ARIZONA ROOFING GLOSSARY

Common Roofing Terms Defined & Explained

Not sure what all the parts of your roof are and how they work together?  We hope that our Roofing Glossary will help you understand the terms used when talking with a roofing contractor. If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at (480) 689-5055. 

The following is a list of terms or phrases commonly used in the roofing industry. Each term is accompanied by a brief definition.

Asphalt Roofing Cement

An asphalt-based cement used to bond roofing materials. Also known as flashing cement or mastic; should conform to ASTM D 4586 (Asbestos Free) or ASTM D 2822 (Asbestos Containing).

Asphalt

A brownish-black solid or semisolid mixture of bitumens obtained from native deposits or as a petroleum byproduct, used in paving, roofing and waterproofing.

Back Surfacing

Fine mineral matter applied to the backside of shingles to keep them from sticking.

Base Flashing

That portion of the flashing attached to or resting on the deck to direct the flow of water onto the roof covering.

Blisters

Bubbles that may appear on the surface of asphalt roofing after installation.

Brands

Airborne burning embers released from a fire.

Bridging

A method of re-roofing with metric-sized shingles.

Built-Up Roof

A flat or low-sloped roof consisting of multiple layers of asphalt and ply sheets.

Bundle

A package of shingles. There are 3, 4 or 5 bundles per square. A group of shingles held together, as by tying or wrapping.

Butt Edge

The lower edge of the shingle tabs.

Cant Strip

A beveled strip placed in the angle between a roof and a wall against which the roof abuts so as to avoid a sharp bend in the roofing material.

Cap Sheet

Surface sheet for most built up roof systems. Can be made of organic asphalt products or modified asphalt products.

Caulk

To fill a joint with mastic or asphalt cement to prevent leaks.

Cement

See Asphalt Roofing Cement.

Chalk Line

A line made on the roof by snapping a taut string or cord dust with chalk. Used for alignment purposes.

Class “A”

The highest fire-resistance rating for roofing as per ASTM E-108. Indicates roofing is able to withstand severe exposure to fire originating from sources outside the building.

Class “B”

Fire-resistance rating that indicates roofing material is able to withstand moderate exposure to fire originating from sources outside the building.

Class “C”

Fire-resistance rating that indicates roofing material is able to withstand light exposure to fire originating from sources outside the building.

Closed Cut Valley

A method of valley treatment in which shingles from one side of the valley extend across the valley while shingles from the other side are trimmed 2 inches from the valley centerline. The valley flashing is not exposed.

Coated Sheet

Has an asphalt and sand finish. The finish keeps the asphalt or adhesive from seeping through sheet.

Coating

A layer of viscous asphalt applied to the base material into which granules or other surfacing is embedded.

Collar

Pre-formed flange placed over a vent pipe to seal the roof around the vent pipe opening. Also called a vent sleeve.

Concealed Nail Method

Application of roll roofing in which all nails are driven into the underlying course of roofing and covered by a cemented, overlapping course. Nails are not exposed to the weather.

Condensation

The change of water from to vapor to liquid when warm, moisture-laden air comes in contact with a cold surface.

Counter Flashing

That portion of the flashing attached to a vertical surface to prevent water from migrating behind the base flashing.

Course

A row of shingles or roll roofing running the length of the roof.

Coverage

Amount of weather protection provided by the roofing material. Depends on number of layers of material between the exposed surface of the roofing and the deck; i.e. single coverage, double coverage, etc.

Cricket

A peaked saddle construction at the back of a chimney to prevent accumulation of snow and ice and to deflect water around the chimney.

Cutout

The open portions of a strip shingle between the tabs.

Deck

The surface, installed over the supporting framing members, to which the roofing is applied.

Decking (Plywood Sheathing)

The structural "skin" of a roof over which roofing in applied. Most new homes have decking made of plywood. There are four main types of decking commonly used on residential roofing projects: Plywood, OSB, Tongue and groove, Step sheathing.

Dormer

A framed window unit projecting through the sloping plane of a roof.

Double Coverage

Application of asphalt roofing such that the lapped portion is at least 2 inches wider than the exposed portion, resulting in two layers of roofing material over the deck.

Downspout

A pipe for draining water from roof gutters. Also called a leader.

Drip Edge

A non-corrosive, non-staining material used along the eaves and rakes to allow water run-off to drip clear of underlying construction.

Dutch Lap Method

Application of giant individual shingles with the long dimension parallel to the eaves.

Eaves Flashing

Additional layer of roofing material applied at the eaves to help prevent damage from water back-up.

Eaves

This is the lower, overhanging part of your roof. Typically down where the gutter is located is called the eave line.

Edging Strips

Boards nailed along eaves and rakes after cutting back existing wood shingles to provide secure edges for re-roofing with asphalt shingles.

