Roofing Terms to Know

When homeowners and business owners begin the research process of finding a roofing contractor to replace their roof, they come across several terms that may be new to them. This requires even more research to look up the roofing terms they may not know.

At USA Roofing & Gutters LLC we not only value our customers, but our customer’s time as well. This is why we created this page to educate all property owners on the common roofing terms and definitions.

Roof Decking

Wooden boards that all other roofing components are nailed into. There are two main types of roof decking: Sheet decking and plank decking. It is important to know roof decking is not meant to be wet. If it becomes wet, the decking will rot and will need to be replaced.

Roof Flashing

Thin piece of metal material installed to redirect water away from walls, chimneys, and roof valleys of the roof. Apron, counter, and step flashing are the three different types of roof flashing. Roof flashing can be made from aluminum, cooper, or steel.

Roof Underlayment

Synthetic or felt material that is placed directly over the roof decking. Roof underlayment is important because it allows for an extra layer of protection for the roof decking if water were to get underneath the shingles.

Ice & Water Shield

Waterproof membrane that protects the roof from ice and water damage. Smooth, high heat, and granular surface are the three different types of ice and water shield. It is important to note that ice and water shields should be installed on areas such as valleys, chimneys, skylights, around penetrations, and low sloping roofs.

Eaves & Rakes

Refer to the edges of the roof. Eaves are the edge of the roof that runs horizontally, similar to a gutter line.

Rakes are the edges of a roof that run at a slope.

Roof Facets

Defined as the different sections or sides of the roof. The more complex the roof is, the more facets it will have.

Roofing Square

A unit of measure used by roofers which determines cost and amount of material needed to complete a job. Simply, a roofing square is a hundred square feet of roof area.

Prorated Warranty & Non Prorated Warranty

Terms that relate to the manufacture’s warranty. Prorated material warranty means the material will lose value each year. However, non prorated material warranty means the material maintains the same value over the years.

Roof Valleys & Hips

Valleys are when two roof facets come together at a slope to form an interior angle. This allows water to flow smoothly down the roof.

Hips are when two roof facets come together at a slope to form an exterior angle.


Triangular section underneath where two roof facets overhang a wall. Usually used as a popular ventilation spot, the gable end vent.

Drip Edge

A metal flashing of the roof that is nailed to the decking at the edge of the roofline. The purpose of drip edge is to direct water away from the fascia and from getting underneath the roofing components.


This is located directly beneath the eaves and rakes of the roofline. Fascia doubles as a decorative purpose, as well as several practical purposes. Fascia blocks water from penetrating the roof deck and into the attic/home. Fascia is used to install the gutters and keep the gutters in place. Fascia closes off unwanted access from the home to insects, birds, squirrels, etc.


Installed right beneath the fascia, where the roof overhangs a wall. It is common to have ventilation intake vents in the soffit area. Soffits protect the underside of the eaves from moisture and rot.


Part of the roof, typically a window, that forms its own small section of the roof that projects vertically beyond the plane of a pitched roof.

Starter Shingles

Pre-cut row of roofing material that is installed at the eaves and rakes before the first course of shingles are placed over them. Starter shingles have an adhesive to ensure that the first row of shingles are sealed to improve the roof’s resistances to wind.

Roof Pitch

How steep the roof is. Calculated in a X/12 way where X = the rise and 12 = the run. For example, a 10/12 pitch will rise 10 feet for every 12 feet of length.



Caulk is used as additional protection to seal flashing, vents, pipes, exposed nails, penetrations, and common areas on a roof to prevent water intrusion.

Roof Cricket

A sloped, double triangular structure that diverts rain around the roof’s chimneys and walls. As rain flows down a roof, it hits the roof cricket and diverts the water around the chimney rather than flowing into a flat wall.

It is a good idea to have knowledge of roofing terms when comparing roofing estimates to ensure all the details are included. If you have further questions or would like to schedule a FREE appointment, contact USA Roofing & Gutters, LLC today.


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