The Canyon State Roofing Glossary – Part 1

Working with a Sun City roofer can sometimes be a little confusing because you don’t understand the words that are being used to describe your roof repair or new roof installation. You may also run into the same problem when you start googling information about your roof, and you get lost by the jargon used on the page.

the canyon state roofing glossary part 1

Here at Canyon State Roofing and Consulting in Arizona, we put service first. That means that our Peoria roofers will always answer your questions politely and make sure you have a full understanding of the issue before signing onto the repair or new roof. We’ve also put together this handy glossary to help you better understand the information regarding metal buildings that you may encounter here on our web site:


A truss is a framework consisting of several posts that provides the support for your roof. It also determines the shape of your roof, read more to find out the different shapes. Truss posts that have been damaged may be able to be replaced individually, depending on where they are. Some damage may require replacement of the whole truss, which is an extensive roof repair in Sun City that will require a whole new roof installation.


A joist is a piece of wood or steel that runs parallel to the ceiling to provide support. If you go into your attic, you will see a floor of several joists to which the sheetrock for your ceiling is attached. Sometimes, joists can be damaged by water from a leaking roof. They can become rotted or moldy, and they will require replacing.


peoria roofers working on roof with machinery A rafter is a beam that extends from the eave to the peak of your roof. Rafters form the top part of a truss, and they provide the base support for the roof.


Pitch refers to the angle of your roof. It is calculated as a ratio that compares the number of inches it rises vertically to every 12 inches it extends horizontally. If a roof rises eight inches for 12 inches of horizontal distances, it is said to have an 8-in-12 pitch. Pitch will determine what type of roofing materials may be used on the roof.


Load refers to the number of pounds per square foot that your roof can safely bear. You must know the load of roofing material to ensure that it can handle the local climate, such as heavy rains or snow drifts. The load of beams and decking is also important to know when choosing heavy roofing materials, such as slate tile.


Tile is a roofing material that can be made of clay, concrete, natural stone, slate and more.


A flat roof is one that has no pitch. It does not rise vertically. Therefore, it does not rely on gravity to eliminate water, and special materials and measures must be used to prevent water from accumulating on the roof.


Foam is a popular roofing type for flat roofs. The polyurethane foam is sprayed on as a liquid, and it hardens when it dries. The surface does not have any cracks or openings in which to allow water, so it provides superior protection for flat roofs.


Shingle is another popular choice for roofing material. Shingle is in the shape of a flat sheet with tabs, and it is often made of asphalt and other synthetic materials. It is relatively affordable and has a healthy life span, which is what makes it a common choice for residential roofs, visit for more information!


Flashing refers to thin pieces of waterproof material that are used around items that intersect the roof, such as a chimney or vent. Flashing seals the roof between the item and the other roofing material, such as the tile or shingle.

Shear Force

Shear force refers a force pushing against one part of an item in one direction. In roofing, this most often occurs at the footing of a truss, where a diagonal beam is pushing down on a horizontal beam. The force can create shear stress, which can bend the beam and weaken it.

sun city roofing materials on roof Underlayment

Underlayment is the first layer of roofing on the wood backing. It provides waterproofing in case leaks occur in the shingle or tile.


Felt is what roofers commonly refer to when they discuss underlayment. The felt paper, or roofing felt, also protects the roof while the shingle or tile is still being installed, and it provides roofers more even footing while they are completing a new roof installation.


Backing, also known as substrate, is the wooden “floor” under your roofing materials. The wood is nailed to the rafters, and it comes just before the underlayment.


Membrane is usually made from rubber, bitumen or thermoplastic (such as PVC). It is designed to move water off a flat roof and to prevent leaks.


Slope is another way that roofers refer to pitch.

Cat Claw

A cat claw is the pronged end of a pry bar that is used to remove nails from the roof.

Nail Gun

A nail gun uses compressed air to drive nails into wood and other materials. Roofers use a nail gun instead of a hammer to increase precision and to work more quickly.


roofing supplies for canyon state roofing An air compressor is used to power a nail gun or staple gun. Compressed air is released to apply force to the nail or staple, which then “shoots” it out quickly and into the material that the gun is pressed up against.

Pancake Compressor

A pancake compressor is a smaller air compressor that is used for small jobs, such as a roof repair. The compressor is lighter and more portable since it contains a smaller volume of compressed air. It is referred to as a pancake compressor because it has a low, wide profile like a pancake. You may hear other terms used by your roofer during your inspection or consultation. If you are ever confused, just ask! Our friendly professionals will help you understand everything needed to get the best roof for your property. Or call us in Arizona to learn more.

Published By:

James McLain Owner and Phoenix Roofing Contractor at Canyon State RoofingCanyon State Roofing

4809 E. Thistle Landing, #100
Phoenix, AZ 85044

Office: (602) 400-1635