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Roofing Terms You Should Know

The more you know about your home’s roof, the better you’ll appreciate the professionalism and skills that Tittle Brothers Construction brings to roofing in Southgate. Here are some terms you will hear during the process of roofing repair or replacement.


Rooftop fungus that can leave dark stains on roofing.

Angled Fasteners

Roofing nails and staples are driven into decks at angles not parallel to the deck.

Apron Flashing

Metal flashing is used at chimney fronts.


Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association. Organization of roofing manufacturers.


A bituminous waterproofing agent is used in various types of roofing materials.

Asphalt Concrete Primer

Asphalt-based primer is used to prepare concrete and metal for asphalt sealant.

Asphalt Plastic Cement

An asphalt-based sealant material meeting ASTM D4586 Type I or II, it is used to seal and adhere roofing materials. It is also called mastic, blackjack, roof tar, or bull.


The American Society for Testing and Materials is an organization that sets standards for a wide variety of materials, including roofing.

Back Surfacing

Granular material was added to the shingle’s back to assist in keeping it separate during delivery and storage.


Bubbles or pimples in roofing materials are usually moisture-related. In shingles, blisters are caused by either moisture under the material or moisture trapped inside the material.


When shingles are subjected to high winds, and are forced off a roof deck.


When a wrinkle or ripple affects shingles or their underlayments.

Closed Cut Valley

This is a shingle valley installation method in which one roof plane’s shingles completely cover the other’s. The top layer is cut to match the valley lines.


GAF is a respected brand name for ventilation products.

Counter Flashing

The metal or siding material that is installed over roof-top base flashing systems.

Country Mansion®

GAF’s limited lifetime warranty shingle.


A peaked water diverter was installed behind chimneys and other large roof projections. Effectively diverts water around projections.


When shingles are improperly installed over an existing roof or are over-exposed, they may form a curl or cup. May also be due to a manufacturing defect.


The substrate over which roofing is applied. Usually plywood, wood boards, or planks.

Deck Armor

Deck Armor – premium breathable roof deck protection. It provides a critical extra layer of protection between your shingles and your roof deck — to help prevent wind-driven rain (or water from other sources) from infiltrating under your shingles and causing damage to your roof structure or to the inside of your home.


A raised roof extending out of a larger roof plane.

Drip Edge

An installed lip that keeps shingles up off the deck at edges, extends shingles out over eaves and gutters, and prevents

Dubl-Coverage® Mineral Guard

Roll roofing material with a 19″ selvage edge for double coverage over the roof deck.


The roof edge from the fascia to the structure’s outside wall. In general terms, the first three feet across a roof is termed the eave.

End Laps

When installing rolled products in roofing, the area where a roll ends on a roof and is overlapped by the next section of rolled material.


Engineered Wood Association. Tests and sets standards for all varieties of plywood used in the U.S.


The area on any roofing material that is left exposed to the elements.


Nails or staples are used to secure roofing to the deck.


The Federal Housing Authority sets construction standards throughout the U.S.

Fiberglass Mat

Fibers condensed into strong, resilient mats for use in roofing materials.


Metal pan extending up or down a roof slope around flashing pieces. Usually, at chimneys and plumbing vents


Materials used to waterproof a roof around any projections

Flashing Cement

Sealants are designed for use around flashing areas, typically thicker than plastic cement.

Gable Roof

Traditional roof style; two peaked roof planes meeting at a ridge line of equal size.


GAF cant strips for deflecting water away from flashing areas. Typically used on low slope roofs.

Grand Sequoia®

GAF shingle with wood shake appearance.


Crushed rock that is coated with a ceramic coating and fired is used as the top surface on shingles.


This method ensures the sealing of shingles on very steep slopes, in high-wind areas, and when installing in cold weather.

High Nailing

When shingles are nailed or fastened above the manufacturer’s specified nail location.

Hip Legs

The down-slope ridges on hip roofs.

Hip Roof

A roof with four roof planes coming together at a peak and four separate hip legs.

Ice Dam

When a snow load melts on a roof and re-freezes at the eave areas, ice dams force water to “back up” under shingles and cause leakage.

“L” Flashing

Continuous metal flashing consisting of several feet of metal, bent to resemble an “L,” is used at horizontal walls.

Laminated Shingles

Shingles are made from two separate pieces that are laminated together. Such as GAF Timberline® Series, Country Mansion®, and Grand Sequoia® Shingles. Also called dimensional shingles and architectural shingles.


The area where roll roofing or rolled underlayments overlap one another during application (see also side laps and end laps).


