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Our Roofing Jargon Dictionary
We created this Roofing Jargon Dictionary as we realised roofing in general is fairly technical and that there are so many confusing terms!
We also created this guide because understanding what these terms mean will definitely give you more confidence around the whole process of getting a new roof. Now whether you’ve hired a roofing professional or maybe you plan to install a roof yourself, making sure that you have a good grasp or idea of all the different technical roofing terminology will help when you speak to suppliers or your roofing professional.
Roofing Jargon Diagram
The ridge is the highest part of the roof where two different slopes meet. There are special tiles (known as ridge tiles) that are curved or angled and they provide a form of capping which works to stop any rain entering the roof.
A hip is the same thing as a ridge. The only difference from the ridge to a hip is that a hip is on a lower sloping part of the roof. Again just as with ridge, there are special tiles that provide a capping between the two angled tiles - can you guess what they are called? You guessed it - hip tiles!
A valley is the V like shape at the bottom of where two roof slopes would meet. Based on the actual word valley, which instead of roof slopes is mountains or hills.
The pitch is used to describe the angle of the actual roof slope. This means that the taller the roof, the bigger the pitch. Generally most roofs have a pitch of between 30 to 45 degrees. These days the more modern "flat" roofs usually have a pitch of around 3 degrees or so. The steeper the pitch, the quicker the rain falls off (as it flows/drips downwards). On the other hand, in countries where it snows fairly often the shallower pitches require much more support because of the heavier load that comes from snow fall.
Flashing is usually a thin material - often galvanised steel or lead, that roofers use to direct water away from critical areas of the roof. Flashing is installed to surround roof features, such as vents, chimneys and skylights etc to prevent water from getting in.
Gable (aka Gable End)
The solid bit of wall that is on the same level as the pitched roof.
A rake is the sloped sides of a gable end.
Verges are the outer ends of a roof above the gable.
The eaves are the edges of the roof which overhang the face of a wall. Eaves usually project beyond the side of a building.
Soffit is the material between the roof's eaves where the fascia and gutters are placed to the wall.
Fascias (aka Barge board)
Fascias are used to provide a decorative solution where they cover the point at which the wall and roof intersects. In addition they also have a practical function where they carry the guttering.
A rafter is a beam forming part of the internal framework or skeleton of a roof.
A dormer is a window that projects vertically from a sloping roof.
Blisters form when there are pockets of air or moisture trapped between layers of your roof.
Alligatoring is a sign that your roof is aging. The sun’s UV rays dry and damage the roof’s surface, usually in the form of cracks.