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  • Tom Stratton

Key Terminologies Used in Roofing

Key Terminologies Used in Roofing

Roofing is the process of covering, maintaining the roof of a structure like building, house etc. Before one decides to invest in the process, it is important that one should have the basic idea about the terms used in the roofing industry. This knowledge will help the individual in smoother communication towards the process. 

Below is the list of key terminologies used in roofing Ridge

The horizontal line formed by the intersection of the two slopes on the roof is called the ridge.


The purpose of Insulation is to provide a thermal barrier. It may also be done to provide sound-proofing or fire resistant properties.


Substrate is the surface on which the roof is laid on it is mostly made of timber deck.


Cladding is the method of the folding over roofing materials to make it more enduring against water. 


Truss is the triangular structure that is designed to support the roof. Trusses cannot be cut or altered once installed.


Waterproofing is the process of guarding the outer surface of the roof to make it water resistant. There are a lot of materials like metal, tile, etc. used to make the roof water resistant. 


Cornice is the portion of the roof of the house which protrudes out from the side walls.

Roofing square

Roofing square is a unit of measurement that the roofing industry uses to determine all the factors like costing and quantity required.


Deck is the surface on which roofing material like plywood is applied. 

Ice Dams 

Ice Dams are the condition caused on the lower edge of the roof due to the thawing and refreezing of snow on the overhang. This can cause the water to accumulate leading to leaks. 


Eaves are the lowest edge of the roof that overhangs beyond the edge of the house.


Gutter is a shallow trough which is fixed beneath the edge of a roof. The purpose of the gutter is to drain rainwater. 


The edge of a roof that runs through the slope of the roof.


Valley is the internal angle in shape of a V  formed because of the intersection of two inclined roof planes.


Hips is the inclined angle formed externally because of two intersecting, sloping roofs of planes. The sharp edge of a roof from the ridge to the eaves where the two sides meet.


Gable is the triangular section of the sidewall which is placed underneath the double side double sloping roof.

Drip edge

Drip edge is a metallic, corrosion-resistant strip. That is usually shaped like a  L. This is installed on the edges of the roof to allow water to move and not collect.


Soffit is a board installed right underneath the portion of the roof that extends beyond the sidewalls of the house.


Caulk is the process in which sealant is used to fix the common leak problems that helps to solve the problem for some years.


Fascia functions as a protective barrier between the gutter and the roof, it stretches along the edge of a roof.


Flashing is a sheet of metal used to prevent water seepage in the structure. It is basically waterproofing the roof around walls and other places like chimneys, valleys, etc.


Rafters are the parallel beam or supporting frame that is attached to the deck of the roof. 


Sheathing are the sheets of materials that are used to cover the building. The boards or sheet materials that are fastened to rafters to cover a house or building.

Vapour retarder

Vapour retarder are any materials that are used to prevent the vapour of water from soaking into the roofing system and damaging it slowly. 


Asphalt is one of the most commonly used waterproofing agents. It contains a naturally occurring obsidian material that is applied to various roofing materials. 

Back Surfing

Back Surfing is the process of applying a thin layer of mineral matter to the back of shingles so as to keep them from sticking to each other.


Blisters are the pimples or bubbles that are caused due to moisture trapped in the roofing system. 


Dormer is a window unit that is placed in the shopping of a roof. 


Felt is a material made of fibers from saturated asphalt used as an underlayment.


Ponding is the process of accumulation of water on the roof, especially low raised areas. This causes damage due to leaks as these parts of the roof always remain wet when other parts of the roof remain dry.


Pallets are the platforms of wood used in shipping and storing bundles of shingles.


Re-roofing is the process of replacing the old roofing system with a new better roofing system. 


A batten is a chunk of metal or wood installed parallelly on the peak of the rafters to lay and tighten the sheet metal.

Safety rail

Safety rail is a control measure used to ensure safety when working at heights so as to protect one from falling from one height to another. 

Mansard roof

A mansard roof is a roof that contains two planes that are sloping at different pitches on each of four sides. 


Underlayment is the second layer of protection made of Asphalt or synthetic material which is placed under the roofing.

Chimney Caps

Chimney Caps are the objects that are used as protective caps over the chimney. This helps to protect from rain.


Granules are the crushed colourful rocks which have been coated by ceramic that are applied to the surface of roofing.


Tab is the portion of the strip in a shingles that is exposed. 

Organic Felt

 Organic Felt is the base roofing material made of cellulose fibers. 


A downspout is when metal pipes running from gutters are used for changing the direction of water from the foundation. 


Flange is the metal  elongated  on the roof slope either at chimneys or plumbing vents.


Mortar is the compound that is used to bond chimney bricks together which is usually made of a mixture of limestone, water and sand. 

Would you like us to cover more roofing related terms in this blog. Please mention them in the comments below and we will include them in the article.


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