Roofs aren’t simply square feet of coverage over your home.  They are one of the most critical parts of your family’s dwelling place.  Knowing basic roofing terms will help you later on when it is time to embark on a roofing project you’ve been planning for months.

Surface materials

These materials are what appear on top of your roof.  There are various surface materials for roofs. They include asphalt or architectural shingles, metal, slate, rubber, wood, and thermoplastics.


These are boards placed on roof trusses and are made of plywood or oriented strand board material.

Ridge vents

These consist of pieces of shingles or metal used to cover roof peaks.  This is done to make vents that aid in releasing hot air especially on a hot summer month in Ohio.  Moreover, it helps boost ventilation in your attic. Most vents are equipped with baffle systems.  This aids in stopping rainwater from being blown into attic areas.   Some homeowners do not need ridge vents, but most experts suggest that they are installed.


Flashing is used to prevent water from seeping into your roof’s seams.  Flashings are usually metal sheets found around eaves, chimneys, and other structures jutting out from the roof.  When flashing isn’t perfectly done, leaks often happen.   It has failed to provide the proper sealing protection it is supposed to deliver.


When you see a somewhat deep overhang on the roof, these are called eaves.  Their purpose is to ensure that water is directed away from walls and not towards it.  Apart from this, they also offer some shading.   Eaves always consist of two components – the fasciae and soffits of the roof.   Soffits are found on the undersides of eaves.  Eaves in attics have soffits that contain vents.  This allows inflow of air into the attic.   On the other hand, the fascia is on the part of the eave that should reach below the roof.  It is on the roof’s fascia where roofers attach the gutters.


Pitch is referred to as the slope of the roof.  It is also known as the roof’s angle.  A roof with a 4/12 pitch is a walkable roof because the slope isn’t too steep.  On the other hand, a 12/12 pitch is quite steep.  Often, the pitch is used to determine the kind of roofing material is appropriate for your roof.  A low-pitched roof matches well with rubber roofing material.  Meantime, high-pitched roofing finds a perfect match with clay tiles or traditional shingles.


The purpose of underlayment is to provide a barrier against water.  Underlayment is found between the outward face of the roof materials and the sheathing.  Materials used for underlayment consist of felt that’s treated with waterproofing materials.

Even if you aren’t in the roofing industry it’s good to educate yourself about basic roofing terms.  At one point in your life as a homeowner, you will be in a situation where a basic knowledge of roofing terms can be of great help.

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