When a roofing contractor is working on your home, having some knowledge of the terms they use can be beneficial. In this post, Stapleton Roofing shares a list of commonly used terms within the roofing industry. These are five of the most common roofing terms that are thrown around. If you have been a part of any roofing conversations, you may be wondering, what is roof flashing, or what’s a roof membrane and underlayment, what is roof pitch, or what’s a roof deck?

Stapleton Roofing answers all these questions, providing a concise list of important roofing terms and their meanings. Knowledge of these terms could give you a greater ease of understanding roofing discussions and their relevance to your own roof and home. Having great roofing materials isn’t all we do at Stapleton either. We love helping our customers gain the insights and knowledge they want when it comes to roofs, especially concerning their own homes and businesses. If you have a good understanding of the roofing industry and terms used, you can find a roofer for your needs with confidence. You will be ready to ask the questions and find out for sure if your roofer is a roofer you can trust.

Your home or business is important to you, and your roof is important to your home or business. When it comes to taking proper care of it, there is no room for mediocrity! That is why Stapleton Roofing is here to share technical information that could help you, professional advice or consultation, and our own services as well should you have roofing or home improvement needs you want taken care of. Have a look at our glossary, and if you have further questions or are interested in working with Arizona’s best roofers, feel free to reach out to us. We always look forward to connecting with you, and our contractors are available to help with a high capacity for roofing projects and work on any scale.

Five Common Roofing Terms and Meanings


Five of the most common roofing terms used are roof pitch, roof deck, flashing, membrane, and underlayment. If you are wondering what any of these terms mean, like what’s a roof deck or what is roof flashing, or you are looking for definitions to what’s a roof membrane or what is roof pitch, we can answer those questions!

Customers have used shingles for roofing pretty commonly for a very long time. Our roofers offer some of the best shingles available, and we would be happy to install or maintain your shingles as well. We have roofing options beyond shingles, including other types of shingles besides asphalt (metal shingles, wooden shingles, organic shingles, and so on) as well as tiles, slate, foam, and more. Whether you are used to your roofing shingles or want to try something new, let us help you install and maintain it!

Simple Roofing Terminology

These common roofing terms and their meanings are fairly straightforward once they have been explained, and we want to take the time to make these definitions readily available for all homeowners and roofing clients.

The reason why knowing some terms like this could be useful to you is they could help you know what questions to ask when talking with contractors about. You may recognize these areas of your own roof, and you can ask questions about them specifically. You can also understand more easily when roofers talk about these components and terms and improve your ease of communication. Good communication like this is important in any service or industry, and can be a big determining factor for you as a roofing client of whether your contractor offers quality services. Take advantage of these insights and put your contractors communication to the test.

At Stapleton Roofing, we love to talk to our customers and keep them informed throughout the process of every project. We make sure our customers can be involved every step of the way, can ask the questions they have about the process, and can be sure their roofing project is being completed well and on their preferred timeframe. We can also leave them with a knowledge of roofing they can take with them after the completion of the project so they are ready in any situation following initial installation or replacement. When it comes to maintenance, repairs, or anything else, we know our community will be well informed.

Roof Pitch

What is roof pitch? Pitch is the measure of a roof’s slope. Roof pitch is intended and used to allow proper flow of rain. While categories are not properly defined, roof pitch may be classified as:

  • Low Slope Roof
  • Medium Slope Roof
  • Steep Slope Roof
  • Mansard Roof
  • Flat Roof

A mansard roof is one type of roof that has a vertical surface. A flat roof is horizontal and is the only other non-sloping roof. A vent covers the space between the top of the exterior wall and the roof overhang or eave; the horizontal strip of material you can sometimes see underneath the roof’s overhanging edge of a roof for most of these roof types with exception of flat roofing. The external angle formed at the top of any intersecting roof planes is called the ridge and is usually covered by a first course of asphalt shingles running the length of the horizontal distance of the roof ridge. Most roof slope types work well used with asphalt shingles, no matter whether they have one side or four sides.

A valley of a roof allows the water to collect between planes of the roof and is usually protected by strips of metal or an overlapping shingle layer, running down to the roof edges and dripping off the edge so as to avoid pooling on the roof or home. A flat roof that has no slope can have other ways of allowing the moisture to escape off the edge as well. Coatings are used to add stronger protection against moisture for this type of roof. Other pieces of metal are usually used to protect any edge of the roof that would be otherwise exposed in addition to the valley. To find out details about a few more of these metal pieces, feel free to browse our other article about roofing terminology.

