Construction Glossary &Terminology

Frontline Consultants & Contracting LLC provides homeowners and business owners throughout the Metro area with top-quality roofing and renovation services.

Roofing Glossary of Terms & Definitions

When embarking on a roofing project and collaborating with Frontline Consultants & Consulting, LLC., you may find yourself immersed in a world of specialized terminology unique to the industry. Take a moment to peruse our comprehensive roofing glossary, which will empower you with a deeper understanding of the commonly used residential roofing construction terms.

3-tab Asphalt Shingles: Asphalt shingle divided into three distinct tabs. These tabs, each measuring approximately 12 to 13 inches, lend a unique aesthetic to your roof while providing reliable protection.

Algae Discoloration: Beware of the insidious presence of algae, a sneaky culprit responsible for unsightly roof discoloration.

ARMA: Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association, a prestigious trade association exclusively catering to the needs of North American asphalt roofing manufacturers. Representing the pinnacle of excellence in the field, ARMA is committed to upholding the highest standards of quality and professionalism.

ASTM International: A voluntary organization dedicated to the development and implementation of consensus standards, testing procedures, and specifications. These invaluable guidelines ensure that the roofing materials utilized in your project meet the most stringent criteria, guaranteeing durability and longevity.

Asphalt: A remarkable bituminous waterproofing material that plays a pivotal role in the manufacture of roofing materials. Applied with precision, this versatile substance fortifies the integrity of your roof, shielding it from the elements.

Asphalt Primer: Picture a thin, liquid bitumen delicately applied to a surface, serving as a catalyst for enhanced adhesion of self-adhering membranes. This remarkable substance also boasts the ability to absorb dust, further contributing to the overall longevity and functionality of your roof.

Asphalt Roof Cement: Asphalt roof cement is the glue that binds roofing materials together. Known by many names, such as flashing cement or mastic, this versatile marvel adheres to the highest standards, conforming to the prestigious ASTM D4586 (Asbestos Free).

Architectural Shingle: Composed of multiple layers, the tabs on these shingles are cut to different sizes and shapes, creating a symphony of dimensions that brings the roof to life. Behold its splendor, for it is also known as dimensional or laminated shingles.

Asphalt Shingle: A fiberglass mat, which is then coated with an asphalt-based substance. Each unit has mineral granules added to the surface, giving the shingle its distinctive appearance. This material is a staple in residential roofing, cherished for its strength and ease of installation.

Back Surfacing: Fine mineral matter, applied to the back side of shingles, to prevent the shingles from sticking together, ensuring their freedom and flexibility.

Base Flashing: Directing the flow of water onto the roof covering. Attached to or resting on the deck, it is the first line of defense against the elements. It safeguards the roof, allowing it to weather any storm.

Base-ply Sheet: The base-ply sheet plays a crucial role in a residential self-adhering roll roofing system. Positioned as the base or middle ply, it provides a solid foundation for the roof’s performance.

Built-Up Roof: Is low-sloped, or flat roof, consisting of multiple layers of protective sheets of asphalt-bitumen, each one layered and embedded with tar and asphalt.

Butt Edge: The lower edge of the shingle tabs, where strength and resilience meet. It is here that the shingles find their footing, firmly gripping the roof’s surface.

Cap Sheet: A mineral surfaced material, akin to a knight’s armor, shielding the roof from nature’s fury. Whether used alone or multi-layer rolled roof covering system, the cap sheet stands as the last line of defense.

Caulking: To fill a joint with mastic or asphalt cement – caulk glides along the surface, leaving behind a trail of silicone/cement/resin that hardens in a minute and provide protection against the elements.

Cement: A substance that binds, a glue that holds the roof together. Like the mortar between bricks, cement unites the elements, creating a solid foundation.

Collar: Imagine a delicate flange over vents/pipes. This is used to seal the roof, to protect and guard the vent pipe opening.

Cool Roof Shingles: Picture a group of shingles, specially crafted to possess a unique ability. When the sun’s UV rays hit the shingles, they remain cool, unlike their traditional asphalt shingle counterparts. These extraordinary cool roof shingles possess the power to reduce attic temperature, which will help you save on cooling costs.

