Residental Roofing 101: Roofing Terms and Definitions

When something goes wrong with your roof, it can be a stressful experience — especially when you don’t know anything about roofs. In this article, we’ll give some common roofing terms so that way the next time there is an issue on top of yours (or anyone else’s), at least it will make some sense!

Roofing Terms: Parts of Your Roof

Eave- The part of your roof that overhangs and runs vertically is called an eave. 

Rake-  The rake of a roof is the slanted edge of a gable roof. 

Gable- The gable part of a roof is the triangular portion between where two slopes meet. 

Valley- A roof valley is where two slopes meet. 

Soffit- The underneath part where the roof hangs over is called the soffit.

Hip-  The hip is where two slopes meet at an incline.

Ridge- The ridge is where two slopes meet at a horizontal angle. 

Dormer- A dormer is where vertical window projects from the roof. 

Square-  A roof is measured by roofing square. To find how many squares a roof is, you divide the total square feet by 100. 

Reroofing- Reroofing is when a roof is stripped of its components and replaced with all new roofing materials.

Pitch- The pitch of a roof is the measurement of how the roof is sloped. The pitch is determined by calculating rise over run.

Roofing diagram 1
Roofing terminology diagram 2
Roofing term diagram 3

Roofing Terms: Components That Make Up Your Roofing System

Decking- The wood part that makes up your roof is called the decking.

3 Tab Shingles- 3 tab roofing shingles are made up of three individual tabs that are 12 inches wide. 

Architectural Shingles- Architectural shingles are an asphalt shingle that is laminated together to form an attractive, two-tone design.

Ice & water- Ice and water is a waterproofing membrane that adds an extra layer of protection for areas that are more prone to leaks.

Underlayment-  Underlayment can either be felt or synthetic. Synthetic underlayment is more commonly used. Underlayment is installed directly to the decking to provide an extra layer of protection.

Starter Shingles- Starter shingles are the first layer of shingles installed on the eaves and rake edges of a roof.

Ridge vent-  A ridge vent is an air vent installed at the peak of the roof to allow air to escape through. 

Hip & ridge caps- Hip and ridge caps are specifically designed shingles that are installed over a ridge vent. 

Flashing- Flashing is the metal seal that you may find along walls, chimneys, or valleys on a roof.

Cricket- A cricket is a water diverter that is installed around large penetrations such as a chimney to prevent water from pooling.

Drip Edge- Drip edge is a type of flashing that is installed at the eaves of a roof to prevent rain from getting under the roofing components.

Roofing components diagram 3
Roofing term diagram 4
Roof Cricket

 Roofing is a complicated topic, so it’s understandable that you might get lost in the terminology. But with these definitions of common roofing terms, hopefully, your next conversation about roofs will be more productive! What are some other common roofing terms? Let us know on Facebook @RoofMedics.

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