Roofing Components

Before you attempt to repair your roof or intend to hire a professional to replace your old and leaking roof, it is probably best to empower yourself with some basic understanding of the components of roofing.   This will give you a better understand of laundry list of pricing and what exactly the contractor is talking about.  If you do not have the basic knowledge of the structure of the roof, the tendency of being scam or taking you for a ride is much higher. 

Here’s are a few definitions that cover the basic which could a tricky terminology.


The black paper that is laid over the plywood sheeting to seal the roof from snow, rain and ice damaging factors is called the underlayment.  A waterproof membrane is generally required and this is known as a sweat sheet or a vapor barrier.  The membrane and the underlayment paper will serve a triple function in this scenario.


Flashing is typically a metal piece but also can be found in other variety of materials that is used to divert water from areas that are highly subjected to accumulate water such as hips and valleys of the roof.  There is also galvanized flashing known as galvanized alloy, copper, lead coated copper or stainless steel that will serve the same purpose.

Shingles/Tile/Concrete/Wood or Metal

The shingles is your roof.  The outermost barriers shielding your home from the weather.  It is sitting on top of the underlayment.  Shingles and Tile are the most common residential roofing exist for hundreds of years and you can still find some intact tiles that has been 5,000 years old.

Now let us dig into the straight forward roofing terms just like the word suggest itself.  I am pretty sure by the end of this article, you will be able to converse like a pro who knows your stuff.


The trim protects the seams that connects to the roof such as a hip or a ridge.


The ridge is the highest point of the roof.


The hip is the high point where two adjoining roof sections meet.


The valley is the lowest point of the two sections of the roof slope downward meet.


This is referring to the slope of the steepness of the roof.


This is the part of the roof that hangs over the rest of the house.


This is the triangular portions of the end of the home that extend from the eaves to the highest point of the roof.


These are the sections of the home that is extruding from the roof.  The function is to add lights into the attic or the top level of your house.

If you want to learn more about alternative roofing materials.  Check out