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Roofing Glossary

  • Asphalt: A bituminous waterproofing agent applied to roofing materials during manufacturing. Asphalt plastic roofing cement: An asphalt-based cement used to bond roofing materials, including flashing.
  • 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.
  • Built-up roof: A flat or low-sloped roof consisting of multiple layers of asphalt and ply sheets.
  • Butt edge: The lower edge of the shingle tabs.
  • · Caulk: To fill a joint with mastic or asphalt cement to prevent leaks.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Dormer: A framed window unit projecting through the sloping plane of a roof.
  • 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.
  • Eaves: The horizontal, lower edge of a sloped roof.
  • Eave flashing: Additional layer of roofing material applied at the eaves to help prevent damage from water back-up.
  • Edging strips: Boards nailed along eaves and rakes after cutting back existing wood shingles to provide secure edges for reroofing with asphalt shingles.
  • Feathering strips: Tapered wood filler strips placed along the butts of old wood shingles to create a level surface when reroofing over existing wood shingle roofs.
  • Felt: Fibrous material saturated with asphalt and used as an underlayment or sheathing paper.
  • Fiberglass mat: An asphalt roofing base material manufactured from glass fibers.
  • Flashing: Pieces of galvanized metal (usually aluminum or copper) 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.
  • Free-tab shingles: Shingles that do not contain factory-applied strips or spots of self-sealing adhesive.
  • Gable: The upper portion of a sidewall that comes to a triangular point at the ridge of a sloping roof.
  • Gable roof: A type of roof containing sloping planes of the same pitch on each side of the ridge, with a gable at each end.
  • 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.
  • Hip: The inclined external angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes. Runs from the ridge to the eaves.
  • 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.
  • 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: To cover the surface of one shingles or roll with another.
  • Lap cement: An asphalt-based cement used to adhere overlapping plies of roll roofing.
  • 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.
  • Mineral-surfaced roofing: Asphalt shingles and roll roofing that are covered with granules.
  • Nesting: A method of reroofing 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, solid tab with no cutouts.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Rafter: The supporting framing member immediately beneath the deck, sloping from the ridge to the wall plate.
  • · Rake: The inclined edge of a sloped roof over a wall.
  • Ridge: The uppermost, horizontal external angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes.
  • Ridge shingles or ridge cap: 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.
  • Roofing tape: An asphalt-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 shingles: Shingles containing factory-applied strips or spots of self-sealing adhesive.
  • Self-sealing strip or spot: Factory-applied adhesive that bonds shingle courses together when exposed to the heat of the sun after application.
  • 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.
  • 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 (coated).
  • 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. A roof with a field area of 2,500 square feet would be called a 25 square roof.
  • Starter strip: Asphalt roofing applied at the eaves that provide protection by filling in the spaces under the cutouts and joints of the first course of shingles.
  • Step flashing: Flashing application method used where a vertical surface meets a sloping roof plane.
  • Tab: The exposed portion of strip shingles defined by cutouts.
  • Telegraphing: A shingle distortion that may arise when a new roof is applied over an uneven surface.
  • Top lap: That portion of the roofing covered by the succeeding course after installation.
  • 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.
  • 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, gable or soffit for the purpose of ventilating the underside of the roof deck.

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