Roofing Terms – Do You Know These?

When discussing a topic with someone it facilitates the conversation to have a working knowledge of the vocabulary. If you have a need to inquire about your roof whether for repairs, updates or new construction it would be beneficial to know some roofing terms. The basic descriptors of a roof have to do with the style or shape of the construction.

These shapes are often chosen depending on your house style and sometimes the geographic location. Although there are variations, the style of a roof will be classified into two categories – gabled or hipped. When using the roofing terms gabled and hipped you are referring to the elements of slope, overhang and peak style.

A gabled style is the type where the roof slopes from the peak, or ridge in this case, down to the eaves. This results in a triangle appearance on two or more sides of the house. On these sides, the part of the roof that hangs out over the edges is referred to as the rake. The sides of the house without the signature triangle appearance also have an overhang. This is referred to as the eaves.

There are basically three sub-categories of gabled roofs, which also have their own roofing terms. A front-gabled house is the type where the front door is in the gabled side. That is, if you look at the front door you will see the signature triangular section above the door. This is often used with A-frame houses.

The second sub-category is side-gabled. These houses have the front door on an eave side, and the appearance from the front is a view sloping up the roof to the ridge. The triangular areas are on the sides of the house. The third type is cross-gabled. These houses appear to be a blend of two gabled sections merged at a 90-degree angle.

When a roofline is termed hipped, there are generally three other roofing terms that describe the subcategories. A hipped roof does not have the signature triangle as the continuation of the walls. All the slopes of the roof will slant in toward a center ridge or point at the peak. The first sub-category of a hipped roof is termed simple hipped.

All four roof sections of the house slant toward a central ridge running across the top of the house. The second sub-category is termed pyramid due to the appearance of the roof resembling a pyramid. All the sections of the roof slant to single point at the peak of the house. This was a popular design back when historic homes were built. The last sub-category is termed cross-hipped. Like the cross-gabled it has the appearance of two units joined at a 90-degree angle.

All these elements carrying their own unique roofing terms add to the style and type of home construction. Some choices are made based on the climate or other environmental factors, and some are chosen for aesthetic reasons.

Take a look at your roof and define which of these basic types you have on your home. This will assist you in conversing with professionals when you are in need of repairs or updates…