When needing a roof repair or replacement, it's helpful to understand roofing terminology so you can better communicate with a roofer when it comes time to hire one.
Possessing this knowledge of roofing terminology can give you the upper hand when requesting quotes and ensuring the work will be done correctly.
The Parts of Roofs
Cornice: The part of the roof that extends out from the side walls of the house.
Counterflashing: The flashing that is embedded in a wall or other vertical structure, so it overlaps the shingle flashing (see flashing).
Courses: The horizontal rows of shingles or tiles on a roof.
Deck: A platform-like structure made of planks or plates that serves as the base for the roofing materials and is attached to the supporting frame.
Drip Edge: A piece of non-corrosive metal that's L-shaped, and gets affixed to roof edges to facilitate water run-off.
Eaves: The horizontal edges on a sloped roof, that project beyond the house's exterior wall.
Fascia: A long, straight board that covers the front edge of the roof's overhang, supporting the gutters.
Flashing: Sheet metal or other materials applied to reinforce the roof around chimneys, vents, and other junctions that may be vulnerable to leakage.
Frieze board: A board located at the top of the house's siding that forms a corner with the soffit.
Joists and Rafters: Structural pieces that the deck is affixed to. Joists are found in flat roofs and rafters are found in slanted roofs.
Ridges and Valleys: The horizontal line along the top of a roof and the intersection of two sloped surfaces, respectively. Valleys can be closed or opened.
Slope: The number of inches of vertical rise per foot of horizontal distance.
Soffit: A covering for the exposed underside of the roof's overhang.
Underlayment: A layer of protection applied to the deck or sheathing before the roofing material is installed, usually consisting of asphalt-saturated felt or tar paper.
Common Roof Features
Cricket: A small, peaked structure built on the highest side of a chimney that redirects water away from the area between the chimney and the roof.
Dormer: A roofed structure that projects from a sloped roof, often including windows, and available in different styles for both form and function.
Gable: The triangular upper part of a wall that forms the end of a peaked roof.
Penetrations: Any objects or structures that pass through the roof deck, such as vents, pipes, stacks, and chimneys.
Materials Used in Roofs
Felt: Roofing material made of a combination of asphalt and either paper or rags, commonly referred to as "tar papers" by roofers.
OSB: Oriented strand board, a popular, lightweight, and strong material used for sheathing that is less expensive than plywood.
Square: A measurement of the amount of material required to cover 100 square feet of roof.
Vapor retarder: A material intended to prevent the passage of water vapor through a roof system or wall.
Talk Roofing Terminology or Plain Speak with a Roofer
If your home's roof needs inspection, repair, or replacement, contact our First Quality Roofing team online or call us at 702-262-7847. We'll be happy to answer all of your questions and guide you to the right option for your home.