When talking with a roofing contractor you may find yourself confused with some of the lingo that is being thrown around. Talks of eaves, rakes, flashing can all go over the head of most homeowners but that’s ok as we’ve come up with a list of 10 roofing terms that every homeowner should know.

Roofing Terms You Need to Know

  • Covering: The actual roofing material that protects the roof and home from the environment. Examples of roof covering include asphalt shingles, roofing tiles and several other types of materials.
  • Deck: The portion of your roof between the roof structure and roof covering. Often made of wood, may also be referred to as sheathing.
  • Eaves: The horizontal section of the roof that extends beyond the structure of the building. These are on lower portions of the roof and it is typically what the gutter system attaches to.
  • Flashing: A thin strip of material used to stop moisture from penetrating the intersection of roofing material and another surface. Flashing will be used in intersections like the roof covering against chimneys and vents, of intersections where two parts of the roof meet, like the valley. Flashing is usually made of metal.
  • Hip: The intersection of two or more sections of a roof at an upward angle.
  • Pitch: The angle of a roof measured in rise over run. In the United States pitch is usually measured in 12 inch increments. Examples of a pitch could include a medium sloped roof at 4/12. Pitch may also be referred to as slope.
  • Ridge: The top or crest of the roof where two or more sections of the roof meet. Ridges will need different types of shingles or materials than the rest of the roof.
  • Square: Roofing dimensions are usually measured in squares. A square is 10 by 10 feet or 100 square feet. This makes it easier for roofers to measure in simpler numbers.
  • Valley: The area of a roof where two or more section of the roof intersect at a downward angle. Valleys may need extra protection like flashing.
  • Vents: Areas on the roof used for ventilation. Vents help control moisture and extreme temperatures in the home.

This is a good start on some basic roofing terms. Remember, if your contractor or consultant is using terms you don’t understand simply stop them and ask.