All About Roofing From A to Z

When it comes to understanding the ins and outs of roofing, most of us are clueless. We are keenly aware of the importance such a large investment holds, but the terminology is practically a foreign language. The professionals at family-owned Freeman Roofing not only offer no cost estimates, but they will gladly walk you through the process and thoroughly explain which services and repairs are needed for your home or building in terms you can understand.

Here are some common definitions to help you better grasp the terminology of the roofing industry from A to Z.


Algae: A fungus growth on the roof that will cause discoloration

Architectural shingle: Type of roofing shingle that appears raised or dimensional

Asphalt: A dark, sticky form of petroleum used for waterproofing


Blisters: Bubbles that pop up of roofing shingles, usually caused by moisture or high temperature

Buckling: A noticeable wrinkle in the roof usually indicative of movement

Butt: Also known as a tab, the lower area of the shingle exposed to weather


Caulking: Using a waterproof substance to seal a joint or seam
Cutout: The area between shingle tabs that is open


Dead level: A zero slope flat roof

Dormer: A framed projecting portion of the roof, usually contains a window

Drip edge: A outward projecting metal overhang that prevents water drip from underlying materials


Eaves: The underside of a roof that projects past the buildings external wall


Flashing: Materials (usually metal pieces) used to seal the roof in areas like chimneys, dormers or other projections/interruptions


Gable roof: A roof with two sloping sides that meet at a ridge, creating end walls with a triangular shaped extension at the top

Galvanized: Coating with zinc to aid in corrosion prevention


Hip roof: A roof that rises by inclined planes on all sides of the building


Impact resistance: A roof’s ability to withstand impact from falling objects


Joist: Parallel beams set from wall to wall for support of ceiling, floor or roof


Lap Seam: Where two materials that overlap are sealed together


Membrane: Part of the roofing system that acts as a waterproofing agent/sealant

Monolithic: When no seams are present, formed from one single material


Nailing pattern: Specific pattern in which nails are applied


Penetration: Any object that pierces the surface of a roof

Pourable Sealer: Sealant (usually initially liquid) used to waterproof penetrations that are hard to flash

Ponding: When water accumulates on a low-lying area of a roof


R-Value: A measure of a materials heat flow resistance


Self-Sealant: A sealant that is activated by heat/sun to seal shingles together
A roof’s angle of incline
Steep Slope Roof:
Roof with a slope higher than 3:12


Tear Off: When existing roofing materials are removed down to the deck


Valley: The area on a roof where two adjoining planes intersect, and a V-shaped depression is formed


Zinc: A metal that withstands high expansion/contraction rates and low temperatures