common roofing terms

Roofing Terminology: A Guide to Common Roofing Terms

Give a step forward learning common roofing terms in advance! Replacing or fixing your roof means that you’re about to hear industry-specific terms from the roofing contractor.
Yes, you’re most probably unfamiliar with most of these terms, but you can always ask the roofer to expound. Nevertheless, it’s helpful to learn some roofing terminologies on your own so that you won’t feel overwhelmed. All it takes is to read this guide.
There are thousands of roofing terms, and one post isn’t enough to tackle them all. So, we stick to the most common ones for the typical property owner. It makes sense to start with the five popular roofing options in North America:

Asphalt Roof

Shingles made from asphalt are by far the most preferred residential roofing material in this part of the world.
Fiberglass reinforces the new iteration for extended life. Fortunately, the price remains competitive, which is why an asphalt roof never goes out of style.

Wood and Cedar Shake

Wood shingles are as competitive as asphalt in pricing, but its advantage is its aesthetic value. In other words, it looks more pleasing than the conventional asphalt roof, thanks to the rustic and natural appearance.

Metal Roof

Roofs in metal are better to resist extreme weather all year. As metal is resilient and resistant to severe conditions, i.e., snow, strong winds, and torrential rain. Metal roofs in North America come in two styles: shingles and panels. The material composition can be aluminum, copper, stainless steel, and zinc.

Tile and Slate

Tile and slate make for an ideal customized and DIY roof as they’re versatile and come in a handful of colours. Unlike asphalt and metal, tile and slate roofing materials are light enough for a DIY enthusiast or a handyman to install.

Rubber

The purpose of a roof made from rubber material is to mimic the asphalt shingle. It’s the newest roofing material available in North America and is causing quite the stir because of its competitive price and durability.
Aside from the types of roof, there’s a handful of common terms in roofing you should know:

1. Course

Refers to a row of shingles or other roofing materials that run horizontally across the structure’s length.

2. Decking

The roof’s decking is a sheet material usually made from plywood. It is attached to the rafters, which in turn is found in the attic. The decking serves as the host for other roofing materials, i.e., shingles and underlayment.

3. Downspout

This part of the roof comes in the form of a pipe installed to the building’s sides. Its purpose is to direct water from the gutters and away from the structure.

4. Drip Edge

It’s an L-shaped metal strip situated along the edges of the roof. It allows the water to drip, preventing a possible buildup in the eaves, siding, and decking. The drip edge is also responsible for preventing moisture penetration in the fascia boards.

5. Chalk

In roofing, chalk refers to a powdered residue applied on the surface of a material.

6. Chalk Line

It is a line purposely made on the roofing structure by snapping a cord wrapped in coloured chalk. Depending on the roof material, some contractors use a taut string instead. The idea of a chalk line is to provide a guide for alignment purposes.

7. Chalking

The term pertains to the degradation of a chemical ingredient used in roofs, such as coating and paint.

8. Chimney

The chimney is a structure that projects through and above the roof for aesthetic and practical purposes. Wood, stone, metal and masonry are the most common materials to build chimneys.

9. Fascia

Those boards exposed on the roof eaves or overhang’s front edge make up the fascia. The boards are typically made from wood, vinyl, or aluminum. The gutters can’t be adequately installed without the fascia.

10. Flashing

The flashing is a sheet metal material that prevents water from penetrating through the projection and intersections in a roofing system.
Contractors install flashing to protect the chimneys, valleys, joints, vent pipes, and other parts of the roof where water naturally finds its way through.

11. Gutter

The gutters are troughs embedded in the fascia board. Guttering is crucial for collecting water run-off from the roof, leading to the downspouts and the ground.

12. Ice Dam

This describes a condition in which the combination of ice and snow thaws and re-freezes at the roof’s lower edge.
Ice dams cause water to back up and collect under the shingles. The pressure created by the buildup of water causes leaks and extensive water damage if not addressed.

13. Overhang

“Overhang” is the part of the roof which extends beyond the exterior walls of the building or house.

14. Rafters

The rafter provides support to the roof. It is the one you see in an unfinished ceiling of an attic. As raffers are attached to the roof deck, they play a critical role.

15. Ridge

The ridge describes the top edge of a couple of intersecting sloping roof surfaces.

16. Valley

The roof valley is an area where two adjoining sloped planes meet. It’s easy to spot since it creates a “V-shaped” depression on the roof.
Knowledge of common roofing terms comes in handy when you’re venturing on a repair, installation, or replacement project.
It protects you from getting ripped off by a mischievous roofer, and it helps you find the best roofing contractor by sharing educated conversations with them.

