Common Roofing Terms

When you call a company to look at your roof, there is often some new terminology that you need to understand. A lot of people who we work with have never had any roof work done before, so why would we expect them to know all the roofing terminology? At Harbeck Roofing & Remodeling, we are here to walk you through the whole process. These are some common terms that you may hear. It is our job to help you, so if you don’t understand something, don’t hesitate to ask!

ACV: Actual Cash Value. Insurance term for what your roof is worth today taking into consideration the age and condition of your roof. The insurance company determines how much it costs to replace the roof (RCV) and then subtracts the depreciation to give you the ACV.

Architectural Shingle: High quality shingle made from more than one layer for extra thickness and durability. They are made from a fiberglass mat with granules embedded in asphalt.

Bundle: A package of shingles. There are usually 3, 4, or 5 bundles per square.

Cedar Shake: Shingles made from natural wood used to cover walls or roofs.

Clay Tile: Roofing tiles made of clay baked at high temperatures. Durable in warm climates, but tend to crack with temperature fluctuations and freezing temperatures.

Closed Cut Valley: A method of valley construction in which shingles from one side of the valley extend across the valley while shingles from the other side are cut 2” from the valley centerline. The valley flashing is not exposed.

Counter Flashing: The portion of the flashing attached to a headwall or chimney to prevent water from seeping behind the base flashing.

Course: A row of shingles or roll roofing running the length of the roof.

Decking: The wooden boards that make up the framework of the roof. This is the base layer on which all the other roof components are installed.

Deductible: A homeowners insurance deductible is the amount that you pay out of pocket to the company doing the work on your home before the insurance company will pay a claim. This is an amount that you choose when you sign up for your insurance policy and the amount of the claim you are responsible for paying.

Depreciation: The value of your roof declines over time. The depreciation is the amount that the value of your roof has decreased since the roof was put on your home.

Discontinued Shingles: Shingles that are no longer manufactured. This can be for a variety of reasons such as a manufacturing defect, recall, or a lack of sales. 

Dormer: A framed window unit projecting through the sloping plane of a roof.

Drip Edge: A corrosion-resistant, non-staining material used along the eaves and rakes to allow water run-off to drip clear of underlying construction.

Eave: The horizontal, lower edge of a sloped roof.

Fascia: The long, straight board that runs along the lower edge of the roof.

Field of Roof: The area where most of the components of your roof are installed. This includes decking, underlayment, shingles, tiles, etc., but does not include the perimeter of the roof or flashings.

Flashing: Pieces of metal used to prevent water from leaking into a building around intersections or projections in a roof such as chimneys, adjoining walls, and dormers.

Gable: The upper triangular portion of a sidewall that comes to a point at the ridge of a double sloping roof.

Granule: Typically ceramic-coated colored crushed rock that is applied to the exposed surface of asphalt roofing products.

Hail Damage: Hail will shorten a roof’s lifespan or may require a roof replacement. Hail damage is noticeable in soft metals on the roof as well as dents in shingles if the hail is large enough. This often isn’t visible from the ground.

Hip: The inclined external angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes. Runs from the ridge to the eaves.

Hip & Ridge Cap: These are special shingles, that are specifically designed to cover the more aggressive angles of hips and ridges without cracking or breaking and also give the roof its full wind rating.

Ice & Water Shield: Self-adhering rubber membrane underlayment applied to vulnerable areas of your roof to prevent water from penetrating your roof. Applied in valleys and all potential leak points, such as around chimneys, pipe boots, vents, and headwalls. Helps to prevent leaks from wind-driven rain and ice dams.

Nail Pop: Nail has lifted out of the roof and is causing a shingle to lift. These can be caused by inadequate attic ventilation, improperly installed nails, or temperature changes. Can lead to water penetration and leaks if not addressed.

Open Valley: Method of valley construction in which shingles on both sides of the valley are trimmed along each side of the valley. Shingles do not extend across the valley and the valley flashing is exposed.

OSB: Oriented Strand Board is the most common type of decking used on roofs today. It’s made from compressed wood chips/strips and an adhesive to form a sheet.

Penetrations: Anything that penetrates a roof deck, such as vents, chimneys, or pipes.

Pipe Boots or Pipe Jacks: Placed over vent pipes on your roof to prevent water from leaking into your home. 

Plank Decking: Decking made up of long rectangular boards. This is most commonly found on older homes and is made in 1×6 and 1×8 sizes.

Plywood: Composite-wood product for construction purposes.

Rake: The inclined edge of a sloped roof over a wall.

RCV: Replacement Cost Value. Insurance term for how much it costs to replace your roof today without subtracting depreciation. That means they pay you the amount it costs to get a new roof, not what your current roof is worth.

Recoverable Depreciation: On many insurance policies, the depreciation (amount subtracted from RCV) is recoverable after the work on your home is complete. The insurance company will send you a check for that amount once the work on your home is completed (which you then have to pay to the company who did the work).

Ridge: The uppermost, horizontal external angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes.

Ridge Vent: Air exhaust vent installed along the peak of the roof. 

Scope: An insurance scope is the report received from the insurance company with an estimate of what it will cost to put your home back to pre-loss condition and what they will pay for the insurance claim. This is also referred to as scope of work. Insurance companies will often send the first insurance check (ACV) with the scope.

Screw Down Metal: Corrugated metal roof with many exposed screws that hold the roof in place.

Slate: Stone roof shingles. Aesthetically pleasing and durable, but are very expensive and the heaviest roofing material, so it will add to structural costs of your home to support the added weight.

Slope: The degree of roof incline expressed as the ratio of the rise, in inches, to the run, in inches. For example, roof slope of 6/12 has a 6 inch rise every 12 inches.

Soffit: The finished underside of the eaves.

Square: A unit of roof measurement equal to 100 square feet.

Standing Seam Metal: Roofing system where roofing panels are connected at their seams and fastened in place by clips and hidden screws.

Starter Strip: The first course of shingles that are installed and designed to work in tandem with the roof shingles above for optimal shingle sealing and performance. The starter shingles are designed to provide water and wind protection at the eaves and rakes of the roof.

Step Flashing: Metal flashing that is installed where a roof meets a headwall to prevent water from getting underneath the shingles and leaking into the house.

Synthetic Felt: Roof underlayment made from long-lasting polymers for enhanced protection from the elements and water resistance.

Tab: The exposed portion of strip shingles defined by cutouts.

Underlayment: Material used beneath roofing to provide additional protection for the deck.

Valley: The internal angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes.

Wind Damage: Damage to roof caused by wind is often noticeable as missing shingles, lifted shingles, creased shingles, and lifted ridge vent or ridge cap. 

Woven Valley: Method of valley construction in which shingles from both sides of the valley extend across the valley and are woven together by overlapping alternate courses as they are applied. This installation method is more likely to leak.

3 Tab Shingle: Single ply non-laminated asphalt shingle with a flat “brick like” appearance. Has a lifespan of 20-25 years, but are easily damaged by storms even when they are new, so most need to be replaced prematurely.