Roofing Terms Made Simple. Usually, homeowners looking to install a new roof in their homes have to deal with many roofing terms unknown to them.
You may feel terrible about investing several thousand dollars in something when you’re not sure about what you’re getting. Hence, it is vital to understand the key roofing terms before calling a roofing contractor. So, we’ll show you below the most important and common roofing terms.
An Introduction to Common Roofing Terms
- Hip roof: this is a roof with slopes on all four sides. Besides, all sides are equal in length and come together to form a ridge. They are excellent for snowy and windy areas and allow to add vaulted ceilings or an attic.
- Gable roof: A gable roof has two slopes that form a triangle.
- Shed roof: A shed roof refers to a roof that slopes in a single direction. You can see it, for example, on lower porches tying into a wall or upper steeper roof.
Hip and gable are the most common roof styles. Some buildings have just one of these roof styles, but others may have a mix of them.
Understanding slope and pitch
- Slope: This is the angle of the incline. The slope represents the number of inches that a vertical rise increases over a horizontal run. Usually, it is expressed as a fraction or ratio.
- The rise is the number of inches within one foot of the run.
- Pitch is the incline of the roof. To determine it, you must divide the rise of the roof by the span from one wall to another. Although pitch helps to understand the steepness of your roof, it is less precise than slope. Also, it is typically expressed as a fraction.
Parts of a Roof: Decking, Eaves, Ridges, Valleys, Ventilation
- Decking: The deck is the platform that supports the rest of your roofing materials. This base rests against the “bones” of your attic, covering the rafters. Manufacturers make most decking from plywood or OSB (oriented strand board). OSB is the composite version of plywood.
- Eaves are the edges of the roof that hang over the exterior walls of the house.
- Gutters are placed at the edges of eaves and direct the rainwater away from your home exterior walls and foundation.
- Ridges are the highest points on the roof where two roof lines intersect. You must install special shingles at roof ridges and ridge vents to allow hot air to escape attic spaces.
- Roof valleys: these places are one of the first where water will infiltrate a damaged roof. For that reason, professional roofing contractors advice installing special underlayment and flashing materials in roof valleys. Using these materials along with special installing practices – like woven valleys–creates an impermeable barrier at your roof’s valleys.
- Ventilation is the flow of air through your attic space. This airflow allows moist, hot air to escape, keeping your roof deck cooler and your home more comfortable. Ventilation is critical for the longevity of your shingles. You can improve your roof ventilation by installing intake vents and exhaust vents at eaves and ridge.
Roofing Materials: Underlayment, Shingles, Flashing
- Underlayment: Made of asphalt, fiberglass, or felt, this layer goes between the roof deck and the shingles. Underlayment can be waterproof or water-resistant, depending on the type and quality.
CertainTeed, one of our trusted roofing products partners, recommends waterproof Winterguard ice and water barrier underlayment at the edges of the roof and valleys.
Their DiamondDeck water-resistant underlayment is the better choice for the main roof deck since the shingles don’t need the same next-level support at seamless areas.
- Shingles: this is the roofing material you can see from the ground and your home’s first line of defense against the elements.
Nowadays, there are many types of shingles. You can find metal, tile, and slate, but nearly 80% of homes roofs across the United States use asphalt shingles. They are affordable, versatile, and visually appealing.
- Flashing: this is a corrosion-resistant metal strip used to cover roof edges and seams to avoid water filtering. Flashing offers an added layer of protection in points vulnerable to water damage. The four main types of flashing are:
- Base flashing or step flashing. Applied directly to the roof.
- Cap flashing or counter flashing. Used around chimneys or walls.
- Drip edge. Applied at the roof’s edge.
- Valley flashing. Applied at the roof valleys.