Roofing Terminology


Within any area of expertise, whether it be roofing or crocheting, there are a set of terms that identify that endeavor. If you are a local Baton Rouge roofer you can certainly communicate with other roofers in your area at a level that others who are not in the profession would simply not comprehend. If you are looking to become a roofer then it would certainly behoove you to educate yourself when it comes to the terminology of roofing.

Facia Board

This is the trim board that is located horizontally just below the bottom edge of the roof. If your house is equipped with gutters for rain runoff then this is the board to which the gutters are typically attached.

Drip Edge

This is a strip of non-corrosive material, typically aluminum, which is affixed to the bottom edge of a roof which allows water to run off the edge of a roof and drip clear of the facia board underneath. Without a drip edge, water will run onto the facia board leading to an eventual decay of the wood.


The sheathing is the wood used at the base of a roof. Plywood is the typical wood of choice for sheathing. The plywood sheathing is placed on top of the rafters and forms the structural foundation onto which the roof covering is placed.


A non-corrosive sheet metal, aluminum, or galvanized steel that is used for waterproofing in certain areas of a roof such as a chimney, a roof valley, or roof vents.


This is the outermost layer of a roof which can consist of many different materials. Asphalt shingles are the most popular shingle but there are other options for shingles. One is wood and more often than not western red cedar is the wood that is used due to its resistance to decay. In warmer climates, clay roofing tiles are used on roofs. Concrete tiles are another option for roofs. One option which has become increasingly popular in colder climates, as well as Baton Rouge in recent years, is the metal roof due to its resistance to extreme weather and its ability to last longer than an asphalt or wood roof.


This is the bottom edge of the roof that overhangs the wall of the house which can add protection from the elements.

Ridge Beam

This is a beam at the top of the house which spans the full length of the roof. Rafters are placed on either side of the roof and make up the basic framework of a roof. Plywood sheathing is placed on top of the rafters.

If you’d like to become more familiar with roofing terminology, drop by a job site and speak with a local roofing contractor. He or she will be glad to fill you in on the nuances of roofing and the construction industry in general. You just may have a need to contact a roofer in your area in the near future. And being familiar with the lingo of the trade will help you understand what that upcoming roofing job just might entail.