Roofing Insulation

The Ins and Outs of Roof Warranties

Homeowners are often confused by warranties and their terms, which is compounded when a lot of roofing contractors don’t explain them adequately. Homeowners assume that when a product includes, for example, a 15-year roofing warranty, that everything to do with their roof installation will be covered for 15 years. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. More commonly, a warranty is limited to material costs only, and does not cover cost of labour and other costs associated with the removal and replacement of materials. When looking at roofing warranties always read the fine print and ask if you don’t know.
In fact, roofing warranties can be complicated and it’s important as the building owner that you understand what type of warranty covers your roof, the terms of the warranty, factors that may make the warranty void. In this post, we will demystify some of the issues that surround roofing warranties.
 
Types of Roofing Warranty
There are two basic types of roofing warranty which area the contractor warranty and the manufacturer warranty. Just as they sound, the contractor warranty is provided by the roofing contractor that installs your roof whereas the manufacturer warranty is provided by the company that makes your roofing material. The type of warranty can vary significantly from one company to another, from one manufacturer to another. Typically, a contractor offers a warranty that covers labour while manufacturers’ warranties cover materials. Sometimes these warranties overlap, but that’s certainly not always the case. Just what kind of roof warranty do you need, and what does each kind actually protect you against?
While this is not a complete list, here are some of the basic warranties:
Labour warranties: This means the labour costs to remove and reinstall defective building materials. This does not always include the original installation. If leaks are due to workmanship errors with the original installation, a labour warranty may not cover this problem.
Material warranties: are fairly inexpensive but apply only to material defects that cause early deterioration of roofing systems. These warranties include the roof membrane but not flashings, adhesives, or edges. A material warranty will cover the costs of material replacement but not the labour costs associated with repair.
Workmanship warranties: This type of warranty can be confused with a labour warranty. It is, in fact, a type of warranty that will cover you against costs related to actual installation failures and errors which a labour warranty may not cover. If you’re worried about sloppy workmanship, than this is probably the best warranty to purchase.
 
Terms of Roofing Warranty
As you may have guessed, the terms of your roofing warranty will depend on the type of warranty you have and also the company providing the warranty. A thing to keep in mind is that the warranty is only as good as the company backing it.
It is important to note that there are typically maintenance responsibilities that are outlined in your warranty. If you fail to maintain your roof, your warranty may be deemed voided. For example, if you fail to fix curling shingles, the warranty may not be honoured. Additionally, roofing warranties are not likely to cover damage from standing water, damage to interior structures, and also so-called “Acts of God”. Acts of God are extreme weather conditions such as a floor, lightning, earthquakes, vandalism, or fire.
It probably won’t surprise you to learn that a lot of roofing warranties are more geared toward protecting the manufacturer than the homeowner. Manufacturers, of course, don’t want to shell out money to homeowners unless they really have to which is why they spend a lot of money on lawyers to compose the fine print that ultimately tries to limit their own liability if something goes wrong with their roofing products. That’s why it’s so important that you understand the following before signing off on your project and warranty purchase:

  • What type of roof warranty am I getting?
  • How long does the warranty last?
  • What can void my roof warranty?
  • What are my responsibilities for maintaining my roof warranty?
  • What doesn’t a typical roof warranty cover?

 
Manufacturer Warranty
The most common kind of manufacturer warranty is a shingle warranty which may cover you for 20 to 50 years. As described earlier, this type of warranty only protects you against defects in the roofing materials themselves, not against improper instalment or worker error.
Although having a manufacturer warranty is important for your peace of mind, it’s actually rare for a roofing problem to be traced to a manufacturing defect. More commonly, a substandard roof is attributable to poor installation which is a separate issue altogether and which a manufacturer warranty won’t cover. Keep in mind even if the materials themselves are at fault, your warranty may only cover those materials, not the labour required to install them.
 
Conclusion
 The actual terms of a roofing warranty will differ from company to company and the roofing material you select. Always ask for a copy of the warranty before signing the contract and educate yourself about the exclusions and limitations in the warranty.
When you hire a roofing contractor, you should first check to see if your roof is under warranty. If it is, then it can help you save possibly thousands of dollars in repairs. Call us at Cambie roofing because we offer you the most warranty choices for your new roof or roof repairs. For the best protection for your home, call our Vancouver roof experts to schedule a free, in-home consultation.