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What are the Different Parts of a Roof?

Ryan Cash

UAMCC Associate Member
When soft washing and cleaning a roof with the Rooftec XCS500, it's important to be able to identify the different parts of a roof.

Being an expert in this industry involves knowing more than just how to clean. You want to be able to have informed conversations with the customer about their home as well.

This may seem like a small thing but there is a big difference in telling a customer, “I noticed the heaviest growth on that part of your roof over there” and “I noticed the heaviest growth on the east side dormer”.

So let’s break down the parts of a roof that are important to know:

Parts of a Roof.jpg

Gable (Gable Roof): A gable roof is a type of roof design where two sides slope downward toward the walls – The other two sides are vertical and create triangles. A gable is the generally triangular portion of a wall between the edges of intersecting roof pitches.

Hip (Hip Roof): A hip roof (or hipped roof) is a type of roof design where all roof sides slope downward toward the walls. Therefore a hipped roof generally has no vertical has no gables or vertical sides of the roof. The hip is the external angle at which adjacent sloping sides of a roof meet. The triangular sloping surface formed by hips that meet at a roof’s ridge is called a hip end.

Dormer: a vertical window that projects from a sloping roof and usually illuminates a bedroom

Field/Face: The main part of a roof. The field of the roof is the area where the roof is installed. This includes decking, underlayment, shingles, etc.

Valley: A roof valley is formed where two roof slopes meet. Water collects in a valley to flow off the roof. valleys are often at risk for leaks on a roof.

Sheathing: The wooden boards that make up the foundation of your entire roof system (usually OSB or plywood)

Rafter: A rafter is a structural component that is used as part of a roof construction. Typically, it runs sloped vertically from the ridge or hip of the roof to the wall plate of the external wall

Joist: The parallel horizontal beams that run across an open space.

Eaves- An eave is the edge of the roof that overhangs the exterior siding. You’ll either see exposed rafter tails or a finished soffit

Soffit: When the underside/overhang of the roof (Eaves/Rafters) are given a finished appearance. Rather than seeing the exposed rafter tails, you will see finished “underbelly” or ceiling-like paneling.

Fascia: The fascia board is the long, straight board that runs along the lower edge of the roof. The fascia is fixed directly to the lower ends of the roof trusses and usually does all the work of supporting the lower edge of the bottom row of tiles. The fascia board (if there is one) also carries all the guttering.

Flashing: Thing material, usually galvanized steel, that professional roofers use to direct water away from critical areas of the roof, wherever the roof plane meets a vertical surface like a wall or a dormer. Flashing is installed to surround roof features, such as vents, chimneys and skylights.

Drip edge: Metal flashing that is installed at the edges of the roof to help control the flow of water away from the fascia and to protect the underlying roofing components. Drip edge overhangs the sides of the roof and has a small metal flange that is bent away from the fascia

Knowing these basics will help you better relay information to your customer and will help you understand what it is that you’re cleaning!