Roofing terms every homeowner should knowHaving work done on your roof is just like getting something fixed on your car or in your home – it’s important to know a few of the technical terms so that you feel like you understand what the contractor is saying, enabling you to assess whether or not their quotation is fair (and compare a few different options). Here are some of the most commonly used roofing terms that all homeowners should get to know.


The decking, which is also known as sheathing, is the foundation that all the roof coverings (e.g. tiles, shingles or metal sheets) are fastened to.


This is a projected, roofed structure that usually contains a window and juts out from a pitched roof. Dormers are typically found in loft conversions and chalet bungalows, as they’re a great way to add space.


This is the vertical pipe that is attached to the guttering and directs rainwater away from the property.


The fascia is the horizontal border underneath a roof edge, to which the guttering and the first line of slates or roofing tiles are attached.

Flat roof

As the name suggests, flat roofs do not have the typical sloped structure of traditional roofs, and instead have a very small pitch of about 10 degrees, just to allow the water to run off.


The eaves of the roof are the lower, horizontal edges that project past the face of the wall – generally, where the first line of tiles or slates is fastened on the fascia.


The flashing on a roof is basically there for weatherproofing; it is made up of watertight materials that are installed at the joints of the roof to stop water penetrating the roofing structure.


The gable only occurs on roofs with a pitch, as it is the triangular section that joins the roof slopes. It can appear in various shapes and sizes, depending on the structural make-up of the various pitches.


The gutter is the shallow, trough-like structure that is fixed along the eaves of the roof and carries rainwater to the downpipe.

Roof plane

A roof plane is one side of any type of pitched roof – essentially, any area of the roof that has four separate edges.


Soffits are the boards on the underside of the overhanging roof eaves. As well as stopping the eaves from being exposed, the vented soffit helps the building to breathe, and thus prevents damp.


This is the layer of material between the roof covering (e.g. the tiles and slates) and the sub-structure of the roof.


This is a low, protective wall around the edge of a roof that supports the structure and can provide an aesthetic feature on period properties.


The pitch is the steepness of the roof’s slopes, which are instrumental in the roof’s drainage capacities.


This is the section of the roof where the two pitches meet – e.g. the horizontal line across the top of a roof.

Here at South Thames Roofing, we’ll always ensure you understand exactly what roofing work needs doing, without using unnecessary jargon! Contact us today to find out more.