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Roofing parts and Terms

July 9, 2016

Framing nomiclature

Be familiar with the terms used – Roofing Parts and Terms, what are those parts called and what do they do?

I don’t expect listeners to sit around at night and study some construction dictionary learning every term used to describe the parts and pieces of their home.

But, if you need to have work done on your home, the first thing you should do is familiarize yourself with the correct description of those parts and pieces.

If you rely solely on the contractor to educate you, you may not fully understand what you are being sold or worse, what you are not getting for your money.

Let’s do Roofs this week.

The best way to understand the house is to start at the top and work down.

Roof pitch: The angle of your roof. A 6 in 12 roof drops 6 inches vertically for every 12 inches it goes horizontally. It is also 26.56 degrees.

Type of Roof: Gable has a triangle at each end, the gable. Hip roof has all roof planes intersect. Gambrel roof is a gable with a change in pitch, like a barn. Low pitch roof, any roof that has a pitch of 4/12 or less. Flat roof, well, it’s flat.

Roofing Material: The decorative material installed to protect your house from the elements. i.e. Shingle, metal, hot mop or tiles.

Underlayment or Secondary water barrier: This layer is there to protect your home from water intrusion. The material you choose for the roofing is there to help protect the underlayment from the sun. i.e. 15# felt, 30# felt, ice and water shield etc.

Sheeting or sheathing: This is the roof deck that the underlayment and roofing material are attached to. For a pitched roof the minimum plywood should be ½” cdx. For a flat roof it would be ¾” cdx.

Venting: Roof vents come in many styles, look at the blog “Soffit Venting” and “Roof Venting Options”. Venting is critical to keeping the roof cool and allowing moisture to escape. Lack of venting is the biggest reason your roof will fail. i.e. curled shingles mean too much moisture and excessive heat in the attic.

Penetrations: Anything that creates a hole in your roof from the interior of your home. i.e. Soil stacks, Electrical risers, chimneys.

Flashing: There are baby tins used as step flashing along walls, raggle flashing on masonry is cut into mortar joints, long strait pieces where the roof intersects with a wall like a shed roof. Drip edge is laid under the underlayment and goes into the top of the gutter.

Rafters or trusses: The wood support system that supports the sheathing. Trusses are usually on 24” center and require thicker plywood than rafters that are place at 16” centers.

Gutters: Used to divert rain water to downspouts which in turn take the water away from your foundation.

Fascia: The trim item on the ends of the rafters or trusses that gutters are hung on. They can be wood painted or aluminum wrapped.

Soffit: The bottom of the roof that protrudes from the exterior wall out. The width varies from a few inches to 36”. The wider the better, they get the water further from the foundation and provide shade in the summer. Venting is important. Again, go to the “Soffit Venting” blog.

Frieze Board: This is typically a trim piece used to cover the gap where the soffit may meet the exterior wall. It can be flat or a crown molding. It’s really just for esthetics.

I hope this makes understanding your roof a little easier. So when you read thru an estimate you know what parts and pieces you should be looking for.


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