Home Improvement Terms

We’ve created this useful glossary of exterior home improvement terms for roofing, windows, siding, and solar.




Crushed rock used as a top-layer material to add weight and stability to the roof system in some flat-roof applications.

Aluminum windows

Aluminum windows are a good choice for homeowners who want a sleek, modern look. They are also very durable and can withstand the state's harsh climate. However, aluminum windows are not as energy-efficient as vinyl or fiberglass windows.

Angled fasteners

Roofing nails and staples are driven into decks at angles not parallel to the deck.

Apron flashing

Metal flashing used on chimney fronts.


A bituminous waterproofing agent used in various types of roofing materials.

Asphalt shingles

One of the most common types of roofing shingles used in North America. They are made of asphalt, fiberglass, and mineral granules, and they are typically available in a variety of colors and styles. Asphalt is one of the most widely used roofing materials due to its relatively inexpensive cost, durability, and ease of installation.

Asphalt plastic cement

Asphalt-based sealant material, meeting ASTM D4586 Type I or II. Used to seal and adhere roofing materials; also called MASTIC; BLACKJACK; ROOF TAR; and BULL.

Asphalt concrete primer

Asphalt-based primer used to prepare concrete and metal for asphalt sealant.


The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) is an organization that sets standards for a wide variety of materials, including roofing.



Granular material added to the back of shingles to assist in keeping them separated during delivery and storage.


A type of roofing system that uses loose stones or gravel to hold the roofing membrane in place.

Base Sheet

The bottom layer of a modified or built-up roofing system.


A term commonly applied to various mixtures of naturally occurring solid or liquid hydrocarbons, excluding coal.


Bubbles or pimples in roofing materials that are usually moisture-related. In shingles, blisters are either moisture under the material or moisture trapped inside the material.


Occurs when shingles are subject to high winds and are forced off a roof deck.

Board and batten siding

Traditionally, board and batten siding starts with wide vertical planks (boards), which are then joined together by thin vertical strips (battens) to cover the seams.


A method of re-roofing with metric-sized shingles.


Occurs when a wrinkle or ripple affects shingles or their underlayment.

Built-up roofing (BUR)

A type of commercial roofing system that consists of multiple layers of asphalt and felt. The top layer is given a hot flood coat of bitumen; granules of rock, gravel, slag, or ceramic particles may be embedded while the flood coat is still hot. The roofing system may incorporate rigid insulation.


A package of shingles. There are three to five bundles per square.

Butt edge

The lower edge of shingle tabs.


Cap flashing

The portion of flashing attached to a vertical surface to prevent water from migrating behind the base flashing.

Cap sheet

A top layer in a built-up or modified roofing system.


To fill a joint with mastic or asphalt plastic cement to prevent leaks.

Chalk line

A line is made on the roof by snapping a taut string or cord dusted with chalk. Used for alignment purposes.


Long thin flat pieces of wood with edges horizontally overlapping in series are used to cover the outer layer walls of buildings.

Class "A" fire resistance

The highest fire-resistance rating for roofing per ASTM E 108. Indicates that roofing is able to withstand severe exposure to fire originating from sources outside the building.

Class "B" fire resistance

Fire-resistance rating that indicates that roofing material is able to withstand moderate exposure to originating from sources outside the building.

Class "C" fire resistance

Fire-resistance rating that indicates that roofing material is able to withstand light exposure to originating from sources outside the building.

Closed cut valley

A method of valley treatment in which shingles from one side of the valley extend across the valley, while shingles from the other side are trimmed two inches from the valley centerline. The valley flashing is not exposed.

Cold process adhesive

Mastic prepared with SBS modifiers to adhere laps, flashings, and joints of built-up or low-slope roofing without hot-mopping or torching equipment, or the primary adhesive used to adhere the roofing membrane in a cold-applied roofing system.


Pre-formed flange placed over a vent pipe to seal the roofing above the vent pipe opening.

Composite Roofing

Type of roofing that is made up of two or more different materials. The most common type of composite roofing is asphalt shingle roofing, which is made up of a layer of asphalt shingles that are laminated to a layer of fiberglass mat. Composite roofing is also available in other materials, such as metal and slate.

