Roofing Jargon Guide: What Does it all Mean?

Commercial roof definitions

We understand how confusing it can be when trying to keep up with common roofing lingo. Just like people most likely don’t follow the terminology you use in your industry, we’re well aware that most building owners don’t commonly use “thermal stress” and “r-value”. That’s why we’re creating a comprehensive guide! Now, following along with your roofer’s terms is easier than before! 

Here’s What Our Jargon All Means

ACM (Aluminum Composite Material): ACM is installed on the exterior wall of buildings and is used by many innovative architects. ACM is manufactured by bonding thin aluminum skins to both sides of a lightweight, thermoplastic core and can be used to create complex shapes.

Aggregate: This refers to mineral-based material (think stone, rock, or gravel) that’s been condensed. It’s a common surface material that’s used in construction.

BUR/Built-Up Roofing: If we’re throwing this word around, it means that there are layers of different materials that are being used in order to waterproof your building. Typically, BUR exists in older commercial buildings. 

Coating: A layer of a liquid-applied chemical material that’s added to a roof’s surface in order to waterproof your roof.

Deck/Sheathing: This is a surface that typically consists of plywood or oriented strand board. However, they can also be metal or concrete. We apply roofing materials to this.      

Densdeck/Prime Roof Board: This is the layer of board placed on top of the insulation and beneath the membrane. This board is made up of a fiberglass mat-faced, noncombustible, nonstructural, gypsum core panel.

Flashing: This is a thin material we use (usually, it’s steel) in order to direct water away from critical areas of the roof. This will keep your roof lasting longer in the event of harsh weather.

Galvanized Steel: This occurs when steel is coated with zinc to make it resistant to corrosion and avoid rust.

IBC/International Building Code: A model set of building standards which is established by the International Code Council or ICC. This applies to all low-density residential buildings and is a code we abide by in order to protect public health and safety.

Membrane: This is a flexible material that’s installed above the insulation and helps to waterproof your building. This creates a watertight roof covering and protects the interior.

Preventative Maintenance: This is a proactive approach our team takes in order to care for your roof and prevent future problems. This way, you can increase the lifespan of your roof, all while saving money instead of needing to buy a new roof! To learn more about our maintenance program, learn more here.

R-Value: The measure of resistance to heat flow. We check this because there are requirements established by the state that requires a minimum thermal resistance on commercial, industrial, or institutional buildings.   

Slope/Roof Pitch – A slope refers to the steepness of a roof. This is determined by the angular degrees that the surface deviates from horizontal level. This roof’s surface may be either ‘functionally flat’ or pitched.

Substrate: Roofing or waterproofing membranes are applied to this in order to keep a structural roof on a deck, an underlayment, or a cover board protected and intact before thermal insulation.

Tensile Strength: This is the amount of pressure a coating can withstand before it breaks. We need to know this in order to create the most durable roofing installation for your building’s needs!

Thermal Stress: As temperatures vary due to seasonal changes and daily shifts in temperature, your roof will expand and contract in response. This causes stress to your roof over time and leads to eventual damage down the road.

Vents: Roofs need to be able to exchange indoor and outdoor air in order to prevent heat from building up. Venting in a roof is needed in order to allow air to escape.

Water Infiltration: If water gets into your roof, it’ll leak and cause quick damage (usually, this is when you’ll need to act fast and take advantage of our 24/7 preventative maintenance). We’ll make sure to prevent leakage and damage down the road in order to keep this from happening again! 

That’s it! Those are the fifteen terms you’ll generally want to know when working with us. Still have questions? Not a problem! Our team will walk you through each of our services and processes in order to meet your needs and find the right fix for your building. Reach out to our dedicated team to get started!