The Parts of Your Roof: Roofing Lingo Explained

The Components That Make up Your Roof

When it comes to any trade, profession or industry there is always lingo (specific vocabulary) that is used commonly in that area of focus. Roofing is no different with its own personalized language used for the industry. In most cases, you should never really have to know all the roofing lingo as most roofing professionals can figure out what you are talking about when you describe roof components.

Ultimately knowing the language can be helpful in hiring the right roofing contractor, and allows you to properly describe potential problems over the phone. No matter what the reason is, you have arrived at this article because you’re interested in learning.

diagram of the parts of a roof

Parts of a Pitched Roof

– Roof Ridge

The ridge is the highest part of a gabled roof, also known as the peak. This contains the ridge board which is the main component of the structure of a roof. The rafters and trusses that support the roof are connected to the ridge board.

– Roof Valley

This is where two angled parts of the roof slope towards each other and meet. This allows a clear path for drainage of the roof.

– Hip Roof

A hipped roof is where all sections of the roof slope downwards so the roof has no vertical sides.

– Drip edge

This is an edge on a roof that helps direct water away from the house towards the gutter. Drip edges have metal flashing shaped like an “L” which is also called drip edge flashing.

– Dormer

This is a structure on the roof that usually has a window and extends vertically from the roof. 

– Roof Abutment

This is where two surfaces of a roof meet. This could be two sections of roof or a section of the roof and a wall.

– Roof Soffit and Fascia

A soffit is underneath the edge of the roof (eaves) or any overhanging part of the roof. Roof fascia is the vertical band that wraps the entire perimeter of the roof under the gutter and above the soffit.

– Roof Eaves

This is part of the roof that overhangs the structure. This contains the gutter, fascial system and soffit.

– Gable/Roof (Roof Rake)

This is a pitched roof that has two roof sections sloping in opposite directions away from each other. 

– Gable End

This is the wall and the roof structure above it on a structure with a gable roof.

Parts of a Roof Drain System

A roof drainage system is installed to collect water and anything else that might end up on your roof, like leaves and other debris. You should ensure your roof is properly maintained to prevent water damage and buildup of debris in gutter runs. A well-maintained roof drainage system can extend the lifetime of your roof by years. 

– Roof Rain Gutter (eavestrough)

This is where all the drainage is collected on your roof. Almost always it can be found on the outside of an eave.

– Roof Downspout (Roof drain)

This is where the drainage meets the ground. Usually made of metal (Aluminum Gutters/Downspouts) and part of the roof gutter system.

– Roof Flashing

A thin metal barrier to help with drainage. Can be found when two sections of the roof meet each other or another surface. Chimney flashing for example

All of these terms make up the different parts of a roof structure. You will be able to understand what a roofing contractor is talking about when having conversations about your roof. If you notice an issue with your roof you should be able to accurately describe where it is located on your roof via the information above. Check out our roofing inspection blog post on some common roofing issues to look out for. If you need a professional inspection and free quote please contact us.

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