Glossary of Roofing Terms

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  • a

  • A-frame
    An architectural house style featuring steeply-angled sides (roofline) that usually begin at or near the foundation line, and meet at the top in the shape of the letter A. An A-frame ceiling can be open to the top rafters.
  • AAA
    A not-for-profit organization in the field of alternative dispute resolution, providing services to individuals and organizations who wish to resolve conflicts out of court, and one of several arbitration organizations that administers arbitration(...)
  • Aluminum
    A non-rusting metal sometimes used for metal roofing and flashing.
  • American Arbitration Association
    A not-for-profit organization in the field of alternative dispute resolution, providing services to individuals and organizations who wish to resolve conflicts out of court, and one of several arbitration organizations that administers arbitration(...)
  • Apron Flashing
    Metal flashing used at chimney fronts.
  • Architectural Shingle
    Shingle that provides a dimensional appearance.
  • ARMA
    Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association. Organization of roofing manufacturers.
  • Asian traditional style
    Chinese architecture refers to a style of architecture that has taken shape in East Asia over many centuries. The structural principles of Chinese architecture have remained largely unchanged, the main changes being only the decorative details.(...)
  • Asphalt
    A bituminous waterproofing agent used in various types of roofing materials.
  • ASTM
    The American Society for Testing and Materials. Organization that sets standards for a wide variety of materials, including roofing.
  • b

  • Blow-Offs
    When shingles are subjected to high winds, and are forced off a roof deck.
  • BOMA
    Building Owners & Managers Association
  • Bonnet roof
    A reversed gambrel or Mansard roof with the lower portion at a lower pitch than the upper portion.
  • Brake
    Hand or power activated machinery used to form metal.
  • Buckling
    When a wrinkle or ripple affects shingles or their underlayments.
  • Building Code
    Published regulations and ordinances established by a recognized agency prescribing design loads, procedures, and construction details for structures. Usually applying to designated jurisdictions (city, county, state, etc.). Building codes control(...)
  • Bundle
    An individual package of shakes or shingles.
  • Butt Joint
    A joint formed by adjacent, separate sections of material, such as where two neighboring pieces of insulation abut.
  • Butterfly roof
    A V-shaped roof resembling an open book. A kink separates the roof into two parts running towards each other at an obtuse angle.
  • Button Punch
    A process of indenting two or more thicknesses of metal that are pressed against each other to prevent slippage between the metal.
  • c

  • Camber
    A slight convex curve of a surface, such as in a prestressed concrete deck.
  • Canadian Arbitration Association
    Dedicated to assisting the legal and business communities, both nationally and internationally, to resolve disputes in an expeditious and cost-effective manner.
  • Canopy
    Any overhanging or projecting roof structure, typically over entrances or doors. Sometimes the extreme end is unsupported.
  • Cap Flashing
    Usually composed of metal, used to cover or shield the upper edges of the membrane base flashing, wall flashing, or primary flashing.
  • Capillary Action
    The action that causes movement of liquids by surface tension when in contact with two adjacent surfaces such as panel side laps.
  • Caulking
    (1) the physical process of sealing a joint or juncture; (2) sealing and making weather-tight the joints, seams, or voids between adjacent units by filling with a sealant.
  • CCF
    100 cubic feet.
  • Chalk
    A powdery residue on the surface of a material.
  • Chalk Line
    A line made on the roof by snapping a taut string or cord dusted with colored chalk. Used for alignment purposes.
  • Chalking
    The degradation or migration of an ingredient, in paints, coatings, or other materials.
  • Chimney
    Stone, masonry, prefabricated metal, or a wood framed structure, containing one or more flues, projecting through and above the roof.
  • Cladding
    A material used as the exterior wall enclosure of a building.
  • Cleat
    A metal strip, plate or metal angle piece, either continuous or individual (“clip”), used to secure two or more components together.
  • Closed Cut Valley
    A shingle valley installation method where one roof plane’s shingles completely cover the others. The top layer is cut to match the valley lines.
  • Counter Flashing
    The metal material that is installed over roof-top base flashing systems.
  • Crickets
    A peaked water diverter installed behind chimneys and other large roof projections. Effectively diverts water around projections.
  • Cross gabled
    The result of joining two or more gabled roof sections together, forming a T or L shape for the simplest forms, or any number of more complex shapes.
  • Cross hipped
    The result of joining two or more hip roof sections together, forming a T or L shape for the simplest forms, or any number of more complex shapes.
  • d

  • Deck
    The substrate over which roofing is applied. Usually plywood, wood boards, or planks.
  • Dormer
    A raised roof extending out of a larger roof plane.
  • Drip Edge
    An installed lip that keeps shingles up off the deck at edges, and extends shingles out over eaves and gutters.
  • Dutch gable
    A hybrid of hipped and gable with the gable at the top and hipped lower down; i.e. the opposite arrangement to the half-hipped roof.
  • e

  • East Asian hip-and-gable roof
    A hip roof that slopes down on all four sides and integrates a gable on two opposing sides.
  • End Laps
    When installing rolled products in roofing, the area where a roll ends on a roof, and is overlapped by the next section of rolled material.
  • EWA
    Engineered Wood Association. Tests and sets standards for all varieties of plywood used in the U.S.
  • Exposure
    The area on any roofing material that is left exposed to the elements.
  • f