Self-adhering low slope roofing. Liberty™ systems are applied without torches, open flames, hot asphalt, or messy solvent-based adhesives.

Low Slopes

Roof pitches less than 4/12 are considered low-sloped roofs. Special installation practices must be used on roofs sloped 2/12-4/12. Shingles cannot be installed at slopes less than 2/12.


A roof design with a nearly vertical roof plane that ties into a roof plane of less slope at its peak.


The general term for the base material of shingles and certain rolled products.

Modified bitumen

Rolled roofing membrane with polymer-modified asphalt and either polyester or fiberglass reinforcement.


A mixture of sand, mortar, limestone, and water is used in bonding a chimney’s bricks together.

Nail Guide Line

Painted line on laminated shingles, to aid in the proper placement of fasteners.


When a nail is not fully driven, it sits up off the roof deck.


Installing a second layer of shingles aligning courses with the original roof to avoid shingle cupping.


The National Roofing Contractors Association. Respected national organization of roofing contractors.

Open Valley

Valley installation using metal down the valley center.

Organic Mat

Material made from recycled wood pulp and paper.

Organic Shingles

Shingles made from organic (paper) mats.


Oriented Strand Board. A decking made from wood chips and lamination glues.


The term used for fasteners driven through roofing material with too much force, breaking the material.


Installing shingle courses higher than their intended exposure.

Quarter Sized

Term for the size of hand sealant dabs, size of a U.S. 25¢ piece.


Method of installing shingles in a straight up the roof manner.

Rake Edge

The vertical edge of gable-style roof planes.

Release Film

The plastic sheet installed on the back of Weather Watch® and StormGuard® underlayments is used for packaging and handling. It should be removed before installation.

Rigid Vent

Hard plastic ridge vent material.

Roof Louvers

Rooftop rectangular-shaped roof vents. They are also called box vents, mushroom vents, air hawks, and soldier vents.

Roof Plane

A roofing area is defined by four separate edges, one side of a gable, hip, or mansard roof.


The exposed section of double thickness on Timberline® Series shingles—also called dragon teeth—is shaped to imitate a wood shake look on the roof.


Sealant installed on shingles. After installation, heat and sun will activate the sealant to seal the shingles to each other.


The non-exposed area on rolled roofing. Area without granules. Designed for nail placement and sealant.

Shed Roof

The roof design of a single roof plane. The area does not tie into any other roofs.


GAF’s shingle underlayment. Breather type with fiberglass backing to reduce wrinkles and buckles.

Side Laps

The area on rolled material where one roll overlaps the rolled material beneath it is also called the selvage edge on rolled roofing.

Side Walls

Where a vertical roof plane meets a vertical wall. The sides of dormers etc.

Soffit Ventilation

Intake ventilation is installed under the eaves or at the roof edge.

Smart Choice® Limited Warranty

GAF’s standard shingle limited warranty.

Smart Choice® System Plus Limited Warranty

GAF’s next grade of enhanced warranty. Extended coverage for owners.

Starter Strip

The first course of roofing was installed. Usually trimmed from main roof material.

Steep Slope Roofing

Generally all slopes higher than 4/12 are considered steep slopes.

Step flashing

Metal flashing pieces are installed at sidewalls and chimneys for weatherproofing.


GAF waterproof underlayment. Film surfaced rolled underlayment, 1.5 squares coverage per roll.


The bottom portion of traditional shingle is separated by the shingle cut-outs.


Removal of existing roofing materials down to the roof deck.


When shingles reflect the uneven surface beneath them, they may show some buckles. For example, Shingles installed over buckled shingles may show some buckles.

Timberline® Series

GAF’s trademark name for laminated wood shake-style shingles.


GAF enhanced Hip and Ridge Shingles.


When a roof plane ties into another roof plane that has a different pitch or slope.


A term used to describe a fastener not fully driven flush to the shingle’s surface.


Asphalt-based rolled materials are designed to be installed under the main roofing material to serve as added protection.


The area where two adjoining sloped roof planes intersect on a roof creates a “V” shaped depression.


A term used to describe moisture-laden air.

Warm Wall

The finished wall inside a structure is used in roofing to determine how far up the deck to install waterproof underlayments at the eaves.


The written promise to the owner of roofing materials for material-related problems.

Waterproof Underlayments

Modified bitumen-based roofing underlayments. Designed to seal wood decks and waterproof critical leak areas.

Weather Stopper® Integrated Roofing System™

GAF’s complete roofing system and components.


GAF’s granule surfaced waterproof underlayment.

Woven Valleys

The method of installing valleys is by laying one shingle over the other up the valley center.

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