An in-depth glossary of roofing terminology
If you're in the market for a new roof and you've been researching online, you may have stumbled across some confusing terminology from time to time. And with roofing, it can be hard to find out what these new words mean.
The vast majority of UK roofing companies will use these same terms, so if you're in the process of sifting through the wheat to get to the chaff - having some insight into the world of roofing can only be beneficial as you choose the contractor that's right for you and your property.
Feel free to bookmark this page and refer back to it if you're ever stuck.
Battens - The strips of wood, metal or plastic that lie horizontally over the joists or the deck and to which roofing tiles or material are secured.
Cladding - Where roofing materials overlap to create a waterproof layer. Sometimes a thin underlay will also be used, particularly when installing slate tiles.
Deck/Decking - The surface of the roof to which the weather-proofing and roofing material (from asphalt and clay to slate and metal) is applied.
Dormer - A structure that projects from a pitched roof and typically contains a window.
Eaves - The underside area of the roof that includes the soffit and the fascia.
Fascia - The part of a pitched roof secured to the rafters that your guttering is typically fastened to. The fascia can be made out of wood or UPVC.
Flashing - A seal installed at various intersections on a roof, generally metal or lead, which exists to prevent water from leaking into the roof.
Flat Roof - An option where the material is laid on instead of tiled. Roofing materials used are generally asphalt, felt or rubber.
Gable - A triangular style of pitched roof with a peak at the top.
Hip - A four-sided pitched roof where all sides are of equal length.
Insulation - The fire-resistant material underneath the roof that traps heat and provides a thermal barrier. It also has sound adsorptive properties.
Joists - The horizontal supports that hold up a flat roof.
Pitched/Sloped Roof - The classic pitched roof is tiled in either slate, clay or composite shingles.
Ridge - The top of the roof.
Rafters - The wooden framework that supports the roof deck and the roofing above it.
Slope - The slope of a roof is determined by the rise in inches for every 12 inches of horizontal distance.
Soffit - The part of the roof underneath the overhang that is used to seal the space between the wall and the back of the fascia. Soffit is originally an Italian term and was traditionally a wooden board, but is now commonly built with uPVC.
Tiles - Most often made from clay or slate, roofing tiles are laid on top of a deck on a pitched roof. Tiles can either be plain or interlocked, with interlocked tiles offering greater water protection and often made from concrete.
Truss - An additional framework to the rafters that is used to support the roofing. Typically used in situations where heavier roofing materials are used. A truss can be built from either wood or metal.
Valley - The point where two pitched roofs meet.
Specialist terminology can often cause friction between homeowners and tradesmen and there are few things as frustrating as a communication breakdown during a big job. As such, we hope you've managed to let a few of these popular roofing terms sink in and make an impression.
If you're still struggling to make sense of it all, never be afraid to ask your experienced roofing contractor for advice and guidance.