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The (Ultimate) Roofing Glossary of Terms (Updated for 2024)

Roofing Glossary of Terms

As a roofing SEO company, we work with thousands of roofing companies across the United States. Our owner, Nolen Walker, has walked roofs with professionals to further enhance our digital marketing approach for clients. Over time, we’ve learned about hundreds of roofing terms, each of which we’ve implemented into marketing campaigns for one or more clients.

While most companies aim to rank for the most popular roofing keywords, our decade’s worth of marketing data reveals that the top performers also rank for thousands of long-tail keywords, especially for topics less frequently targeted by their competitors.

The Ultimate Roofing Glossary of Terms:

3-tab ShingleA light, flat-layered roof material that gives one shingle the appearance of three.
Algae DiscolorationA dark (brown or black) roof stain often mistaken for moss, fungus, or dirt.
Architectural ShinglesAn asphalt-based roof material, sometimes called “dimensional” shingles.
ARMAAsphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association
Asphalt PrimerA priming solution used on substrates before they are applied to a roofing system (typically modified bitumen).
Asphalt Roof CementAn emulsion comprised of mineral spirits, asphalt, fibers, and more additives.
Asphalt ShingleA prevalent, waterproof roofing shingle made up of asphalt.
ASTMAmerican Society for Testing and Materials
Attic VentThe ventilation system located in your attic that encourages longer roof lifespans.
Back SurfacingA mineral application for shingles that prevents sticking on the backside.
Base FlashingA composition (like a wall) or metal roof flashing existing between the roof surface and the vertical surface.
Base SheetA coated, impregnated, or saturated piece of felt used as the initial ply in a low-slop roofing system.
BlendMultiple variations of granule colors mixed together on a single shingle surface.
BlistersElevated surface areas that trap moisture and air over a roofing system’s voids.
BridgingA pathway for heat entering or exiting a building bypassing the initial insulation layer.
Building ComponentsAn isolated building part manufactured independently of the larger structure but can be installed and joined with other elements.
Built-Up Roofing (BUR)A multi-layered asphalt roof system applied between ply felts or sheets on top of the roof’s insulation.
BundleA package of shingles (usually 15-29 units) varies by size and type.
Butt EdgeThe part of a shingle that is facing the conditions and therefore is exposed to weather and precipitation.
Cant StripA triangular strip of material applied at the roof deck’s intersection.
Cap FlashingA phrase used to describe a roofer attaching metal to valleys, skylights, chimneys, or walls.
Cap SheetA plastic or metal material covering the top of a roof, protecting shingles from weather damage.
CaulkThick paste used to fill roof gaps or penetrations.
CementA patching material that acts as an adhesive for leak repairs.
Chalk LineA line of chalk drawn on the roof via a taut string or cord.
Class “A” Fire ResistanceBest fire rating with a flame spread of 25 or lower and maximum smoke development of 450.
Class “B” Fire ResistanceFlame spread in the range of 26-75 with a maximum smoke development of 450.
Class “C” Fire ResistanceFlame spread in the range of 76-200 with a maximum smoke development of 450.
Class 4 Impact ResistanceBest impact resistance level proven to withstand 2-inch ball impact dropped from 20 feet without tearing or splitting.
Closed ValleyShingles installed directly on the roof deck, extending over the intersection of the roof planes.
CoatingA fluid, monolithic, and fully adhered roof membrane.
CollarsHorizontal members between two rafters, commonly used in residential roof construction.
Concealed Nail MethodA method of applying roll roofing where all nails are driven into an underlying roof course and covered with an overlapping, cemented course.
CondensationMoisture that forms on a roof’s underside.
Cool Roof ShingleA roof shingle designed to absorb less solar energy and reflect more sunlight than a conventional material.
Counter FlashingA metal or elastomeric sheet covering for the upper edge of a base flashing and its fasteners.
CourseA row of roll roofing or shingles that runs the length of a roof.
CoverageThe coverage material on top of the roof deck, including flashing, moisture protection, and any material applied under the roof cover.
CricketA structure that diverts water around the chimney, typically built as a double triangle.
CupolaA recessed boundary that protrudes up from the property’s roof.
CutoutRoof rock truncating a coal bed’s entirety.
Dead LevelA roof without a pitch or slope.
DeckingThe plywood boards placed on the roof’s frame, forming its structure.
Designer ShingleMulti-layered fusion shingle materials portraying a three-dimensional aesthetic.
DormerA small windowed room projecting vertically from a sloped roof.
Double Coverage36-inch wide sheet with 19 inches reserved for a selvage edge and the other 17 for exposure.
DownspoutA pipe that pushes rainwater from a roof to a ground-level drain.
Drip CourseThe initial course of shingles which overhang the edge slightly.
Drip EdgeMetal strips used on rakes and eaves for water runoff and damage prevention.
EaveThe edge of a roof overhanging the siding.
EmissivityRatio of thermal radiation from the roof surface compared to an ideal surface
Exposed Nail MethodRoll roofing application that drives all nails into the overlapping course.
