Roofing Questions and Answers: A Guide to Roof Vocabulary

In the market for a new roof? Refresh your roofing vocabulary with this helpful list. Are you considering synthetic roofing material for your home but you’re hesitant to call a roofer because you don’t know anything about roofing? Not a problem. We understand you have roofing questions and need answers before investing 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, impacting the resale value of your home. Making an informed decision is crucial, and we are here to guide you through the roof vocabulary.

10 Most Common Roofing Questions and Answers

Let’s face it: You probably have never replaced or purchased a roof before. We can help you understand the ABCs of roofing. Here are some of the most asked questions — and our answers — we get about synthetic roofing material.

1. What is a square?

In roofing, a square isn’t the same space measured for carpet. Rather, a roofing square is 100 square feet (about the same area as an apartment bedroom). For example, if your home is 1600 square feet and only one story, your roof would be roughly 16-18 squares.

Of course, because all roofs have a different pitch, the steepness of the pitch will determine if the surface area is greater or less than the square footage of your home. Your roofer will calculate the number of squares on your roof when providing a bed for synthetic roofing materials.

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 where two separate planes of a roof join and water is diverted. The more valleys, the more labor involved. Care must be taken when shingling a valley. 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?

Your roofer may suggest an open valley or a closed valley based on tile placement. A closed valley has tiles touching and no flashing is exposed. An open valley has flashing exposed.

Roofing vocabulary - hipped end with dormers

5. What is flashing?

Flashing are pieces of metal used in valleys, vent pipes, chimneys, dormers, and adjoining walls to prevent water from coming into your building or home. The more angles your roof has, the more your labor and material cost will be.

6. What is the ridge?

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

7. What’s a hip piece?

The hip is the area where two sloping planes come together, whereas the ridge is the very top of the roof. 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. Starter tiles are always covered by the first course of shingles.

Roofing vocabulary - valley.

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. To achieve a Class A fire rating and a Class 4 impact rating, you must use this roof decking in conjunction with our synthetic roofing material.

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. While there are many different options that can be used to obtain a Class A fire rating with the various DaVinci products, using one layer of Eco Chief Solarhide achieves the rating.

DaVinci is Here to Answer Your Questions

If you’re ready to take the next step and explore our top-notch products, please don’t hesitate to contact us with additional questions. Our experts are here to assist you on your roofing journey. Call us at 1-800-328-4624 or 913-599-0766.

Discover the perfect solution for your home by browsing our products, and see where quality meets excellence.

This post was originally published in 2018.