most of the commonly used roofing terms, you are less likely to be taken advantage of buy a fast talking roofer
Common used terms related to the roofing business:
- Asphalt: An agent that is usually applied on various roofing materials in order to waterproof them.
- Asphalt Plastic Roofing Cement: Or Bull, Mastic, Flashing Cement or Roof Tar. It refers to a sealant that is tarmac-based which is used for joining the different roofing materials
- Back surfacing: A material used on the behind of shingles. This is applied to the shingles before delivery and storage to prevent them against sticking to each other.
- Base flashing: A part of a given flashing that is usually fixed to or that seats on the deck. Its primary purpose is to guide water flow on to the roof.
- Built-up roof: Several layers of ply sheets and asphalt that are bonded together.
- Butt edge: A shingle tab’s bottom portion.
- Caulking: The act of filling a joint or intersection to stop possible leaks.
- Closed valley: Refers to that part of the valley that has shingles covering it
- Coating: A layer of sticky, gelatinous asphalt. It is spread over the outer surface of the roof in order to safeguard the membrane.
- Collar: Or Vent Sleeve. It refers to flange that has been preformed and then put over a vent pipe. It is used to seal the roofing located around the opening of a vent pipe.
- Concealed nail method: A method of applying roll-roofing whereby nails are concealed by a cemented and an overlapping course.
- Counter flashing: A part of a given flashing that is connected to a surface that is vertically located above the roof. This helps stop water from seeping into the roof’s base flashing.
- Course: A horizontal, diagonal or vertical line of shingles.
Cricket: A water diverter placed at the rear area of the chimney. Its main purpose is to avoid water, snow or ice from accumulating in the area.
- Deck: The area in which the roofing system is installed. This top surface is where the supporting frame members are located.
- Double coverage: A type of asphalt roofing in which the lapped area is 2-inches wider or more compared to the exposed area. It results to two different roofing material layers found on top of the deck.
- Downspout: Or Leader. It is a piece of piping used to direct water from the roof gutters so as to the drain and away from the foundation of the house.
- Drip edge: A flashing with an L shape found side by side to the eaves. This portion of the roof helps direct water into gutters, and then away from any underlying construction.
- Eave: A portion of your roof which extends in an outward manner. These overhands are not located directly over the exterior walls or the interiors of the building.
- Exposed nail method: A method of applying the roll roofing. Nails are fixed in an overlapping manner of roofing and are left exposed to various weather elements.
- Fascia: refers to a board that is used for hiding of the cut ends in the rafters as well as in the sheathing.
- Felt: A material that is used for sheathing paper or an underlayment. It is often used to describe roll roofing materials.
- Flashing: A roofing material made of metal that is used to seal areas around chimneys, vent pipes, dormers, adjoining walls and valleys. It is used to keep water from seeping into the said joints and intersections.
- Gable: The end portion of exterior walls that comes into a triangular kind of ridge of a roof that is sloping.
- Granules: A material applied on the surfaces of the roofing products made from asphalt. They are often made up of ceramic-coated and fine-crushed rocks.
- Gutter: Often attached to the fascia. This is channel which allows water to flow from eaves towards the downspouts.
- Head lap: The occurrence of an overlapping in the shingles or roofing felt at their upper edge.
- Hip: A fold or vertical ridge that is formed when two sloping roof planes intersect. The hip is found from the ridge to the eaves of the roof.
- Ice dam: A condition in which water backs up into the eaves as a result of the thawing and refreezing of the snow that melts on overhangs. This often leads to roof leaks as water is forced under the shingles.
- Interlocking shingles: Shingles that intertwine with each other thus providing greater resistance to the wind.
- Laminated shingles: Or three-dimensional and architectural shingles. Strips of shingles that are made from two separate units that are laminated together resulting to an additional thickness.
- Lap: Used to call the surface in which a roll or a shingle overlaps another during application.
- Mansard roof: Designs in which a roof plane that is vertical becomes connected to yet another roof plane but with a lesser slope at the peak. This design does not have any gables.
- Mineral stabilizers: Material composed of finely grinded limestone, slate, trap rock as well as other inert materials. They are added to asphalt shingles to help increase its durability and its fire resistance and other harsh weather elements.
- Nesting: A re-roofing process in which a new, 2nd layer of asphalt shingles are installed. Here, the top of the edge of a shingle is pushed such that it lies below the edge of the current shingle tab.
- Pitch: The angle at which the roof is inclined. It is often described as the ratio of the given rise against a given span
- Low Slope: Roofs with pitches or angles that aren’t more than thirty degree.
- Normal Slope: Roofs with pitches or angles that fall in the range of 30-45 degrees.
- Steep Slope: Roofs with pitches or angles beyond 45 degrees.
- Rafter: The backbone framing that is the roof skeletal structure found right beneath the deck. This is where the sheath of the roof is nailed.
- Rake: The closed or extended inclined edge on a roof that is has a steep gradient.
- Ridge: The horizontal angle (external) at which two sloped of the roof meet. There is arguably no other point that is higher than the ridge.
- Run: Or half the span. It is used to refer to the distance in-between a point right under the ridge and the eaves, measured horizontally.
- Selvage: The part of the roll roofing where the covering of the roof covering overlaps. It is often done in order to double the coverage.
- Sheathing: Refers to grade boards which are exterior and they are utilized as a materials for the roof deck
- Shed roof: one roof plane that has no, ridges, valleys, hips, or gables
- Slope: a degree of the gradient of a given roof which is inches, feet or ratios
Smooth-surfaced roofing: Refers to a type of roll roofing covered in mica or ground talc and not the traditional coated granules.
- Soffit: Refers to the finished underside portion of the eaves. It runs from the fascia to the siding to the bottom of an overhang.
- Soil stack: Refers to the vent pipe penetrating the roof.
- Span: The distance from one eave to another, measured horizontally.
Specialty eaves flashing membrane: A type of shingle underlayment that helps prevent water caused by ice dams or even by rain that is brought by wind from seeping through.
- Starter strip: Refers to the asphalt roofing placed on the eaves when the first layer of shingles is being placed.
- Tab: The surface of a strip shingle that is exposed. It is located between cut outs.
- Telegraphing: A type of shingle installation that shows distortion, as it is placed on top of a surface that is anything but even.
- Truss: Refers to the triangular combination of ties, beams, and bars. They are used in formation of a support framework for roofs that are wider.
- UL label: Refers to the label found on a packaging. It is tells the level of resistance and asphalt roofing has against fire and/or wind.
- Underlayment: Refers to the rolled materials that are based on asphalt, which are placed between the main roofing shingles. They are added to provide more protection to the deck.
- Valley: An internal angle which is usually formed when 2 slopping roof surfaces intersect each other. They provide a passage for water to run through.
- Vapour barrier/retarder: Any type of material that hinders water or vapour from getting through.
- Vent: Any single device that may be fixed on a roof for the main purpose of ventilation
If you don’t understand these definitions or have other roofing terms that you don’t understand you local roofer should be able to answer any questions that you have