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Roofing Glossary terms 

Roof Glossary and Terms

 Roof System Installation and Tamko ShinglesHip and Ridge ShinglesRoof Checklist Ventilation Products Water Resistant Underlayment ♦ Roofing Glossary ♦ Why Your Roof is Deteriorating 

A  B  C  D  E  F  G

Roofing Terms Starting with A
Explanation of terms used in roofing starting with the letter A.

ACCELERATOR - Any material added to stucco, plaster, cement, or mortar which speeds up the setting process.

ADHESION – Property of a coating or a sealant to bond to the surface of some material.

ADHESIVE FAILURE – Loss of bond of a coating or a sealant.

AGGREGATE - Crushed stone, slag or water-worn gravel that comes in a wide range of sizes that is used to on built up roofs.

AIR INFILTRATION – The amount of air leaking in and out of a building through cracks in walls, roofs, attics, windows, and doors.

ALLIGATORING - Named for a pattern of cracks resembling an alligator hide. A condition of paint or aged asphalt brought about by the loss of volatile oils and the oxidation caused by solar radiation. "Alligatoring" is the result of the limited ability of paint or asphalt to expansion or contraction due to temperature changes.

ANCHOR BOLTS - Bolts which fasten columns, girders, supports, or other members to concrete or masonry, such as bolts used to anchor sills to masonry foundation.

ASPHALT - A dark brown to black hydrocarbon product made from the residue left after the distillation of petroleum. Asphalt is used as a waterproofing agent in many applications, particularly roofs and highways.

Roofing Terms Starting with B
Explanation of terms used in roofing starting with the letter B.

BACK NAILING - The practice of nailing roofing felts to the deck under the overlap to prevent slippage of felts.

BARREL ROOF - A roof which in cross section is arched or slightly circular.

BASE PLY - An asphalt saturated or coated roofing felt installed as the first layer in a built up roof.

BATTEN PLATE - A piece of metal designed to cover the joint between two lengths of metal edge.

BEAM – Structural support member that transfers weight from one location to another.
BID BOND – Bond posted by a bidder to ensure performance.

BIDDING - Getting prices from various contractors and subcontractors.

BID DOCUMENTS – Drawings, details, and specifications for a project.

BITUMEN - Any mixtures of hydrocarbons obtained through the distillation of coal or petroleum. (See also Coat Tar Pitch and Asphalt)

BLISTER - A raised spot on the surface of a building. They are caused by the expansion of trapped air, water vapor, moisture, or other gases under a material.

BLUE PRINTS- Architectural plans for a building or construction project, which are include floor plans, footing and foundation plans, elevations, plot plans, and other details.

BOND PLASTER - Bond plaster contains 2-5% lime by weight and chemical additives which improve the bond surfaces such as concrete. It is mostly used as a base coat.

BRACING - Ties, rods, and other supports used for supporting and strengthening various parts of a building. Used for lateral stability for columns and beams.

BRAKE METAL - Sheet metal that has been bent to the certain configuration.

BUILDING BRICK - Brick for building purposes, and formerly called "common brick." It is stronger than face brick. Not used for cosmetics.

BUILDING PERMIT - Written permits from the city, county or other governing regulatory body giving permission to construct or renovate a structure.

BUTTERFLY ROOF - A roof that bends downward sharply from either side toward the center.

Roofing Terms Starting with C
Explanation of terms used in roofing starting with the letter C.

CALCIUM CHLORIDE - A chemical used to speed up curing of concrete.

CANOPY - An overhanging roof.

CANTILEVER - A projecting beam, piece of lumber, or other structure supported only at one end.

CANT STRIP - A beveled support used at the intersection of the roof deck with vertical surfaces so that bends in the roofing membrane to form base flashings.

CAP SHEETS – One to four layers of felt bonded and coated on the top with bitumen that is laid over an existing roof. It’s purpose is to serve as a treatment for defective roofs.

CAULK – (verb) The application of sealant to a joint, crack or crevice. (noun) A compound used for sealing. Sometimes it is called low performance sealant.