Ell

An extension of a building at right angles to its length.

Exposed Nail Method

Application of roll roofing in which all nails are driven into the cemented, overlapping course of roofing. Nails are exposed to the weather.

Exposure

Vulnerability to the elements; to the action of heat or cold or wind or rain; "exposure to the weather."

Fascia

Trim used to cover the rafter end of the eaves. Often where gutters are attached to the house.

Feathering Strips

Tapered wood filler strips placed along the butts of old wood shingles to create a level surface when re-roofing over existing wood shingles to provide secure edges for re-roofing with asphalt.

Felt

Fibrous material saturated with asphalt and used as an underlayment or sheathing paper.

Fiberglass Mats

Asphalt roofing base material manufactured from glass fiber.

Fire Rating

Measurement used by independent labs to determine resistance to fire.

Flashing Cement

See asphalt roofing cement.

Flashing

Pieces of metal or roll roofing used to prevent seepage of water into a building around any intersection or projection in a roof such as vent pipes, chimneys, adjoining walls, dormers and valleys. Galvanized metal flashing should be minimum 26-gauge.

Free-Tab Shingles

Shingles that do not contain factory-applied strips or spots of self-sealing adhesive.

Gable Roof

A type of roof containing sloping planes of the same pitch on each side of the ridge. Contains a gable at each end.

Gable

The upper portion of a sidewall that comes to a triangular point at the ridge of a sloping roof.

Gambrel Roof

A type of roof containing two sloping planes of different pitch on each side of the ridge. The lower plane has a steeper slope than the upper. Contains a gable at each end.

Granules

Ceramic-coated colored crushed rock that is applied to the exposed surface of asphalt roofing products.

Gutter

The trough that channels water from the eaves to the downspouts.

Head Lap

Shortest distance from the butt edge of an overlapping shingle to the upper edge of a shingle in the second course below. The triple coverage portion of the top lap of strip shingles.

Hex Shingles

Shingles that have the appearance of a hexagon after installation.

Hip Roof

A type of roof containing sloping planes of the same pitch on each of four sides. Contains no gables.

Hip Shingles

Shingles used to cover the inclined external angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes.

Hip

The inclined external angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes. Runs from the ridge to the eaves.

Ice Dam

Condition formed at the lower roof edge by the thawing and re-freezing of melted snow on the overhang. Can force water up and under shingles, causing leaks.

Interlocking Shingles

Individual shingles that mechanically fasten to each other to provide wind resistance.

Laminated Shingles

Strip shingles containing more than one layer of tabs to create extra thickness. Also called three-dimensional shingles or architectural shingles.

Lap Cement

Asphalt-based cement used to adhere overlapping plies of roll roofing.

Lap

To cover the surface of one shingle or roll with another.

Low Slope Application

Method of installing asphalt shingles on roof sloped between 2 and 4 inches per foot.

Mansard Roof

A type of roof containing two sloping planes of different pitch on each of four sides. The lower plane has a much steeper pitch than the upper, often approaching vertical. Contains no gables.

Masonry Primer

An asphalt-based primer used to prepare masonry surfaces for bonding with other asphalt products.

Mastic

Asphalt-based sealant. Troweled, or applied by hand using rubber gloves. Other trades have other types of mastic products.

Mechanical Fastners

Roofing Nails, special screws and plates are used to fasten roof insulation and single ply membranes. Can be metal or plastic.

Mineral Stabilizers

Finely ground limestone, slate, trap-rock or other inert materials added to asphalt coatings for durability and increased resistance to fire and weathering.

Mineral-Surfaced Roofing

Asphalt shingles and roll roofing that are covered with granules.

Modified

Cap sheet or ply sheets that are manufactured with a modified rubber product. More tensile strength than regular asphalt products.

Nesting

A method of re-roofing with new asphalt shingles over old shingles in which the top edge of the new shingle is butted against the bottom edge of the existing shingle tab.

No-Cutout Shingles

Shingles consisting of a single, soled tab with no cutouts.

Non-Veneer Panel

Any wood-based panel that does not contain veneer and carries an APA span rating, such as wafer board or oriented strand board.

Normal Slope Application

Method of installing asphalt shingles on roof slopes between 4 inches and 21 inches per foot.

Open Valley

Method of valley construction in which shingles on both sides of the valley are trimmed along a chalk line snapped on each side of the valley. Shingles do not extend across the valley. Valley flashing is exposed.

Organic Felt

An asphalt roofing base material manufactured from cellulose fibers.

Overhang

That portion of the roof structure that extends beyond the exterior walls of a building.

Pallets

Tile and other materials when purchased in quantity will come on a prebuilt wooden structure. This is a pallet and the place where a forklift would put the forks to lift the entire amount.

