Understanding the terms and elements of your roof when speaking with your roofing contractor can help you to make an informed decision when scheduling repairs. In Oklahoma, the weather can be unpredictable from hot summer days to cold, windy winter days. Roofing issues if ignored can create serious, expensive to repair problems down the road.

Here are some common roofing terms you should know and helpful tips for maintaining your roof.

Common Roofing Terms 

Your roof is a complex system consisting of various materials and components. The following common terms will help you to better discuss repairs or replacement with your contractor.

  • Asphalt – Typically dark brown or black, asphalt is the residue left after evaporating or processing crude oil. This material coats a felt sheet to become shingles.
  • Deck/Sheathing – The base surface of your roof, usually plywood, over which roofing materials are applied.
  • Dormer – A small 3-sided, roofed structure on a sloped roof, usually with a window
  • Downspout – A conduit running vertically from the gutter to the ground.
  • Drip Edge – An L-shaped metal strip installed along the roof edge, over the gutters.
  • Eave – A projecting edge of a roof extending beyond the supporting wall.
  • Edging Strips – Also known as a furring edge, installed on the vertical surface just below the roof’s edge. The drip edge is installed over the strip.
  • Fascia – A flat board or band located at the outer edge of a cornice.
  • Felt/Underlayment – A tar paper layer installed between the deck and the shingles to help with water resistance.
  • Fire Rating – Classification system for the fire resistance of materials. Roofing materials are rated as Class A, B, or C.  Class A = highest resistance.
  • Flashing – Metal strips used to prevent water from infiltrating around any penetrations like chimneys, joints, vent pipes, etc.
  • Granules – Natural or synthetic aggregate used to surface shingles, cap sheets, etc.
  • Gutter – Installed along the perimeter of a home. Gutters channel water to the downspout.
  • Hip – The angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes.
  • Louvers – Slatted devices installed in a gable or soffit to ventilate the space below the roof deck, equalize air pressure, and reduce moisture.
  • Penetrations – Anything that penetrates a roof deck – vents, pipes, etc.
  • Rafters – The framing to which the roof deck is attached.
  • Rake – The inclined overhanging edge of a roof.
  • Re-Roof – Layering new shingles over the existing roof; typically not recommended. 
  • Ridge – The top edge of two intersecting sloping roof planes.
  • Pitch or Slope – Measured by the rise in each 12-inch horizontal run. A 4/12 slope (or 4/12 pitch) rises 4-inches for every horizontal foot.
  • Square – Common Measurement for roof area. Square = 100 square feet (10′ x 10′)
  • Tear-Off – Removing all existing roofing layers to the deck.
  • Truss – Specifically engineered, pre-built rafters. They are installed as designed and can not be cut or altered.
  • Valley – Formed where two downward-sloping roof surfaces meet.
  • Vapor Retarder – A material used to restrict the passage of water through a wall or roof system.
  • Vents – An opening that allows air, heat, or water vapor to escape from inside the home.

Caring For Your Roof

Your shingle roof is designed to last for 20 to 30 years or more. To enjoy its maximum lifespan, performing periodic maintenance and inspections can help you to spot problems before they become critical.

  • Unless you are an experienced professional with proper training and safety measures in place, STAY OFF OF YOUR ROOF! It’s best to leave getting up there to the professionals.
  • Spot problems from the ground using binoculars. Look for streaking indicating that mold or mildew is present. You can also see missing, bent, or broken shingles.
  • Keep your gutters clean to allow for proper drainage and avoid water damage. When cleaning the gutters, look for granules.
  • Work with a professional roofing contractor. A good company will communicate well, answer your questions and explain your options. Look for a contractor with years of experience, is well trained, and always ask to see their portfolio and references.
  • Keep good records of the age of your roof and any repairs that have been done. This can help your contractor to better understand any potential issues.
  • To keep your roof in excellent shape, you should have an annual or bi-annual inspection performed by a professional roofing contractor. They can find problems early to prevent you from needing expensive repair work in the future.

If you live in the greater Tulsa, Oklahoma area and would like to schedule a free inspection, or are in need of repairs or a roof replacement, give the experts at Perfection Roofing a call. People in Oklahoma have trusted us with all their roofing needs since 1979.