How to Speak to Your Roofing Contractor’s Language, Part Three (Terms M – R)

If you feel like your roofing contractor might as well be speaking a foreign language to you when he is discussing your roofing issue, this article is for you! Below is some common vocabulary your roofing contractor may use. We suggest you keep this list handy if you find yourself confused by all of the unfamiliar terms. This is Part One of a Four-Part Series.

Mansard: A type of roof with two slopes on each side. The lower slope is much steeper than the upper one.

Mastic (or Flashing Cement): An asphalt-based cement used to bond roofing materials.

Metal Drip Edge: Narrow strip of non-corrodible metal used at the eave and rake to facilitate water runoff.

Mineral-Surfaced Foofing: Roll roofing and asphalt shingles that are covered with granules.

No-Cutout Shingles: Shingles consisting of a single, solid tab. They have no cutouts.

Non-Veneer Panel: Any wood-based panel that carries an APA span rating and does not contain veneer. Includes oriented strand board and wafer board.

Normal Slope Application: Method of installing asphalt shingles on roof slopes where the rise over the run is between 4 inches and 21 inches per foot.

Open Valley: Method of valley construction in which shingles on both sides of the valley are trimmed along a chalk line and snapped on each side of the valley. Valley flashing is exposed And shingles do not extend across the valley.

Organic Felt: An asphalt roofing base material made from cellulose fibers.

Overhang: The section of the roof structure that extends beyond the exterior walls of a building. It is typically longer in length than eaves.

Parapet: A low protective wall that extends above the balcony or roofline for support.

Pitch: The angle of steepness of a roof. It is stated “rise over the run.” This means a 4 and 12 roof means that for every 12 horizontal inches, the roof slope rises 4 inches.

Plastic Cement: A compound used to seal flashings, shingles, etc.

Racking: A problem with a roofing substrate where two sides move independently and in opposite directions, causing tension in the roofing system.

Rake: The perimeter edge of the roof from the ridge to the eve.

Rafters: Parallel beams that support the roof.

Random-Tab Shingles: Shingles on which tabs vary in exposure and size.

Release Tape: A paper or plastic strip that is applied to the back of self-sealing shingles. The strip prevents shingles from sticking together in the bundles but do not need be removed for installation.

Ridge: The line of intersection at the top of a roof between opposite sides or slopes.

Ridge Shingles: Shingles used to cover the external horizontal angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes.

Rise: The vertical distance from the ridge to the eave line.

Roll Roofing: Asphalt roofing products manufactured in a roll.

Roofing Tape (or Cotton Fabric or Yellow Jacket): An asphalt-saturated tape used with asphalt cements for patching and flashing asphalt roofing.

Run: The horizontal distance from the eaves to a point directly under the ridge.

See our other posts for definitions of additional terms!

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