If you have a certain pitch on your roof structure currently, you might wondering if you can change your roof pitch or type of roof used. The answer is yes, you can! Talk to Stapleton Roofing about roof pitch options and what roof pitch is possible or recommended for your home or business. We make the process of replacing, restructuring, or installing a new system easy and stress-free for you. Customers trust us with their roofing structure needs, and they can have confidence that every finished project we do looks beautiful and will remain strong and reliable for years and years.

Type of Roof

Roofing is also differentiated by the number of planes it has as well as the pitch. Here are a few of the frequently used roofing terms regarding roof structure types. Roofing materials can also vary from shingles (asphalt shingles, wood shingles or shakes, and even metal shingles) to slate, tile, foam, or metal sheets depending on the type of roof used.

Shed Roof

A roof that has a single sloping plane is sometimes called a shed roof. It is different from a mansard roof in that it slopes rather than being a vertical surface. Are you interested in a shed roof on your home or a portion of your home? Contact us! We have expertise installing and maintaining metal or asphalt shingle shed roofs for homes.

Gable Roof

A gable roof has two planes; one more sloping plane than a shed roof. A gable roof forms a kind of triangle on the side that is a vertical surface rather than sloping. If you have a gable roof and need maintenance, repairs, or a replacement, or you want to convert your roof to a gable roof, talk to Stapleton Roofing. We work with all types of roofs and materials, including asphalt shingles, metal, foam, and more.

Hip Roof

A hip roof, unlike a gable roof, has sloping planes on all four sides. It does not contain gables, or the triangular vertical portion of a gable roof. A hip roof may require more roofing material than another type of sloped roof because a hip roof has more area covered by roofing material. If you are considering installing a hip roof on your building, talk to the professionals at Stapleton Roofing today! We are here to help you change the roofing structure, pitch, or material of your roof and discuss the options available to you, as well as give recommendations based on what may be ideal for your home or business.

Roof Flashing

What is roof flashing? Flashing is the pieces of metal used to avoid water leakage into your home. Metal flashing is typically installed under the shingle surface around any intersection, external angle, drip edge, or angle formed in a roof like the chimneys, adjoining walls, vent pipes or any pipe that penetrates the roof, valleys and dormers.

Step Flashing Overlapped by Counter Flashing

The flashing applied under the shingle on the wall or across the roof edges is called base flashing or step flashing, while the flashing used around chimneys is typically called counter flashing or cap flashing and overlaps the base flashing or step flashing.

Valley: An Intersection of two Sloping Roof Planes

When talking about flashing another piece of roofing terminology often used that might be good to know is the valley of the roof and valley flashing. This is the angle formed where the intersection of two sloping roof planes or more occurs.

Purpose of Valley Flashing

This valley may be exposed to the weather if it is not concealed by valley flashing used to make an open valley or shingles to shield this portion of the roof from damage. This intersection of two sloping roof planes can also be covered by overlapping shingles in addition to valley flashing. These two roof planes will usually direct the flow of water towards the valley.

Ask a trusted local roofing company like Stapleton Roofing with your flashing and make sure your roof flashings are secure.

Roof Deck

What’s a roof deck? Decks are the foundation of your roof, usually made from oriented strand board (osb) or strips of deck material made of composite plywood. The deck is the base that is placed against your attic to conceal the rafters and support the total weight of the roofing materials. A deck must be strong enough to support all the roofing materials that are fastened to it and reliable enough to cope with the force of natural elements and constant use. If installed correctly, a roof deck of the right materials will dramatically increase the longevity of your roofs.

Roof Membrane

What’s a roof membrane? This refers to one layer of materials that have waterproofing capabilities. They are usually placed on flat roofs to avoid water leaks and channel water away from the roof itself. A roof membrane can develop problems if not installed or maintained carefully, such as roofing blisters or water pooling heavily in certain areas.

Make sure to entrust flat roof installation to a professional who will complete the task properly and provide the best flat roof maintenance. It is important to have a properly maintained membrane to protect your roof from water. Water can be one of the most damaging substance to a roof if water resistant components of the roof are not intact and working effectively to keep the water out. You also want extra protection on this surface against water in more critical areas of the roof like edges, corners around vent pipes or metal, and a valley where water could pool.

No matter the slope of the roof, whether you have two roof planes or more, the roof membrane surface is important. You want your roof protected with a watertight boundary, and a flat roof has an especially strong membrane for this purpose. With two roof planes or more that slope, water will easily run off the edge of the material. You don’t want to have a lot of moisture collecting on the surface of a flat roof and penetrating the surface of the materials.

