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Common Roof Terms Every Homeowner Should Know



As a homeowner, you have a lot of responsibility to maintain your dwelling in a state of livability.  If your roof starts leaking, you can’t just call the landlord and expect that it will be taken care of.  You need to be able to identify what the basic problem is, and consult with a knowledgeable roofing contractor about a suitable repair.


When consulting a roofing repair specialist, it helps to be familiar with some basic terminology pertaining to the various parts of your roof.  Here is list of common terms that every homeowner should be familiar with


    • Deck or sheathing:  This is the basic surface, usually made of plywood or something called oriented strand board, or OSB, to which the various roofing materials are attached;

    • Dormer:  This is a small pointed structure projecting out from a slanted roof, usually containing a window;

    • Drip edge:  Installed along the roof edges, this L-shaped metal strip allows water run-off from precipitation to run clear of the eaves, deck and siding;

    • Eave:  This refers to the lower, horizontal edge of a sloping roof;

    • Fascia:  This is a flat board, band or face at the outer edge of the cornice;

    • Felt/underlayment:  Often referred to as tar paper, this is a sheet of asphalt-saturated textile used on a roof deck to provide a secondary layer of protection between the roof deck and the tiling material;

    • Fire rating:  This is the measure of fire-resistance of various roofing materials to a fire originating outside the structure.  Roofing materials are classified as A, B or C, with A being the most fire resistant;

    • Flashing:  These are pieces of metal that are used to prevent water from seeping around intersections or projections in roofing, such as chimneys, vent pipes, valleys and joints that occur at vertical walls;

    • Louvers:  These are slatted devices installed on the underside of eaves in order to provide ventilation to the space below the roof deck, and equalize moisture and air temperature;

    • Penetrations:  These may be anything that penetrates a roof deck, such as pipes, vents, stacks or chimneys;

    • Rafters:  This is the overall framing of the top of the house to which the roof deck is attached;

    • Rake:  This refers to the overhang of a sloping roof overhanging a vertical;

    • Ridge:  This is the pointed section where two sloping roof sections intersect;

    • Sheathing:  These are boards or any sort of sheet material which is fastened to the rafters of a house to cover a building;

    • Slope:  This is measured in the inches of vertical rise of a roof for every 12 inches of horizontal distance;  A roof that rises 4 inches for every 12 inches of horizontal run is said to have a 4-in-12 slope;

    • Square:  This is a common measurement used to define the area of a roof; one square is equal to an area of 10 by 10 feet, or 100 square feet;

    • Truss:  Additional supports for rafters in many newer homes or buildings, which may not be cut, removed or otherwise altered;

    • Valley:  The angle formed by the intersection of two downward sloping sections of roof;

    • Vapor Retarder:  A material specifically designed to prevent water vapor from passing through a wall or roof system.


The knowledgeable experts at A.J. Wells Roofing will be happy to discuss your roofing repairs or replacement requirements in detail, and will even provide you a free estimate.  Whether you’re searching for roof maintenance services, roofing repairs or even a new roof altogether, A.J. Wells takes pride in providing only the best workmanship and service, to protect you and your family from the severe weather in Jacksonville and throughout the state of Florida.


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