A Glossary of Roofing Terminology & Definitions

Do you find it challenging to describe to contractors what type of work you want done on your roofing in San Antonio, TX? If they start using specialist terminology, you may start to get scared about what your house will look like when the work is all done. 

Avoid miscommunication when speaking with roofing contractors in San Antonio and try learning some of these terms instead. To help you get started, we’ve provided a list of the most common roofing terms used by a roofing contractor in San Antonio, TX.

Read our 8 Tips To Maintain Your San Antonio Roof

A Glossary of Roofing Terminology & Definitions

Roof Terms

Check out the following to familiarize yourself with common words used in the industry. 


Any structural component that rises above a roof surface, such as a wall or roof.

Algae Discoloration

It is incorrectly described as the growth of fungus, but this happens as a result of algae growth on a roof.

Back Surfacing

An additive that’s applied to shingles’ backsides to prevent them from sticking together.


A lightweight strip of a solid material that is placed horizontally between the joists to secure slates or tiles. Some examples are wood, plastic or metal.


A course consists of rows of shingles or roll roofing along the length of the roof.


The construction of a peaked saddle at the back of a chimney that prevents snow and ice from accumulating and deflects water away from the chimney.


The length of tile/slate that is visible after installation. It’s the distance between one batten’s top and the top of the next.


Three parts sand to one part cement in a sand and cement mix.


Roof rafters are attached to the main structural roof support timber, which is normally located halfway up the roof span.


The angle that’s formed by two slanting roofs. 

Types of Roofs

Besides the various pieces that make up a roof, there are also various different types of roofs that make up roofing in San Antonio, TX. Two of the most common roofs that are usually used are flat roofs and pitched roofs. 

Flat Roofs

A flat roof, as the name implies, is meant to sit as flat as possible on the top of a building, with a pitch of no more than 15 degrees.

Pitched Roofs

These can be built in two different ways, known as gable roofs and hip roofs:

  • Gable roofs are two-sided with a peak produced at the top and are easily identifiable by their triangular shape. 
  • Hip roofs have all four sides of the roof slope downward and are of similar length, forming a ridge at the top.


There’s no reason to fear communicating your remodeling needs or concerns about roof repair in San Antonio. Instead, learn to speak their language. Knowing the common jargon used by a roofing contractor in San Antonio is the best way to make sure your bases are covered and you get exactly what paying for! So, start studying this list before your next meeting with a contractor!