Roof Underlayment

What is roof underlayment? This is the base layer of the roof and usually found between the shingles and deck. Underlayments for roofing can be waterproof or water-resistant depending on the material and quality. This material protects your roof from water run and prevents it becoming exposed to the weather by covering your roof in asphalt saturated felt or synthetic material. Asphalt roofing material and components are very water resistant and do a great job of protecting your roof from damage from water run or water around critical areas of the roof. This is a reason why asphalt roofing components and asphalt roofing shingles are so commonly used, especially in places that receive a lot of water.

Asphalt Shingles: Common Roofing Material

A roofing material commonly covers the roof underlayment and any flashings applied on the roof. Asphalt shingles are the most common material, and they are made of a part that is overlapped by another shingle and the tab, an exposed portion of strip shingles defined by slots and visible. These asphalt shingles and asphalt roofing provide the majority of the toughest weather protection, preventing damage from storms or an ice dam (an ice dam is when water forms a buildup of ice near the drip edge or lower edge of a sloped roof; an ice dam can be very destructive to the drip edge and the roof overall).

One Square: 100 Square Feet

When talking about roofing material, a square is 100 square feet of roofing material, a typical unit of measurement used to determine the cost of the material and one of the most common roofing terms. If you want to know how much shingle material you will need for your roof, you can measure it and divide the measurements by 100 square feet. Remember that shingle overlaps shingle on the surface of the roof, so you will have to account for the amount of shingle width covered by each previous shingle.

Ask Stapleton Roofing

If you have further questions about technical roofing concepts, have another roofing term you would like defined, or you are looking for in-depth insight about your roof for any reason, you can also contact us at Stapleton Roofing at any time with your questions. We are a trusted roofing contractor, and we are always happy to connect with you, offer consultation, and answer any other questions you might have. We want to hear your needs, provide any information that may be helpful, and share with you what we know. You can put our knowledge and roofing expertise to the test!

From Roofing Terminology to Great Service

Now that you have learned the answers to the questions, what is roof flashing, what’s a roof membrane, what is roof pitch, what’s a roof deck, and what is roof underlayment, you may be more prepared than ever for a roofing consultation or inspection for your own roof. Stapleton Roofing offers consultation and honest recommendation for your commercial or residential roofing needs, and we will reveal all the technical information regarding your roof, including any issues or observations we find.

Are you looking for asphalt shingles or maintenance and repairs on your roof? Maybe you want to change your roof slope or find a different, longer-lasting type of asphalt shingles. We have some of the best asphalt shingles and other roofing material, as well as a team that gives great roofing service in areas throughout Arizona. Maybe you have noticed moisture or ice building up in a roof valley, or a shingle or two have loosened or gone missing from your roof. Let us take a look at that valley or shingle and help you determine if you need maintenance, repairs, or replacement.

We will give you a fair, accurate assessment of your roof’s condition. We offer some of the best quality roofing materials used, like our long-lasting shingles. Clients trust us and have used our great roofing services and shingles for years. We are here to help you too, and we want to show you what a high standard in roofing means for your home or business; a standard you can get used to.

Arizona’s Favorite Roofers

In your roofing consultation and in your own understanding of common roofing terms and their meanings, we want you to be informed. We hope to give you confidence about your roof and the roofing contractor you partner with. Count on trusted professional roofers at Stapleton Roofing for quality products and services. Call us at (602) 562-4991 or (602) 755-6250, or fill out our contact form for a free estimate. We serve Phoenix, AZ, and nearby areas.

Stapleton Roofing is committed to excellence in roofing. Our team has seen generations of quality roofing projects completed, satisfied customers throughout Arizona, and a lasting relationship with the community we have served for so many years. Clients know they can trust the experts at Stapleton Roofing with any project, whether it be roof repair, roof replacement, roof maintenance, roof installation and construction, roof inspection, roof consultation and recommendation on materials, or any other home improvement task we tackle. They turn to us knowing we have the discipline to complete each project on time, the mastery to attain excellence, the expertise to provide great insight, the accessibility to top-quality products, and the relational credibility to build respectful, friendly, reliable partnerships with them.

If you or someone you know is ready to experience service from the team that has raised the bar in roofing industry excellence, reach out to us. Serving customers in Arizona with all their roofing solutions is our specialty, and we are ready to meet you wherever you at with your roof or home. If you have questions, we’re here to answer them, and if you have a need, we are here to hear it and fulfill that need with our roofing services. If you are ready to begin a great partnership, don’t hesitate! Call Stapleton Roofing today!

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