ExposureThe portion of a roof shingle uncovered by its higher counterpart.
FasciaA board installed on the face or edge of a roof overhang.
FeltA roof underlayment type with thin water-shedding barriers applied between the decking and shingles.
Fiberglass MatA flat fabric made of diced fiberglass bonded together and oriented randomly.
FlashingA material used to channel water away from walls, dormers, and anywhere the roof plane meets a vertical surface.
Gable RoofA two-section roof consisting of joining upper horizontal edges as its ridge.
GranulesSmall pieces of stone or rock bonded to the shingle’s surface for exterior protection.
Gravel StopA metal edge featuring an angled bend to prevent water from washing away from the property’s perimeter.
High NailingShingles nailed higher than the recommended guidelines.
Hip RoofA roof with the sides and ends inclined.
Ice DamA build-up of ice on a sloped roof’s eaves typically resulting from melted snow accumulation.
Interlocking ShinglesA type of metal roofing material crafted to emulate standard asphalt shingles.
Laminated ShinglesA higher-quality 3-tab shingle consisting of multiple layers, a thicker base mat, and a ceramic-coated surface enveloped in premium asphalt.
Lap CementA premium-grade asphalt solvent with an moderate brushing texture.
LeaksCracks, holes, and other punctures in a roofing system, allowing liquid to pass through.
Lock ShinglesA type of shingle that interlocks at the roof corners, creating a contiguous roof system.
Low Slope ApplicationA roof with limited or non-existent steepness with a pitch typically less than 3:12.
Mansard RoofA roof with four sloping sides, each growing steeper halfway down.
MasticA roof material applied to seal vulnerable elements of the structure.
Mineral Surfaced RoofingA reinforced glass fiber coating with a ceramic granular surface for protection against UV rays and other weather damage.
Modified BitumenA roof composed of asphalt and polymerized plastic or rubber, reinforced with fiberglass for a flexible and durable waterproof membrane.
Nailing PatternRegulatory building code allowances for fastening-specific materials.
NailsShort nails with barbed shanks and large flat heads that secure shingles or roof papers to boards.
NestingA shingle installation method using shingles in the range of 4-21 per foot.
Open ValleyA roof with a valley area fortified by an aluminum or metal strip.
Organic ShinglesRoof singhles that are not synthetic.
OverhangA measurement of a roof’s edge beyond the siding
OverlaymentThe application of a new roofing sytem onto an existing roof.
PenetrationHoles created in a roof for chimney, AC, skylight, or vent installation.
PitchAnother term for roof slope that reveals the number of inches a roof rises per 12 inches of depth.
RaftersA sloped structural piece extending from the eave, wall, hip, or ridge of a roofing sytem.
RakeAn exposed part of a roof gable extending from eave to ridge on a roof system’s sloped sides.
RidgeThe upper roof line merging the two roof pitches.
Ridge Cap ShinglesShingles specifallly designed to cover roof ridges.
Roof Deck ProtectionAn additional protective layer between the shingles and decking.
Roof Ridge VentAn air exhaust vent installed on the roof’s peak.
RunThe distance from the wall’s top plate to directly below the ridge.
SaturantAsphalt that permeates a felt base material.
Saturated FeltUnderlayment products applied on top of the roof deck before shingle installation.
Seal DownAn asphalt strip that bonds shingles together.
Self-Adhering MembraneA membrane installed with layers of spread sheets sealed with adhesives on the bottoms.
SheathingThin wooden boards spanning trusses for roof support.
Shed RoofA roof with one steeply sloped side.
ShinerA botched installation error involving nails protruding the roof deck.
Shingle Starter StripA base of singles underneath the main shingles that helps a roof efficiently shed water.
ShinglesA roof covering made up of singular overlapping elements.
Side LapA longitudinal joint between a pair of slate shingles.
Skirt FlashingA flashing piece at the bottom of a dormer or other roof addition.
SlopeThe incline of a roof.
SoffitA finishing material, like fiber cement or wood, installed to cover a roof overhang’s underside.
Soffit VentA perforated soffit section that lets air freely enter and exit an attic.
Soil StackA sanitation pipe used to vent toilets penetrating the roof.
Solar PanelsA roof panel that absorbs UV rays as an energy source for heating and electricity.
SpanA roof with two slopes of equal pitch and capacity merging at the same ridge.
SpireA pyramidal roof-like construction on top of a roof or tower.
SquareA roof 10×10-foot roof area comprising 100 square feet.
Steep Slope ApplicationMaterials designed for roofs with slopes of 3:12 or more.
Step FlashingA rectangular flashing piece with a. 90-degree bend in the center.
Tear-OffThe complete removal of an existing roof to make room for a new roofing system.
TrussA roof framework assembled for both structural and aesthetic benefits.
ULA fire classification for roofing systems.
UnderlaymentThe materials (typically plywood) between the shingles and decking.
ValleyA congruance of two roofing surfaces.
Vapor BarrierA foil or plastic sheet for condensation presentation and damp proofing.
Vapor Diffusion RetarderA material aimed to reduce the rate by which water vapor can create penetration.
VentAn attic ventilation system’s base.
Vent PipeAn air pressure regulator for plumbing pipes that allows sewage gas to exit through the roof.
VentilationA system designed to let air circulate through the attic.