4 Common Roofing Terms

Since a typical roofing system is a complex structure made of different components, it’s natural that many homeowners find themselves confused by several words that expert roofers will throw into the conversation. Understanding these commonly used terms not only helps you understand what they’re talking about but also gives you more insight on how to take good care of your roof.

4 Common Roofing Terms


The covering is the topmost part of your roof, which is either made of asphalt shingles, tiles, metal sheets or slate. This is also known as the roof surface, but since most residential roofing systems use asphalt shingles, roofers will also frequently refer to the top later as shingles.


Part of the roof that lies underneath the covering made of wooden, PVC or metal boards that act as the base for the roof covering. The sheathing is also protected by a waterproof layer known as an underlayment to keep water from getting to the roof structure and the rest of the home. A roofer will usually check the sheathing and underlayment for any signs damage if there are roof leaks.

Valleys and Ridges

Parts of the roof where the different planes or “faces” of the roof intersect. Valleys refer to intersections at the bottom (where the planes intersect inwards), while ridges refer to ones where the planes intersect at the top (which planes intersect outwards). Ridges and valleys are covered by plastic or metal flashing strips for protection against the elements.


A smaller roof designed to provide cover for a small portion of the house, usually found over windows or entry doors. Awnings usually have the same type of material used for the main roof’s covering to give the home a more unified look. Some awnings have lights directly underneath them to provide lighting during the evening, especially those covering balconies or patios.

If you want to know more about how to take care of a roof, feel free to ask us. Coleman Roofing is the leading roofing company in Baton Rouge, LA. You can call us at (225) 379-7663 or fill out this contact form to request a free quote.