The roof construction and maintenance industry involve a specific terminology that the everyday individual won’t be familiar with. This specific terminology is used across industry and can refer to a number of roofing-related topics.

When you’re having work done on your roof or your roof is undergoing a general inspection, it can be helpful to understand this terminology.

As a homeowner, you must schedule regular roof inspections from experienced and trained roofing contractors. Click here to learn how to find a high-quality roofing service in Bradford.

Having an understanding of important roof terms will help you better understand your roof and enable more efficient communication between you and your roofing contractors.

In this blog post, you’ll learn some common roofing terms used in the roofing industry. Of course, no professional roofer will expect you to be fluent in roofing terminology, but it can encourage communication and help you feel more confident about your understanding of your roof.

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Flat Roofs

A flat roof is a roof that is flat on the top, in contrast to a pitched roof that points upwards. Hot, dry climates tend to have buildings with flat roofs. Although the flat roof may appear to be completely flat, all flat roofs are constructed to allow rainwater to run off their lower side.

Pinched Roofs

Pinched roofs are the opposite of flat roofs. This roof style is what roofing contractors in places like Bradford encounter most often. Unlike the flat roof, the pinched roof slopes downwards from an angel and a central ridge. Pinch roofs come in different sizes, with varying degrees of steepness. The slope of the pinch roof is designed to divert excess rainwater. This rainwater runs down the slope and off the roof. In addition to water diversion, pinch roofs have better resistance to harsh climates such as ice, snow and storms.


Dormers are a roofing structure whereby a window, or other roofing construction, projects outwards, beyond the edge of the roof. This roofing structure is most commonly used as a method to increase space, however, it may also be an aesthetic choice made by the homeowner. The dormer protrudes out from the sloping roof, increasing the space in the loft or attic area.


The eave of a roof extends just past the edge of the building. Eaves produce an overhang from the building, helping to distribute weight evenly and protect the roof from rain and harsh weathers. Some roof eaves are decorative. Decorative roof eaves are made from attractive metals like copper, with intricate carvings and embellishments. These roofing eves contribute towards the architectural style and curb appeal of a property.


Insulation goes inside the roof cavity to insulate your property. Insulating your property is essential for keeping the heat in and keeping your heating bills down. A roof needs re-insulating around every five to six years. Mineral wool, sheep’s wool, glass wool or acoustic wool are all used for roofing insulation. To find out what insulation is best for your property, speak with a professional roofing service provider in the Bradford area. 


The substrate is the material at the core of all roofing. We use substrate as the base for all roofing systems. The substrate used on your property will be dependent on the style, size and personal preference.

All Substrate materials need to be moisture resistant to stop dampness and mould growing in your roof. Popular choices for the substrate include plywood, timber boards, concrete, and even wood.


Roof joists are what hold your roof together. The roof joints in your roof connect the roof with the ceiling below and the adjoining walls. Roof joints are large wooden horizontal beams. Depending on the structure of the roof, these joints will either lie flat or pinch upwards. Many architects and interior designers enjoy the aesthetic appearance of exposed beams.


The valley of the roof is where two roof slopes meet together. These joining slopes create a downwards channel where rainwater runs down into a gutter. Heavy rain has the potential to damage or destroy the valley of a roof. For this reason, valleys tend to be made from robust materials such as concrete or fibreglass.


Cladding is the outer layer of your roof. The roof’s cladding protects it from outside elements and creates a watertight cover over your roof. Roof cladding comes in a variety of different sizes, shapes and is made from a variety of materials.

The purpose of roof cladding is to keep your house safe from harsh weather and fire, regulate temperature, and keep unwanted noise to a minimum. Roof cladding may also be referred to as ‘roof sheets’.

When it comes to roof maintenance, there’s a lot of important terms to learn. In this blog post, we’ve barely scratched the surface of roof terms. Experienced roofers don’t expect you to understand everything there is to know about roofing. However, having a basic understanding of roofing terms will increase your confidence and show your roofer you care about the work they’re doing is enough.

A well-respected roofing contractor or roofing service in Bradford will be happy to guide your roof maintenance process. Start this journey off by simply educating yourself on a few of the key terms we’ve outlined in this blog post.

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Reference video: Pro Exteriors & Construction LLC