Roofing Terms You Should Know

You don’t have to be a roofing contractor to know at least a little bit about the terminology used in the industry. Having at least a basic level of understanding can help you be a more informed consumer. Here are some of the roofing terms every homeowner should know:

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Roofing Terms


A mixture of dark hydrocarbons that are a cement-like substance found in tar, asphalt, etc.

Cool Roof

An environmentally-friendly roof system designed to more effectively reflect sunlight and absorb less heat. This functionality allows homeowners to maintain lower temperatures and reduced home energy costs.


Also called a saddle, a cricket is a ridge structure installed on the high side of a chimney or large projection to divert water.


In roofing terms, the deck (sheathing, substrate) makes up the roof’s base and serves as the foundation for other roofing materials to be built upon. Materials include plywood or sterling board.


The edges of the roof that extend over the fascia (face of the wall). While they can add aesthetic appeal to the home, they serve a practical purpose of removing excess water.


A roofing underlayment that is made up of fibrous material. It’s also referred to as tar paper and is a layer set between the deck and the tile being used.


Thin pieces of impervious material that are installed in order to weatherproof edges of a roof system. Examples of areas requiring weatherproofing with flashing include valleys, drains, and chimneys. Flashing directs water flow around areas susceptible to water damage.


A flexible or semiflexible roof covering that prevents absorption of water.


A kind of reroofing in which new shingles are attached on top of old shingles.


Anything that penetrates the roof, such as the chimney or pipes.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)

This type of plastic is best known for its use in plumbing piping. More flexible forms of PVC are used to manufacture roof membrane and sheeting.


Rafters are a series of internal beams that are attached to and support the roof deck.


When an existing home or building is modified with new systems or components.

Roof pitch

The degree at which the roof’s slope inclines.


A shingle is a small roofing unit designed to be installed with similar units overlapping each other in rows or courses. Asphalt shingles are one of the more popular types of shingles. They are coated with material such as paper felt or fiberglass mat, then reinforced with asphalt-based coating during the manufacturing process. Other types of shingles include wood, tile, metal and slate.

By becoming acquainted with basic roofing terms, you, the homeowner, empower yourself to better understand the structure of your roof and any potential problems that may arise over time. Have questions relating to specific roofing issues? Contact the experts at Warner Roofing!

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