One of the hurdles homeowners face when researching their roofing options is the number of roofing-specific terms. Being familiar with such terms can help you make informed decisions when consulting with a roofing contractor and let you get the best roofing system that your home deserves. The following are some of these often-used terms.
Asphalt Shingles — Asphalt shingles are the most popular type of roofing material. They have three layers: a backing material typically made of fiberglass, a middle layer of asphalt and an outer layer of granules made of crushed rock-like material.
Deck — The roof deck refers to the flat part of the roofing structure, to which the outer roofing material is attached. Plywood or oriented strand board (OSB) is used as decking on most residential roofing systems.
Drip Edge — A type of flashing that protects the roof edges from rainwater. Roofers install this between the underlayment and the starter strip.
Fascia — The fascias are the vertical boards that cover the roof edges. The gutters attach to the fascia.
Flashing — Flashing is the strips of metal or rubber that protect breaks on the roofing plane, such as valleys and where the roof meets a wall or dormer. Other types of flashing include drip edge and vent boot.
Organic Shingles — While most of today’s shingles have fiberglass backing, you may come across ones made of pulped paper. This traditional backing material is often referred to as “organic”. It may be the more affordable option, but it isn’t as strong nor as durable.
Ridge Vent — A roof needs to have vents to eliminate heat and moisture from the attic. These vents are placed at the roof ridges.
Soffit — Soffits are the intake vents that cover the space between the top of the exterior wall and the roof overhang. They can be made of wood or vinyl.
Starter Strip — The starter strip is the first row of shingles on a roof. This row needs to be reinforced as it bears the brunt of updrafts. Most roofing systems feature starter strips made from a single roll of material.
Underlayment — Also known as felts, the underlayment is the waterproofing material installed between the roof deck and the outer roofing material. The ideal underlayment should be able to protect the roof deck from water intrusion, yet lets moisture evaporate.