Roofing Terminology & Definitions

Architectural Shingle – A shingle that has a dimensional or layered appearance.  ------>

Asphalt – A dark brown or black substance found in natural state, or more commonly, left as a residue after evaporating or otherwise processing of crude oil or petroleum.

Attic – The cavity or space immediately above the ceiling and below the roof deck on a sloped roof.

Bitumen – A generic term used to denote any material composed principally of bitumen, typically asphalt or coal tar.

Blind Nailing – The use of nails that are not exposed to weather in a finished roofing system

Built-up Roof - A low-slope (or flat-seeming) roof covered with alternating layers of roofing felt and hot-mopped asphalt and topped off with a layer of gravel.

Bundle – An individual package of shingles or shakes.

Canopy – Any overhanging roof section or projection, typically over entrances or doors.

Caulking – (1) The physical process of filling a joint or juncture; (2) sealing and making weather –tight any joint with a sealant.

Cladding – The material installed as the exterior finish on a wall section. Usually referring to siding, board and batten or metal.

Closed Valley – A method of finishing a valley where the valley flashing is not visible. The shingles on one of the roof sections is carried up on to the second roof section, then the second roof section shingles are applied over those shingles forming an over-lap.

- The portion of the roof projecting out from the side walls of the house.
Counter Flashing - The flashing which is attached to the wall section abutting a roof section and is used on the sloped section to cover step flashing. It may be straight cut or “saw-tooth “ cut .

Courses - Horizontal rows of shingles or tiles.

Cricket – See saddle.

Delamination – The separation of the laminated layers of a product or system.

Dormer – A framed and roofed projection through the sloping plane of a roof.

Drip Edge
- The strip of metal extending out beyond the eaves or rakes to prevent rainwater from rolling around the shingles back onto the wooden portion of the house.

- The lower edge of a roof (usually overhanging beyond the edge of the house).

Eyebrow – A dormer with a curved roof line.

Fascia - Trim board behind the eaves trough.

Flashing - Sheet metal or other material used at junctions of different planes on a roof to prevent leakage. For example: where a roof section meets a wall, or around a chimney.

Felt - The "tar paper" used by roofer, made from asphalt coated felt paper.

Frieze Board - A Board at the top of the house's siding, forming a corner with the soffit.

Gable - The triangular upper part of a wall closing the end of a ridged roof.

Hip - The external angle at the junction of two sides of a roof whose supporting walls adjoin.

Ice Dam – A mass of ice formed at the transition from a warm to a cold roof surface, frequently formed by refreezing melt water (running down from a higher area of the roof) at the eave and backing up under the roofing materials.

Ice and Water Shield
– An peel and stick, adhesive backed, rubber membrane with superior water proofing qualities. Usually applied at the eaves and around auxiliary products ,such as skylights.

Impact Resistance
–T he ability of roofing materials to resist damage from falling objects or punctures.

Interlocking Shingles – Individual shingles that are designed to mechanically attach to each other to provide protection against wind damage.

- A horizontal structural member over which sheathing is nailed to form a flat roof line.

Mansard Roof – A decorative vertical roof section around the perimeter of a building.

Net Free Vent Area – The area measured in Square inches, open to unrestricted air flow and commonly used as a yard stick to measure relative vent performance.

Open Valley – A method of finishing the valley where both roof section shingles are cut back exposing the valley metal.

Organic Shingle
– A asphalt shingle reinforced with material manufactured from cellulose fibers.

Plumbing Stack flashing - A neoprene plastic or resin flashing that is installed over the plumbing exhaust vent and then shingled over.

- A structural member (usually slanted) to which sheathing is nailed to form a sloped roofline.

Rake - The slanting face of a gabled roof extending beyond the end wall of the house.

Raggle – A groove or slot often cut into a masonry wall or chimney adjoining a roof, for inserting an inset flashing component such as a reglet.

Reglet – A sheet metal receiver for the attachment of counter flashing.

Ridge - The horizontal line at the top edge of two sloping roof planes.

Ridge Vent – A ventilator installed over a 2-3” cutout along the ridge line.

Roof Jack
– A metal bracket used to hold wooden planks for standing on a sloped roof.

Roof Slope or Pitch – The vertical number of inches a roof slope rises in a span of 12 inches or 1 foot. For example, a 7/12 pitched roof rises vertically 7 inches for every 12 inches of horizontal run.
Saddle or Cricket – A small two sided roof section behind a chimney designed to divert water away from the back of the chimney.

Saddle or Cricket – A small two sided roof section behind a chimney designed to divert water away from the back of the chimney.

Self-Sealing Shingles
– An asphalt shingle containing factory applied strip or spots of heat sensitive adhesive designed to adhere to the underlying layer by the warmth of the sun.

Sheathing - The rigid material (often 1-inch by 6-inch or one inch by twelve inch boards or sheets of plywood) which is nailed to the rafters, and to which shingles or other outside roofing materials are secured.

Slope - The number of inched of vertical rise in a roof per 12-inches of horizontal distance. Also referred to as pitch.

Soffit - The boards or metal that enclose the underside of that portion of the roof which extends out beyond the sidewalls of the house (under the eaves).

Square - One hundred square feet of roof, or the amount of roofing material needed to cover 100 square feet when properly applied.

Starter Course – A starting row of roofing material that runs parallel to the eave and is covered by the first course of roofing material. The starter course with its seams are installed offset to the first course to prevent leakage through the joints.

Step Flashing - Flashing that is laid under each shingle and bends up at a right angle abutting the edge of a chimney or wall.






– The surface upon which the roofing or waterproofing materials are applied.


Three-Tab or Traditional Shingle – A shingle design that is cut out to look like individual tiles or tabs when installed on a roof.


Underlayment - The material (usually roofing felt or a synthetic material) installed on top of sheathing before shingles are applied.

Valley - The less-than 180-degree angle where two sloping roof sections come together.

Valley Flashing or Metal - The flashing in valleys, extending in under to shingles on both sides. Usually 24-36” wide and bent into a “v” shape to match the roof angle

Vent – A product or devise which is designed to allow heat energy and moisture to escape from a roof section into the atmosphere without allowing precipitation to enter.
Weep Holes – Small holes designed to allow drainage of water that accumulates inside a building component, such as a skylight or ridge vent.

Woven Valley – A method of finishing a valley where the valley metal is concealed by extending shingles from both sides of the valley and weaving them together by overlapping alternate courses of shingles as they are applied.