101 Roofing Terminology For Beginners

Roofing can be a complex subject, and it’s easy to get lost in the jargon. Whether you’re a homeowner who needs a roof repair or a roofing professional, understanding the terminology is crucial to making informed decisions.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ve compiled a massive list of roofing lingo to help you navigate the world of roofing with ease.

A comprehensive list of roofing terms

  1. Asphalt: A sticky, black, and highly viscous substance used as a waterproofing material in roofing.
  2. Shingle: A thin, flat piece of material (such as asphalt, wood, or metal) used to cover and protect the roof.
  3. Flashing: Metal or other durable material used to prevent water from seeping into joints and intersections, typically found around chimneys, vents, and skylights.
  4. Soffit: The underside of the eaves, usually made of aluminum or vinyl, providing ventilation for the attic space.
  5. Fascia: A vertical board that covers the edge of the roof, typically where the gutters are attached.
  6. Ridge: The highest point of a sloping roof where two sides meet.
  7. Valley: The internal angle formed by two sloping roof planes intersecting.
  8. Eave: The lower edge of a roof that overhangs the walls.
  9. Decking: The base layer of a roof, usually made of plywood or oriented strand board (OSB).
  10. Underlayment: A protective layer installed beneath the roofing material to provide additional waterproofing and protection against moisture.
  11. Rafter: Structural members of the roof that support the roof decking.
  12. Truss: A framework of beams or bars used to support the roof.
  13. Ventilation: The process of allowing fresh air to circulate through the attic or roof space, preventing heat buildup and moisture condensation.
  14. Drip edge: A metal strip installed along the edges of the roof to redirect water away from the fascia and into the gutters.
  15. Ice dam: A ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof, preventing melting snow from draining properly.
  16. Pitch: The steepness or slope of a roof, usually expressed as a ratio of vertical rise to horizontal run.
  17. Dormer: A small structure that projects from a sloping roof, typically containing a window.
  18. Gutter: A trough or channel installed along the eaves to collect and carry away rainwater.
  19. Downspout: A pipe or tube that carries rainwater from the gutters down to the ground or drainage system.
  20. Saddle: A small, elevated area that connects two sloping roof sections.
  21. Hip: The external angle formed by two sloping roof planes that meet at a corner.
  22. Gable: The triangular portion of a wall between the edges of intersecting roof slopes.
  23. Underlayment: A layer of material installed between the roof deck and the roofing material to provide additional protection against leaks.
  24. Joist: Horizontal beams used to support the roof decking.
  25. Chimney: A vertical structure that projects above the roofline and is used to vent smoke and gases from a fireplace or furnace.
  26. Skylight: A window installed on the roof to allow natural light into the building.
  27. Penetration: Any object or structure that passes through the roof, such as pipes, vents, or chimneys.
  28. Roofing felt: A type of waterproofing material, typically made of fiberglass or organic fibers, used as an underlayment beneath the roofing material.
  29. Sheathing: Panels or boards used as the base layer for the roof covering.
  30. Counter flashing: A protective layer of metal that is installed over the top of the base flashing to provide additional waterproofing and protection.
  31. Cap sheet: A layer of roofing material, usually modified bitumen or asphalt, applied as the topmost layer of a flat or low-slope roof.
  32. Self-adhering membrane: A type of roofing material that adheres to the roof deck without the need for additional adhesives or heat activation.
  33. Starter strip: The first row of shingles installed along the eaves of the roof to provide a base for the subsequent rows.
  34. Granules: Small, colored ceramic or mineral particles embedded in the surface of asphalt shingles to provide UV protection and enhance durability.
  35. Metal roof: A roofing system made of metal panels or sheets, providing durability and longevity.
  36. Sarking: A membrane or layer of insulation installed beneath the roof covering to provide additional thermal protection.
  37. Rake: The inclined edge of a roof that runs from the eave to the ridge.
  38. Battens: Narrow strips of wood or metal used to secure and support the roofing material, especially in metal or tile roofs.
  39. Ridge vent: A ventilation system installed along the ridge of a roof to allow hot air and moisture to escape from the attic or roof space.
  40. Crickets: Triangular structures built on the high side of a chimney or penetration to divert water around it.
  41. Steep slope: A roof with a high degree of inclination or steepness.
  42. Low slope: A roof with a minimal degree of inclination or steepness.
  43. Ice and water shield: A self-adhesive, rubberized membrane used as an underlayment in areas prone to ice dams and heavy rainfall.
  44. Parapet: A low wall or barrier that extends above the roofline, typically found on flat or low-slope roofs.
  45. Valley flashing: Metal flashing installed in the valley of a roof to prevent water from seeping through the joints.
  46. Rake edge: The outermost edge of a gable roof, typically covered with a drip edge or other protective material.
  47. Pipe boot: A rubber or metal covering installed around vent pipes to prevent water infiltration.
  48. Drip edge: A metal strip installed along the edges of the roof to redirect water away from the fascia and into the gutters.
  49. Shingle overhang: The portion of the shingle that extends beyond the edge of the roof.
  50. Self-sealing strip: A strip of adhesive applied to the underside of shingles or other roofing materials, which bonds them together when exposed to heat or pressure.
  51. Mansard roof: A roof with two slopes on all sides, creating a double-pitched roof.
  52. Roof deck: The structural surface, usually made of plywood or OSB, that supports the roofing materials.
