20 Common Roofing Terms Everyone Should Know

OKC roofing contractorNinety percent of the roofing contractors you hire in Oklahoma City will have the best interests of both you and your property at heart, working with you to achieve the best possible outcome for everyone involved. There are other far more unscrupulous contractors who will do their very best to confuse you with roofing terminology, hoping in their hearts that you never figure out that you know more about roofing than they do.

Obviously, you’re only going to hire a OKC roofing contractor based on their referrals and excellent reviews, but it doesn’t do any harm to know the most commonly used roofing jargon either way. This way you can adequately communicate with a roofing contractor and sniff out any inexperience or bluffs.

Roofing Terminology to Know:

Here are the top roofing terms you should become familiar with, some of which do actually sound like they’re completely fabricated at your expense:

Aggregate – crushed rock or stone that is used for surfacing a roof.

Alligatoring – the cracked patterns in surfacing bitumen that look like alligator’s skin.

Built-Up Roof Membrane – also referred to as BUR; these are layers of felts, fabrics and bitumen, combined to form a roof membrane.

Cornice – a decorative molding on a roof, or the overhang of the roof itself.

Double Graveling – as the name implies this is when two layers of aggregate and bitumen are added to a given area of a roof.

Eaves – the underside of a sloped roof that extends out from the walls of the house.

EPDM (ethylene propylene diene terpolymer) – a very tough rubber membrane used in low-slope roofing projects.

Flood Test – the process of temporarily flooding a roofed area to ensure that the membrane is watertight.

Galvanized steel – the process where steel is coated with zinc to prevent corrosion.

Hipped roof – where all sides of the roof slope upwards, with no truly vertical surfaces.

Lap Cement – this is used to cement the overlaps between rolls of roofing material.

NRCA – National Roofing Contractors Association.

Perlite – this is a form of volcanic glass used in certain types of concrete and insulating boards, usually made by hydrating obsidian.

Pitch – this is the angle the roof is inclined at, hipped roofs having a lower pitch and A-Frame roofs having a much higher pitch.

Rafters – the complex internal framework of wood beams which supports your entire roof deck and the roof itself.

Saddle – this is a small raised surface or channel used to guide water away from your roof and into your gutters.

Soffit – when your roof eaves overhang the exposed areas underneath need to be enclosed – this enclosed surface is called a soffit.

Starter course – nothing at all to do with food but is instead the first layer of roofing put down by any contractor.

Sump – the hollowed out area near a roof drain that allows water to drain away without pooling on the ground.

Tongue & Groove planks – this is one of the oldest carpentry skills in the world, and the sign of a master carpenter. Grooves are cut into timber planks to allow them to slot seamlessly into each other.


Now that you’re armed with the most commonly used roofing terms, you’ll have at least some idea of what your roofing contractor is actually talking about. This allows you to ask better questions and better understand the process of roofing that is actually taking place.

First and foremost, we want you to be an educated consumer so you can make the best decision for your home. Next, we want to provide superior service that matches exactly what we promise.

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