Commercial roofing

The installation, repair, and maintenance of roofs on commercial buildings, such as office buildings, retail stores, and schools. Commercial roofs are typically larger and more complex than residential roofs, and they require specialized skills and equipment to install and maintain.

Concealed nail method

Application of roll roofing in which all nails are driven into the underlying course or roofing and covered by a cemented overlapping course. Nails are not exposed to the weather.

Coping joint

The intersection of a roof slope and an exterior vertical wall.


When rust, rot, or age negatively affects roofing metals.


The metal or siding material that is installed over roof-top base flashing systems.


A row of shingles or roll roofing running the length of the roof.


Amount of weather protection provided by the roofing material. Depends on the number of layers of material between the exposed surface of the roofing and the deck, e.g. single coverage, double coverage, etc.


A peaked water diverter installed behind chimneys and other large roof projections. Effectively diverts water around projections.


When shingles are improperly installed over an existing roof, or are overexposed, they form a curl or cup.


The short elevation of an exterior wall above the deck of a commercial flat roof.



The structural base or sheathing to which the roofing materials are attached. It is typically made of plywood or oriented strand board (OSB).

Designer shingles

Shingles that are designed to look like slate, wood, or other materials. They can add a unique look to your home.


A raised structure that projects from a sloping roof, typically containing a window and increasing usable space in the attic or loft.

Double-paned windows

Also called double pane windows offer a thicker barrier between you and the outside. This added protection not only reduces energy usage but also helps keep out unwanted noise. Noise pollution can impact your sleep, productivity, and mood. By decreasing the level of unwanted noise in your home, you may also increase your health.


Metal flashing that is installed at the edge of the roof to prevent water from dripping off the edge and damaging the siding.

Dutch lap siding

Horizontal plank style that has a slightly concave face with a notch at the bottom of each course. This notch creates a shadow over the course below giving the siding its distinctive appearance.


EagleView aerial sketch technology

Tool that uses high-resolution aerial imagery to create detailed sketches of roofs. These sketches can be used by roofing contractors to estimate the cost of repairs or replacements, as well as by insurance companies to assess damage after a storm.


The horizontal overhang of the roof that extends beyond the exterior walls of a building. It helps to protect the walls from rain and snow.


When installing rolled products in roofing, the area where a roll ends on a roof, and is overlapped by the next section of rolled material (underlayments, rolled roofing).


ENERGY STAR-certified windows have coatings that keep out the summer heat and act like sunscreen for your house, protecting your valuables from harmful, fading ultraviolet light without noticeably reducing visible light. These special coatings reduce fading by up to 75 percent.


Ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) is a type of rubber roofing that is known for its durability and weather resistance.


The part of the roofing membrane that is exposed to the weather. For example, the exposure of an asphalt shingle is the portion of the shingle that is not covered by the shingle above it. The exposure of a shingle is typically measured in inches.


Fall protection

A system or device that prevents workers from falling from a roof. Personal fall arrest systems (PFAS) include a system of straps, harnesses, and lanyards that are worn by workers to prevent them from falling.


The vertical board that is attached to the ends of the roof rafters and covers the ends of the sheathing. It helps to protect the sheathing from moisture and gives the roof a finished appearance.


Nails or staples used in securing roofing to the deck. Felt-organic or paper-based rolled material saturated with asphalt to serve as roofing underlayment.


The Federal Housing Authority. Sets construction standards throughout the United States.

Fiberglass mat

Fibers condensed into strong, resilient mats for use in roofing materials.

Fiber cement siding

Durable, long-lasting and low-maintenance material that is used on residential houses.

Fiberglass windows

Fiberglass windows are another good option for Colorado homeowners. They are more expensive than vinyl windows, but they are also more durable and can last longer. Fiberglass windows are also very energy efficient.


Metal pan extending up or down a roof slope around flashing pieces. Usually at chimneys and plumbing vents.


Thin pieces of metal that are installed around roof penetrations, such as chimneys and vents, to prevent water from leaking into the building.

Flashing cement

Sealant designed for use around flashing areas, which is typically thicker than plastic cement.

Flat roofing

A flat roof is defined as a type of construction built utilizing an assembly of functionally insulated materials from the underlying space. The main components used in building these roofs are waterproof sheeting, insulation, and structural members.


Gable roof

Traditional roof style, two-peaked roof planes meeting at a ridge line of equal size.

