Roofing Terminology for Beginners

Roofing Terminology for BeginnersRoofing Terminology for Beginners

If you have only begun researching a new roof for your home, you have probably heard a lot of “trade words” and been left wondering what the dickens they are talking about. Every trade has “jargon,” those words they use exclusively in reference to their work. Here is a quick guide to a few of the most commonly used words and what they actually are!

Let’s start with the basic roof structure.

Rafters are the wooden beams that lean in from the outside where they meet the walls, up to where the center of the roof will be. They are the “skeleton” of your roof and are the part the rest of it is built onto.

The Deck of your roof is the layer of material that covers the rafters once they are in place. The Deck is commonly constructed from wooden planks, plywood, or boards. This is the most important part of your roof as it is where all the components are attached and come together to strengthen the entire structure.

Shingles are the pieces of the outer skin of your roof. These can come in an abundance of materials. The most common shingles are asphalt tiles. Shingles can also be made of wood or clay. Beginning at the outer edge of the roof, they are overlapped as you build upward .

Besides the basic roof structure mentioned above, there are a few smaller components

The Eave hangs out at the bottom of the roof where it hangs over the edge. This helps pour water off and away from the walls to protect them. Eaves can also be decorated to add a sence of style to the overall look of your home.

Crickets are those small dam-like ridges built next to the upper side of chimneys and other protruding structures. They are designed to keep water from gathering between the chimney and the rest of the roof.

Dormers are raised sections that allow for greater headroom in the area below the roof. Dormers can be small and unobtrusive or larger and even contain extra windows for light into the attic space.

Flashing is also used to keep water away from the joints and understructure of a roof. Flashing is usually metal, plastic, or other non-permeable substance. You will find flashing anywhere the roof surface changes direction, around chimneys (with or without crickets), at joints to a porch, or dormer additions.