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Learn the Lingo: Tips for Communicating with Your Roofer

When your roofer in Little Rock, AR, tells you it’s time for a roof replacement, a wave of raw emotion may erupt. Not only do you have to consider the financial implications of this news, but your worries are intensified by the overwhelming task of sifting through all the roofing jargon circulating the internet. With so much technical terminology being thrown at you, it’s easy to feel like a complete outsider in the roofing world. 

Luckily, the Shamrock Roofing and Construction team has done some of the work for you. We like our customers to feel informed and prepared to tackle any roofing project, big or small. That’s why customer education is so important to us.

We’ve compiled some of the most puzzling roofing terms here to educate you and help you communicate better with your roofer when the time comes for a roof replacement. Read on to learn more, or contact us to schedule a time to chat with one of our reputable roofers. We’re happy to clear up the confusion! 

Decking and Rafters

Your roof contains more than a single spread of uniform shingles; it’s a layered structure. Decking, the first of many layers, is a base of wooden boards that serve as the foundation for the rest of the roof. It’s an uncomplicated layer, but any roofer in Little Rock, AR, will tell you decking is one of the most critical components of the roof because of its load-bearing capacity. 

The rafters create the frame the decking is attached to. Usually wood, the rafters run from the roof ridge out to the edges of the house. They’re laid side by side so the roof deck can be applied on top and fastened down.

Underlayment and Ice Shields

Next comes underlayment. The underlayment is a waterproof or water-resistant material designed to keep moisture from infiltrating the layer below. The underlayment is typically made of asphalt-saturated felt or synthetic materials.

Ice and water shields are applied on the underlayment as a final barrier to the elements. These waterproof membranes act as a repellant against moisture, creating a watertight seal that helps prevent the home from ice damming and water infiltration.


Flashing is made of metal and is designed to protect your home from water that tries to come in at some of its most vulnerable nooks and crevices. Flashing is most often found in the connecting areas of the roof, such as around the chimney, vents, or any location where two seams meet. Flashing is not found on every house, but experts on roofing in Arkansas recommend it to keep the roof more secure.


The fascia is a long, straight board that runs along the roof’s lower edge and connects the rafters’ ends. It is often considered a transitional piece with purely aesthetic value, but the fascia helps keep water from forcing its way up under the shingles. 

Fascia does have an aesthetic element. Many homeowners paint the fascia the same color as the rest of the trim, creating a pulled-together look that adds to the home’s curb appeal. 


Penetrations are caused by adding something that punctures roofing layers — chimney spouts, pipes, and vents are good examples. Ask your roofer about any penetrations they’re adding to your new roof. If not done correctly, penetrations can be weak points where water gets in under roof layers.

Need Help Navigating the World of Roofing Lingo? Call Shamrock!

When it comes to roofing lingo, this list only scratches the surface. If your head is spinning with the terms you just learned, it’s time to call the pros. Shamrock Roofing and Construction is your go-to for roofing in Arkansas. We’d love to work on your new roof install. Contact us for more information today!