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Roofing Terms to Know

Special Report: In Over Your Head? Second of 2 Parts

April 17, 1994

Just like any other trade or profession, roofing has a language all its own. Here are some terms you'll want to be familiar with so that you and your contractor are speaking the same language.

1--Deck/sheathing. This is the base surface to which other roofing materials are applied.

2--Drip edge. An L-shaped strip installed along the edges of the roof. It keeps water from running back under your deck and eves.

3--Felt/underlayment. Also called tar paper. It is used as a secondary layer of protection on top of the deck and beneath roofing material.

4--Flashing. Pieces of metal used to prevent the seepage of water around any intersection or projection in a roof. These include chimneys, vents and valleys. Many roof leaks occur at flashing points.

5--Rafters. The supporting framing to which the roof deck is attached.

6--Rake. The inclined edge of a roof over a wall.

7--Ridge. The top edge of two intersecting sloping roof surfaces.

8--Slope. Measured by rise in inches for each 12 inches of horizontal run. For example, a roof with what contractors call a "4:12 slope" rises 4 inches for every foot.

9--Square. The common measurement for roof area--100 square feet (10 feet by 10 feet) is one square.

10--Valley. The angle formed at the intersection of two sloping roof surfaces.

Source: "Buying a New Roof and Getting Your Money's Worth" published by the National Roofing Contractors Assn.

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