Roofing Glossary: Roofing Terms & Definitions You Should Know


November 1, 2023

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Understanding Essential Roofing Terms and Definitions

Embarking on a roofing project can be an exciting but complex endeavor, especially if you’re not familiar with the various terms and jargon associated with the roofing industry.

new heights roof glossary

To help you navigate this terrain and make informed decisions, we’ve compiled a roofing glossary of essential terms and definitions. Whether you’re a seasoned homeowner or a first-time property owner, understanding these terms will empower you to communicate effectively with contractors and ensure a successful roofing experience.


  • Definition: Thin metal strips installed at intersections and joints of a roof to prevent water seepage and direct it away from vulnerable areas.
  • Importance: Proper flashing is crucial for preventing leaks and water damage in vulnerable areas like chimneys, vents, and skylights.


  • Definition: A layer of material (usually felt or synthetic) installed beneath the roofing material to provide an additional barrier against water infiltration.
  • Importance: Underlayment acts as a secondary defense against leaks and enhances the overall durability and lifespan of the roof.


  • Definition: The lower part of the roof that overhangs the walls of a building.
  • Importance: Eaves help protect the exterior walls from water runoff, preventing water damage and maintaining the structural integrity of the building.


  • Definition: The highest point where two roof slopes meet.
  • Importance: The ridge is often capped with special ridge caps, providing additional protection against water penetration and enhancing the roof’s aesthetics.


  • Definition: Vertical boards or panels that conceal the ends of rafters and provide a finished appearance to the roofline.
  • Importance: Fascia enhances the visual appeal of the roof, and it plays a role in protecting the underlying roof structure from weather elements.


  • Definition: The exposed surface beneath the overhanging section of a roof eave.
  • Importance: Soffits provide ventilation to the attic, helping regulate temperature and reduce the risk of moisture-related issues.


  • Definition: The slope or incline of a roof, typically expressed as a ratio of vertical rise to horizontal run.
  • Importance: The pitch influences the type of roofing materials suitable for a particular roof and affects drainage and water runoff.


  • Definition: The V-shaped area where two roof slopes meet.
  • Importance: Valleys are prone to water accumulation, making proper installation crucial to prevent leaks and water damage.


  • Definition: The base layer of a roof, usually made of plywood or OSB, to which roofing materials are attached.
  • Importance: The decking provides structural support for the roof and serves as a foundation for the roofing materials.

Drip Edge

  • Definition: A metal strip installed along the edges of the roof to direct water away and prevent it from seeping under the roofing material.
  • Importance: Drip edges help protect the roof structure and the underlying materials from water damage.


  • Definition: Roof ventilation refers to the process of allowing fresh air to circulate in the attic space.
  • Importance: Proper ventilation helps regulate temperature, prevent moisture buildup, and extend the life of your roof.

Ice Dam

  • Definition: An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof, preventing proper drainage.
  • Importance: Ice dams can cause water to back up under shingles, leading to leaks and potential structural damage.

Navigating a roofing project becomes much smoother when armed with a basic understanding of key roofing terms. This glossary is a valuable resource to help you communicate effectively with roofing professionals, make informed decisions, and ensure the success and longevity of your roofing investment. Familiarizing yourself with these terms empowers you as a homeowner, allowing you to engage confidently in discussions about your roof and contribute to the overall success of your roofing project.

If you require professional assistance or have further questions, New Heights Roofing is here to help. Contact us today!

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