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Roofing Terms You Should Know

Asphalt shingle roofing on a light blue, two-story home

Do you remember back when you were in high school or college, and your professor let you know that a big test was coming up? You immediately panicked! You weren’t prepared for this test, so you decided to pull an all-nighter to study as much as you could. You needed to ace this test. 

Now think of the present day. Time has passed and you’re no longer in school and are now a homeowner! Sure, you have stress, but you no longer have to pull all-nighters and can sleep through the night without worry. There’s been a lot of rain in your area for the past few months. You’re not too worried! Your home is old but the last homeowner took great care of it. But one day you happen to look up and see a large crack in your ceiling and a puddle on your floor! This is your first home, you’ve never had an issue like this before. Millions of questions run through your mind; “Can I afford to fix this?” “Who do I call?” “Will a company try and take advantage of my lack of knowledge and give me a bad deal?” 

No need to worry! We understand that these things can be extremely stressful, especially to first-time homeowners. We created a list of terms and examples that we believe every roof owner should know about.



  1. Roof Ridge
  2. Ridge Vent
  3. Flashing
  4. Hip
  5. Roof Deck
  6. Roofing Underlayment
  7. Roof Valley
  8. Laminated Architectural Shingles
  9. Roof Gable
  10. Metal Drip Edge
  11. Dormer
  12. Ice & Water Barrier
  13. Eave
  14. Undereave Vent

Roof Ridge:

The roof ridge is the horizontal line running the length of the roof where the two roof planes meet. This intersection creates the highest point on a roof, sometimes referred to as the peak. Hip and ridge shingles are specifically designed for this part of a roof.

Roof Ridge

Ridge Vent:

A ridge vent is an exhaust vent that runs horizontally along the peak of the roof and allows warm, humid air to escape from the attic. 

Ridge Vent

Undereave Vent:

Undereave vents are intake vents located under the eaves of the roof that help draw cool dry air into the attic.

Undereave Vent


Flashing is a metal material installed at joint openings, around chimneys, and any dormer windows or skylights to prevent any water intrusion. They look very similar to stair steps alongside a chimney or side walls on a roof.



The hip on a roof is the intersection of two roof planes that meet to form a sloping ridge running from the peak to the eave. Hip and ridge shingles are specifically designed for this part of a roof.


Roof Deck:

The roof deck is the structural foundation base for the roof system and is usually made of wood or plywood.

Roof Deck

Roof Underlayment:

Roofing underlayment is a layer of synthetic material that adds extra protection on top of the roof deck and under the shingles. Synthetic underlayment helps repel moisture and provides protection against water infiltration. Synthetic underlayment is becoming a popular material choice over felt due to proven water-resistance performance and long-lasting durability.

Roof Underlayment

Ice and Water Barrier:

An ice and water barrier is a self-adhered waterproofing material installed along eaves, valleys, side walls, and other sensitive areas to protect against ice damage and wind-driven rain.

Ice Water Barrier

Roof Valley:

The roof valley is the V-shaped intersection between two sloping roofs joining at an angle to provide water runoff.

Roof Valley
Roof Valley

Laminated Architectural Asphalt Shingles:

Laminated architectural asphalt shingles contain more than one layer of tabs to add dimension, performance and durability to a roof. Architectural shingles are sometimes referred to as three-dimensional shingles or laminated shingles. The opposite of architectural shingles are three-tab shingles, which are produced as a single layer of tabs and appear flat or without the dimension of a laminated shingle.


Roof Gable:

A roof gable is the triangular section of the outer wall at the peak of the roof between a sloping roof and eave. A roof gable is also sometimes referred to as a rake.

Roof Gable
Roof Gable

Metal Drip Edge:

A metal drip edge is a type of flashing that is installed at the edges of the roof to prevent water from getting under the fascia and soffit boards. If one is not installed, there is a possibility of water getting under the shingles and causing damage to the roof

Metal Drip Edge


A dormer is a raised section of the roof that contains a window that projects vertically through the slope in the roof.



An eave is the lower border of the roof that overhangs the wall usually located in the first three feet of a roof. The purpose of an eave is to help protect the home by allowing rain and snow to fall off the roof and land away from the siding and foundation. 


We hope our cheat cheat has helped answer any questions that you might have when it comes time to replace your roof. If you’d like to get in contact with us, our office number is 215-343-5557. Or you can use our online contact form.