Roofing Terms Every Homeowner Needs to Know

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

As a homeowner, it’s important to be informed before beginning any home improvement project. Knowing and understanding the lingo used by contractors when discussing projects will make you feel more at ease and in control of the situation. Let’s review some of the basic terms you need to know before calling a contractor for a roofing project.

  • Squares – roofs are measured in squares. A roof square is equal to 100 square feet. The measurement of roofing squares is how the contractor will determine the number of shingles and other items needed to complete the job.
  • Slope – the slope is expressed using inches per foot. The slope is the ratio of vertical rise to horizontal run.
  • Pitch – pitch also measures the incline of the roof, and it is expressed as a fraction. To get that fraction, divide the vertical rise by the horizontal span from exterior wall to exterior wall.
  • Gable – this is a type of roof. A gable roof is a roof with two sloped surfaces meeting at the top to form a triangle or gable.
  • Hip- a hip is a type of roof, but it has four sides that meet each exterior wall before meeting together at the top.
  • Gambrel – this is another type of roof. A gambrel roof is similar to a gable, but it changes slope partway up each side. This creates exterior walls that look like the front of a barn.
  • Mansard – this is a unique roof style that includes four downward sloping sides that become very steep partway down each side.
  • Shed – this is the simplest style roof, containing only one sloped side.
  • Sheathing – sheathing is the base for a roof, it is typically made of plywood that is attached to the rafters of your attic.
  • Underlayment – this is an additional layer that is rolled out on top of sheathing, before shingles, to add extra protection against water and leaks.
  • Ridge – the horizontal edge that runs across the roof’s peak.
  • Ridge vent – this is installed along the entire length of the ridge and acts as a ventilation system for the attic.
  • Hip – a hip is created by two surfaces sloping down and away from one another
  • Valley – a valley is formed when two surfaces slope down and towards one another
  • Eaves – eaves are just above the gutter, at the base of the roof. This is where snow and ice will often sit, so a snow and ice shield must be installed over the eaves.
  • Drip edge – a drip edge is between the eave and the gutter. This encourages water flow into the gutters to drain properly.
  • Flashing – this is a metal material that must be installed around any chimneys, skylights, or pipes to help seal and prevent leaks.

Hatch Homes is your source for knowledge and repairs with any of these terms and more. If you have any questions, set up a pressure-free consultation to learn more about what your roof needs.

More than just a contractor.

Hatch is your partner for exterior remodeling.