Help with “Roofing Lingo!”

Help with “Roofing Lingo!”

Every industry has lingo it uses to describe specific aspects of their trade.  The roofing industry is no different. 

Here are some generic roofing terms to help you understand your roofing contractor when we are trying to communicate with you: (Bear with us – many of us have heard these terms all of our lives.)

Definitions in Blue have a picture to help.

  • Square (or a roofing square) – this is a ten foot x ten foot section (10’x10′) or 100 square feet of roof
  • Eave – A projecting edge of a roof that extends beyond the supporting wall.  (This is where your gutters are hung.)
  • Gable/Rake Edge/Barge – A triangular portion of the end wall.
  • Hip – The inclined external angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes.
  • Ridge/Peak – The highest point of a roof, represented by a horizontal line where two roof area’s intersect, running the length of the area.
  • Headwall – Flashing installed at a horizontal roof to wall.
  • Sidewall – Flashing installed at a vertical roof to wall.


  • Roof Vent – Roof penetrations that allows air to exit the house, whether it be air for the plumbing, the fan in the kitchen, or hot air from your furnace and roof vents are made to ventilate the attic space.
  • Valley – The internal angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes

flashings lingo

  • Hook/Hem/Rib/Crimp/Return – Side of the flashing is folded or bent to create a return to keep the water from spilling off the flashing. See below:

plumbingflashing with crimp

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