Gambrel roof

A type of roof with a gable on either end, but with two sloping roof planes of different angles on either side, the lower of which is steeper than that of the upper. A common barn roof or mansard roof.

Glazing bead

Glazing beads are wood or vinyl pieces around the perimeter of the glass in a window that covers the space between the glass edge and the sash or panel. They are used for cosmetic purposes only; the sealant under the glass provides the primary seal. Glazing beads are a replaceable part.


Crushed rock that is coated with a ceramic coating and fired. Used as a top surface on shingles.



The method to ensure sealing of shingles on very steep slopes, in high-wind areas, and when installing in cold weather.

Head lap

Shortest distance from the butt edge of an overlapping shingle to the upper edge of a shingle in the second course below it. The triple coverage portion of the top lap of strip shingles.

High nailing

When shingles are nailed or fastened above the manufacturer’s specified nail location.


The inclined external angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes. It runs from the ridge to the eaves. A hip roof has four roof planes coming together at a peak and four separate hip legs.


Ice and water shield

An ice and water shield is a type of waterproofing membrane that is installed on roofs to protect them from ice dams and wind-driven rain.

Ice Dam

When a snow load melts on a roof and re-freezes at the eaves. Ice dams force water to back up into a roof causing leaks and damage.

Industrial roofing

Installation, repair, and maintenance of roofs on industrial buildings, such as factories, warehouses, and power plants. Industrial roofs are typically even larger and more complex than commercial roofs, and they may be exposed to harsh conditions, such as extreme heat, cold, and chemicals.

Insulated vinyl siding

Vinyl siding that has been laminated with foam-core backing. This provides an air and moisture infiltration barrier plus a thermal break that stops heat transmission.


J channel

This trim piece is used on the end of the siding soffit panel to perfect the edge around windows, doors, and more. It is used to also help hold the siding in place and prevent leaks.


"L" flashing

Continuous metal flashing, consisting of several feet of metal. Used at horizontal walls; bent to resemble an L.

Laminate shingles

Shingles that are made of two or more layers of material. They are thicker and more durable than traditional shingles.


The area where roll roofing or rolled underlayments overlap one another during application.


Short for Low-Emissivity or Low-Emittance, Low-E contains a microscopic coating that makes a window more thermally efficient.

Low slope

Roof pitches less than 4:12 are considered low-slope roofs. Special installation practices must be used on roofs sloped 2:12 – 4:12.

LP siding

LP SmartSide Trim & Siding is a siding made from engineered wood that is treated with a proprietary smartguard process. This adds strength and helps the product withstand impacts, freeze and thaw cycles and high humidity, and helps resist fungal decay and termites.


Mansard roof

A roof design with a nearly vertical roof plane that ties into a roof plane of less slope at its peak.


The general term for the base material of shingles and certain rolled products.


The waterproof layer of the roofing system.

Metal roofing

Type of roofing that uses metal pieces or tiles instead of traditional materials like asphalt shingles or wood shakes. It is a durable and long-lasting option that can be made from a variety of metals, including aluminum, steel, and copper. They provide a lightweight construction that is also highly resistant to the extreme weather and environmental factors we see in Colorado.

Modified bitumen

Rolled roofing membrane with polymer-modified asphalt and either polyester or fiberglass reinforcement to improve its flexibility and durability.

Moisture barrier wrap

This is a lightweight, paper-like material that is most often used to completely cover the house, directly on top of its sheathing and behind vinyl siding. Its primary purpose is to prevent air and water leaks.


A mixture of sand, mortar, limestone, and water used in bonding a chimney’s bricks together.

Multifamily roofing

Roofing services for HOA and CIC communities, including townhomes, condominiums, duplexes, apartments, and other multifamily properties.


Nail guide line

Painted line on laminated shingles that aid in the proper placement of fasteners.


When a nail is not fully driven, it sits up off of the roof deck.


Installing a second layer of shingles aligning courses with the original roof to avoid shingle cupping.

Net metering

A system that allows homeowners to sell solar energy back to the grid.


The National Roofing Contractors Association. Respected national organization of roofing contractors.


Open valley

Valley installation using metal down the valley center.

Organic material

Material made from recycled wood pulp and paper.

Organic shingles

Shingles made from paper products.


Orientated strand board. A decking made from wood chips and lamination glues.


