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Common Roofing Terms

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Roofing terms can sound like a foreign language to customers that are not familiar with roofing terminology. Brothers Roofing has compiled the most commonly used terms by roofers that the homeowner will encounter during phone calls, written estimates for roofing replacement, or job descriptions for roof repairs.

  • Algae - A fungus that can grow on top of your roofing shingles. Most often it will leave stains that will discolor your roofing shingles.
  • Blow off - A situation during which roofing shingles are blown off of your roof by high winds or wind gusts.
  • Deck - Material onto which your roof installed. Usually composed of plywood or OBX.
  • Dormer - A small roof area that extends out of a sloped roof. Dormers usually incorporate a window and are found in attics.
  • Drip Edge - Strip installed on your roof's edges that allows for water to properly run off your roof and not down your siding. Extends roofing shingles out over gutters and eaves.
  • Eaves - Roof edge from fascia to the outside wall, generally, the first 3 feet of your roof is considered the eave.
  • Exposure - The portion of the shingle that is left exposed to the elements and not overlapped by other shingles. This is usually less than 50% of the roofing shingle.
  • Flashing - Metal (or copper or aluminum) used to protect and waterproof any penetrations on the roof as well as valleys.
  • Gutter - Used to divert water away from the home to avoid damage.
  • Hip - External angle formed by two joining sides of the roofing.
  • Laminated Shingles - Shingles made from two separate pieces that are laminated together. Usually found on higher end shingles such as designer or architectural product lines.
  • Mansard - A roof design that has a nearly vertical roof plan which then ties into the existing peaked roof.
  • OSB - Decking made from wood chips.
  • Pitch - The pitch of the roof measures the roof's slope, which is calculated as a ratio of rise over run.
  • Ridge Vent - Roof exhaust that ventilates the attic through the cuts made to the ridge of the vent. Works properly when paired with the correct soffit.
  • Roofing Ventilation - Any type of ventilation that is installed to cool the attic space. Includes power fans as well as a ridge vent.
  • Soffit Ventilation - Intake ventilation that is installed under the eaves, works with a ridge vent.
  • Square - The most common roofing measurement, a roofing square considers 100 square feet of roofing (10 feet x 10 feet).
  • Valley - Area in which two sloped roofs come together creating a valley or v shaped depression.
  • Water shield - Waterproof underlayment.