From Fascia to Flashing: 15 Roofing Terms Every Homeowner Should Know

You should have your roof inspected every three to five years, but you should conduct informal inspections yourself after any severe weather. If you have ever tried to articulate a specific home improvement problem to a professional, you know how much having the right vocabulary helps. Here are 15 roofing terms that will make it easier to communicate with your trusted roofing professional the next time your home needs an inspection.

1. Truss

Your roof’s truss is the underlying framing system which gives it its shape. Truss systems come in a variety of shapes, according to the desired shape and effect of the roof. Your truss will not be visible after construction.

truss roofing edmonton

2. Deck

The deck of your roof lays on the truss frame. The deck serves as the foundation for the rest of the roof. Contractors use a sturdy material such as steel, concrete, cement, and plywood for roofing decks. Your deck should not be visible after construction.

3. Underlayment

Underlayment creates a barrier between your roof’s deck and shingles. Underlayment material waterproofs and weatherizes your roof. High-quality underlayment sheds moisture, which prevents mould and water damage. Contractors use synthetic weatherproofing materials such as fibreglass for underlayment.

4. Shingles

Roof shingles are the top layer of your roof’s defense against the elements. Your choice of shingles should take both function and aesthetics into consideration. Common types of shingles include:

  • Asphalt: These dark-colored shingles are an economic choice for cold-weather climates. They don’t do as well in climates with dramatic temperature changes, which can cause cracking.
  • Wood: Wood shingles have long life expectancy if cared for properly. They require more maintenance and take longer to install than most shingles.
  • Slate: Slate shingles come in a variety of colors and can last up to 80 or even 100 years. Slate does well in cold climates and can withstand below freezing temperatures.


5. Coursing

Coursing refers to the pattern of shingles on your roof. On most roofs, shingles lay in straight, overlapping lines across the length of a roof. Coursing changes according to the shape of the roof. For example, a domed roof may have graduating circular coursing or shingles may be applied in a continuous spiral.

6. Flashing

Flashing refers to thin pieces of waterproof material used to create a weather barrier. Flashing closes the gap between two intersecting parts of your roof, usually planes at two different angles or the roof and chimney, to prevent leaks. Contractors use strong metals such as aluminum, copper, or steel for most flashing.

7. Curb

A roofing curb is a kind of flashing, which elevates and supports external structures. Some of these structures include:

  •  HVAC units
  • Skylights
  • Hatches
  • Exhaust fansshingles around skylight

8. Ridge Vent

Your roof may have an exhaust vent which runs along the peak, known as a ridge vent. Ridge vents create ventilation through the attic space. Most ridge vents include an external baffle, which deflects prevents rainwater and snow from leaking into the attic.

9. Chimney

Chimneys allow exhaust of smoke from your fireplace. Some chimneys are place alongside the roof, while others protrude directly from the roof. Placement depends on the construction of the roof and the placement of the fireplace.

10. Saddle (Cricket)

In climates with high precipitation, roofs may have a saddle or cricket at the back of the chimney. The peaked shape of the saddle prevents snow buildup, which prevents stress on the chimney structure. The saddle also diverts rainwater around the chimney to protect the materials from stress and weather erosion.

11. Vent Pipe

Vent pipes may look like miniature chimneys. Usually made from sturdy plastic or cast-iron, these pipes connect to the plumbing system. A vent pipe allows air flow to the plumbing system, which helps the sinks, tubs, and toilets in the house to drain efficiently.

12. Eavestrough

Your eavestrough is the narrow gutters around your roof’s edge. Eavestroughs collect and redirect precipitation to prevent water damage around your home’s foundation.


13. Downspout

The downspout is the pipe attached to your eavestroughs. The downspout drains the eavestroughs, redirecting heavy water flow away from the base of your home.


14. Fascia

Fascia are the boards around your roof’s perimeter. Fascia attached at the edge of the roof and extend below roof level. Fascia boards protect the roof structure and home interior from damage. Your home’s fascia also supports your eavestroughs and may serve an aesthetic purpose.

15. Soffit

The soffit is the connection between your roof’s fascia and your home’s siding. Soffit may be vented or unvented. Like ridge vents, vented soffit create airflow through a home’s attic space.



Contact A. Clark Roofing for your eavestrough and siding installation in Edmonton today at 780-465-7571.

If you have questions about the anatomy of your roof, the lifespan of roofing materials, or functionality of parts of your roof, contact your Edmonton roofing contractor. A qualified contractor can help you keep your roof efficient, no matter what the weather.


Back in 1987 after the tornado your firm replaced our house shingles and did an excellent job. Thats why we called you again. Very satisfied. Definitely would recommend your firm. It's been a pleasure doing business with your firm again.

-Gerald M.

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