The term used for fasteners driven through roofing material with too much force, breaking the material.


Installing shingle courses higher than their intended exposure.


Parapet wall

A low wall that is built around the edge of a roof to provide safety and security.


Any openings in the roof, such as chimneys, vents, and skylights, that can allow water to enter the building.

Perimeter Flashing

A strip of metal that is installed around the perimeter of the roof. It helps to prevent water from leaking into the roof.


Ratio of the rise of the roof to the span of the roof.

Plastic cement

Asphalt-based sealant material, meeting ASTM D4586 Type I or II. Used to seal and adhere roofing materials. Also called MASTIC; BLACKJACK; ROOF TAR; and BULL.

Plumbing vents

Term used to describe plumbing pipes that project through the roof.

Power vent

Electrically powered fans used to move air from attics and structures.

Prevailing wind

The most common direction of wind for a particular region.


Quarter sized

Term for the size of hand-sealant dabs; size of U.S. quarter.



Method of installing shingles in a straight-up-the-roof manner.


The structural members that support the roof deck. They are typically made of wood and are spaced about 16 to 24 inches apart.

Rake edge

The inclined edge of a sloped roof over a wall.


The highest point of a roof where two sloping roof planes meet.

Ridge cap

A piece of metal or other material that covers the ridge of the roof. It helps to protect the roof from the elements and gives it a finished look.

Ridge ventilation system

A system that allows air to flow in and out of the attic through vents located at the ridge of the roof. This helps to prevent moisture buildup and heat buildup in the attic.

Roof certification

If you are buying or selling a home, a roof certification is issued by a licensed roofing professional stating that the roof of the property being bought or sold is in good condition. Certification includes written documentation stating that the roof is in good shape for the new buyer.

Roof inspection

If you suspect your roof has been damaged, J&K Roofing will send an experienced professional to assess your home or business roof. An essential part of your routine home maintenance is to have your roof inspected in the spring and fall and following any storms.

Roof louvers

Rooftop rectangular-shaped roof vents. Also called box vents, mushroom vents, air hawks, and soldier vents.

Roof plane

A roofing area defined by having four separate edges. One side of a gable, hip, or mansard roof.

Roof repair

Our service team will assess the problem and work with you on the type of repair from leaks and water damage, wind damage, flashing repair & replacement, ventilation issues, and many more.

Roof replacement

Sometimes you just need a new roof. Our roofs are installed with quality materials, attention to detail, and excellent customer service from tear-off to completion. We are manufacturer-trained in all major roofing materials. Our teams are safe, and professional, and complete most roofing projects in 1-2 days.


Safety ring

Also known as a roof anchor or fall arrest anchor. Permanent or temporary device that provides a secure attachment point for fall protection equipment.


Sealant installed on shingles. After installation, heat and sun will activate the sealant. This is a popular choice for residential and commercial roofing solutions in Centennial, Colorado, and the entire Denver metro area.


The non-exposed area on rolled roofing. Areas without granules. Designed for nail replacement and sealant.

Shed Roof

Roof design of a single roof plane. The area does not tie into any other roofs.

Side laps

The selvage edge is the edge of a piece of roofing material that is not covered by mineral granules. This edge is typically about 2 inches wide and is made of a different material than the rest of the shingle. The selvage edge is treated with a sealant to help prevent water from entering the roof.

Side walls

Where a vertical roof plane meets a vertical wall. For example, the sides of dormers.

Siding foam backer

An impact impact-resistant material that gives the sided wall a solid feel. Combined with siding it helps reduce the impact of hail, errant rocks, and debris.

Siding post – inner and outer

The inside and outside corner posts are the trim pieces that connect siding on 90-degree corners. Outer posts are when the two adjoining walls are pointing out and inner are when the two walls adjoin inward.


A window that is installed in the roof to provide natural light.

Sloped roof

Sloped roofs are built to help divert water away from the primary structure while providing additional outdoor living space on top of the building. Flat roofs present some issues when weather occurs since they make them more susceptible to damage. These roofs are usually sturdier and more stable when they have concrete slabs, metal decking, glass-reinforced plastic (GRP), or asphalt on top of them.


The exposed area under a roof eave or overhang.

Soffit ventilation

Intake ventilation installed under the eaves, or at the roof edge.

