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Understanding Roofing Terminology

Posted by First Quality Roofing & Insulation on Jan 10, 2019 11:30:02 AM

roofing terminology fascia

Are you fluent in roof-speak? Like many occupations, roofing has its own unique lingo that serves as shorthand for common items and procedures.

Let our experts at First Quality Roofing & Insulation give you a crash course in current roofing terminology.


Deck in roofing terms is consistent with the general definition, which is a platform-like structure made of planks or plates.  A roof deck is the surface which, when attached to the supporting frame, serves as the base for the roofing materials. The deck may sometimes be referred to as sheathing.


Dormers are roofed structures that project from a sloped roof. They often, but not always, include windows, and come in several different styles to offer both form and function.

Drip Edge

A drip edge is an L-shaped piece of non-corrosive metal affixed to roof edges to facilitate water run-off.


Most people are probably familiar with eaves, which are the horizontal edges of a sloped roof that project beyond the house's exterior wall.


Fascia is the long, straight board that covers the front edge of the roof's overhang. This structure needs to be particularly sturdy because it supports the gutters.


Roofs need additional reinforcement around chimneys, vents and other junctions that may be vulnerable to leakage. In roofing terminology, flashing refers to sheet metal or other materials applied for this purpose.

Joists and Rafters

These two terms refer to the structural pieces to which the deck is affixed. Joists are used in flat roofs, while rafters are generally found in slanted roofs.


OSB stands for oriented strand board, which is one of the more popular materials used for sheathing. It's lightweight but strong and less expensive than plywood.

Ridges and Valleys

Ridges and valleys are usually associated with geographical features. In roofing terminology, a ridge is the horizontal line along the top of a roof while a valley refers to the intersection of two sloped surfaces. Valleys can be closed (sealed with overlapping shingles) or open (sealed with flashing).


Slope, or pitch, states the number of inches of vertical rise per foot of horizontal distance.


A soffit covers the exposed underside of the roof's overhang.


In addition to a shape, square in roofing terminology is a measurement. Square refers to the amount of material required to cover 100 square feet of roof.


Underlayment is a layer of protection applied to the deck or sheathing before the roofing material is installed. The underlayment usually consists of asphalt-saturated felt, also known as tar paper.

Your #1 Choice for All Roofing and Insulation Needs

Our experienced team at First Quality Roofing & Insulation will explain roofing terminology to you in simple, easy-to-understand terms so you can decide exactly what you want in a roof. Contact us today for a free estimate.

Topics: Insider, education, las vegas roofing, las vegas roof repair, las vegas roof replacement, roofing companies, roof materials

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