As with all sectors, the roofing industry has its own collection of specialist definitions and technical terms.

We understand that while all homeowners have a roof, many are unfamiliar with the names given to its various parts.

From abutments to verges, this blog post decodes the roofers’ lingo, helping you to understand written descriptions of work and generally making communication between you and your roofing contractor easier.

The Parts of a Roof Explained

When we talk about the eaves of a roof, we mean its lowest horizontal edge. Sometimes this will terminate flush with the outer face of the wall (flush eaves) but often the eaves extend beyond the wall with a board known as a soffit underneath.

Rafters/Common Rafters/Spars:
These are different terms for the sloping lengths of timber which rise from the eaves to the ridge and support the roof covering.

This is the highest point of a pitched roof where the heads of the rafters (spars) meet.

The gable is the upper part of a side wall (or flank wall). It is often triangle in shape since it comes to a point at the ridge.

The verge is the edge of the roof at the gable end. It runs from the eaves to the ridge.

Ridge Tile:
A specially designed tile which covers the ridge apex of a pitched roof.

Hipped Roof:
A hipped roof is where the end is sloped rather than vertical, meeting the sides of the roof at a non-vertical angle (the hips).

The internal angle where two roof structures meet. The wood member at the intersection is known as the valley rafter.

A junction whereby the pitched surface of a roof meets a wall or similar structure. This is often found in roof or building extensions.

A vertical board which runs along the edge of the rafters at the eaves and to which the gutter is often attached.

A horizontal board placed between the eaves of the roof and the external wall. Fascias, soffits and gutters are sometimes termed rainwater goods.

Barge Board:
Some gable ends feature an extended fascia known as a barge board. These can be very ornate in some period properties.

Other Roofing Terms:

A structure, usually containing walls (cheeks) and a roof, which extends vertically from the plane of a pitched roof. It can bring light and space into an attic.

GRP (Glass Reinforced Plastic):
Also known as fibreglass, GRP is a strong but light composite material made from a polyester resin reinforced with chopped strand mat glass fibres to form a laminate.