Roofing Advice

Roofing Glossary

Posted: 20 February 2014


Roofers use a specific vocabulary. Here's some technical words:

Batten/Purlin: The means of supporting, positioning, or fixing your new roof. Usually made of timber.

Dormer: A vertical window that protrudes from a sloping roof area.

Fascia: Usually made of steel or timber and fixed to the rafter ends onto which a gutter system can be attached. Internal fascia means the gutter is between the fascia and the house. External fascia means the fascia is between the gutter and the house.

Flashing: Strips of flexible waterproof material used as added protection at various junctures on the roof.

Hips: Sloping junction of two roofing surfaces that generally meet at an external corner.

Pitch: The angle or slope of the roof surface.

Pop Top: Where a second storey protrudes from the main roof.

Rafters: Roof frame timbers which support the roofing material.

Re-roofing: The process of replacing an existing roof with a new roof. This can be done by overlaying the new over the old or by completely removing the existing roof before installing the new one.

Ridge: The topmost horizontal juncture of a roof where two opposite areas of roof rise to meet. 

Shake: A type of roof profile that has the random appearance of warped cedar tiles. May be wooden or steel.

Shingle: A type of roof profile that has a uniform square appearance. Originally imitated cedar shakes but now a product in its own right. Made out of asphalt or steel with a textured coating.

Soffit/Eaves: The lined overhang from the outside of the house structure to the edge of the roof.

Trusses: Support beams that form the structure of a roof.

Underlay: A moisture-resistant building paper that is laid over the rafters and under the battens. Required under New Zealand building code 3604 for lightweight roofing as a condensation barrier.

Valley: The internal angle formed by the meeting of two roof surfaces. A metal tray is installed in this area to direct water to the gutter.


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