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Terms & Phrases you may hear

Some Greensboro roofers prefer that their customers know as little as possible about their roofs. At ABC Roofing & Exteriors, we are very open about the products and processes we use to design and install the very best roof for your home. Here are some terms and phrases you may hear when we discuss your roof replacement or repair project.

  • Asphalt: A bituminous waterproofing agent applied to roofing materials during manufacturing.
  • Built-up roof: A flat or low-sloped roof consisting of multiple layers of asphalt and ply sheets.
  • Caulk: To fill a joint with mastic, asphalt, silicone, butyl, or other sealant, to prevent leaks.
  • Coating: A layer of viscous asphalt applied to the base material into which granules or other surfacing is embedded.
  • Course: A row of shingles or roll roofing running left-to-right across the length of the roof.
  • Cutout: The open gaps or notches between the tabs of a shingle.
  • Deck: The surface installed over the supporting framing members to which a roofing material is applied. On residential construction the “deck” or “decking” is usually plywood or OSB. On older homes it may be 1×6 tongue & groove boards.
  • Dormer: A framed window unit projecting through the sloping plane of a roof.
  • Downspout: A pipe for draining water from roof gutters; also called a leader.
  • Drip-edge: A non-corrosive, non-staining material used along the eaves and rakes to allow water run-off to drip clear of underlying construction.
  • Eaves: The horizontal edges of a sloped roof.
    • Low Eaves: The low or bottom horizontal edge of a sloped roof. Think of where the gutters are installed.
    • High Eaves: The top or high horizontal edge of a sloped roof.
  • Edging strips: Boards nailed along eaves and rakes after cutting back existing shingles to provide secure edges for re-roofing with asphalt shingles.
  • Felt: Also called “felt paper”, more commonly known as “tar-paper”. It is a fibrous material saturated with asphalt and used as an underlayment or sheathing paper.
  • Flashing: Pieces of galvanized metal, aluminum, or copper used to prevent seepage of water into a building around any intersection or projection in a roof, such as vent pipes, chimneys, adjoining walls, dormers and valleys.
  • Free-tab shingles: Shingles that do not contain factory-applied strips or spots of self-sealing adhesive. (not to be confused with “three-tab” shingles)
  • Gable: The upper portion of a sidewall that comes to a triangular point at the ridge of a sloping roof.
  • Gable roof: A type of roof containing sloping planes of the same pitch on each side of the ridge, with a gable at each end.
  • Gambrel roof: A type of roof containing two sloping planes of different pitch on each side of the ridge. The lower plane has a steeper slope than the upper. Contains a gable at each end. Think of the shape of a traditional barn roof.
  • Granules: Ceramic-coated colored crushed rock that is applied to the exposed surface of asphalt roofing products. The granules help protect the underlying asphalt from the sun’s UV.
  • Gutter: The trough that channels water from the eaves to the downspouts.
  • Hip: A sloped ridge formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes where the direction of the slopes of the two planes are at right angles to each other.
  • Hip roof: A type of roof containing sloping planes on all four sides, not just front & back or left & right.
  • Hip shingles: Also called “hip caps”. The shingles used to cover a sloped ridge.
  • Ice dam: Condition formed at the lower roof edge by the thawing and re-freezing of melted snow on the overhang. This can force water up and under shingles, resulting in leaks.
  • Interlocking shingles: Individual shingles that mechanically fasten to, or interlock with, each other to provide wind resistance.
  • Laminated shingles: Shingles containing more than one layer of asphalt-saturated matt to create extra thickness. Also called three-dimensional shingles, dimensional shingles, or architectural shingles.
  • Lap: To cover or “overlap”, either partially or completely, the surface of the adjoining underlayment, shingles, or other roof covering with another.
  • Lap cement: An asphalt-based cement used to adhere overlapping plies of certain types of membrane and roll-roofing.
  • Mansard roof: A type of roof containing two sloping planes of different pitch on each of four sides. The lower plane has a much steeper pitch than the upper, often approaching vertical. Contains no gables. Can also refer to any roof plane, or stand-alone roof plane, that is near-vertical.
    • Mansard pitch: Any roof slope with a pitch that is close to vertical.
  • Mineral-surfaced roofing: Asphalt shingles and roll roofing that are covered with granules.


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  • “I highly recommend ABC roofing & exteriors!” Charles R.
  • “We can't say enough about their crew and their professionalism.” Dawn C.

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