Consumer GuidesRoofing, Siding & Gutters

Roofing Terms

In addition to the type of shingles used as roofing material on your home, there are many other components that make up a roof. The following list will help you sort through the terminology associated with roofing.


80% of homes in the U.S. have asphalt shingle roofs. These are constructed of 12 x 36 inch sections that look like individual shingles when installed.


A roof’s surface is the area on which all the roofing material sits. Roofing surfaces can be made of a variety of materials. The most common material in the U.S. is plywood with a covering of sheathing, felt and roofing shingles.


Flashing is the metal or vinyl edging that is placed along roof intersections, dormers, chimneys, vent pipes and edges of the roof. It helps guide water away from roof joints and toward gutters.


A roof’s deck consists of sheathing and underlayment, called roofing felt. The material used to finish the roof determines deck types. Most roofs require solid plywood or oriented strand board sheathing, while wood shingle and tile roofs need spaced board sheathing.

Roofing Felt

The protective layer that sits between the roof sheathing and the shingles.


Metal channels that are attached to the roof edges, used to draw water down and away from the house and its foundation. Most gutters consist of gutter sections, drop outlets and downspouts. Gutters can be constructed of aluminum, galvanized steel, vinyl, wood or copper.

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