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Roofing Glossary

At Roofing & More, we are roofing professionals so that you won’t have to be! We are here to take care of all your Virginia roofing needs, from initial inspection to repair or replacement. But we also believe that the more you know about your roof, the better able you will be to make the best decisions concerning its care. That’s why we take the time to educate you about your Virginia roofing system, its components and its care. As part of that educational process, here are a number of common roofing terms you may hear as we develop a plan to make sure your roof provides the best protection for the safety of your home and family.

  • Asphalt: A bituminous waterproofing agent applied to roofing materials during manufacturing. Asphalt plastic roofing cement: An asphalt-based cement used to bond roofing materials, including flashing.
  • Base flashing: That portion of the flashing attached to or resting on the deck to direct the flow of water onto the roof covering.
  • Blisters: Bubbles that may appear on the surface of asphalt roofing after installation.
  • Built-up roof: A flat or low-sloped roof consisting of multiple layers of asphalt and ply sheets.
  • Butt edge: The lower edge of the shingle tabs.
  • Caulk: To fill a joint with mastic or asphalt cement to prevent leaks.
  • Coating: A layer of viscous asphalt applied to the base material into which granules or other surfacing is embedded.
  • Collar: Pre-formed flange placed over a vent pipe to seal the roof around the vent pipe opening. Also called a vent sleeve.
  • Counter flashing: That portion of the flashing attached to a vertical surface to prevent water from migrating behind the base flashing.
  • Course: A row of shingles or roll roofing running the length of the roof.
  • Cricket: A peaked saddle construction at the back of a chimney to prevent accumulation of snow and ice and to deflect water around the chimney.
  • Cutout: The open portions of a strip shingle between the tabs.
  • Deck: The surface installed over the supporting framing members to which the roofing is applied.
  • Dormer: A framed window unit projecting through the sloping plane of a roof.
  • Downspout: A pipe for draining water from roof gutters. Also called a leader.
  • Drip edge: A non-corrosive, non-staining material used along the eaves and rakes to allow water run-off to drip clear of underlying construction.
  • Eaves: The horizontal, lower edge of a sloped roof.
  • Eave flashing: Additional layer of roofing material applied at the eaves to help prevent damage from water back-up.
  • Felt: Fibrous material saturated with asphalt and used as an underlayment or sheathing paper.
  • Fiberglass mat: An asphalt roofing base material manufactured from glass fibers.
  • Flashing: Pieces of galvanized metal (usually aluminum or copper) or roll roofing used to prevent seepage of water into a building around any intersection or projection in a roof such as vent pipes, chimneys, adjoining walls, dormers and valleys.
  • Gable: The upper portion of a sidewall that comes to a triangular point at the ridge of a sloping roof.
  • Gable roof: A type of roof containing sloping planes of the same pitch on each side of the ridge, with a gable at each end.
  • Gambrel roof: A type of roof containing two sloping planes of different pitch on each side of the ridge. The lower plane has a steeper slope than the upper. Contains a gable at each end.
  • Granules: Ceramic-coated colored crushed rock that is applied to the exposed surface of asphalt roofing products.
  • Gutter: The trough that channels water from the eaves to the downspouts.
  • Hip: The inclined external angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes. Runs from the ridge to the eaves.
  • Hip roof: A type of roof containing sloping planes of the same pitch on each of four sides. Contains no gables.
  • Hip shingles: Shingles used to cover the inclined external angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes.
  • Ice dam: Condition formed at the lower roof edge by the thawing and re-freezing of melted snow on the overhang. Can force water up and under shingles, causing leaks.
  • Laminated shingles: Strip shingles containing more than one layer of tabs to create extra thickness. Also called three-dimensional shingles or architectural shingles.
  • Lap: To cover the surface of one shingles or roll with another.
  • Mansard roof: A type of roof containing two sloping planes of different pitch on each of four sides. The lower plane has a much steeper pitch than the upper, often approaching vertical. Contains no gables.
  • Mineral-surfaced roofing: Asphalt shingles and roll roofing that are covered with granules.
  • Open valley: Method of valley construction in which shingles on both sides of the valley are trimmed along a chalk line snapped on each side of the valley. Shingles do not extend across the valley. Valley flashing is exposed.
  • Organic felt: An asphalt roofing base material manufactured from cellulose fibers.
  • Overhang: That portion of the roof structure that extends beyond the exterior walls of a building.
  • Pitch: The degree of roof incline expressed as the ratio of the rise, in feet, to the span, in feet.
  • Ply: The number of layers of roofing: i.e. one-ply, two-ply.
  • Rafter: The supporting framing member immediately beneath the deck, sloping from the ridge to the wall plate.
  • Rake: The inclined edge of a sloped roof over a wall.
  • Ridge: The uppermost, horizontal external angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes.
  • Ridge shingles or ridge cap: Shingles used to cover the horizontal external angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes.
  • Rise: The vertical distance from the eaves line to the ridge.
  • Roll roofing: Asphalt roofing products manufactured in roll form.
  • Self-sealing shingles: Shingles containing factory-applied strips or spots of self-sealing adhesive.
  • Self-sealing strip or spot: Factory-applied adhesive that bonds shingle courses together when exposed to the heat of the sun after application.
  • Shading: Slight differences in shingle color that may occur as a result of normal manufacturing operations.
  • Sheathing: Exterior grade boards used as a roof deck material.
  • Shed roof: A roof containing only one sloping plane. Has no hips, ridges, valleys or gables.
  • Slope: The degree of roof incline expressed as the ratio of the rise, in inches, to the run, in feet.
  • Soffit: The finished underside of the eaves.
  • Soil stack: A vent pipe that penetrates the roof.
  • Square: A unit of roof measure covering 100 square feet. A roof with a field area of 2,500 square feet would be called a 25 square roof.
  • Starter strip: Asphalt roofing applied at the eaves that provide protection by filling in the spaces under the cutouts and joints of the first course of shingles.
  • Step flashing: Flashing application method used where a vertical surface meets a sloping roof plane.
  • Tab: The exposed portion of strip shingles defined by cutouts.
  • Underlayment: Asphalt saturated felt used beneath roofing to provide additional protection for the deck.
  • Valley: The internal angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes.
  • Vent: Any outlet for air that protrudes through the roof deck such as a pipe or stack. Any device installed on the roof, gable or soffit for the purpose of ventilating the underside of the roof deck.

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