Glossary of Metal Roofing Terms

We use a variety of terms when describing metal roofing and our related services. In the industry, these metal roofing terms are as common as saying “hello” and are important for understanding our operations. But if you’re not familiar with these words or phrases, it can quickly become confusing, especially if you are new to working with metal roofing or ordering metal roofing for the first time. At Great Northern Metal Co., we want to set you up for success on your next metal roofing/siding job. We curated a glossary of metal roofing terms to set you up for success.

Glossary of Metal Roofing Terms

Clip – A small metal component used to fasten two pieces of metal to each other. It can also be used to fasten standing seam or metal shingles to solid decking.

Common Panels – A roof section’s main panel length.

Concealed Fastener – Concealed fastener metal roofing is attached to the substructure without visible fasteners.

Deck – The surface installed over the building’s frame. Metal roofing is applied to the deck.

Dormers – A framed window unit that projects through the sloping plane of the roof.

Eave – The low side of a roof pitch where water would exit the roof.

Endwall – Area where the roof meets a wall that is perpendicular to the roof slope.

Exposed Fastener – An exposed fastener is where the fastener remains visible once metal panels are installed. Exposed fastener metal roofs have panels that are overlapped and fastened directly to the framing or roof deck through the face of the panel.

Gable – The top part of a sidewall that comes to a triangular point at the ridge of a pitched roof.

Gable Dormer – Two pitched roof sections projecting away from the plane of the main roof section.

Galvanized Steel – Carbon steel covered with a protective alloy on both sides of the steel that consists largely of zinc. Different grades of galvanized steel roofing are available based on the thickness of the coating.

Gauge – The thickness of the metal used for a metal roof.

High Side Eave – The top side of a single slope roof section that does not butt into a wall.

Hip – The external inclined angle formed by the intersection of two roof planes that are sloping.

Hip/Valley Panel – Any panel leading into a hip/valley situation stepping down in length from the common panel measurement.

Hip Ridge – The area of the roof where two roof planes meet at an angle and form a ridge.

Ice Dam – When snow melts on the upper section of a roof near ridge lines then refreezes on the eaves. This process of melting and refreezing can cause water to back up and leak through roofing panels.

Overhang – The piece of the roof that extends beyond the outside walls of the building.

Pitch – Also referred to as slope, a metal roof pitch refers to how “steep” a roof is by measuring “rise” over “run.”

Rake – Also referred to as gable. The side of a gabled roof running parallel to the slope

Ridge – The peak of a gabled roof. It can be vented or non vented

Rise – The vertical distance measured to determine the pitch.

Run – The horizontal distance measured to determine the pitch.

Sidewall – The area where the roof meets a wall that is parallel to the roof slope.

Shed Dormer – Single pitched roof section projecting away from the plane of the main roof section.

Snow Breaks – A snow break (sometimes called a snow stop or a snow guard) is a device installed on a roof to help snow and ice melt off slowly and in an organized way.

Substrate – The surface a metal roofing system is applied on.

Transition – When the plane of a roof changes pitch.

Valley – The area of a roof where two roof planes intersect at a right angle and where water runs off.

Ready to Chat about Your Metal Roofing Project?

Now that you know the necessary metal roofing terms, chat with our experts today to get started on your next project. At Great Northern Metal Company, our team can help you select the best roofing material and design to fit any job, big or small, commercial or residential. If you have questions or want a quote on your roofing project, drop us a line or call us at (406) 624-0435.

Additional Resources

Guides and How-tos
Are Metal Roofs Good for Snow & More Cold Weather FAQs

Are Metal Roofs Good for Snow & More Cold Weather FAQs

If you call Montana your home, you’ve seen how important it is to have residential and commercial buildings that can withstand the icy elements. Roofs can collapse under heavy snowfall or lose shingles, letting frigid air into our cozy homes. Since cold weather and...

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