Roofing Terms Glossary
Algae: Rooftop fungus that can leave dark stains on roofing.
Alligatoring: Shrinkage of the bituminous surface of built-up or smooth surface roofing, producing a pattern of deep cracks resembling an alligator hide.
Apron Flashing: Metal flashing used at chimney fronts.
Asphalt: A bituminous waterproofing agent used in various types of roofing materials.

Ballast: An anchoring material (such as rock, gravel, pavers) used to resist wind uplift forces of roof membrane.
Blistering:  Bubbles or pimples in roofing membrane as a result of pressure of entrapped air or water vapor.
Bitumen: A generic term for asphalt or coal tar pitch roofing.
Buckling: When a wrinkle or ripple affects shingles or their underlayments
Built-up Roofing (BUR): A continuous, semi-flexible roof covering consisting of laminations of plies of saturated or coated felts alternated with layers of bitumen.

Cant Strip: A continuous strip of triangular cross-section, fitted into the angle formed by a structural deck and a wall or other vertical surface, and used to provide gradual transition for base flashing and horizontal roof membrane.
Counter Flashing: The metal or siding material that is installed over roof –top base flashing systems.
Crack: A break in a roofing membrane as a result of flexing, often occurring at a ridge or wrinkle.
Crickets: A peaked water diverter installed behind large roof projections. Effectively diverts water around projections.
Cupping: When shingles are improperly installed over an existing roof or are over-exposed, they may form a curl or cup.  May also be due to a manufacturing defect.

Deck: The substrate over which roofing is applied.  Usually plywood, OSB, metal, or concrete.
Dormer: A raised roof extending out of a larger roof plane.
Drip Edge: An installed lip that keeps shingles up off the deck at edges, and extends shingles out over eaves and gutters.

Eaves: The protective overhang at the lower edge of a sloped roof.
EPDM: A synthetic rubber sheet used in single ply roof membrane (ethylene propylene diene monomer)
Expansion Joint: A deliberate separation of two roof areas to allow expansion and contraction movements of the parts. Fascia: The finish member covering the edge or eaves of a flat or sloping roof or roof overhangs.

Fasteners: Nails, staples, or screws used to secure roofing to the deck.
FHA: The Federal Housing Authority sets construction standards throughout the U.S.
Fishmouth: An opening of the lapped edge of applied felt in built-up roofing due to adhesion failure.
Flashing: Materials used to waterproof a roof around any projections.

Gable Roof: Traditional roof style; two peaked roof planes meeting at a ridge line of equal size.
Granules: Crushed rock that is coated with ceramic coating and fired, used as tip surface on shingles.
Gravel Stop: Flanged device, normally metallic, designed to prevent loose aggregate from washing off the roof.  It also provides a finished edge detail for a built-up roofing assembly.

Hip Legs: The down-slope ridges on hip roofs.
Hip Roof: A roof with four roof planes coming together at a peak and four separate hip legs.

Ice Dam: When a snow lead melts on a roof and re-freezes at the eave areas.  Ice dams force water to “back-up” under shingles and cause leakage.

Laminated Shingles: Shingles made from two separate pieces that are laminated together.  Also called dimensional shingles and architectural shingles.
Low Slopes: Roof pitches less than 4/12 are considered low sloped roofs.  Special installation practices must be used on roofs sloped 2/12 – 4/12.  Shingles cannot be installed at slopes less than 2/12.

Mansard: A roof design with a nearly vertical roof plane that ties into a roof plane of less slope at its peak.
Modified Bitumen: Rolled roofing membrane with polymer modified asphalt and either polyester or fiberglass reinforcement.

Nail Guide Line: Painted line on laminated shingles, to aid in the proper placement of fasteners.
NRCA: National Roofing Contractors Association.  Respected national organization of roofing contractors.

Open Valley: Valley installation using metal down the valley center.
OSB: Oriented Strand Board.  A decking made from wood chips and lamination glues.

PVC: A generic term for single ply plastic sheet membrane (poly vinyl chloride); seams are fused by hot air welding techniques.
Parapet: The part of the wall entirely above the roof.
Ponding: The collection of water in shallow pools on the roof surface.
Rake Edge: The vertical edge of gable style roof planes.
Roof Louvers: Rooftop rectangular shaped roof vents.  Also called box vents, mushroom vents, and #750s.
Roof Plane:  A roofing area defined by having four separate edges.  One side of a gable, hip or mansards roof.

Shed Roof: Roof design of a single roof plane.  Area does not tie into any other roofs.
Side Walls: Where a vertical roof plane meets a vertical wall.  The sides of dormers, etc.
Slope: The ratio between the measures of rise and the horizontal span.
Soffit: The finish on the underside of roof overhangs.
Soffit Ventilation: Intake ventilation installed under the eaves, or at the roof edge.
Starter Strip: The first course of roofing installed.  Usually trimmed from main roof material.
Steep Slope Roofing: Generally all slopes higher than 4/12 are considered steep slopes.
Stepflashing: Metal flashing pieces installed at sidewalls and chimneys for weatherproofing.

Tab: The bottom portion of traditional shingle separated by the shingle cut-outs.
Tear-off: Removal of existing roofing materials down to the roof deck.
TIMBERTEX: Enhanced Hip and Ridge shingles.
Transitions: When a roof plane ties into another roof plane that has a different pitch or slope.

Underlayments: Asphalt based rolled materials designed to be installed under main roofing material to serve as added protection.

Valleys: Area where two adjoining sloped roof planes intersect on a roof creating a “V” shaped depression.

Warranty: The written promise to the owner of roofing materials for material related problems.
Waterproof Underlayments: Modified bitumen based roofing underlayments. Designed to seal to wood decks and waterproof critical areas.
Woven Valleys: The method of installing valleys by laying one shingle over the other up the valley center.
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