Statewide Construction

Roof Replacement: 47 Terms You Should Know

Roof Replacement


Statewide Construction is proud to offer businesses and homeowners top-quality roof installation and friendly customer service. As a Licensed General Contractor, we are one of the most reputable and respected roofers in the Raleigh area. Don’t take our word for it—check out our reviews! .

If you need an estimate, book a new roof consultation here. Our online appointment booking lets you schedule a time that is convenient for you, and it takes less than two minutes to fill out the form. After we come to your home or business, we’ll deliver a quote that explains, in plain English, what you are paying for and how we will stand behind it.

We’re always happy to answer your questions. But along the way you’re likely to hear some roofing terms that you may be unfamiliar with. Remember, your home is most likely your biggest investment. Replacing your home’s roof just might be the best thing you can do to protect this investment.

That’s why it pays to learn the lingo. Here’s your “roofing terminology cheat sheet,” so you can make a better decision about the finer points of roof replacement.


Roof Replacement Terms:

  1. Built-up Roof: A low-slope (or flat) roof covered with alternating layers of roofing felt and hot-mapped asphalt, topped off with a layer of gravel.
  2. Bundle: A package of shingles. There are between 3-5 bundles of shingles per roof square.
  3. Butt Edge: The lower edge of a tab on a shingle.
  4. Closed Cut Valley: When the shingles from one side of the valley are laid across the valley while shingles from the opposite side are trimmed back approximately two inches from the center of the valley.
  5. Collar (Vent Sleeve, or a Boot): Pre-formed flange made of neoprene rubber or aluminum, and designed to slide over a vent pipe to enclose the outer vent pipe opening.
  6. Cornice: The portion of the roof projecting out from the side walls of the house.
  7. Counter flashing: That portion of the flashing attached to a vertical surface to prevent water from migrating behind the base flashing.
  8. Course: A horizontal row of shingles or tiles on the roof.
  9. Cutout: The open strip sections tabs of the shingle.
  10. Deck: The plywood surface that is attached to the rafters.
  11. Dormer: A framed window gable that is installed in the roof slope. A dormer can also be the entire slope of the roof raised on the eave side up to a pitch of 2:12 off the ridge. This is done to turn an attic into a second floor without actually tearing off the entire roof to build a true second floor. You will mostly see this on a “Cape Cod” home.
  12. Drip/Drip Edge: The strip of metal extending out beyond the eaves or rakes to prevent rainwater from getting under the shingles and rotting the roof decking underneath.
  13. Eaves: A horizontal area under the overhang from the rake leading back to the wall plate. In other words, this is the lower edge of a roof (usually overhanging beyond the edge of the house).
  14. Fascia: Trimboard behind the gutter and eaves. A front strip where the roof edge and soffit meet, where a gutter is attached.
  15. Felt: The “tar paper” used by roofer, usually made of a combination of asphalt and either paper or rags.
  16. Flashing: Pieces of galvanized sheet metal used to prevent water leakage at roofing joints such as roof valleys, vents, stacks, dormers, etc.
  17. Flashing Cement: A petroleum-based sealer used to seal flashing inner and outer edges as well as nail heads.
  18. Frieze Board: A board at the top of the house’s siding, forming a corner with the soffit.
  19. Gable: The triangular upper part of a wall closing the end of a ridged roof
  20. Hip: The external angle at the junction of two sides of a roof whose supporting walls adjoin.
  21. Hip shingles: Pre-made or custom cut standard shingles used to cover the joints of the roofs sloping planes.
  22. Ice and Water Shield: Waterproof underlayment designed to protect against water being forced up under the shingle caused by ice damming and wind.
  23. Joist: In a flat roof, a horizontal structural member over which sheathing is nailed.
  24. Lap: To overlay the next row of shingles on top of the previous row.
  25. Lap cement: A petroleum-based adhesive used to seal overlapping edges of roll roofing.
  26. Overhang: That section of the roof that extends over the exterior wall.
  27. Pitch/Slope: The ratio between the rise and the span. It is measured in feet, but stated in inches. Example: 4:12 is 12 inches of span (or run when measured to the ridge) will generate 4 inches of rise. 4:12 is the most common pitch used in standard roof design.
  28. Rafter: A structural member (usually slanted) that provides a framing support that a deck is secured to. Rafters run from the ridge to the wall plate. They usually have a 16-inch on center span between them.
  29. Rake: An inclined edge of a sloped (gabled) roof over a wall from the eave to the ridge. This is a gable side of the house.
  30. Ridge: A peak of the roof where the two sloped planes meet at the top.
  31. Ridge shingles: Shingles used to cover a horizontal external angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes.
  32. Rise: The distance from the top of the ridge straight down to the horizontal eaves line.
  33. Roll roofing: (Also known as felt, felt paper, and underlayment) Asphalt impregnated material in roll form used to go between the deck and the shingle as an added layer of protection.
  34. Run: A horizontal distance from the eaves to a point directly under the ridge. One half the span.
  35. Self-sealing shingles: Shingles containing factory-applied strips or spots of self-sealing adhesive that bonds shingle courses together when exposed to the heat of the sun after application.
  36. Sheathing: The rigid material (often 1-inch by 6-inch or one inch by twelve inch boards or sheets of plywood) which is nailed to the rafters, and to which shingles or other outside roofing materials are secured.
  37. Shingle Flashing: Flashing that is laid in strips under each shingle and bent up the edge of a chimney or wall.
  38. Soffit: A finished underside of the eaves. The boards that enclose the underside of that portion of the roof which extends out beyond the sidewalls of the house.
  39. Span: A horizontal distance from eaves to eaves.
  40. Square: A unit of roof measure covering 100 square feet. Also the amount of roofing material needed to cover 100 square feet when properly applied.
  41. Starter strip: Asphalt roofing applied at the eaves. It provides protection by filling in the spaces under the cutouts and joints of the first course of shingles.
  42. Tab: An exposed portion of strip shingles defined by cutouts.
  43. Top lap: A portion of the shingles covered by the next course of shingles.
  44. Underlayment: The material (usually roofing felt) laid on top of sheathing before shingles are applied. Valley The less-than 180-degree angle where two sloping roof sections come together. Valley Flashing The flashing in valleys, extending in under to shingles on both sides.
  45. Valley: The joint created where two sloping roof planes come together providing a place for a water runoff.
  46. Vent: Any outlet for air that penetrates through the roof such as a pipe or a stack. It can be any device installed on the roof slope, ridge, gable, or soffit for the purpose of providing ventilation to the underside of the roof deck. Terms you will hear are ridge vent, soffit vent, gable vent, and box vent.
  47. Woven Valley: Shingles from both sides of the valley extend across the valley and are joined together by overlapping alternate courses of shingle during installation. This will completely cover the flashing installed in the valley.


We hope this list of roofing terms will be helpful to you when you hire a professional roofer to replace your roof  (whether it’s Statewide or someone else). It’s important that you understand the work they’ll be performing on your home or business. And if we left anything out, as always, you can talk to us now by calling 919-795-9702.

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