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Roofing Terms

Main Roof Components

Terms Used by Roofers

Deck: The structural nailing base for the roof surface, usually composed of plywood sheathing and underlayment.

Drip Edge: A type of flashing made of thin strips of metal that extend the length of eaves and rakes to facilitate water runoff.

Eave: The edge of the roof that projects beyond the house wall.

Fascia: Wood or other trim covering the ends of the rafters.

Flashing: Waterproofing materials, usually metal, that connect roof shingles to chimneys, valleys, vent pipes, vertical walls, eaves and rakes.

Gable: A type of roof with two slopes meeting at a horizontal ridge. Also, the triangular area formed by such a roof.

Rake: The edge of a pitched roof at the gable end.

Ridge: The top edge of the roof, where two slopes meet in a horizontal line.

Sheathing: Plywood sheets that form the nailing base for roofing shingles.

Slope (or pitch): The number of inches of vertical rise of the roof over a horizontal distance of 12 inches; a “4 in 12” roof has a slope that rises 4 inches over a 12-inch run.

Soffit: The underside of the rafters and roof at the eaves.

Square: Unit of measure equal to 100 square feet, used as a basis for measuring roof area. Also, the amount of roofing material, allowing for overlapping, needed to cover 100 square feet of roof.

Underlayment: The material, usually asphalt-saturated roofing felt or synthetic underlayment, used to cover deck sheathing before the roof surface is put down.

Valley: The junction where two downward slopping roofs meet at an angle; an important channel for water runoff.