ABCs of Roofing

class a fire rating synthetic roofing material Are you interested in having synthetic roofing material installed; however you’re hesitant to call a roofer because you don’t know anything about roofing?  Not a problem.  We understand you have questions that need answers before you can invest in a synthetic shake or synthetic slate roof.

At DaVinci Roofscapes, we talk to homeowners every day about our products and their roofing questions. We know that adding synthetic roofing material to your home is a major decision both financially and aesthetically (and for the re-sale value of your home). We also know that it isn’t a decision to be taken lightly.

We want you to be an educated buyer. And we’re here to help get you to that “sweet spot” where you feel comfortable enough to invest in our product. To get there, you need to understand the roofing lingo.

10 Most Commonly Asked Questions

Let’s face it. More than likely you’ve never replaced or purchased a roof before. We can help you understand the ABC’s of roofing. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions — and our answers — we get from people interested in our synthetic roofing material.

1. What is a square?

In roofing terms, a square isn’t the same amount of space that you think of when your home is measured for carpet.  Rather, a roofing square is 100 square feet.  So, for example, if your home is 1600 square feet and is only one story, then more than likely your roof is roughly 16-18 squares.

Of course, this isn’t completely accurate because all roofs have a different pitch and certainly, the steepness of the pitch will determine if the surface area is greater or less than the square footage of your home.  When you get a bid for synthetic roofing materials, your roofer will do the calculations and let you know how many “squares” are on your roof.

2. What is a pitch?

The pitch of a roof is your roof’s rise over run.  So in other words, if your roofer says that your roof is a 7:12, then your roof rise 7″ for every 12″ it runs.  One of the easiest ways to figure this out yourself is to look at the profile of your roof.

3. What is a valley?

A valley is an area in your roof where two roofs join at an angle.  The more valleys that your home has, the more labor involved.  A roofer must be careful when shingling a valley because if it isn’t done right, you will most certainly have leaks in your synthetic shake or slate roof.

4. What are open or closed valleys?

If you have valleys on your home, chances are your roofer will suggest either having an open valley or a closed valley.  A closed valley is one in which the tiles touch and no flashing is exposed.  Whereas an open valley is one where flashing is exposed and the shingled butt up to it.


class a fire rating synthetic roofing material

5. What is flashing?

Flashing are pieces of metal used to prevent water from coming into your building or home.  Flashing is necessary in valleys, vent pipes, chimneys, dormers, and adjoining walls.  The more angles your roof has, the more your labor and material cost will be.  So if your neighbor got a cheaper bid than you on their roofing, chances are, his or her roof isn’t as complicated as yours.

6. What is the ridge?

Your home’s ridge is the uppermost horizontal part of your roof where there is an angle formed from the intersection of two sloping roof planes. The ridge piece is an essential part because water tends to hit your roof first there and then run down the slopes.  It also tops off your roof and makes your roof look finished.

7. What’s a hip piece?

At the very least, your roof will have ridge and starter and the field tiles (the majority of your roof is field tiles).  The hip is the area where two sloping planes come together, whereas the ridge is the very top of the roof.  In order for your home to be protected from the elements and also to have an aesthetically finished look, hip, ridge and starter are essential parts of it.

8. What is a starter tile?

The starter course is the first layer of roofing that is applied at the bottom eave line.  Your starter tiles are always covered by the first course of shingles.

class a fire rating synthetic roofing material

9.What is needed for the roof deck?

For all DaVinci synthetic shake and synthetic slate roofing projects, we recommend that you use 1/2 inch plywood decking to ensure a stable roof.  If you want your roof to have a Class A fire rating and a Class 4 impact rating, then you must use this roof decking in conjunction with our synthetic roofing material to achieve that goal.

10. What’s underlayment and which product do I need for DaVinci synthetic roofing materials?

Underlayment is an asphalt-saturated felt or other sheet material installed between the roof deck and the roof covering. Underlayment is used to separate the roof covering from the roof deck, to shed water and to provide secondary weather protection for the roof area of the building.  For DaVinci Slate to have a Class A fire rating, all you need is 30 lb. felt underlayment.  For DaVinci Shake, you will need 2 layers of MB Tech or Fontana G 40.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us with additional questions that you have about our synthetic roofing material. Call us at 1-800-328-4624 or 913-599-0766.