Understanding Australian Roofing lingo

Australian Roofing Jargon

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This article has been supplied by National Roof Inspections

With all the uncommon words and descriptions in the roofing industry, embarking on a project or engaging in a conversation with a contractor can sometimes feel like navigating a labyrinth. This feeling is often accentuated during water leaks where the communication between owner and contractor can be confusing and sometimes even counterproductive.

We’re here to shed light on the basic Australian roofing jargon to help you speak and understand the language of roofs with confidence.

Common roof terminology in Australia


This refers to the steepness or slope of a roof. A high pitch means a steeper slope, while a low pitch indicates a gentler slope. Pitch plays a crucial role in determining the roof’s shedding capacity, suitability for specific climatic conditions, and is often directly related tied to the construction of the roof as different materials and panels require different minimum pitches.


The ridge is the highest point where two sloping roof planes meet. Ridge caps are installed along the ridge to prevent water ingress where the two roofs meet.


Where a roof has four or more sloping sides, the external intersection of two adjacent sloping roof planes forms a hip.


A valley is where two downward sloping roof sections coming together to form a V-shaped depression. Valleys are prone to water accumulation, making proper installation of valley flashings or gutters crucial to prevent leaks and water damage.


A long, straight board (typically timber) that runs along the lower edge of the roof, supporting the bottom row of roof tiles or covering the ends of rafters to help protect the roof from the weather.


A gable is the triangular portion of a wall between the edges of intersecting roof pitches. Gable roofs are characterized by their distinctive triangular shape.


The soffit is the underside of the eave, extending from the outer edge of the roof to the exterior wall of the building. Soffits not only provide a finished look to the roof’s overhang but also serve as a crucial ventilation outlet, allowing air to flow into the attic.


A parapet is a low protective wall or barrier that extends above the roofline along the edge of a flat or low-sloped roof. Commonly found in commercial buildings or multi-story structures, parapets serve both functional and aesthetic purposes.


Gutters are channels installed along the edge of the roof to collect rainwater and direct it away from the building’s foundation. Box gutters are often mentioned in a body corporate context as they are very common in high-rise residential schemes and commercial/industrial builds. They are built directly into the roof’s structure to offer efficient water drainage and a seamless appearance.


Flashings are thin strips of metal or other waterproof material installed around roof penetrations, such as chimneys, vents, or skylights, to prevent water infiltration. Dry pans, a type of flashing commonly used in roofing, provide a watertight seal between adjacent roof panels or tiles and are installed horizontally

Roof inspections: Why they’re needed

Inspecting the integrity of a roof is vital to the safety of the building and its occupants. Regular inspections can identify potential hazards such as loose materials, leaks, or structural issues.

Getting the professionals to regularly conduct comprehensive roof inspections will provide you with a detailed report of the current condition, plus any defects or areas not up to Australian Standards. They may also help with a maintenance plan, breaking any maintenance into manageable chunks based on urgency, allowing you to fix the issues before they create more damage.

This article has been supplied by National Roof Inspections – independent specialist operating throughout Australia. They do not directly provide roofing services or maintenance, allowing for unbiased reports and recommendations based solely on our trade qualified expertise. Their goal is to save their customers money by avoiding costly repairs and unnecessary replacements. Contact Max at National Roof Inspections.

BCsystems is not affiliated any business mentioned in this article. We receive NO benefit, kickbacks or commission for mentioning or displaying links on our website

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