When it comes to building a new home or hiring a professional to install a new roof, it can feel like you are in a new world. Roofing contractors appear to have their own language and it can be confusing to understand projects. Since your property is involved, you need to be aware of all that is going on. Below are some of the most commonly used terms to help you stay in the know.
Learning Some of the Roofing Lingo
- Deck: The surface installed over the supporting framing members to which the roofing is applied (not like a deck/patio).
- Rakes: The vertical edges of gable-style roofing
- Eaves: The lowest, horizontal edge of a sloped roof which extends beyond the exterior wall.
- Flashing: Pieces of metal used to prevent water seepage into a building. These are placed around intersections or projections like pipes, vents, walls, dormers, and chimneys.
- Step flashing: The flashing application method used where vertical surfaces meet sloping planes. Individual pieces extend on the roof place to the vertical surface. These are overlapped and stepped up as shingles are applied.
- Drip edge: A non-corrosive metal lip to keep shingles off the roof deck at the edges. Extends shingles out over the eaves and rakes.
- Underlayment: Layer of asphalt-saturated felt (or tar paper) that is laid on a bare deck before the shingles are installed. It provides additional protection for the deck.
- Valley: The internal angle that is formed when the two sloping roof planes meet to provide water runoff.
- Ice dam: The thawing and refreezing of melted snow form a dam at the lower edge of the roof. This can force water under the roofing and cause leaks.
- Ice-and-water shield: A thin, self-adhering membrane made of rubberized asphalt that is applied before underlayment but over the drip edge. It helps to mitigate potential leaks from an ice dam.
- Ridge: The uppermost horizontal external angle that forms where the two sloping roof planes intersect.
- Sheathing: The exterior-grade boards used as roof deck material.
Up on the Roof
Now that you know the lingo, you can understand exactly what roofers are doing when they are on the roof.
- Preparation: The old shingles are removed first, then decking is swept as clean as possible. Any loose sheathing is reattached and all sheathing is inspected before any new shingles are placed down.
- Barrier placement: A drip edge is installed at the eaves. Ice-and-water membrane is applied over this and metal flashing as well as the ice-and-water membrane is applied to valleys and protrusions. Felt underlayment is applied to the entire roof, with each strip overlapping the previous layer. A drip edge applied to the rakes will be applied over the ice-and-water membrane and underlayment.
- Shingle placement: Starter shingles are placed along the eaves. They extend past the ice-and-water membrane, fascia, drip edge, and underlayment. Shingles are applied in overlapping rows. Metal step flashing is applied with shingles at joints where the roof meets a wall or chimney.
- Finishing: The roof is finished using special pieces for capping the ridge. One final pass is made across the roof to ensure each nail is sealed with a professional-strength sealant.