Concealed Nail Method: In the realm of roofing, there exists a technique that conceals the very essence of its construction. Every nail is driven into the underlying course of roofing; covered by a cemented, overlapping course, these nails remain unseen, their purpose fulfilled without exposure to the elements.

Condensation: Water vapor turns into liquid water or condensation. Condensation can rot wood and cause mold.

Counter Flashing: This flashing helps prevent the migration of water behind the base flashing.

Course: Picture a row of shingles or roll roofing (like bitumen flat roofing material), stretching across the expanse of the roof.

Coverage: Asphalt shingles that stand between the exposed surface of the roofing and the deck. Roof’s can have single coverage or double coverage.

Cutout: It is the open portion, the gap between the asphalt shingle tabs. This allows for breathing room between the shingles.

Deck / Sheathing: A wood deck has a minimum thickness of a 15/32” exterior grade plywood or a 7/16” exterior grade OSB. Review your local building codes.

Designer shingle: Asphalt roofing shingles that has multidimensional design that mimics the timeless elegance of slate or the rustic charm of wood shake shingles. Often referred to as “premium” or “luxury” shingles, they are the crowning glory of any roof, elevating it to new heights of sophistication and curb appeal.

Double Coverage: Refer to “Coverage” – by applying asphalt roofing in such a way that the lapped portion extends at least 2” wider than the exposed portion.

Downspout: A downspout helps free the roof of excess water. This helps draining the water from roof gutters and guiding it safely away from the home.

Drip Edge: Made from a stainless steel or a corrosion-resistant metal, non-staining material – this is fastened to the roof deck to allow water run-off from the underlying construction, protecting it from moisture.

Eave: A horizontal overhang that is the lower part or edge of a sloped roof

Eave Flashing: An extra layer of protection to prevent water back-up to existing eaves.

Exposed Nail Method: Nailed are cemented into to shingles or “roll roofing” when overlapping course.

Exposure: Any portion of construction/roof that is exposed to the elements.

Felt: Construction paper, or sheathing paper, that is saturated with tar-asphalt.

Fiberglass Mat: The thick material used to manufacture laminated-glass fibers that are compressed and made into 3-tab/asphalt shingles.

Flashing: Metal that distributes water away from a building – think of an intersection running along vent pipes, dormers, valleys, chimney’s, etc. Made of 26-gauge galvanized metal.

Flashing cement: See Asphalt Roof Cement. Same resin, or substance, used for asphalt roof cement.

Gable: Triangular part of the sidewall that mets at the ridge or a double sloping roof.

Granules: Crushed asphalt and rock that is coated with ceramic, or UV resistant cool roof technology, that is on the surface of asphalt shingles.

Gutters: Runs alongside the roof – helps distribute water from eaves to downspouts.

High nailing: Shingles that are not installed correctly – above nailing location instructed by manufacturer.

Hip: Where slope roofs intersect – hips shingles / tile are inclined at an angle that runs from the eaves and ridge.

Impact Resistant Shingles: Shingles that resist impact from hail. Tested and classified under UL 2218 with Classes 1-4 with 4 being the best-highest impact resistance to hail and other elements.

Interlocking Shingles: Shingles fastened together to provide wind resistance.

Laminated Shingles: Higher end shingles usually called architectural shingles (or 3-dimensional shingles) that have a laminate sandwiched between asphalt shingles to create an extra barrier against the elements.

Lap: Covering of the roof sheathing/underlayment of one roll or “shingle”.

Lap Cement: ASTM D3019 asphalt based resin/cement that creates a nearly impenetrable bond between overlapping plies of asphalt shingle roll roofing.

Low Slope Application: Specific roofing method of installing asphalt shingles for roof slopes that are 2-4” per foot.

Mineral Stabilizers: Added material to shingles for extra durability and resistance to fire. These materials are finely ground limestone, or other type of slate-rock.

Nesting: Installing new asphalt shingles over older asphalt shingles.

