What do you know about your roof? There’s a question that all homeowners ask and referring to these terms can help you understand a local roofing contractor’s answer:
Do I need a new roof, or can I get my roof repaired?
We’ll answer that question toward the end of this post, but let’s start with key terms.
Every business, sport, and hobby have their own terms and roofing certainly does. Breaking them down will help you understand this part of your house.
Tear off – the old roof is torn off so the new one can be installed.
Decking – this is the plywood used as the foundation or deck for a roof. Old decking may deteriorate and show signs of water seeping through.
Underlayment – in the old days (a decade or more ago?) this was also called felt. This is the material that covers the decking and protects it from the rain. Today’s underlayment can have reflective properties to repel the sun’s rays and help reduce the roof’s temperature.
Asphalt shingles—the name may sound unattractive, but these are the shingles laid over the decking and are the part of the roof that’s most visible. Asphalt shingles also contain fiberglass and reflective granules to reduce heat absorption.
Tile – like shingles, this is the most visible part of your roof. Tile comes in many varieties and can weigh less than shingles. Some tiles are clay while others are made from lightweight cement.
Cities like Arcadia may say homeowners near fire zones need tile and not asphalt shingles. Yet, both have high fire ratings.
Ventilation–the air movement in the attic
Measuring Roofing Materials
Roofing materials are measured in squares which are equal to 10 ft x 10 ft = 100 sq. ft.
This is from shingle manufacturer GAF to show you how to measure your roof in five steps.
- Determine the number of planes. Your roof is made up of planes. If you have a flat roof, it has one plane. If you have a simple gable roof, it has two planes. The more architectural details your roof has, the more planes you will have to measure.
- Measure each plane. Find the length and width of each plane. Then, multiply those two numbers together to find the square footage of that plane. For example, a 35 ft. X 36 ft. plane = 1260 sq. ft.
- Find the total of all the planes. Add the square footage for each roof plane into one total. 1,260 sq. ft. + 1,260 sq. ft. = 2,520 sq. ft.
- Divide to find the squares. To find how many squares are on your roof, divide the total square footage of all your planes by 100. In our example, the total was 25.2 squares — 2,520 sq. ft. divided by 100.
- Remember the roof slope. Roof slope indicates how steep your roof is and may increase the number of squares of materials you need. Roof slope is calculated by determining how many inches a roof rises vertically for every 12 inches it extends horizontally. For example, if that vertical rise is 4 inches, the slope is 4:12.
You can use an online shingle calculator or roof slope calculator to help run the calculations.
Less Common Terms:
Flashing – usually metal installed around protrusions on the roof like chimneys and vents to prevent leaking.
Drip edge – metal installed at the eaves so the water drips off the roof instead of running underneath and deteriorating the decking.
Ridge—the top of the roof, the highest point. The ridge is where an opening is made so heat will rise from the attic and reduce temperatures during the summer.
Ridge caps—specially designed shingles that are raised over the ridge to allow heat to escape while protecting the interior from elements like rain.
Valley—where two slopes of the roof meet, guiding water to the gutters or off the roof. Prone to leaking if roofing materials are not properly installed.
Hip—where the sides slope downward to the walls. The sides form a triangle called the hip ends.
Eaves—the portion of the roof that extend beyond the walls. Parts of the eaves are:
The soffit, the underside and the fascia, the vertical facing board.
A downside of eaves is that the overhang can become a haven for yellowjackets and wasps.
Making Use of the Terms
Now that you can refer back to terms, let’s answer whether you need a new roof or can repair an existing problem.
To answer this question fully, Thomas Garvey of Garvey Roofing would have to visit your home, inspect the roof, and ask you some questions.
The more specific a problem is then the more likely you can do a repair. For a leak around the chimney or vents, you might just need some simple flashing and sealant.
Decking might deteriorate in one part of a roof where there’s standing water but be fine in other areas.
- How old is your roof?
- How old are your roofing materials?
- Do they lie flat or is the roof slightly buckled?
- Do you lose many granules off your roof when it rains?
- Is it leaking on the inside?
The older your roof, the more wear it shows then the more likely you’re better off with a new roof. Newer materials are energy efficient and will make your house more comfortable than older materials.
Get a Free Roofing Estimate
Thomas Garvey asks customers how long they plan to own their home and their budget needs.
Estimates are free – and he guarantees all labor and materials.
Garvey Roofing has four licenses including fireproofing and general contracting and has been serving residences and commercial buildings for over 30 years.