A Glossary of Basic Roofing Terms


Local roofing contractor

Getting a new roof installed? You may want to brush up on your roofing lingo. Here are a few terms you?ll want to know:

  • Alligatoring: This is a roofing problem that affects most tar and gravel roofs after about 10 to 20 years. The seams open up or cracks appear in the roofing.
  • Deck: The deck of the roof includes the sheathing and underlayment (roofing felt). Most roofs have solid plywood or oriented strand board sheathing; however, wood and tile roofs require spaced board sheathing.
  • Dormers: A dormer is a roofed structure that contains a window. It projects beyond the plane of a pitched roof and is usually used to increase space in a loft or attic. There are many different styles of dormer, including the gable fronted former, hip roof dormer, flat roof dormer, wall dormer, and more.
  • Fascia Board: This is the exposed end of the roof to which the gutter is typically attached.
  • Flashing: This is the edging (usually metal or vinyl) that is installed along roof intersections, dormers, vent pipes, and chimneys. It functions to guide water towards the gutters and away from the roof joints. The most common metals used for flashing are galvanized steel, aluminum, and copper.
  • Ice Dams: These are formed when heat from the attic melts the snow on the roof, causing the gutters to overflow. The water is then able to get under the shingles and into the house, causing serious damage.
  • Ridge Vent: This type of vent is placed along the top ridge of the roof, underneath the roofing material. It allows the attic to breathe and prevents ice dams and water damage.
  • Roof Surface: This is the area on which the roofing material is placed. The most common surface material for all kinds of roofs (metal roofing, asphalt shingle roofing, etc.) is plywood.
  • Soffits: These are the vents that sit under the roof overhang to increase attic ventilation.
  • Water Diverter: Water diverters are similar to gutters. They are made of a piece of metal that control the flow of water from the roof.

Roofs come in many different materials; however, the strongest and most durable roofing material is metal. A typical metal roof will last up to seven times longer than the average asphalt shingles roof, and can save up to 25% on your annual energy bill. For more information, discuss your options with your local metal roofing contractors today.
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