Organic Felt: Asphalt roofing construction paper or felt that is manufactured from cellulose fibers.

Overhang: Part of the roof that extends past the exterior walls of a building.

Pallets: The flat wooden boxes or platforms that are used for storing and shipping.

Ply: One-ply or two-ply means a layer of roofing.

Ponding: After rainfall there is an accumulation of water in the lower-lying parts of the roof. The water “ponds” in parts of the roof were other areas have dried.

Penetration: Anything that “penetrates” or gets passed the roofing system. This can be via conduits, HVAC equipment, vent piping, etc.

Primer: Primer that is used to prepare the “roof surface” for self-adhering asphalt sheets.

Racking: Roofing method in which the shingle course is installed vertically.

Rafter: Underneath the roof deck that slopes from ridge to wall plate.

Rake: The part of a sloped roof that is over a wall and has an inclined edge.

Release Tape: Plastic self-sealing strip that prevents shingles from sticking together in bundles.

Reroofing: The roofing contractor term for replacing old roof with a new roof.

Ridge: Uppermost horizontal angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roofs.

Ridge Shingles: Asphalt shingles that cover the intersection of two sloping roof planes.

Rise: Vertical distance from the eaves to the ridge.

Roll Roofing: Asphalt shingles that are flat and made in a roll form, usually modified asphalt bitumen – which is used on flat roofs.

Roof Deck Protection: Underlayment, either asphalt felt paper or synthetic, that gives the roof sheathing protection against the elements.

Roof Ridge Vent: Air slot at the roof’s highest point allowing air flow from the attic.

Roofing Tape: A procedure used to cement flashing and patching.

Saturated Felt: Another term used for asphalt felt paper or fine asphalt granules embedded in an underlayment or felt paper that is used to protect the roof sheathing.

SBS: Synthetic polymer that is combined with a mixture of slate or asphalt granules to increase durability and flexibility of roofing products.

Self-Adhering Shingle Underlayment: Waterproofing underlayment that is self-adhering and that protects against nature’s ice dams, wind driven ran, etc. This product meets ASTM D1970.

Selvage: Part of asphalt shingle flat roofing modified bitumen, or roll roofing, that overlaps over the succeeding course to create double coverage.

Shading: Slight There will be slight color differences in shingle color that happens during normal manufacturing operations.

Sheathing: The flat wood that protect the attic against the elements. This is also called the roof deck.

Shiner: Nails that are installed below the suggested “strip” or nailing location. This will result in the nail not being fastened correctly, or cemented, and will cause water intrusion or penetration.

Shingle Roofing Packages: Some roofing contractors offer roofing packages as each package bundles different roofing products to create a Total Protected System.

Single Coverage: One layer of roofing material, asphalt shingles in this case, that is over the roof sheathing or roof deck.

Slope: Roof incline that is measured in ratio from rise to run.

Soil Stack: A pipe that is used for venting. It goes from the ground through the roof.

Square: A square unit is 100 square feet, it is a measurement used for roofing contractors.

Starter Strip: An additional layer of protection under cutouts and joints of the first course of asphalt shingles.
Strip Shingles: A single layer of asphalt shingles that are longer than they are wider.

Synthetic Underlayment: Instead of construction paper, or asphalt felt paper, synthetic underlayment is manufactured using polypropylene. It is better grip for roofing contractors and provides better protection against condensation/moisture build up.

Tear Off: Roof demolition that strips the old roof down to the sheathing.

Telegraphing: A type of visual distortion that arises with a new roof has been installed over sheathing that is uneven.

Tile Relay Roofing Packages: Some roofing contractors offer roofing packages for different tile relay jobs as each package bundles different roofing products to create a Total Protected System.

UL: Underwriters Laboratories, LLC

UL Label: A label used by manufacturers to ensure quality control – in this instance it indicates the level of resistance to wind and fire.

Vapor Retarder: This is roofing material that will “retard” or severely hinder any water vapor build up/moisture condensation.

Vent: An area that provides an outlet for air. A pipe, gable or soffit is a type of ventilation.

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