Solar energy

Energy from the sun. It is a clean and renewable source of energy that can be used to generate electricity, heat water, and power homes and businesses.

Solar inverter

Solar inverter
A device that converts direct current (DC) electricity from solar panels into alternating current (AC) electricity that can be used in homes and businesses.

Solar panel

A device that converts sunlight into electricity. Solar panels are typically made of silicon, and they are becoming increasingly affordable and efficient.

Solar roof

A roof that is integrated with solar panels to generate electricity. Installed when the roof is replaced.

Solar roofing shingle

Nail-able solar strips that are integrated with roofing materials and designed to look like a course of asphalt shingles.

Solar tax credit

A federal tax credit that reduces the cost of solar through a tax credit.

Square of roofing shingles

A square of roofing shingles is a unit of measurement used to describe the area of a roof that can be covered by a single bundle of shingles. It is equivalent to 100 square feet.

Starter strip

A strip of asphalt shingles that is installed along the edge of the roof and is the first course of roofing that is installed. It helps to seal the edge of the roof and prevent water from leaking in.

Steep-slope roofing

Generally, all slopes higher than 4:12 are considered steep slopes.


Metal flashing pieces installed at side walls and chimneys for weatherproofing.

Stone-coated steel roofing

Type of metal roofing that combines the strength and durability of metal with the aesthetic appeal of traditional roofing materials like clay tiles or slate. It is made of steel panels that are coated with a layer of stone chips, which gives the roof a natural and textured appearance.

Supplement for insurance

A roofing insurance claim supplement is a request for additional money from your insurance company to cover the cost of repairs that were not included in the original estimate from your insurance company. This may be necessary because the initial estimate from your insurance company was too low, the scope of work has changed, or local building codes require additional work. Supplementing benefits homeowners by ensuring that your roof is repaired properly, protects you from financial hardship, and prevents disputes with your insurance company. Prices are set by third-party insurance software that calculates the cost of repairs, based on measurements and scope.

Sustainable roofing

Encompasses a range of practices and materials that aim to minimize the environmental impact of roofing systems while maximizing their long-term performance and durability.

Synthetic underlayment

Water-resistant barrier made from synthetic materials, such as polypropylene or polyethylene, that is installed beneath roofing shingles to protect the roof deck from moisture damage.



The bottom portion of traditional shingle separated by the shingle cut-outs.


Removal of existing roofing materials down to the roof deck.


When shingles reflect the uneven surface beneath them. Shingles installed over buckled shingles may show some buckles.


Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) is a type of single-ply roofing membrane that is made of plastic.


When a roof plane ties into another roof plane that has a different pitch or slope.

Trim board

Trim on both the exterior and interior of the home that outlines and completes the finished surfaces of the project.

Triple paned windows

Triple-pane windows, also referred to as triple-glazed windows, have three panes of glass. Like double-pane windows, there is a gap between panes which can house an insulating gas. The increased insulating air space of triple-pane glass delivers even better energy efficiency and noise reduction.



A term used to describe a fastener not fully driven flush to the shingle’s surface.


Asphalt-based rolled materials designed to be installed under the main roofing material, to serve as added protection.



Areas where two adjoining sloped-roof planes intersect on a roof create a V-shaped depression.


A term used to describe moisture-laden air.


An opening in the roof that allows air to escape and helps to prevent moisture buildup.


The term used in roofing for the passage of air from an enclosed space.

Vinyl windows

Vinyl is one of the most common types of materials for replacement windows. Vinyl windows are a popular choice for homeowners in Colorado because they are affordable, energy-efficient, and low-maintenance. They are also durable and can withstand the state's harsh climate.


Warm wall

A finished wall inside of a structure. Used in roofing to determine how to install waterproof underlayment at eaves.


The written promise to the owner of roofing materials for material-related problems.

Window wrapping

Also called window capping or cladding, is a vinyl, wood, or aluminum covering that fits over the exterior wood frame of the home's window.

Wood windows

These traditional windows remain a very popular choice, especially in historic residential neighborhoods, and homes in Colorado. They offer a classic look and can add value to a home. However, wood windows are more expensive than vinyl, fiberglass, or aluminum windows, and they require more maintenance.

Woven valleys

The method of installing valleys by laying one shingle over the other, up the valley center.

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