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Roofing Terminology

Before you can accurately understand a roof assessment or a roofing estimate, you should be familiar with roofing terminology. Below are some commonly used terms that identify parts of a roof and types of roofing.

A

Algae:

Rooftop fungus that can leave dark stains on roofing.

Angled Fasteners:

Roofing nails driven into decks at angles not parallel to the deck.

Apron Flashing:

Metal flashing used at chimney fronts.

Asphalt:

A bituminous waterproofing agent used in various types of roofing materials.

Asphalt Plastic Cement (Tar):

Asphalt based sealant material, meeting ASTM D4586 Type I or II. Used to seal and adhere roofing materials. Also called mastic, blackjack, roof tar, bull.

B

Blistering:

Bubbles or pimples in roofing materials. Usually moisture related. In shingles blisters are caused by either moisture under the material or moisture trapped inside the material.

Blow-Offs:

When shingles are subjected to high winds and are forced off a roof deck.

Buckling/Curling:

When a wrinkle or ripple affect shingles or their underlayment’s perception.

C

Counter Flashing:

The metal or siding 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.

Cupping:

When shingles are improperly installed over an existing roof or are over-exposed, they may form a curl or cup. May also be due to a manufacturing defect.

D

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.

Down Spout:

A pipe for carrying rainwater from a rain gutter.

E

Eaves:

The roof edge from the fascia to the structure’s outside wall. In general terms, the first three feet across a roof is termed the eave.

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.

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 decks.

Fiberglass Mat:

Fibers condensed into strong, resilient mats for use in roofing materials.

Flange:

Metal pan extending up or down a roof slope around flashing pieces. Usually at chimneys and plumbing vents.

Flashing:

Materials used to waterproof a roof around any projections.

G

Gable Roof:

Traditional roof style; two peaked roof planes meeting at a ridge line of equal size.

Granules:

Crushed rock that is coated with a ceramic coating and fired, used as top surface on shingles.

H

Hand-Sealing:

The method to assure sealing of shingles on very steep slopes, in high wind areas, and when installing in cold weather.

Head Wall:

Continuous metal flashing consisting of several feet of metal. Used at horizontal walls, bent to resemble an “L”.

High Nailing:

When shingles are nailed or fastened above the manufacturer’s specified nail location.

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.

L

Laminated Shingles:

Shingles made from two separate pieces that are laminated together. Also called dimensional shingles and architectural shingles.

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 cannot be installed at slopes less than 2/12.

M

Mansard Roof:

A roof design with a nearly vertical roof plane that ties into a roof plane of less slope at its peak.

Mats:

The general term for the base material of shingles and certain rolled products.

Mortar:

Mixture of sand, mortar, limestone and water used in bonding a chimney’s bricks together.

N

Nail Guide Line:

Painted line on laminated shingles, to aid in the proper placement of fasteners.

Nail-Pop:

When a nail is not fully driven, it sits up off the roof deck.

O

Open Valley:

Valley installation using metal down the valley center.

OSB:

Oriented Strand Board. A decking made from wood chips and lamination glues.

Overdriven:

The term used for fasteners driven through roofing material with too much force, breaking the material.

Overexposed:

Installing shingle courses higher than their intended exposure.

P

Parapet Wall:

A barrier which is an extension of the wall at the edge of a roof.

R

Rake Edge:

The vertical edge of gable style roof planes.

Rigid Vent:

Hard plastic ridge vent material.

Roof Louvers:

Rooftop rectangular shaped roof vents. Also called box vents, mushroom vents, airhawks, soldier vents.

S

Self-Sealant:

Sealant installed on shingles. After installation, heat and sun will activate sealant to seal the shingles to each other.

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.

Step flashing:

Metal flashing pieces installed at sidewalls and chimneys for weatherproofing.

T

Tear-Off:

Removal of existing roofing materials down to the roof deck.

Telegraphing:

When shingles reflect the uneven surface beneath them.

Ex: Shingles installed over buckled shingles may show some buckles.

Transitions:

When a roof plane ties into another roof plane that has a different pitch or slope.

U

Underdriven:

Term used to describe a fastener not fully driven flush to the shingles surface.

Underlayment:

Asphalt-based rolled materials designed to be installed under main roofing material to serve as added protection.

V

Valley:

Area where two adjoining sloped roof planes intersect on a roof creating a “V” shaped depression.

W

Waterproof Underlayment:

Modified bitumen-based roofing underlayment. Designed to seal to wood decks and waterproof critical leak areas.

Woven Valleys:

The method of installing valleys by laying one shingle over the other up the valley center.

 

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