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100 Roofing Contractor Terms and Meanings

It is very important before hiring a roofing contractor in Ottawa or Gatineau to familiarize yourself with the terminology and understanding of what you are getting quoted. Most people don't take the time before hiring a roofing contractor to do their homework on a service that could cost over $10,000.


At Wolfenburg Roofing we want our clients to understand exactly what they are getting and have knowledge of the terms they are getting quoted. We are extremely transparent and want our clients to understand every step as best as possible before making their decision in choosing the right roofing company.


Give us a call at 613.800.9058 if you have any questions.




Listed below are the common words roofing contractors and roofing companies would use.


  1. Asphalt Shingles: The most common roofing material made of fiberglass or organic matting coated with asphalt and mineral granules.

  2. Roof Deck: The structural base of the roof, often made of plywood or OSB (oriented strand board).

  3. Underlayment: A layer of material (usually felt paper or synthetic) installed over the roof deck before shingles to provide an additional moisture barrier.

  4. Flashing: Metal strips or sheets used to prevent water intrusion at roof penetrations (e.g., chimneys, vents, skylights) and transitions (e.g., where the roof meets a wall).

  5. Eave: The lower edge of a roof that overhangs the wall of the house.

  6. Ridge: The highest point of the roof where two sloping roof sections meet, often covered with ridge shingles or vents.

  7. Valley: The V-shaped intersection of two sloping roof surfaces, typically covered with valley flashing.

  8. Hip: The inclined external angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes.

  9. Gable: The triangular portion of a wall between the edges of intersecting roof slopes.

  10. Dormer: A framed window projecting from the slope of a roof, often with its own roof.

  11. Fascia: The horizontal board that covers the ends of roof rafters, usually where gutters are attached.

  12. Soffit: The underside of the eaves, typically vented to allow for attic ventilation.

  13. Rafter: The sloped structural framing member that supports the roof deck.

  14. Truss: Pre-fabricated structural framework used to support the roof.

  15. Sheathing: Panels or boards used as the base layer for roof covering, often made of plywood or OSB.

  16. Ice and Water Shield: A self-adhesive membrane installed along roof eaves and in valleys to prevent water infiltration from ice dams and wind-driven rain.

  17. Pitch: The slope of a roof, usually expressed as a ratio (e.g., 4:12, which means the roof rises 4 inches for every 12 inches of horizontal run).

  18. Gutter: A trough attached along the eaves to collect and redirect rainwater away from the house.

  19. Downspout: A vertical pipe that carries rainwater from the gutters down to the ground or a drainage system.

  20. Rake: The inclined edge of a gable roof over the wall.

  21. Felt Paper: A type of roofing underlayment made of asphalt-saturated felt used as an additional moisture barrier.

  22. Ventilation: The process of allowing air to flow through the attic space to regulate temperature and prevent moisture buildup.

  23. Roof Flashing: Strips or sheets of metal installed at joints, angles, and penetrations to prevent water intrusion.

  24. Eaves Ventilation: Vents installed along the eaves to allow fresh air to enter the attic.

  25. Ridge Vent: A vent installed at the ridge of the roof to allow warm air to escape from the attic.




+ 75 more

( Commercial + Residential roofing terms)

  1. Chimney: A vertical structure extending above the roofline used for venting smoke or exhaust gases.

  2. Skylight: A window installed in the roof to allow natural light into the interior.

  3. Drip Edge: A metal flashing installed along the roof edge to direct water away from the fascia.

  4. Valley Flashing: Metal flashing used in roof valleys to channel water away from the intersection of two sloping roof planes.

  5. Counterflashing: A secondary layer of flashing installed over primary flashing to provide additional protection.

  6. Roof Jack: A metal or plastic boot used to waterproof around roof penetrations such as pipes or vents.

  7. Gable Vent: A vent installed in the gable to allow air circulation in the attic.

  8. Saddle: A raised area of the roof, often used to divert water around a penetration like a chimney.

  9. Ice Dam: A ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents proper drainage, potentially causing leaks.

  10. Rafter Ties: Horizontal members that connect opposing rafters and help stabilize the roof structure.


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  1. Roofing Nails: Nails specifically designed for securing roofing materials, often with a large, flat head.

  2. Rafter Tail: The end of a rafter that extends beyond the exterior wall.

  3. Drip Loop: A downward curve in electrical wires entering the home to prevent water from running along the wire and into the building.

  4. Felt Underlayment: An older term for roofing underlayment, often made of asphalt-saturated felt.

  5. Elastomeric Roof Coating: A type of roofing material applied as a liquid that dries to form a flexible, waterproof membrane.

