Roofing contractors seem to have a language unto their own. At J.J. Landerman Roofing Company, we believe transparency is key; and we're happy to explain any terminology our roofing contractors use that might be unfamiliar or confusing. Here's a brief glossary of common terms we think might help.
Algae-Resistant Shingles: Copper treated asphalt shingles designed to prevent the growth of algae and ultimately the resultant discoloration.
Architectural Shingles (a.k.a. Laminated Shingles): A contemporary and arguably better version of the conventional asphalt shingle, architectural shingles are heavier, more durable, and more expensive than their traditional counterpart. They're often used to create visual dimension and can resemble more expensive roofing options such as slate and wood shingles.
Asphalt: A bi-product of refining crude oil used to waterproof shingles, built-up roof systems, and bitumen roof systems. Cost fluctuates with the oil prices.
Ballasted Roofing System: Incorporates the use of various materials (i.e., river rocks, bricks, pavers, etc.) to protect roofing systems (typically membrane) from UV rays and harsh winds. By eliminating the use of all adhesives and mechanical fasteners required by other systems (i.e., fully-adhered), this type of roofing system can be significantly less expensive to install than others.
Batten-in-Seam Roofing System: Used for both metal and membrane roofing systems to accent seams with wooden strips (a.k.a. battens).
Bitumen: Mixtures of hydrocarbons and other substances occurring naturally or obtained by distillation from coal or petroleum that are a component of asphalt and tar and used for waterproofing.
Blisters: Pockets of air that may bubble on an asphalt roofing system after installation. They may be the result of the manufacturing process, or overuse of roofing mastic or additional adhesives applied during or after the roof installation.
Buckling: A protrusion developing across one or multiple shingles (often vertical, running from eave to ridge). Typically a result of improperly applied felt; wrinkled underlayment; roof deck movement; lack of spacers between roof deck boards; poor roof ventilation; or new shingles applied over old, rough ones.
Deck: The surface installed over the rafters to which roofing material (i.e., asphalt shingles, wood shingles, or slate) is applied.
Dormer: A unit projecting from the sloping plane of a roof that is used to create additional usable space and also to serve as a source of natural light.
Eaves: The horizontal, lower edge of a roofing system, which usually extends beyond the side walls of a building to provide weather protection.
Eaves Flashing: A self-adhering underlayer of waterproofing material applied at the eaves to help prevent damage from hard rains and ice dams.
Flashing: Pieces of metal or roll roofing used to prevent water from seeping into a building at perimeters, penetrations (i.e., nail holes), walls, expansion joints, valleys, drains and other intersections where the roof covering is interrupted.
Fascia: Vinyl or wood roof trim mounted just below the roofline, all around the exterior of a building. It creates a polished aesthetic and protects from weather damage.
Fully-Adhered Roofing System: A secure roofing system installed by roofing contractors who apply membrane roofing material to the deck with adhesive and/or corrosion-resistant fasteners.
Gable: The exterior portion of a building that comes to a triangular point at the ridge of a sloping roof.
Gambrel Roof: A distinctive, borrowed-from-the-barns roof design defined by two sloping planes of roof that have a slightly different pitch and lie on either side of the ridge.
Hip: Formed by the intersection of two sloping planes, a hip is the external angle of a roof that runs from the ridge to the eave.
Hip Roof: A unique roofing system distinguished by four sloping planes of the same pitch.
Ice and Water Shield: A protective roofing underlayment applied before an asphalt or wooden shingle or shake roof is installed. The underlayment seals around roofing nails to prevent leakage. It also offers protection against ice dams along eaves and valleys.
Laminated Shingles: See Architectural Singles [link] above.
Large Format Shingles: Rectangular or hexagonal asphalt shingles free of cutouts or tabs.
Mechanically-Fastened Roofing System: A membrane roofing system in which roofing materials are mechanically fastened to the deck.
Open Valley: A method of construction in which roofing material on both sides of the valley are trimmed to expose the metal flashing.
Overhang: Portion of the roof that extends beyond the exterior walls of a building.
Rafter: A piece of the supporting frame (typically a metal or wood beam) located immediately beneath the deck, sloping from the ridge of the roof to the wall plate.
Rake: The inclined edge of a sloped roof over a wall.
Re-covering: The process of overlapping an existing roofing system with a new roofing system.
Re-roofing: The practice of completely replacing an entire roof system.
Ridge: The highest horizontal angle of a roof created by the joining of two slopping roof planes.
Ridge Shingles (a.k.a. “Hip and Ridge” shingles): Installed over the ridge and hips of a roof so that half of the shingle rests on each of the two intersecting sloping roof planes.
Ridge Vent: Allows the roof to maintain a more stable temperature, by promoting optimal air circulation in the attic; and ultimately preserves the integrity of a roof. Without venting, condensation may build up, along with ice dams. When using asphalt shingles the vent is usually a mesh fiber.
Roof Slope (a.k.a. Pitch): The degree of incline created by the angle of two sloping roof planes.
Roof System: All of the components that go into a sound, waterproof roofing design. This may also include insulation.
Self-Adhered Eave and Flashing Membrane: Typically, a waterproofing shingle underlayment that protects against water leakage from ice dams and hard rains. Some self-adhering membranes are specially designed to be applied as exposed roof coverings.
Shakes: Often comprised of cedar or other wood, shakes are split and have a slightly more rustic look compared to wood shingles. They are also thinner.
Starter Strip: Asphalt roofing applied at the eaves behind the first visible row of shingles to prevent water seepage by filling the gaps between shingles and the notches between tabs.
Thermal Effect: The inherent property of warm air to rise and cool air to fall. Professional roofing contractors enhance this movement of air by incorporating intake vents at the lowest point of the attic. The cool air entering the vents enhances air circulation.
Valley: An internal angle of a roof created by the intersection of two sloping roof planes.