If you own your house for any amount of time chances are you are either going to have to repair or replace your roof. Whether you choose to do the repairs yourself or hire a contractor to do the work, knowing the common roofing terms will help you to understand what needs to be done and why. Here are some of the most common roofing terms and their definitions.
- Shingles – A shingle is a thin oblong piece of material that is laid in overlapping rows on your roof and provides a covering to keep out the rain and elements. Asphalt shingles are the most common type of shingles.
- Starter -The very first layer of shingles around the bottom of roof’s perimeter. Shingles begin at the lower edge of the structure and are layered upward.
- Roofing Tiles – Roofing tiles are preformed baked slabs of material that are laid in rows and serve the same function as shingles. These tiles can be made from a variety of materials.
- Metal Roofing Sheets – Metal roofing sheets replace the shingles or roofing tiles on a home.
- Cupping – Shingles improperly installed over existing shingles or other roofing material causing the roof to become easily damaged. Many do it yourselfers make the mistake of layering new roofing materials over old.
- Sheathing – Also referred to as the deck, is usually plywood or OSB board to which the roofing materials are attached. The sheathing is attached to rafters.
- Dormer – A small structure (usually having a window) that projects from a slanted roof. A Dormer has it’s own little roof that ties into the main part of the buildings roof.
- Valley – When two slanted roofs meet at their lower end (plane) and form a dip or valley.
- Drip edge – A drip edge is an L shaped strip that is installed along the edges of the roof, to allow water to drip clear of the eaves. Most drip edges of made of metal.
- Gutter – A gutter is a U shaped unit that is designed to catch water running off the roof and then guides the water to run out from a corner of the gutter away from the entry ways of the house.
- Eave – The Horizontal edge of a sloped roof.
- Cornice – Horizontal molding that crowns a building.
- Fascia – Also referred to as Fascia board is a band or board that located at the cornices outer edge.
- Underlayment – Underlayment also called felt or tar paper is used as a secondary layer of protection between the shingles, or tiles and the sheathing.
- Flashing – Strips of metal that are used to keep water from seeping around chimneys, vent pipes and building up in the roof’s valleys.
- Louvers -Slatted devices installed in a soffit to ventilate the space below the roof deck.
- Rafters – The boards that make up the supporting framework.
- Rake – The inclined portion of the roof that extends over the buildings wall.
- Ridge – The top edge where two sides of a slanting roof join together.
- Slope – the number of inches a roof rises for every foot of horizontal distance. The steeper the slope the more difficult it may be to repair.
- Fire rating – The ability that a roof has to withstand fire from an external source.
- Ice Dams – Melted snow that refreezes along the lower edge of the roof. Eventually water from these ice dams can seep under roofing materials.
There are many more terms that would be helpful to know, but knowing these common roofing terms will help you to better understand your roofing contractor or understand what you need to do your own roof repair.