Learn About Common Roofing Terms

Before you start a roofing project on your home Louisiana Landsource wants you to learn about common roofing terms. Roofers assume their business has a universal language. Quite the opposite is true, however. After all, most people cannot tell the difference between the frieze and the flashing.

It’s still important to understand what your contractor’s terminology is when he’s fixing your roof. To that end, Republic Exteriors decided to learn the terminology of the roofing industry. To better understand roof components and types of roofing, here are a few terms we commonly use.

Common Roofing Terms

In case you missed it, we’ve decided to sort the names alphabetically. You’ll find information about underlayment at the bottom of the list if you’re wondering what it is. To begin, let’s take a look at the roofing glossary.

Built-Up Roof

A built-up roof consists of layers of roofing felt over hot-map asphalt. Putting down the felt and the asphalt would be followed by a layer of gravel.


Cornices are decorative plasters that run along the edges of the ceiling and the walls. The sidewall roof refers to the portion of a roof that appears to protrude from a house’s sidewalls.


We use counterflashing to cover shingle flashing over vertical walls and chimneys. There are many different types of counterflashing. The slates are protected from water by that system.


Most houses with slanted roofs have courses, which are rows of roofing shingles or tiles.


Metal drips guard the fascia board against water damage along the eaves and rakes. It will soon come into contact with the roof wood instead of flowing along with the metal drips into the gutters. 


That piece of metal on the drip attaches to the lower edge of the roof – called the eaves. There is a part of the roof that extends beyond the house’s walls called the eaves. 


An edge of the roof has a fascia board which is the wooden edge behind the gutter. Because of that, the drip edge and the gutters are installed on the wooden construction.


In the same way as counterflashing, flashing forms a strip of sheet metal where different roof planes meet. Water leaks are prevented by flashing, as well as counterflashing. 


Roofing felt is a mixture of paper and asphalt we use for built-up roofing.

Frieze Board

Under the top of the siding on your house, there is a wooden plank called a frieze board. Historically, a frieze was a low relief marble slab. As a result, several friezes have decorative purposes even today. 


A gable is the triangular portion of a wall where the roof is divided in two at the ridge.


A gable roof only has two roof panels meeting at the ridge, while a hip roof has many different parts. Hips are the outward angle edges where two roof sides meet.


Below the flat roof are the joists, which provide structural support. Joists are used to support sheathing after it is nailed down. 


In contrast with flat roofs, rafters support slanted ones. They enclose the sheathing and are of wooden construction.


Rakes are separate pieces of gable roofs that stick out from the side of the building and extend beyond the edge of the walls.


Roof ridges are horizontal lines that join two roof planes, as we mentioned earlier. 


Sheathing is of utmost importance in the roofing industry for insulation. Plywood boards 1 by 6 inches or 1 by 12 inches are nailed directly into the rafters.  

Shingle Flashing

This type of flashing is simply a metal strip that protects the roof from water damage. Under the shingles, flashing covers a bit of the vertical edges of chimneys and walls. 


For every 12 inches of length, the pitch of a roof is the height of the roof in inches.


Soffits extend across the roof edges to the house’s sidewalls.


In roofing terms, a roofing square is the number of materials we need to cover a 100 square foot roof.


As a result of the sheathing and the shingles, the underlayment is connected. The most common underlayment used by contractors is felt – we have already discussed this.


The roof valley is the inverse of the roof hip. There is usually a smaller diagonal angle between two sloping roof sections.

Valley Flashing

Since we’ve discussed other types of flashing, we’re left with just one type of flashing. It is convenient to use this term as a sort of knowledge test. The valley flashing is a metal component that protects the materials under the shingles from water damage. If we just learned what valleys are, and we know what flashing is, then we know what valley flashing is.

Hopefully, you will feel more confident about your next roofing consultation after reviewing this brief crash course in roofing terminology. If you need help with your Louisiana roof Louisiana Landsource has a great contact in Baton Rouge, Mandeville, and Bossier City. 

Get in touch with Louisiana Landsource today for one of these great roofing companies like Louisiana Roof Crafters of Baton Rouge. 

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