All the Roofing Terms You Need to Know
Architectural Shingles: Strip shingles made with fiberglass mat and asphalt that are laminated or textured to create a three-dimensional effect; also called laminated shingles. (There are also shingles that are called architectural even though they are made from a single layer, not two materials laminated together.)
Cricket: A wood-framed structure covered with roof material that diverts water away from chimneys, walls or other vertical roof projections and penetrations.
Deck: The substrate over supportive framing to which roofing material is applied; also called decking or sheathing. The deck normally is plywood, OSB or 1x lumber.
Drip Edge: Flashing made of aluminum or another non-corrosive material that is placed along the eaves and rake edges at a 90-degree angle to let water runoff drop clear of fascia and into the gutters.
Eave: A roof edge that extends past the exterior wall line at the bottom of a slope.
Fascia: Vertical roof trim located along the perimeter of a building, usually below the roof level, to cover the rafter tails at the eaves and to seal off the top of the siding along the rake; also called gutter boards.
Felt: Material of interwoven fibers saturated with asphalt and used as a protective under layer between shingles and decking; also called tarpaper.
Flashing: Metal or other flexible materials used to seal the roof and prevent leaks around any projection or intersection, such as pipes, chimneys, dormers, valleys or adjoining walls.
Flat Roof: A roof with a pitch of less than two feet of rise over a 12-foot run (2/12); this type of roof needs a sealed-system installation.
Hip: The external angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes from the ridge to the eaves.
Ice/Leak Barrier: A self-adhering and self-sealing membrane applied to the roof deck, designed to protect against water infiltration from ice buildup or wind-driven rain. The ice barrier will seal around nails that penetrate it; also called water barrier.
Laminated Shingles: Strip shingles made with fiberglass mat and asphalt that are laminated or textured to create a three-dimensional effect; also called architectural shingles. There are also shingles that are called dimensional even though they are made from a single material, not two materials laminated together.
Low Slope Roof: A roof with a pitch having two or three feet of rise over a 12-foot run (2/12 or 3/12). This type of roof must be installed using an ice/leak barrier instead of felt paper or a sealed-roof system.
Pitch Changes: The variation in the degree of roof incline, which is expressed as the ratio of the rise to the span, in feet.
Plumbing Boot: A prefabricated covering, usually of flexible material, used to seal around a penetration; also called a pipe boot or roof jack.
Rafter: The structural member supporting the deck and roof system components, extending from the downslope perimeter to the ridge or hip.
Rake: The inclined edge of a sloped roof over a wall from the eave to the ridge, usually perpendicular to the eave and ridge.
Ridge: The horizontal external angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes (i.e. where the two sides of a roof meet at the highest point).
Ridge Vent: The best type of roof exhaust vent that ventilates the attic along the ridge or hip line where the roof deck has been cut back; works in conjunction with soffit vents under the eaves or a starter edge vent; also called an exhaust vent.
Roof Ventilation: A static, wind- or power-operated system for removing hot air and moisture from the air under your roof. Includes ridge vents.
Shed Roof: A roof containing only one sloping plane; a single-pitch roof with no hips, ridges, valleys or gables; also called a half gable.
Soffit: The underside of the eaves, or roof overhang, which can be enclosed or exposed.
Soffit Vent: An intake vent in the soffit area of the house that provides attic venting at a lower portion of the roof deck and good circulation with other forms of venting such as ridge or roof vents; also called an intake vent.
Starter Edge Vent: A vent that is installed on top of the roof just above the gutter. This vent is a lower-cost option versus installing soffit vents. These vents are not needed if soffit vents are installed or existing. This allows the air to enter the attic at the low end and escape at the highest point (ridge); also called an intake vent.
NOTE: Without the proper balance of intake and exhaust ventilation, the manufacturer’s warranty on shingles is reduced to 10 years.
Valley: The internal angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes running from the eaves to the ridge, allowing water to run off.
Water Shield: A watertight barrier used to seal water out in valleys, around chimneys, skylights, plumbing vents and any other roof penetration. In some climates, this material is also installed along the rakes and the eaves; also called ice/leak barrier.