How to Speak Roofs: Roofing Terminology

by | Oct 18, 2022 | Blog, Roofing

When you’re in the market for a new roof, certain aspects of the process can be stressful. While doing research and communicating with roofing companies, you might hear new terminology you’ve never heard before. Many people are intimidated by these “big” words, and look them up one by one, causing more stress and research on their part. At Hostetler Roofing, we take pride in helping homeowners make the best choice for their needs. We’ve put together a list of commonly used roofing terms and their definitions to help you understand exactly what is being done to your home. 

Roofing Square

A roofing square is a unit of measurement in the roofing industry. The dimensions of a roofing square are 10’x10’. Roofers use this to determine the amount of materials needed for a job. 

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Drip Edge

A drip edge is a piece of metal that is nailed to the edge of the roof. This assists water with running off the roof, and prevents it from wicking back and causing water damage to the decking.

Roof Pitch

Roof pitch is the steepness of the roof. The formula to find a roof pitch is X/12, where x=rise and 12=run. For example, a 3/12 pitch means that for every 12 feet, the roof inclines 3 foot. 

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Flashing is metal that prevents water from seeping into the roof. Flashing is most commonly used around openings in the roof, such as vents and pipes, and is made of metal.


Fascia is a flat, straight board that runs across the lower edge of the roof. This supports guttering and the lower layers of the roof. The primary purpose of fascia is to secure the gutters, and prevent water damage.


A ridge is where two sloping surfaces intersect. 

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Synthetic Felt

Synthetic Felt is a protective layer that is placed between the bottom plywood and the roofing materials. It acts as a slip-resistance surface for roofers, and can last up to 35 years. 

3-Tab Shingles

A 3-tab shingle is made of one layer, where the exposed portion is separated by three tabs of cutouts, approximately 1’. In most cases, 3-tab shingles are the most affordable option for homeowners, because they are not as “bulky” as other types of shingles. 

Architectural Shingles

Architectural shingles are shingles that are composed of a fiberglass base and ceramic-coated granules embedded in asphalt. Typically, they are pricier than 3-tab shingles, because they are more durable and higher quality. 

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Sheathing, or decking, is a strong layer of wood attached to the rafters to add support to the roof. Shingles are then attached to this. 

Reading this article may not qualify you as a roofing professional, however, it is a great starting point to get some understanding when speaking to Texarkana roofers. Hostetler Roofing has serviced the Texarkana area for over 30 years, and we pride ourselves on educating customers to the best of our ability. We hope that this list has given you a sense of knowledge and confidence when speaking to roofing contractors.