  6. Blistering: Bubbles or raised areas on the surface of roofing materials caused by trapped moisture or air.

  7. Cap Sheet: A top layer of roofing material, typically used in built-up roofing systems.

  8. Granules: Small, colored mineral particles embedded in asphalt shingles to protect against UV rays.

  9. Open Valley: A roof valley where the metal flashing is exposed rather than covered by shingles.

  10. Closed Valley: A roof valley where shingles are installed over the metal flashing.

  11. Ridge Cap: Specialized shingles or coverings installed along the ridge of the roof for protection and aesthetics.

  12. Fire Rating: The ability of a roofing material to resist fire, often expressed in class ratings (Class A, B, C).

  13. Wind Uplift: The force exerted by wind on a roof, which can cause damage if not properly accounted for.

  14. Overhang: The portion of the roof that extends beyond the exterior wall of a building.

  15. Thermal Shock: Sudden temperature changes that can stress roofing materials and lead to damage.

  16. Penetrations: Anything that passes through the roof, such as vents, chimneys, or pipes.

  17. Cricket: A small, peaked structure installed behind a chimney to divert water around it.

  18. Parapet Wall: A low wall or barrier along the edge of a flat or low-slope roof.

  19. Wind Rating: The ability of a roofing material to resist damage from high winds.

  20. Scuttle Hole: An access opening in the roof deck for attic access.

  21. Flat Roof: A roof with minimal slope, often found on commercial buildings.

  22. Built-Up Roofing (BUR): A roofing system consisting of multiple layers of asphalt-impregnated felt and bitumen.

  23. Ponding Water: Accumulated water on a flat or low-slope roof due to improper drainage.

  24. Single-Ply Membrane: A type of roofing material made of a single layer of synthetic material, often used in commercial roofing.

  25. Purlin: Horizontal support members in a roof truss system.

  26. Eco-Friendly Roofing: Roofing materials and techniques designed to minimize environmental impact.

  27. Snow Guard: A device installed on a roof to prevent snow and ice from sliding off suddenly.

  28. Flashing Cement: A roofing cement used to secure and seal flashing.

  29. Architectural Shingles: Shingles designed to mimic the appearance of wood shakes or slate.

  30. Roofing Square: A unit of measurement equal to 100 square feet of roofing material.

  31. Asphalt Roof Cement: A roofing adhesive used for sealing and patching.

  32. Crickets: Raised structures designed to divert water away from roof penetrations.

  33. Exposed Fastener: A roofing system where fasteners (nails or screws) are visible on the surface of the roofing material.

  34. Plywood: Common material used for roof sheathing.

  35. Polyurethane Roofing: A type of roofing material known for its durability and insulation properties.

  36. Solar Reflectance: The ability of a roofing material to reflect sunlight and heat.

  37. Condensation: Moisture that forms on the underside of the roof deck.

  38. Slate Roof: A roofing material made of natural slate tiles.

  39. Vapor Barrier: Material installed to prevent the passage of moisture vapor into the building.

  40. Tear-Off: The process of removing old roofing materials before installing new ones.

  41. Roof Load: The weight that a roof structure can safely support, including the weight of snow and equipment.

  42. Thatch Roof: A roofing material made of dried vegetation, often used in traditional construction.

  43. Saturated Felt: Underlayment that has been impregnated with asphalt to increase its waterproofing capabilities.

  44. Gable Roof: A simple, pitched roof with two sloping sides.

  45. Elastomeric Roof Coating: A roofing material that can expand and contract with temperature changes.

  46. Cool Roof: A roofing system designed to reflect more sunlight and absorb less heat.

  47. Dormer Window: A window that projects from a sloping roof.

  48. Roof Jack: A roof penetration used for venting or plumbing.

  49. Shingle Over Vent: A roof vent designed to be installed under shingles.

  50. Fascia Board: A board that covers the ends of roof rafters.

  51. Torch-Down Roofing: A type of roofing material that is heat-applied.

  52. Granular Coating: A protective layer of granules applied to the surface of roofing materials.

  53. Curb: A raised, frame-like structure on a roof used to support equipment like HVAC units.

  54. Roof Cavity: The space between the roof deck and the ceiling of a building.

  55. Solar Panel Mount: A structure used to secure solar panels to the roof.

  56. Modified Bitumen: A type of roofing material often used on flat or low-slope roofs.

  57. Roof Ventilation: The process of allowing air to flow through the roof to regulate temperature and moisture.

  58. Rake Edge: The edge of a gable roof that extends beyond the wall.

  59. Snow Load: The weight of accumulated snow on a roof.

  60. Cool Roof Coating: A reflective coating applied to a roof to reduce heat absorption.

  61. Snow Fence: A barrier installed on a roof to prevent snow and ice from sliding off.

  62. Fascia Ventilation: Vents installed in the fascia to allow air circulation in the attic.

  63. Hip Roof: A roof with sloping sides and four or more roof planes.

  64. Laminated Shingles: Shingles with multiple layers or tabs for added durability and aesthetics.

  65. Roofing Tar: A thick, sticky substance used for sealing and waterproofing roofs.

These roofing terms and definitions should provide a comprehensive understanding of roofing systems, materials, and components. Whether you're a homeowner or a roofing professional, this knowledge can help you make informed decisions about roofing projects.


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