Common Roofing Terms Homeowners Need to Know

Like any technical profession, roofing has a language all its own, and that language involves words unfamiliar to most people. It’s important for homeowners to familiarize themselves with some common roofing terms if they’re considering roof repair or replacement. This way they can communicate effectively with roofing professionals and express concerns when they have them.

Basic Parts of a Roof

Sheathing: Boards made from wood or another material that are secured to the rafters and used as a base for the rest of the roof covering. Also called a deck.

Felt: A fibrous material that’s used as a layer underneath the outermost surface of the roof. Also called underlayment.

Flashing: Pieces of durable metal used for weatherproofing. Flashing is applied around projections and in places where there’s an intersection between two sections to funnel water toward the gutters.

Covering: This refers to the felt plus the outer layer (which may be shingles, metal, slate, or tile).

Drainage: These are the features that allow water to drain off and can include the roof’s shape, its slope, and the way it’s laid out.

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