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Common Roofing Terms You Need To Know

If you’re new to the roofing industry or are planning on undertaking a renovation project, it is crucial that you understand all the different terminologies used in this field. Roofing terminology can be overwhelming and confusing for beginners, but there’s no need to worry! This glossary of terms will help you in getting familiar with commonly used roofing terms.

roofing terms

Read through these definitions carefully and learn more about each term so that you can use them correctly during your next home improvement project.

Eave

Eaves are the sides of the roof that overhang a wall’s face and protrude beyond its surface. The eaves may contain decoration or molding but typically serve a primarily functional purpose: To keep rainwater from backing up under the shingles when it rains hard. The eaves may help shield a route surrounding the structure from rain and lessen rain spatter on the wall.

Also, eaves can manage solar penetration as a kind of passive solar building design. The overhang is built to alter the building’s solar gain to fit the house’s local climate and orientation. It can also be adorned as part of an architectural style.

Fascia

Fascia is a Latin word, which means “band, bandage, ribbon, swath.” It is also used for other band-like surfaces, such as a wide, flat trim strip around a doorway distinct and independent from the wall surface. Fascia board is the solid wood panel that runs horizontally along the bottom edge of an exterior wall and covers its end grain.

It usually extends from below the roof overhang to below ground level, where it conceals and protects the ends of exposed rafters. The gutters are connected to the roof truss by this board. It makes the water drain off properly and thus reduces moisture penetration into walls.

Felt Underlayment

Felt roofing underlayment is a waterproof or water-resistant barrier material that is placed directly onto your roof deck. These are unique roofing sheets consisting of three distinct layers of felt to strengthen roof construction’s overall structural and insulation qualities.

This material type is commonly utilized with metal roofs but sometimes is used to add asphalt shingles on top of an existing metal roof. It is installed beneath all other roofing materials as an additional layer of protection against extreme weather conditions such as rain, wind, and snow.

Flashing 

Flashing is a sheet of metal attached to prevent water penetration at the junctions of different materials in the roof. One such location is between a wall and a gutter, whereas another might be where roof tiles connect directly with a wall.

For your roof flashing, you’ll have several metal alternatives to select from, such as aluminum, steel, copper, and zinc. Steel is the most often utilized metal for roof flashing nowadays. It provides a clean aesthetic that is affordable to most people. Copper also looks fantastic visually and will last longer, but it will cost you more if you want a more upscale appearance.

Gutter

A gutter is an exterior rainwater pipe that carries away rainfall from the edge of a roof. It consists of a series of horizontal boards on edge installed atop your house’s eaves. These overflow channels allow melting snow or ice buildup during winter while retaining physical integrity during high winds and storm conditions.

Gutters may run beneath all or part of your home’s perimeter; alternatively, they can extend from one side only if rooms in certain wings will be too close to running water. When installed properly, gutters play an important role in preventing costly damage to your foundation walls.

Hips

The hip is the point on a roof at which two adjacent roof planes (or slopes) intersect, forming angles. The hips themselves are from the ridgeline of the roof. In most modern domestic construction, hip roofs are made entirely from masonry or wood shingles. Still, historically they were built using “hip rafters” cut as complete triangles and standing on their own.

Hip roofs are ideal for locations with heavy winds and snowfall. The roof’s slope allows snow to roll off, leaving no standing water.

Rafters

Roof rafters are typically long and relatively slender members arranged in pairs perpendicular to each other across the slope of a roof framing system. These are the roof support elements that extend from a wall to the roof’s top. Rafters are generally composed of wood or steel, and they can be hidden inside the roof structure or left exposed to the areas below.

The rafters usually slope down and are joined together by roof beams or collar ties. These latter pieces generally connect two parallel rafters to form an X-shaped structural member at intervals along the length of your home.

Rake

The rake refers to the sloping sides of a gable-type roof and measures its inclination from horizontal. It is a popular style of roof in colder or temperate regions. It comprises two roof portions that slope in opposing directions from the peak to allow for the optimum flow of precipitation off the roof. 

The rake might be flat with no overhang, or it can overhang like an eave. The overhanging rake is then filled in or left open with soffit and fascia. Roof rakes can be constructed from various materials such as wood, cedar, PVC board, or concrete board. It can also be coated in metal or simply painted to match your home’s trim and fascia.

Ridge

Ridge is simply the highest point on a roof. It is the horizontal line that runs the length of the top of the roof and connects the two roof planes. Also, it is the rainwater split line. 

The term “ridge” can also refer to the wooden component known as the ridge beam. Ridge capping, the roofing part that covers and protects the ridge beam, is also known as the ridge.

Sheathing

Sheathing on a roof is a board fastened to rafters, trusses, or roofing joists to protect them from the weather. It serves as an important part of a building’s weather resistance and thermal insulation. Sheathing material should protect against water infiltration while providing structural support to the building below decking materials such as roof shingles or tiles.

The sheathing is often made from plywood or oriented sand boards (OSB), but sometimes hardboard, wood boards, or fiber cement siding may be used. 

Shingles

Shingles are roof-covering materials that gather atop one another at their overlaps, making them continuous across large areas with few visible seams. Tile strips are another name for shingle roof tiles. A popular type of material for roofs is asphalt shingles, which come in various colors and styles. 

They are laid in overlapping rows (rather than vertically) and vary in shape depending on their material. Asphalt shingles are usually rectangular, while slate and tile are available in various shapes. Also, wood shingles contain natural resins such as pine tar processed by compressing them under heat and pressure.

Soffit 

Soffit is the underside surface (between the supporting beams or joists) of the exposed rafters in ceiling joist construction.  It is usually applied to an interior space overhang such as you would see on a porch, which conceals the exposed underside of ceiling rafters. 

Its primary function is to protect rafters from the elements. Keeping moisture away from the rafters lowers the possibility of mold and extends the life of the components. The horizontal underside of a roof eave that extends beyond an external wall vent is frequently installed to enable air circulation within the attic.

Valley

A valley is formed between two sloping roof surfaces when roofs meet at any angle except 180 degrees. It is the lowest section between ridges where the two roof sides join together. In most cases, valleys will have a gutter system installed along their length to drain properly.

A roof valley is one of the essential elements of a roof because it directs water down the gutter. The v-shaped valley allows excessive rain to fall off your roof. However, valleys are more prone to leaking due to the volume of water and lower slope along valley lines.

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