The Basics Of Residential Roofing: Terminology (Part 1)

Roofing isn’t something most people think about unless there is a problem. As such, most roof education comes from the roofing contractors themselves. The problem with that is, it is very difficult to know who to trust if you have no idea what they are talking about. Having at least a basic working knowledge will help you understand a problem more clearly and help you make an informed decision should a problem arise.

In this series of posts, “The Basics Of Residential Roofing”, we will be bringing you some basic knowledge of the terms and components of your roof and the roofing industry.

The following are a few basic terms that you should know to help you understand the different components of your roof and some of the services roofing contractors offer.


Roof shingles are the individual, overlapping, typically rectangle elements that cover most residential roofs from the bottom edge and up. They are made from various materials such as slate, asphalt-saturated mat covered with aggregate (asphalt shingles), wood and sometimes even concrete or clay. Available in a variety of colors and styles, these are what most typical residential roofs in Metro Atlanta consist of.

Leak Barriers

Leak barriers are watertight seals we place on the most vulnerable areas of your roof typically around valleys, eaves, vent pipes, chimneys, flashing, and other areas. Basically any area more prone to leaks.


The roof deck is the surface of your roof, usually plywood or oriented strand board (OSB) to which roofing materials are applied.
Roof-deck protection is basically using a material such as a fiberglass felt or a synthetic underlayment to add an additional layer of protection between the shingles and roof deck preventing damage from rain, ice, wind and/or moisture build up.

Attic Ventilation

Attic ventilation is one of the most important aspects of a roofing system. Proper attic ventilation should keep air circulating throughout the attic year around, preventing moisture build-up and reducing energy costs.


Basically the horizontal lowest edge of sloped roofs, usually where gutters are installed.

Not all roofs are the same, some roofs use materials other than shingles and some don’t require as much maintenance as others. In future editions, we will explore the different types of roofs and their materials to cover the spectrum, for this series we will concentrate primarily on the residential aspects of our industry and hopefully give homeowners a better understanding of the roof over their head.

Atlanta Roofing Specialists have been providing roof contractor services to the Metro Atlanta area for over 20 years! Call us today for a free estimate on your roofing project! 770-419-2222

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