Roofing Glossary

Roofing Glossary

At Brink Roofing, we believe that it is very important to be well informed before taking on any roofing project in the Erie area.  We have collected many of the useful roofing terms to help you better understand your roofing project.


Algae- Rooftop fungus that can leave dark stains on roofing.

Angled fasteners- Roofing nails and staples driven into decks at angles not parallel to the deck.

APA – American Plywood Association tests and sets standards for all varieties of plywood used in the U.S.

Apron flashing- Metal flashing used at chimney fronts.

A.R.M.A – Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association.  A.R.M.A is an organization of roofing manufacturers.

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

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

Asphalt plastic cement- Asphalt based sealant material, meeting ASTM D4586 Type I or II.  The plastic cement is used to seal roofing materials. This is also called mastic, blackjack, black joe, roof tar, and bull.

A.S.T.M – Is an American Society for Testing and Materials.   A.S.T.M. is an organization that sets the standard for a wide variety of materials and also roofing.


Back-surfacing- Granular material added to shingle’s back to assist in keeping separate during delivery and storage.

Blistering- Bubbles or pimples in roofing materials. Usually moisture related. In shingles blisters are either moisture under the material or moisture trapped inside the material.

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

Buckling – When a wrinkle or ripple affects the shingles or their underlayment.


Closed-cut valley- A shingle valley installation method where one of the roof plane’s shingles completely covers the others. The top layer is cut to match the valley lines.

Corrosion- When rust, rot or age negatively affect roofing metals.

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

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

Cupping- When shingles are improperly installed over an existing roof or are over-exposed, they form a curl or cup.


Deck – The substrate over which roofing is applied, usually plywood, wood boards, or planks.

Dormer – A roof that is raised and extending out of a larger roof plane.

Drip-edge- An installed lip that keeps shingles up off of the deck at edges, and extends shingles out over eaves and gutters, and prevents water from backing up under shingles.

Double-Coverage – Roll roofing material with 19″ selvage edge for double coverage over roof deck.


Eaves- 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. (Underlayments, rolled roofing)

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


Fasteners- Nails or staples used in securing roofing to the deck. Felt-Organic or paper-based rolled material saturated with asphalt to serve as roofing underlayment.

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

Fiberglass mat- fibers condensed into strong, resilient mats for use in roofing materials.

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

Flashing- Materials used to waterproof a roof around any projections through the roof deck.

Flashing cement- Sealant 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.

Cant- Cant strips for deflecting water away from flashing areas. Typically used on low slope roofs.

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


Hand-sealing- The method to assure 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 – Is 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” a roof and cause leakage.


“L” flashing – Is a continuous metal flashing consisting of several feet of metal. Used at horizontal walls, bent to resemble an “L”.

Laminated shingles- Shingles made from two separate pieces that are laminated together

Laps- The area where roll roofing or rolled underlayment’s overlap one another during application (see also side laps and end laps).

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.


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

Mats- 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.

Mortar – Mixture of sand, mortar, limestone and water used in bonding a chimney’s bricks together.


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

Nail-pop- When a nail is not fully driven it sits up off the roof deck.

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

NRCA- National Roofing Contractors Association is a 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.

O.S.B. – Is an abbreviation for Oriented Strand Board. A decking made from wood chips and lamination glues.

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

Over-exposed- Installing shingle courses higher than their intended exposure.


Pitch – ratio of the rise of the roof to the span of the roof.

Power vents- Electrically powered fans used to move air from attics and structures.

Plastic cement- Asphalt based sealant. Also called bull, mastic, black joe, tar, asphalt cement.

Plumbing vents- Term used to describe plumbing pipes that project through a roof plane. Also called vent stacks.

Prevailing wind – Is the most common direction of wind for a particular area or region.


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


Racking- 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 ice guard. It is used for packaging and handling. Remove before installation.

Rigid vent- Hard plastic ridge vent material.

Roof louvers- Rooftop rectangular shaped roof vents. Also called box vents, mushroom vents, air hawks, soldier vents.

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


Saw teeth- The exposed section of double thickness on architectural shingle.  The saw teeth are shaped to imitate a wood shake roof.

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

Selvage- The non-exposed area on rolled roofing.  The area without granules that is designed for nail to be fastened and sealant applied.

Shed roof- Roof design of a single roof plane. Area does not tie into any other roofs.

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

Side-walls – Where a vertical roof plane meets a vertical wall. The sides of a dormer roof, etc.

Soffit ventilation- Intake ventilation installed under the eaves, or at the roof edge.

Starter strip- The first course of roofing installed to allow for a flat start to the roof and adds protection.

Steep slope roofing- Generally all slopes higher than 4/12 is considered steep slopes.

Step-flashing- Metal flashing pieces installed at side-walls and chimneys for weather-proofing.


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

Tear-off- Removal of existing roofing materials down to the roof deck.

Telegraphing – When shingles reflect the uneven surface beneath them. Shingles installed over buckled shingles may show some buckles.

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


Under-driven- Term used to describe a fastener not fully driven flush to the shingles surface.

Underlayment – Asphalt based rolled materials designed to be installed under main roofing material, to serve as added protection.



Valleys-Area where two adjoining sloped roof planes intersect on a roof creating a “V” shaped depression.

Vapor- Term used to describe moisture laden air.

Ventilation- The term used in roofing for the passage of air from an enclosed space.


Warm wall- The finished wall inside of a structure, used in roofing to determine how to install waterproof underlayments at eaves.

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

Waterproofing Underlayment – Modified bitumen based roofing underlayment.  Underlayment is designed to seal to wood decks and to waterproof critical leak areas.

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

If you are looking for an Erie roofing contractor, please call us today at 814-898-HOME (4663)

Click to Call Now! 814-897-1011



Brink Roofing

5440 Buffalo Rd.
Erie, PA 16510

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Our Services

Roofing, Roof Repairs, Roof Replacements, Roof Cleaning, Chimneys, Skylights, Roof Cleaning, Roof stain and moss removal, Residential, Commercial, Repairs, Installations, Roof Inspections, New Roofs, Shingles, Asphalt, Maintenance, Gutter Cleaning, Seamless Gutters , Gutter Protection, Roof Coatings, New Roofs, and all other Roof Service

Service Areas

Erie, PA and surrounding areas - Fairview , Millcreek , Harborcreek , North East, Lawrence Park, Wesleyville, Cory, Waterford, Lake City, Edinboro, Mckean, Bradford, Findley Lake, Meadville, Mayville - Chautauqua Institution