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Speak the Language: Common Roofing Terms Defined

Common roofing terms help you communicate with your local roofer.

Have you ever traveled to a country where you didn’t speak the language? It’s confusing and disorienting. It also makes it hard to communicate your wants and needs to others. When people speak different languages, miscommunication is bound to happen.

Homeowners who don’t speak roofing language may have some misgivings when it’s time to call in a roofing contractor for a roof inspection on their Kansas City home. It never hurts to learn a little more about the features that make up your home. That way, you can better communicate with the people you need to work with to keep your home in tip-top shape.

A Quick Vocabulary Lesson

Below is a list of common roofing terms that homeowners may want to be familiar with before they call in a contractor for roofing assistance. KS and MO homeowners will feel more confident in their dealings with the contractor because they’ve taken the time to learn the language. And the contractor will appreciate the effort, too.

Pitch: Pitch refers to the slope of the roof. It’s based on a roof’s height and width. The pitch is expressed as a fraction of height over width (also known as rise over span).

Exposure: The part of a shingle that’s exposed to the weather, usually less than half its length.

Rafters: The rafters are the framework that supports the roof deck, underlayment, and roofing materials (such as shingles or tiles).

Roof Deck: The roof deck is a plywood or OSB (oriented-strand-board) sheathing used as a base for securing roofing materials.

Eaves: On a house with a sloped roof, the eaves are the small overhangs that project out from the side of the house.

Fascia: The fascia is the long board that runs along the lower edge of the roof and supports the bottom row of shingles. Gutters are fastened to the fascia.

Underlayment: The underlayment is a layer of felt or asphalt-impregnated roofing paper that creates a watertight barrier between the shingles and the roof deck.

Flashing: The metal pieces that are found around roof openings such as chimneys and vent pipes are known as flashing. Flashing is also found in valleys and joints wherever flat surfaces intersect. Flashing helps prevent water from penetrating those intersections and seams on the roof.

Soffit: The soffit is the horizontal surface located underneath the fascia board. It’s easily viewed from below and is sometimes vented for increased airflow.

Valley: The valley is where two sloping roof surfaces meet. Because water will generally head for this area when it runs off the roof, the valley is always protected with flashing.

Gutters: While not actually a part of the roof, gutters play an equally important role in protecting your home. Gutters are attached to the eaves and carry water off the roof, through the downspouts, and away from the foundation of the home. Many roofers also install gutters.

As you can see, roofers have a language all their own. But it’s easy for homeowners to learn some of the terms, too, which will help when communicating with your local roofing contractor.

Premier Roofing in Kansas City

Shamrock Roofing and Construction is one of Kansas City’s most trusted roofing contractors. We speak the language, and we know our stuff. We’ve been helping customers with their residential roofing needs in KS and MO for over 55 years. Whether you need a roof inspection for your Kansas City home, you’re looking for someone to fix a leak, or you need a whole new roof installation, Shamrock Roofing offers premier roofing services in the Kansas City area. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!