Roofing Components: Understanding the Terminology

Roofing Components: Understanding the Terminology

One of the biggest challenges people face when working with contractors is communication. They think they are asking for one thing, while the contractor is hearing something else. Part of the reason for this is that most contractors use specific language to describe their projects. To help ensure you can communicate with us, we have put together a guide to roofing terminology.

You may think of your roof as singles or the other top layer of the roof. However, roofs have several layers. The first layer is part of the structure of the home. Depending on the home’s construction, it could be made of different materials. In most homes, the basic top of the roof is plywood. If your roofer talks about needing to replace plywood, they are talking about placing this surface on the roof.

The next layer is underlayment. Underlayment is a layer of covering that goes on over the home’s top, such as the plywood layer, and sits between that layer and the covering. You may see underlayments that are made of paper or felt. Underlayment is frequently black or green.

Shingles are the things used to cover a roof. However, not all roofs are made of shingles. You may also hear people refer to shingles as tiles. They are actually two different things. Tiles are made of different materials, and are usually heavy and durable.

Flashing helps you waterproof the roof. Flashing is usually metal, which is placed on areas where two surfaces join together. It channels water the same way that other insulators work.

Soffit is any type of trim that covers the underside of the roof. It hangs down below the roofline. Not all roofs have soffits, but if you choose soffits you will want to coordinate them with the rest of the roof.

Finally, trim is the decorative work that can help you distinguish your roof and dress it up. Trim can match your home’s existing style or change the look of the house, all together.

If you are looking at estimates from roofing companies, you want to be specific and ensure that the estimates have all of the same features. That can be critical to choosing the right roofer, as some roofers estimated prices are way off from their final prices. That is because some unethical roofers will only estimate the price of the roof, not including details like trim or soffit.