  53. Roof slope: The angle or incline of a roof, often expressed as a ratio or degree.
  54. Nailer: A wooden or metal strip used to provide a secure base for attaching roofing materials, such as shingles or tiles.
  55. Roofing adhesive: A type of glue or sealant used to bond roofing materials together or secure them to the roof deck.
  56. Vent pipe: A pipe installed to allow air or gas to escape from the plumbing system or to provide ventilation for a fixture or appliance.
  57. Counter battens: Strips of wood or metal installed over the roofing underlayment to create a ventilation gap between the sheathing and the roofing material.
  58. Underdrainage: A system of drains or channels designed to carry water away from the roof surface and prevent pooling or ponding.
  59. Standing seam: A type of metal roofing system where the vertical seams are raised above the surface and connected using hidden fasteners.
  60. Ice belt: A region or area where ice dams are commonly formed due to climatic conditions.
  61. Eaves trough: Another term for a gutter, used to collect and channel rainwater away from the roof.
  62. Cricket: A small, peaked structure built on the high side of a chimney or penetration to divert water around it.
  63. Valley lining: A layer of metal or other waterproof material installed in the valley of a roof to protect against water infiltration.
  64. Roof jacks: Metal brackets or supports used to provide stability and secure footing for roofers while working on steep-slope roofs.
  65. Thermal insulation: Materials used to reduce the transfer of heat between the interior and exterior of a building.
  66. Roof membrane: A waterproofing layer applied to the roof surface to protect against water infiltration.
  67. Single-ply roofing: A type of roofing system consisting of a single layer of membrane or sheet material, such as EPDM or TPO.
  68. Heat welding: A technique used to join thermoplastic roofing membranes by melting and fusing the material together.
  69. Roof ridge: The highest point or line along the top of a roof, formed by the intersection of two roof slopes.
  70. Sealant: A material used to fill gaps, joints, and cracks in the roof to prevent water infiltration.
  71. Pitch pocket: A flanged metal container used to seal and waterproof penetrations in the roof, such as pipes or conduits.
  72. Dead valley: A low-lying area on a roof where water tends to accumulate and drain slowly.
  73. Wind uplift: The force exerted by wind on the roof, which can cause shingles or other roofing materials to lift or become dislodged.
  74. Roof coating: A liquid or spray-applied material used to protect and extend the life of the roofing system.
  75. Roof cement: A thick, adhesive compound used to seal and repair leaks in the roof.
  76. Roof rake: The inclined edge of a roof that runs from the eave to the ridge.
  77. Ridge cap: The finished covering or material used to protect the ridge of the roof.
  78. Scupper: An opening or channel in the side of a roof or parapet wall to allow water to drain off the roof.
  79. Metal flashing: Thin strips or sheets of metal used to prevent water penetration and direct it away from vulnerable areas.
  80. Gutters and downspouts: Systems used to collect and channel rainwater from the roof to a safe drainage area.
  81. Roofing nail: A specialized nail with a wide, flat head used to secure roofing materials to the roof deck.
  82. Gable roof: A type of roof with two sloping sides that form a peak or triangle at the top.
  83. Rolled roofing: A low-cost roofing material consisting of large rolls of asphalt-impregnated felt or fiberglass.
  84. Ridge shingles: Shingles installed along the ridge of the roof to provide additional protection and enhance the aesthetic appearance.
  85. Ice barrier: A self-adhesive membrane installed in vulnerable areas of the roof to prevent water infiltration caused by ice dams.
  86. Chimney flashing: Metal or other waterproof material installed around a chimney to prevent water from entering the roof through the joints.
  87. Skylight curb: A raised frame or structure that supports and seals a skylight on the roof.
  88. Drip edge flashing: A metal strip installed along the edges of the roof to redirect water away from the fascia and into the gutters.
  89. Ridge vent: A ventilation system installed along the ridge of a roof to allow hot air and moisture to escape from the attic or roof space.
  90. Roof pitch: The steepness or slope of a roof, usually expressed as a ratio of vertical rise to horizontal run.
  91. Vapor barrier: A layer of material installed to prevent the movement of moisture vapor through the roof assembly.
  92. Step flashing: Individual metal flashing pieces used to protect the joints between the roofing material and vertical surfaces, such as walls or chimneys.
  93. Roofing sealant: A material used to fill gaps, cracks, and joints in the roof to prevent water infiltration and enhance the roof’s waterproofing properties.
  94. Metal roofing panels: Large sheets or panels made of metal, such as steel or aluminum, used as the primary roofing material.
  95. Asphalt roll roofing: A type of roofing material made of asphalt-saturated organic felt or fiberglass, typically installed in long rolls.
  96. Roof ridge vent: A ventilation system installed along the ridge of a roof to allow hot air and moisture to escape from the attic or roof space.
  97. Ice guard: A self-adhesive, waterproof membrane installed near the eaves to prevent water infiltration caused by ice dams.
  98. Roof underlayment: A layer of material, such as felt or synthetic fabric, installed between the roof deck and the roofing material for additional protection against leaks.
  99. Roof sheathing: The layer of boards or panels that make up the roof deck, providing a sturdy and stable base for the roofing materials.
  100. Roof truss: A prefabricated framework of beams or bars that provides structural support for the roof.
  101. Sarking membrane: A vapor-permeable membrane installed under the roof covering to provide additional weatherproofing and insulation.

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