CHECKING - A pattern of surface cracks running in irregular lines. Checking is the preliminary stage of “alligatoring”.

COAL TAR PITCH, also called Tar - A bituminous material which is a by product of coal processing. It is used as the waterproofing material for tar roofs and gravel roof.

COATING - A layer of liquid product spread over a surface for protection.

COHESIVE FAILURE - Internal splitting of a compound.

COLD APPLIED - Products that can be applied without any heating. These are in contrast to products which need to be heated during installation.

COLD PATCH – In roofing, a roof repair done with Cold Applied material.

COLLAR - In roofing, a metal cap flashing used in conjunction with vents, pipes, or stacks. Usually the collar is located several inches above the plane of the roof in order to shedding water away from the base of the vent, pipe, or stack.

COLLAR BEAM – In carpentry, a tie that keeps the roof from spreading. Inside the attic, it connects similar rafters on opposite sides of roof.

COMPATIBLE - Two or more substances which can be mixed, combined, or blended without separating, reacting, or affecting either material adversely.

COMPONENT - Any one part of an assembly associated with construction.

COMPOUND - A chemical formulation of ingredients used to produce a caulking, elastomeric joint sealant, etc.

COMPRESSION GASKET - A gasket designed to function and seal when under compression.

COMPRESSION SET - The permanent deformation of a material after removal of the stress that performed or caused the compression.

CONDENSATION - The appearance of moisture or water vapor caused by warm, moist air coming into contact with a colder object.

CONDUCTOR – In the roofing industry, a pipe for conveying rain water from the roof gutter to a drain, or from a roof drain to the drain. It is also called a Leader, Downspout, or Down pipe.

CONSTRUCTION LOAN - A loan provided specifically to construct or renovate a building.

CONTROL JOINT - A control joint controls or accommodates movement in the surface components of a roof.

COOLING TOWER - A large device mounted on roofs with of many surfaces or baffles over which water is pumped in order to transfer heat and thus cool a building.

CORNICE - A horizontal projecting course on the exterior of a building, usually at the base of the parapet.

CORROSION - The deterioration of metal by chemical or electrochemical reaction resulting from exposure to weathering, sun, moisture, chemicals or other agents.

CORRUGATED - Folded or shaped into parallel ridges or furrows.

COST BREAKDOWN - A breakdowns of all projected costs on a construction or renovation project.

COVENANTS - Rules regarding the physical appearance of buildings in a particular geographic area. Typical covenants address building height, appropriate fencing and landscaping, and the type of exterior material, such stucco, brick, stone, or siding.

CRAWL SPACE - An open area between the floor of a building and the ceiling or attic..
CRAZING - A series of hairline cracks in the surface of weathered materials, having a web-like appearance.

CUPOLA - A small dome at the peak of a roof.

CURB - A short wall or masonry built above the level of the roof that provides a means of flashing the deck equipment.

CURING AGENT – One part of a multi part sealant which, when added to the base, will cause the base to change its physical state.

CUTBACK – In roofing, basic asphalt or tar which has been "cut back" or diluted with solvents or oils so that the material become more fluid and easier to work with.

CUT OFF - A piece of roofing membrane consisting of one or more narrow plies of felt usually applied hot in order to seal the edge of insulation at the end of a day's work.

Roofing Terms Starting with D
Explanation of terms used in roofing starting with the letter D.

DAMPPROOF - A process used in construction to repel water. The purpose of damp proofing is to prevent the coated surface from absorbing rain water while still permitting moisture vapor to escape. Moisture vapor can easily penetrates coatings of this type.

DEAD LOAD - The constant, design weight of the roof and permanent fixtures attached above the roof or below the roof

DECK - An elevated platform.

DEFLECT - To bend or deform. This typically happens under the stress of weight.

DEFLECTION – The amount of bending of any part of a structural member under an applied load.

DESIGN PRESSURE – Specified pressure a product is designed to withstand.

DORMER - The small house shaped structure which is placed from a sloping roof.

DOUBLE PLATE - When two layers of 2x4's are placed on top of studs in framing a wall.

DOUBLE TEE - Refers to a precast roof deck panel poured with two fins underneath its underside to impart strength and rigidity.

