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Roofing Terms Made Simple

Are you in the market for a new roof? Unless you’re in the roofing business, prepare to hear a lot of unfamiliar roofing terms. Understanding these terms before you jump into a conversation with a contractor will make you feel a lot better when you decide to sign that contract. Below is an introduction to common roofing terms.


Roofing Styles

 By knowing what type of roof you have, you will be able to understand your roofer’s recommendations and the re-roofing process that best suits your home.

A gable roof has two sloping sides and a gable at each end. A gable is the triangular portion of a wall between the edges of intersecting roof pitches.

A hip roof is a type where all sides slope downwards to the walls, usually with a fairly gentle slope. It has no gables or other vertical sides to the roof.

A shed roof refers to a roof that slopes in a single direction and has no hips, ridges, or valleys.

Hip and gable are the two most common roof styles. Some roofs have just one of these styles, while others have several different style elements combined.


Parts of a Roof

Decking is the foundation of your roof. The deck is the base that rests against the rafters of your attic to support the weight of the roofing materials. Most decking is made from plywood. 

Eaves are the edges of the roof that hang over the exterior walls of the house.

Gutters are placed at the edges of eaves. 

Soffits are the underside of eaves.

Ridges are the highest points on the roof where two rooflines intersect. Special shingles are used at roof ridges. Ridge vents should be installed at ridges to allow hot air to escape attic spaces.

Valleys are the low angles formed at the intersection of two sloping roof surfaces. They are one of the first places where water will penetrate in a failing roof. Your roofing contractor will probably recommend installing special underlayment and flashing materials that you won’t see on other parts of the roof.

Ventilation is critical to the longevity of your roof. Ventilation is the flow of air through your attic space. This airflow allows moist, hot air to escape, keeping your roof deck cooler and your home more comfortable.


Roofing Materials

Underlayment is the base layer of your roof that can be found between the roof deck and the shingles. Made of asphalt and a fibrous mat (usually fiberglass or felt), underlayment can be waterproof or water-resistant, depending on the type and quality.

Shingles are the visible roofing material that is your home’s first line of defense against the elements. Shingles block UV rays from the sun and prevent water from leaking into your home.

There are many different types of shingle materials, including metal, tile, and slate.

Flashing is a corrosion-resistant metal strip that is installed at roof edges and seams. It prevents the seepage of water around any intersection or projection in a roof system, such as vent pipes, chimneys, valleys, and joints.


Ready to replace your roof?

When you are ready for a new roof, contact Absolute Exteriors to get a free estimate on a new roof for your home in Ellisville, Chesterfield, Ballwin, and surrounding areas.

Learn more about the best roofing materials for your home.

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