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Roof Repairs - Avoid Big Costs With A Little Basic Knowledge

Jun 25, 2008
We don't really think about the roofs on our homes until they have a problem. When they do, we call a roofer. Then comes the problem of actually speaking with the roofer. Why? Well, they have a language all their own. Here are some common roofing terms.

Aggregate: A surfacing or ballast for a roof system. Aggregate can be rock, stone, crushed stone or slag, water-worn gravel, crushed lava rock or marble chips.

Thermal Bridging: A condition where heat or cold can be conducted through a metal fastener or opening from the underside of the roof assembly to the outside of a roof surface.

Vent: Any outlet for air that protrudes through the roof deck such as a pipe or stack. Any device installed on the roof, gable or soffit for the purpose of ventilating the underside of the roof deck.

Pitch: The degree of roof inclined expressed as the ratio of the rise, in feet, to the span, in feet.

Closed Cut Valley: A method of valley treatment in which shingles from one side of the valley extend across the valley while shingles from the other side are trimmed two inches from the valley centerline. The valley flashing is not exposed.

Square: The common measurement for roof area. One square is 100 square feet (10 feet by 10 feet).

Vertical Panel Siding: Plain, patterned, or grooved panels of plywood or hardboard that provide style and functionality.

Gables: Roof sections facing in separate direction from the actual roof, forming a triangular wall segment. They are often used as an opening for a window.

Back-Nailing: The method of fastening the back or upper side of a ply of roofing felt or other component in a roof system so that the fasteners are covered by the following ply.

Eave Details: The part of a roof which projects out from the side wall, projecting the edge of the roof.

Cornice: The top set of moldings just below a roofline, usually consisting of a fascia board, a soffit and appropriate trim moldings.

Built-Up Roof Membrane: A roof membrane consisting of layers of bitumen, which serves as the waterproofing component, with plies of reinforcement fabric installed between each layer.

Starter Strip: Asphalt roofing applied at the eaves that provides protection by filling in the spaces under the cut out's and joints of the first course of shingles.

Boxed Eave: Horizontal overhang that runs from the eaves edge to the side of the building.

Bitumen: Any of various flammable mixtures of hydrocarbons and other substances, occurring naturally or obtained by distillation from coal or petroleum, that are a component of asphalt and tar and are used for surfacing roads and for waterproofing.

Counter flashing: Formed metal sheeting secured to walls, curbs, or other surfaces, for use in protecting the top edge of base flashings from exposure to weather.

Normal Slope: Roof pitches that are between 30 and 45 degrees.

Brands: Marks on roof caused by airborne burning embers released from a fire.

Cool Roofing: A cool roof is defined as a roof surface that has both high reflectivity and high emissivity. High reflectivity requires the surfacing material to reflect solar energy away from the surface. High emissivity requires radiating heat energy away from the surface.

Membrane: The portion of the roofing system that serves as the waterproofing material. Can be composed of one material or several materials laminated together.

Talking with a roofer can be like visiting a foreign country. The conversation tends to involve a lot of loud, slow pronunciations and pointing. Understanding the basic terms used with a roof should help you avoid problems.
About the Author
Tom Burrell is with 866FixMyRoof.com, a licensed, insured, bonded and certified roofing contractor providing you with Rancho Mirage roof repairs that are guaranteed to last.
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