DOWNSPOUT - The pipe used to drain water from a roof.

DRAWING OUTLINE - A top view drawing of a building or roof showing only the perimeter.

DRAWING DETAIL - A top view drawing of a building or roof showing the roof perimeter and indicating the projections and roof mounted equipment.

DRIP EDGE - A device designed to prevent water from running back or under an overhang.

DRIPPAGE - Bitumen material that drips through roof deck joints, or over the edge of a roof deck.

DRY IN - To make a home, house, structure, or building waterproof.

DRY SHEET - A ply or layer of material mechanically attached to wood or gypsum decks to prevent asphalt or pitch from penetrating the deck and leaking into the building below.

DUCT - A cylindrical or rectangular "tube" used to move air inside a building. The installation is referred to as "duct work".

DUROMETER – The measurement of hardness of a material. A gauge to measure the hardness of an elastomeric material

Roofing Terms Starting with E
Explanation of terms used in roofing starting with the letter E.

EPDM - also called Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer. A single ply membrane consisting of synthetic rubber.

EAVE - The part of a roof which projects out from the side wall, or the lower edge of the part of a roof that overhangs a wall.

EDGE METAL - A term for metal around the perimeter of a roof.

EER - Energy Efficiency Ratio - The ratio figured by dividing BTU hours by watts.

EFFLORESCENCE - When water leeches soluble salts out of concrete or mortar and deposits them on the surface. Also used as the name for these deposits.

EIFS – Exterior Insulating Finish System - Exterior wall cladding system made up of polystyrene foam board with a textured acrylic finish that resembles plaster or stucco.

ELASTOMER – An elastic, rubber like substance, such as natural or synthetic rubber.

ELASTOMERIC – Any of the numerous flexible films or membranes that contain rubber or plastic.

ELEVATION - A side of a building.

EMISSIVITY – The measurement of a surface’s ability to emit long wave infrared radiation.

EMULSION - A coating consisting of asphalt and fillers suspended in water.

END DAMS – Internal flashing or dam that prevents water from moving laterally within a wall.

END LAP - The amount of overlap at the end of a roll of roofing felts.

EXPANSION COEFFICIENT - The amount that a material will expand or contract with a change of temperature.

EXPANSION JOINT - A device that allows a structure to expand or contract without breakage.

EXTRUSION - An item formed by forcing a metal, usually aluminum, or a plastic, through a die to achieve a specific shape.

EYEBROW - A projection which sticks out horizontally from a building wall, typically above a window.

Roofing Terms Starting with F
Explanation of terms used in roofing starting with the letter F.

FACADE - The front of a building.

FACE BRICK - Brick made especially for exterior use, mindful of color, texture and size, and used as a facing on a building.

FACTORY MUTUAL or FM - Major insurance agency who has established stringent guidelines for maximum construction integrity as it relates to fire and environmental hazards. Their specifications have become industry standards.

FASCIA - Cover board or metal at edges or eaves of a roof which is placed in a position vertically to protect the edge of the roof.

FASTENERS - A general term covering screws and nails which are used for mechanically securing building material.

FELT - A very general term used to describe composition of roofing ply sheets, consisting impregnated with asphalt or coal tar pitch.

FENESTRATION – Any glass, window, door, curtain wall, or skylight on the exterior of a building.

FERROUS - Refers to objects made iron, such as ferrous pipe.

FILLET BEAD – Caulking or sealant placed in such a manner that it forms an angle between the materials being caulked.

FINISH COAT – The last coat applied in plastering intended as a base for further decorating or as a final decorative surface.

FIRE-RATED – Descriptive of materials that has been tested for use in fire walls.

FIRE WALL - Any wall built for the purpose of preventing the spread of fire. Such walls of solid masonry or concrete generally divide a building starting at the foundations and going to two or more feet above the top of the roof.

FLASHING - Weatherproof material installed between roof sheathing or wall sheathing and the finish materials to help keep moisture away from the sheathing.

FLASHING BASE - The upturned edge of the watertight membrane formed at a roof termination point.