Parapet (Walls)

A low protective wall that extends above the roofline or balcony for support

Pitch

The degree of roof incline expressed as the ratio of the rise, in feet, to the span, in feet.

Ply

The number of layers of roofing; i.e., one-ply, two-ply.

Polyester Membrane

Reinforcing membrane sheet used in the cold overlay system.

Quick-Setting Cement

Asphalt-based cement used to adhere tabs of strip shingles to the course below. Also used to adhere roll-roofing laps applied by the concealed nail method.

Racking

Roofing application method in which shingle courses are applied vertically up the roof rather than across and up. Not a recommended procedure.

Rafter

The supporting framing member immediately beneath the deck, sloping from the ridge to the wall.

Rake

The inclined edge of a sloped roof over a wall from the eave to the ridge.

Random-Tab Shingles

Shingles on which tabs vary in size and exposure.

Release Tape

A plastic or paper strip that is applied to the back of self-sealing shingles. This strip prevents the shingles from sticking together in the bundles, and need not be removed for application.

Ridge

The uppermost, horizontal external angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes.

Ridge Shingles

Shingles used to cover the horizontal external angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes.

Rise

The vertical distance from the eaves line to the ridge.

Roll Roofing

Asphalt roofing products manufactured in roll form.

Roof Insulation

A rigid board of various widths from ½"to 6", usually applied with some form of mechanical fasteners. When more than one layer is applied the second layer will applied with an adhesive, either hot or cold.

Roofing Tape

Saturated tape used with asphalt cements for flashing and patching asphalt roofing.

Run

The horizontal distance from the eaves to a point directly under the ridge. One-half the span.

Saturant

Asphalt used to impregnate an organic felt base material.

Saturated Felt

An asphalt-impregnated felt used as an underlayment between the deck and the roofing material.

Self-Sealing Strip Or Spot

Factory-applied adhesive that bonds shingle courses together when exposed to the heat of the sun after application.

Selvage

That portion of roll roofing overlapped by the succeeding course to obtain double coverage.

Shading

Slight differences in shingle color that may occur as a result of normal manufacturing operations.

Sheathing

Exterior grade boards used as a roof deck material.

Shed Roof

A roof containing only one sloping plane. Has no hips, ridges, valleys or gables.

Shingle Coverage

Shingles containing factory-applied strips or spots of self-sealing adhesive.

Single Coverage

Asphalt roofing that provides one layer of roofing material over the deck.

Single Ply Roofing

A rubber roof membrane that is applied with or without adhesive and is sealed and fastened at the laps of the material. Laps are sealed with heat welding using special hot air welders or special lap adhesive. Heat welding is the preferred method of sealing laps.

Slope

The degree of roof incline expressed as the ratio of the rise, in inches, to the run, in feet.

Smooth-Surfaced Roofing

Roll roofing that is covered with ground talc or mica instead of granules.

Soffit

The finished underside of the eaves.

Soil Stack

A vent pipe that penetrates the roof.

Span

The horizontal distance from eaves to eaves.

Square

A unit of roof measure covering 100 square feet.

Square-Tab Shingles

Shingles on which tabs are all the same size and exposure.

Starter Strip

Asphalt roofing applied at the eaves that provides protection by filling in the spaces under the cutouts and joints of the first course of shingles.

Steep Slope Application

Method of installing asphalt shingles on roof slopes greater than 21 inches per foot.

Step Flashing

Flashing application method used where a vertical surface meets a sloping roof plane.

Strip Shingles

Asphalt shingles that are approximately three times as long as they are wide.

Tab

The exposed portion of strip shingles defined by cutouts.

Talc

See back surfacing.

Tear Off

Removal of existing roof membrane, necessary when applying new roof membrane in most cities in Southern California.

Telegraphing

A shingle distortion that may arise when a new roof is applied over an uneven surface.

Three Dimensional Shingles

See laminated shingles.

Top Lap

That portion of the roofing covered by the succeeding course after installation.

Torch Applied System

The cap sheet has a coating of modified asphalt that is heated with torch just prior to application

Underlayment

Asphalt-saturated felt used beneath roofing to provide additional protection for the deck.

Valley

The internal angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes to provide water runoff.

Vapor Retarder

Any material used to prevent the passage of water vapor.

Vent

Any outlet for air that protrudes through the roof deck, such as a pipe or stack. Any device installed on the roof or gable for the purpose of ventilating the underside of the roof deck.

Woven Valley

Method of valley construction in which shingles from both sides of the valley extend across the valley and are woven together by overlapping alternate courses as they are applied. The valley flashing is not exposed.

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Our licensed contractors only offer those brands that meet our strict requirements for durability, beauty, and warranty protection. We even take the extra step to offer eco-friendly roofing solutions that can outlast more conventional products while helping to avoid negative environmental impact. Learn more about our commitment to sustainability by reading our Guiding Principles.

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