Roofing terminology is unique, just like medicine has its own terminology that most people don’t know, so does roofing. So, if roofing isn’t your profession, you may find yourself stumped at some words. Below, we’ve defined the 25 most used roofing terms.

1. Area Divider

A flashed assembly, usually above the surface of the roof that’s anchored to the roof deck. Used to relieve thermal stresses in a roof system where expansion joints aren’t required, or to separate large roof areas.

2. Asphalt Shingles

Roofing shingles made from asphalt-impregnated felt covered in mineral granules.

Michigan Roofing Terminology - Cornice3. Cornice

The top set of moldings below the roofline. Usually consists of a fascia board, a soffit and trim moldings.

4. Dormer Rafter

Roof rafters that frame the dormer roof.

5. Dormers

They create additional openings in the roof and are classified according to styles associated with roof shapes.

6. Dutch Hip Roof

Roof with upper gable ends built with short hip section.

7. Eaves

The lower border of a roof, overhanging the wall.

8. Fascia

Vertical board at the eaves, usually covered in vinyl or aluminum.

Michigan Roofing Terminology - Flashings9. Flashing

Metal strips, used to prevent leaks around chimney, vents, windows, doors and skylights. Also used along seams and beneath shingles. In addition to preventing leaks it allows a drainage passage between joints.

10. Gables

Roof sections facing in separate direction from roof, forming a triangular wall segment. Usually used as an opening for a window.

11. Hip

Formation from two roofing planes creating a fold or vertical ridge.

12. Housewrap

Material that allows moisture to escape and prevents air from penetrating.

13. Lookout

Horizontal board used to brace the trusses of a roof.

14. Rake

Out edge of a roof form the eave to the ridge.

Michigan Roofing Terminology - Ridge Beam15. Ridge Beam

The top support beam between opposite slopes or sides of a roof.

16. Roof Deck

The component in building construction that forms a platform on which the B.U.R.M components are placed.

17. Roof Run

The vertical rise of a roof over a horizontal distance.

18. Roof Sheathing

The structural base of a roof.

19. Roof Truss

The framework supporting the roof.

20. Soffit

Finished underside of eaves.

21. Underlayment

Asphalt-impregnated felt that is laid under most roofing materials for extra water barrier.

22. Valley

Intersection of two sloping roofs joining at an angle to provide water runoff.

23. Wall Dormers

A section that extends up from the main roofline. Looks like a gable, but has walls.

24. Wall Sheathing

The first covering of boards on the outside wall of a frame house.

25. Wall Stud

Upright piece of wood, framing a house and supporting the walls of the structure.