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Are you ready to do some roof repairs? Be prepared to hear some unfamiliar terms while working with roofing professionals. Roofing is a complex job and only made more complicated with the vast amount of terminology used. Model City Roofing wants to make sure you feel comfortable and understand the roofing basics while working with you to repair or replace your roof.


Check out this glossary of common roofing words and definitions:


Adhere: Two surfaces held together by adhesion, typically with asphalt or cement.


Aging: Effect of roofing material being exposed to the elements over a period of time.


Asphalt: Dark, natural compound used to create shingles.


Blind Nailing: Method of nailing that hides the head of a nail using a succeeding layer of material.


Blisters: Pockets of air sometimes trapped in asphalt material that may appear after installation.


Blow Offs: Shingles that have been torn or forced off the roof due to high winds.


Butt Edge: The exposed lower half of a shingle.


Cant Strip: Beveled or triangle strip of material designed to be a transitional plane between the horizontal surface of the roof deck and a vertical plane.


Caulk: Powdery filler for a joint or void.


Coating: Layer of material on the roof surface to protect it.


Cross Ventilation: Effect of air moving through the roof cavity between the vents.


Deck:  The surface to which roofing material is applied.


Dormer: Raised structure that jets out from the roof; this section of the roof normally contains a window in it.


Downspout: Pipe to drain water from the gutters to the ground.


Drip Edge: Metal strip installed at the roof’s edge to facilitate water dripping off the edge; this also gives the roof a finished, polished look.


Eave: Lower piece of a roof that hangs beyond the edge.


Expansion Joint: Separation between two building materials that permits movement between materials without damaging the waterproofing or roofing system.


Exposed-Nail Method: Method of roofing where nails are driven into overlapping roofing material. The nails are exposed to the weather in this technique.


Exposure: Part of shingles that are out and exposed to the elements.


Fascia: Flat board installed around the trim of the roof. Typically installed on a low-sloped roof to help waterproof the interior of your home.


Felt/Underlayment: Sheet of ‘tar paper’ (asphalt based) used as a secondary layer to protect the roof deck.


Flange: Metal ridge that sticks out of the roof around areas where there is an elevation in the roof, such as chimneys or plumbing vents.


Flashing: Components of material used to waterproof and seal the roof around the edge and areas where the roof material is interrupted.


Gable:  Triangle upper portion of sidewall located at the ridge of a sloping roof.


Gable Roof: Roofing style where two peaked roof planes meet at a ridgeline of equal size.


Galvanize: Coat with zinc.


Granules: Rock that is crushed and used to surface shingles.


Hand Sealing: Manner of sealing shingles by hand. Commonly done on steeper roofs or if the home is located in areas of high wind or snow.


High Nailing: Shingles that have been nailed above the intended location.


Hip Roof: Roof where four separate inclined panes meet together at the top. Square hip roofs form a pyramid, but a hip roof can be found on rectangle homes too.


HVAC: Abbreviation for heating, ventilating, air conditioning equipment.


Ice Dam: Section near overhangs that form when melted snow re-freezes, which causes a blockage of water running off the roof, resulting in a larger build up of ice.


Impact Resistance:  Roofing materials ability to resist damage caused by impact from falling debris, foot traffic, etc.


Infrared Thermography: A way to analyze the roof using an infrared camera to locate sections of the roof with underlying wet insulation.


Interlocking Shingles: Shingles that can fasten together that have strong wind uplift resistance.


Lap: Part of the roofing component that covers an adjacent component of the roof.


Laminated Shingles: Shingles that have more than one layer of tab; this help creates thickness.


Louvers: Slanted opening located right below the roof deck meant for air ventilation.


Overexposed: Shingles that were installed higher than intended and expose too much of the material.


Penetrations: Any object that passes through the roof. Examples include pipes, chimneys, and stacks.


Pliability: A material’s ability to flex or mold.


Purlin: A horizontal beam that runs the length of the roof and rests on a main rafter.


Rafters: Structural material designed to support the roof’s frame.


Rake: Sloped edge of a roof that hangs over a wall. This type of edge is seen most commonly with gable-style roof planes.


Ridge: Highest point of the roof where two slopes of the roof’s surface meet.


Sheathing: Sheets of material that are nailed to the rafters to cover a home. Once nailed to the rafter, shingles are secured on top.


Slope: Measured in the vertical rise of the roof by 12 inches of horizontal run, also known as the pitch.


Snow Guard:  Devices attached to the roof’s edge to hold snow in place, helping prevent a rush of snow sliding off your roof.


Span: Horizontal distance of the roof that runs from eave to eave.


Spire: Part of the roof that towers making a point.


Square: Common measurement for the area of the roof.


Tab: Exposed section of a shingle that is defined by the cutouts.


Tear Off: Step in re-roofing that removes the existing roof and exposes the deck.


Transitions: Sections of roofing panes that tie into another roofing pane that had a different slope.


Valley: V-shaped angle created when two adjoining sloping roof surfaces meet.


Vent: Opening that allows air, heat, or other gas into a building.


Weathering:  Any section of the roof that experiences changes in color or texture brought upon by exposure to elements.




Hope you feel more confident now that you have read through this list of commonly used roofing words! Model City Roofing is here to help explain anything in more detail to ease your roofing concerns and boost your confident about repairing your roof! Don’t hesitate to ask questions or read through our blog for more information.