Roofing Glossary

Terms You Should Know When Considering
Roof Replacement In Stamford, CT
& Fairfield/Westchester Counties.

Over our 71 years in business, we’ve discovered the homeowners in Stamford, CT and Fairfield/Westchester Counties who are most educated about roofing often experience the most satisfying results.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of terms you will likely hear when researching a roofing project. Our goal with this list is to ensure you are as informed as possible, so you can make the best decision possible.

We hope you find our glossary useful as you do your due diligence for your roofing project. To see the definition for a term, simply click on that term.

Glossary Of Roofing Terms:

  • 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.


If you need roofing installation in Stamford, CT or Fairfield and Westchester Counties, contact us for a free consultation and estimate. We would love to hear from you.

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