Common Roofing Terms

Have you ever wonder what those common roofing terms and words mean?

A small structure projecting from a sloped roof, usually with a window. This can be for aesthetic reasons (improving the looks of a house) or to let light in on an upper room or attic room.


Attic room with bay window.

Eave (Wikipedia)

The horizontal lower edge of a sloped roof. that means the underside of the overhang of a roof.

Fascia (Wikipedia)

The material covering the rafter tails at the end of the roof. Fascia board nicely ends off the ends of rafters. mostly from wood but can also be from asbestos, galvanized steel or plastic.


Damaged fascia needs replacement

Barge Boards (Wikipedia)

Exposed roofing during the installation of a new shingle roof. Barge boards is fastened to the projecting gables of a roof. It give the gables strength and protection. The otherwise ugly and exposed of the horisontal timbers ends is conceal and nicely edged.

Flashing (Wikipedia)

Pieces of metal used by professional roofers to prevent the seepage of water around any intersection or projection in a roof system, such as vent pipes, chimneys, valleys and joints at vertical walls. In other words, where the roof hits flash against a protruding wall, chimney and such, flashing is used to join the two and leads the water away from the protruding wall.


Flashing lets the water flow away from the chimney

Louvers (Wikipedia)

Slotted shatter devices installed in a gable or offset (the underside of eaves) to ventilate the space below a roof deck and equalize air temperature and moisture. It admit light and air, but keep rain and direct sunshine out. Insect screen mesh will also be installed on the inside to keep insects and other pests out.


Vents, pipes, stacks, chimneys anything that extends outward from  a roof deck. are penetrates. Penetrations are useful like a  chimney to extract smoke from a fireplace or a plumber’s vent to equalise pressures in a plumbing system.

Rafters (Wikipedia)

The supporting framing to which a roof deck is attached. The rafters are attached to the building.

Rafters can be a wood or steel structure but it’s normally from wood. Connected together it become a truss. 

Gable (Wikipedia)

The inclined edge of a roof over a building to form the roof.
Consisting of two roof sections sloping in opposite directions and meets at the ridge of the roof. The two sides are placed such that the highest, horizontal edges meet as I said at the ridge.

Ridge (Wikipedia)

The top edge of two intersecting sloping roof surfaces called gables. 
A ridge cap, from galvanized steel for zinc roofs and clay or cement for tile roofs, is placed where the two gables meat. It has the function to prevent water from entering the roof.

Sheathing (Wikipedia)

The boards or sheet materials that are fastened to your roofing structure including the trusses and beam to cover a house or building. 

Sheathing are made from galvanized steel and these days also from aluminium. It can also be pressed wood boards which are then covered with waterproofing material.

Truss (Wikipedia)

Engineered components that supplement rafters in many newer homes and buildings. Trusses are designed for specific applications and cannot be cut or altered.

It forms a unit with rafters to support the roof.


Example of a Truss


The angle formed at the intersection of two sloping roof surfaces or projecting gables.

That mean it’s the lower end of a roof where two gables meat. Here a galvanized valley peace is placed to stop water from entering.


Well maintained roof showing a valley

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