FLASHING, COUNTER - The formed metal secured to a wall or roof top to cover and protect the upper edge of a base flashing.

FLASHING, STEP - Individual pieces of metal flashing material used to flash around chimneys, dormers, and such projections along the slope of a roof.

FLASH POINT - The critical temperature at which a material will ignite and catch fire.

FLASHING, THRU-WALL - Flashing extended completely through a masonry wall.

FULLY ADHERED - A completely attached and adhered roof membrane.


Roofing Terms Starting with G
Explanation of terms used in roofing starting with the letter G.

GABLE - The ends of a home, house, residence, structure, or building as different from the front or rear side. Also the triangular end of an exterior wall from the level of the eaves to the top of a double sloped roof.

GAMBREL ROOF - A type of roof which has two slopes so that the lower slope is steeper than the upper slope. A double sloped roof having two pitches. This typically enables the rooms underneath to be larger than with a single sloped roof.

GALVANIZE - To coat a metal with zinc. This makes the material longer lasting and more weather resistant.

GASKETS – Pre-formed shapes of rubber or rubber-like material, used to fill and seal a joint or opening.

GAUGE - The thickness of sheet metal and wire.

GENERAL CONTRACTOR - A contractor or builder responsible for all facets of construction of a building or renovation.

GFI, GFCI, Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters - Special devices capable of opening a electrical circuit when even a small amount of electricity is flowing through. Used to prevent electrocutions and fires. Typically these are used anywhere outlets, wiring, or lighting fixtures in a home are near or could be exposed to water, such as in the kitchen, bathrooms, garage, outside outlets, or for swimming pool lights, as examples.

GFRC, Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete – Concrete with embedded glass fibers. Used in wall systems. Resembles concrete but does not perform as well as concrete. Usually a thin cement material put on plywood or other lightweight backing.

GIRDER - A main beam upon which floor joists rest, usually made of steel or wood.

GLAZE COAT – In roofing, a light, uniform mopping of bitumen or asphalt applied to roofing felt to protect the felt from the rain, snow, sun and other weather conditions.

GLAZING – A generic term used to describe material such as glass, panels, etc. that is used to fill in openings. (v) The process of installing a material to fill in openings in windows, door panels, etc.

GLAZING BEAD – In glazing, a strip surrounding the edge of the glass in a window or a door which holds the glass in place.

GLAZING CHANNEL – In glazing, a three-sided, U-shaped sash cut into which a glass product is installed and retained.

GRADE MW - Moderate Weather grade of brick for moderate resistance to freezing used, for example, in planters or in outside non structural ornamentation.

GRADE NW - No Weather grade of brick intended for use as a backup or in interior masonry.

GRADE SW - Severe Weather grade of brick intended for use where high resistance to freezing is desired.

GRANULES - The mineral particles which are embedded in the coating of shingles & roofing.

GRAVEL - Loose fragments of rock used for surfacing built-up roofs.

GROUND SYSTEM - The connection of a wire to the grounding terminal in the main switch which in turn is connected to a water pipe. The neutral wire is called the ground wire.

GROUNDING ROD – A rod used to ground an electrical panel.

GROUT OR GROUTING - A cement/mortar mixture commonly used to fill joints and holes or openings in masonry, tile, or similar work.

GAUGE BOARD, also known as Spot Board – A board used by workers to carry grout while it is being applied.

GUN CONSISTENCY – The degree of viscosity needed for application through the nozzle of a caulking gun.

GUNITE - A construction material composed of cement, sand, and water mixed together. It is applied with a cement gun, and is used in the construction of swimming pools.

GUTTER - Metal channel or trough at the edges or eaves of a roof to carry rain water from the roof to the downspout.

GUTTER STRAP - Metal bands used to support the gutter.

GUY WIRE - A strong steel wire or cable strung from an anchor on the roof to any tall slender projection for the purpose of support. For example, used to hold a slender antenna in place.


 Roof System Installation and Tamko Shingles Hip and Ridge Shingles Roof Checklist Ventilation Products Water Resistant Underlayment ♦ Roofing Glossary ♦ Why Your Roof is Deteriorating 


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