  • Fasteners
    Nails or screws used to secure roofing to the deck.
  • FHA
    The Federal Housing Authority sets construction standards throughout the U.S.
  • Flashing
    Materials used to waterproof a roof around any projections
  • Florida Energy Systems Consortium
    The Florida Energy Systems Consortium (FESC) was created by the Florida State government to promote collaboration among the energy experts at its 11 supported universities to share energy-related expertise. The consortium assists the state in the(...)
  • g

  • Gable
    A simple roof design shaped like an inverted V.
  • Gambrel
    A roof similar to a mansard but sloped in one direction rather than both.
  • Granules
    Crushed rock that is coated with a ceramic coating and fired, used as top surface on shingles.
  • h

  • Half-hipped
    A hybrid of a gable and a hipped roof.
  • Helm roof
    A pyramidal roof with gable ends; often found on church towers.
  • Hidden roof
    A type of Japanese roof construction.
  • Hip
    A hipped roof is sloped in two pairs of directions (e.g. N-S and E-W) compared to the one pair of direction (e.g. N-S or E-W) for a gable roof.
  • Hip Legs
    The down-slope ridges on hip roofs.
  • Hip Roof
    A roof with four roof planes coming together at a peak and four separate hip legs.
  • i

  • Ice Dam
    When a snow load melts on a roof and re-freezes at the eave areas. Ice dams force water to "back-up" under shingles and cause leakage.
  • k

  • Karahafu
    A type of gable found in some traditional Japanese buildings.
  • l

  • L Flashing
    Continuous metal flashing consisting of several feet of metal. Used at horizontal walls, bent to resemble an "L".
  • Low Slopes
    Roof pitches less than 4:12 are considered low sloped roofs. Special installation practices must be used on roofs sloped 2:12-4:12. Shingles can not be installed at slopes less than 2/12.
  • m

  • Mansard
    A roof with the pitch divided into a shallow slope above a steeper slope. The steep slope may be curved. An element of the Second Empire architectural style (Mansard style) in the U.S.
  • Modified bitumen
    Rolled roofing membrane with polymer modified asphalt and either polyester or fiberglass reinforcement.
  • Mokoshi
    A Japanese decorative pent roof
  • Monitor roof
    A roof with a monitor; 'a raised structure running part or all of the way along the ridge of a double-pitched roof, with its own roof running parallel with the main roof.
  • Mono-pitched roof
    A roof with one slope, historically attached to a taller wall.
  • MRA
    Metal Roofing Alliance.
  • n

  • NRCA
    The National Roofing Contractors Association. Respected national organization of roofing contractors.
  • o

  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory
    A multiprogram science and technology national laboratory managed for the United States Department of Energy (DOE) by UT-Battelle. ORNL is the largest science and energy national laboratory in the Department of Energy system by acreage. ORNL is(...)
  • Open Valley
    Valley installation using metal down the valley center.
  • OSB
    Oriented Strand Board. A decking made from wood chips and lamination glues.
  • Outshot
    A pitched extension of a main roof similar to a lean-to but an extension of the upper roof.
  • p

  • Pyatthat
    A multi-tiered and spired roof commonly found in Burmese royal and Buddhist architecture.
  • Pyramid roof
    A hip roof on a square building.
  • r

  • Rake Edge
    The vertical edge of gable style roof planes.
  • Roof Louvers
    Rooftop rectangular shaped roof vents.
  • Roof Plane
    A roofing area defined by having four separate edges. One side of a gable, hip or mansard roof.
  • s

  • Saltbox
    A gable roof with one side longer than the other, and thus closer to the ground unless the pitch on one side is altered.
  • Saw-tooth
    A roof comprising a series of mono-pitched roofs with vertical surfaces glazed and facing away from the equator. The sloping surfaces are opaque, shielding the workers and machinery from direct sunlight. This sort of roof admits natural light into a(...)
  • Shed Roof
    Roof design of a single roof plane. Area does not tie into any other roofs.
  • Side Walls
    Where a vertical roof plane meets a vertical wall. The sides of dormers etc.
  • Soffit Ventilation
    Intake ventilation installed under the eaves, or at the roof edge.
  • Starter Strip
    The first course of roofing installed. Usually trimmed from main roof material.
  • Steep-Slope Roofing
    Generally all slopes higher than 4/12 are considered steep slopes.
  • Stepflashing
    Metal flashing pieces installed at sidewalls and chimneys for weatherproofing.
  • t

  • Tear-Off
    Removal of existing roofing materials down to the roof deck.
  • Tented
    A type of polygonal hipped roof with steeply pitched slopes rising to a peak.
  • Terrace
    A flat roof with a balustrade, used as a living space.
  • Transitions
    When a roof plane ties into another roof plane that has a different pitch or slope.
  • u

  • Underlayments
    Asphalt-based rolled materials designed to be installed under main roofing material to serve as added protection.
  • Urban Heat Island Effect
    An urban heat island (UHI) is a metropolitan area that is significantly warmer than its surrounding rural areas due to human activities.
  • v

  • Valleys
    Area where two adjoining sloped roof planes intersect on a roof creating a "V" shaped depression.
  • Vapor
    Term used to describe moisture laden air.
  • w

  • Warm Wall
    The finished wall inside of a structure, used in roofing to determine how far up the deck to install waterproof underlayments at eaves.