How well do you know your roof? When you're discussing roof problems or repairs, it's helpful to know the names of the roofing system's components. If you're curious about roofing terms, here's a handy glossary to get you started.


Alloy: Many roofing materials are made of alloys of various metals. Galvanized steel, copper alloys, and steel alloys are common materials used in roofing components.

Copper: Copper is one of the most durable, lowest-maintenance roofing and gutter materials available. Copper gutters are distinctive in being soldered rather than seamed. Copper gutter systems are expensive, but they can last forever.

Dormer: A dormer is an area of the house that sticks out through the roof. The most common type of dormer is a dormer window. Dormer windows add light to a house. You should protect dormer windows with the same flashing that you use on the roof's main components.

Eave: The eave is the part of the roof that hangs over the house. Your eaves are where you'll see icicles hanging in the winter. They also house the gutters in many homes.

Flashing: Flashing refers to any metal roofing parts that divert water from the roof to the gutter. Most flashing is made from steel, galvanized alloys, copper or lead-coated copper.

Gable: A gable is a decorative element. It is a portion of the roof that reaches from the eaves to the top of the roof. Gables are triangular in shape. Gables have been a popular design element for centuries.

Load: This term refers to the roof's ability to withstand weight and pressure. Roofs are measured in terms of how well they hold up to water load, human weight load, snow load, and earthquake load.

Ridge: Some roofers call this the peak. It's the primary part of your roof. It's the most visible part of your roof and the one most exposed to wind, rain, and snow. It's a good idea to install protective ridge caps on the ridge.

Pitch: The pitch refers to the roof's steepness. Pitch is measured in degrees. Roofs with a steep pitch are a feature of classically designed homes. A steep pitch does a better job of diverting water from the roof than a shallow pitch does. A flat roof has no pitch.

Shingle: Shingles are the main outer component of a roof. They're the flat, individual tiles that lay on the roof. Shingles can be made from a variety of materials including asphalt, tile, tin, steel, concrete, wood or fiberglass.

Tile: Some people use the word tiles to refer to shingles. Actual roofing tiles are made from baked clay. Clay tile is an excellent roofing material that is common in hot climates. Tile roofs can last thousands of years.

Trim: Trim is additional material that's applied to areas where there might be a gap in the roof. You attach the trim to valleys, around dormers and at other places that might be vulnerable to leaking.

Underlayment: Before you can lay tiles or shingles on the roof, you must install an underlayment. Underlayment is a layer of material that protects the house from air leaks and water. Underlayment is your home's first layer of protection against the elements.

Valley: When two sections of the roof slope downward and meet, they form a valley. Valleys are design elements. The number of them can vary.


Your roof is the crowning glory of your home. As your first defense against the elements, it should be strong and leakproof. The roofing experts at Last Call Exteriors will ensure that it's in the best shape possible.


If you're concerned about any of your roof components, contact the award-winning roofing experts at Last Call Exteriors. We're currently offering a special on all roofing work. It's the perfect time to get your roof in great shape for the winter.