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Expand your roofing vocabulary beyond just shingles! Explore the intricacies of eaves, dormers, and other roof components with insights from our experienced Geneva roofer.

The Advantage Roofing team aims to provide valuable insights into the products we install and service. In this space, we strive to offer comprehensive information about various roofing components, from common materials like shingles to lesser-known elements such as eaves and dormers. We aim to equip you with the knowledge to make informed decisions about roofing projects.

So, grab a pencil and paper to jot down your favorite new roofing facts to share with your friends. Who knows – your new knowledge could come in handy on the next roofing trivia night! Okay, maybe that’s only a thing in our office.

Common Roofing Terms

Let’s start with the basics. You likely know these terms, but they’ll give us a baseline, and we’ll increase your knowledge and vocabulary from there.


Shingles are overlapping rectangular, square, or other-shaped roofing materials typically made of asphalt. They are installed in overlapping rows on the roof to provide weatherproofing and protection against the elements.

Asphalt shingles are installed in 100-foot-square sheets and secured to your roof using nails. These shingles are fortified with granules, enhancing their weather resistance. For those seeking the appearance of asphalt shingles but with added durability, there is now the option of metal roofing designed to mimic the look of asphalt. 


Gutters are troughs or channels typically installed along the roof’s edge to collect rainwater and channel it away from your home. They prevent water damage to the structure, landscaping, and foundation by directing rainwater to designated drainage areas or downspouts.

If you ever have a leak, check your gutters because damage and clogs can cause water to pool on your roof. Damaged downspouts can allow water to go back into your gutters and onto your roof.


Skylights are roof-installed windows made of glass or acrylic designed to bring natural light from overhead into indoor areas. They provide additional illumination to rooms, creating a brighter and more spacious atmosphere and offering views of the sky and surrounding environment.

Skylights are also prime locations for leaks. Regular leak inspections by a Geneva roofer can identify weak seals that need attention. Skylights are also prone to accumulating debris and experiencing wear and tear over time, making regular maintenance and inspections essential to ensure they remain watertight and functional.

Less Commonly Known Roofing Components

Let’s move on to some terms you may not be as familiar with. You’ve likely heard of these roofing components, but now you can discuss them intelligently with your Geneva roofer.


Roof eaves extend beyond a building’s walls, forming the lower edges of the roof. They serve several purposes, including protection from the elements by directing rainwater away from the structure’s exterior walls and foundation. 

Eaves also help prevent water damage to the building’s interior by keeping runoff from windows, doors, and siding. Additionally, eaves can provide shade to windows during sunny days and help regulate temperature and moisture levels in the attic space.

DormersGeneva roofer

Dormers are structural elements added to a sloped roof, typically featuring a vertical window and surrounding roof section. They expand usable space and improve aesthetics by adding headroom and natural light to upper levels. 

However, their design leaves them vulnerable to leaks. 

Routine inspections by a qualified Geneva roofer are essential for detecting and addressing dormer-related issues safeguarding your roof’s integrity and your home’s interior.


Roof flashing is a thin material, usually made of metal or plastic, installed around roof “holes,” such as chimneys, vents, and skylights, to prevent water infiltration. Flashings direct water away from vulnerable areas, ensuring your roof remains watertight. 

Regular roof flashing inspections are crucial to detect and address any damage or deterioration promptly. Neglected flashing can lead to water leaks, causing extensive damage to your home’s interior and structure.

Technical Terminology

Impress your friends with your knowledge of the more technical aspects of your roof. Again, these will be great for trivia night!


Your roof’s underlayment is the protective layer installed beneath the exterior roofing material (like shingles or tiles). It acts as a secondary moisture barrier, providing additional waterproofing and insulation for the roof. It also provides an extra defense against harsh weather conditions, like rain and wind. 

Regular inspections and maintenance of the underlayment can spot and address any signs of wear or damage, helping to prolong the roof’s life and protect the property from water-related issues.

Modified Bitumen

Modified bitumen roofing material is derived from asphalt, but it requires the addition of various additives to enhance its suitability for roofing applications. By incorporating polymers and other substances, the performance of unmodified bitumen is improved, resulting in a more flexible, durable, and resistant material. 

These enhancements make modified bitumen a preferred option for low-slope or flat roofing projects, as it can withstand temperature variations and other environmental factors more effectively.

Solar Attic Fans

We’ve all seen the chef’s hat-type fans whirling on rooftops. But did you know that solar attic fans are much more effective at ventilating your attic? Solar attic fans use solar panels to harness sunlight, providing consistent airflow in your attic without relying on wind. 

Reducing attic temperatures alleviates the strain on your air conditioning system and lowers energy bills. Unlike traditional electric fans, solar attic fans are environmentally friendly, utilize renewable energy, and potentially qualify for tax credits. Additionally, they help prevent moisture buildup, protecting against wood rot and mold growth.

Why Should You Know These Terms?

Understanding basic roof terminology is essential for effectively communicating with your Geneva roofer and making informed decisions about your home. Each roof component, from shingles to flashing, protects your home from the elements. 

By learning these terms, you can better maintain your roof, spot potential issues early, and ensure your home stays safe and secure. Familiarity with roof terminology gives you confidence when discussing roofing projects with contractors, helping protect your home’s most valuable investment. Contact us today with all of your roofing needs!