Roof Anatomy and Terminology

As you are working in and around different types of roofs, it will be important to be familiar with all of the terms that identify each portion and feature of the roof.

In this lesson, we will share with you some common roof terminology.

The following image shows you common components that make up a roof:

In addition to the above video, here are some following roof terms that you should become familiar with that will help you on the job site (alphabetical order):

Cornice

  • The portion of the roof projecting out from the side walls of the house.

Counterflashing

  • The flashing which is imbedded at its top in a wall or other vertical structure and is lapped down over shingle flashing.

Eaves

  • The lower edge of a roof (usually overhanging beyond the edge of the house).

Fascia

  • Trimboard behind the gutter and eaves.

Flashing

  • Sheet metal or other material used at junctions of different planes on a roof to prevent leakage.

Felt

  • The “tar paper” used by roofer, usually made of a combination of asphalt and either paper or rags.

Gable

  • The triangular upper part of a wall closing the end of a ridged roof

Hip

  • The external angle at the junction of two sides of a roof whose supporting walls adjoin.

Joist

  • In a flat roof, a horizontal structural member over which sheathing is nailed.

Rafter

  • A structural member (usually slanted) to which sheathing is nailed.

Rake

  • The slanting edge of a gabled roof extending beyond the end wall of the house.

Ridge

  • The horizontal line at the top edge of two sloping roof planes.

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.

Shingle Flashing

  • Flashing that is laid in strips under each shingle and bent up the edge of a chimney or wall.

Slope

  • The number of inches of vertical rise in a roof per 12-inches of horizontal distance. Also referred to as pitch.

Square

  • One hundred square feet of roof, or the amount of roofing material needed to cover 100 square feet when properly applied.

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.