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How To Speak Roof – Terms To Know When Working With A Roofing Co

When it comes to roofing projects, communication is key to ensuring that you and your roofing contractor are on the same page. Understanding common roofing terms will not only help you effectively communicate with the professionals but also make informed decisions about your roof. In this article, we’ll provide you with a handy guide to essential roofing terminology.

1. Shingles:

Shingles are the overlapping, individual roofing components that cover the roof’s surface. They come in various materials, including asphalt, wood, metal, and slate.

2. Underlayment:

Underlayment is a protective layer installed beneath the shingles. It serves as a barrier against water and helps prevent leaks.

3. Flashing:

Flashing is a thin, weather-resistant material, often made of metal, used to redirect water away from vulnerable areas like roof intersections, chimneys, and vents.

4. Pitch or Slope:

The pitch or slope refers to the angle at which your roof is inclined. It’s typically expressed as a ratio, such as 4:12, which means the roof rises 4 inches vertically for every 12 inches of horizontal run.

5. Eaves:

The eaves are the lower edges of the roof that overhang the walls of your home. They help direct rainwater away from the exterior walls.

6. Ridge:

The ridge is the highest point on a roof where two sloping sides meet. Ridge vents are often installed here to promote proper ventilation.

7. Valley:

A valley is the V-shaped section formed when two sloping roof surfaces meet. It’s a common area where water can accumulate, so proper flashing and sealing are crucial.

8. Fascia:

Fascia is the vertical board that runs along the roof’s edge, typically supporting the gutters. It provides a finished look and protects the eaves.

9. Soffit:

The soffit is the underside of the eaves, extending from the fascia to the exterior wall of the house. It helps ventilate the attic and provides an aesthetic finish.

10. Decking or Sheathing:

Roof decking or sheathing is the solid base, often made of plywood or OSB (oriented strand board), onto which shingles or other roofing materials are attached.

11. Gable:

A gable is the triangular section of a wall formed by the sloping roof edges. Gable roofs are common in many residential designs.

12. Dormer:

A dormer is a structural element that projects from the sloping roof, often containing a window. Dormers can add space and architectural interest to a roof.

13. Rafter:

Rafters are the structural members that support the roof. They run from the ridge to the eaves and provide the roof’s framework.

14. Ventilation:

Proper roof ventilation is essential for regulating temperature and moisture levels in the attic. It helps extend the life of roofing materials and prevents issues like ice dams.

15. Ice Dam:

An ice dam forms when snow on the roof melts and then refreezes at the eaves. This can lead to water backup and leaks into the home.

16. Roof Pitch:

Roof pitch refers to the steepness or slope of the roof and is expressed as a ratio, such as 6:12, indicating the rise in inches for every 12 inches of horizontal run.


Familiarizing yourself with these essential roofing terms will enable you to communicate effectively with roofing professionals, understand the scope of work, and make informed decisions about your roofing project. It’s always a good idea to consult with a roofing expert who can explain these terms in the context of your specific project and ensure the successful completion of your roofing endeavor.

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