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Understanding your roof – roof glossary


Here at the Gutter & Cladding Company, the South’s leading roofline specialists, we often get visitors to our Christchurch based showroom who often feel a little lost with all the technical terms involved in the roofline industry. In this blog we are going to help you talk like a professional, so you know exactly what your home needs and can rest assured you’ve find the right solution.

There are many items in your life which have a variety of different terms, phrases, names or parlances. Take a camera for example. Most would call it a proper camera, whereas a trained photographer would call a professional camera a DSLR and know exactly what the acronym means. The building trade is no different so here are some of the most common technical terms we use.

Roofline glossary


You will be glad to know a roof is a roof! You have different types (flat, pitched, thatched etc.) but a roof is quite simply a roof.

Roof Tiles

Roof tiles are once again called, roof tiles! They do have their different types as well and the word roof tile may be proceeded with clay, composite, slate or concrete.


Most homes will have a tile roof. On out buildings, sheds or sides of homes you can find shingles. Shingles are like tiles but are made of bitumen. In the UK we traditionally have a tile roof.


The roofline is the common reference to the FSG (fascia, soffit and gutter). The roofline is designed to protect the roof, keep in the heat and direct away water.


The fascia is one of the most mistaken parts of a roof. Some people call it a soffit, others a barge board and quite commonly, even cladding! Sometimes called a capping fascia, a fascia is always a fascia. The fascia is very important as it holds the gutter and protects the eaves. Imagine on a rainy day (not hard at the moment!) how much water runs off your roof. The fascia holds the weight of the water as the gutters direct all this water away.  It is also structurally important.


Soffits are the underside of the eaves and help stop the heat from getting out of your home and damp from getting in. They are also designed to stop fire from getting into the roof space which was the original reason soffits were made from asbestos. Soffits can provide ventilation and the newer and preferred practise is to install a vent under the tile line.


Made of metal, plastic or concrete, a gutter’s primary goal is to take the flowing water away from the roof and direct it away from the building. Gutters have different style names, such as ogee. Any named gutter is still a gutter and does the same job. Gutters do have different flow rates so you will need to discuss what you need for your home with a professional.

Barge Boards

Barge boards are commonly mistaken for fascias because they are made from fascia boards. A barge board runs from the eave, diagonally up the gable and to the top of the roof known as the ridge. These can be decorative or plain and, like fascias, they’re important in protecting the tiles and timbers. Unlike the fascias however, they’re not structurally important.


Gables are flat walls which taper off to a point. The roof will run along the gable but not cover it. A gutter is not needed on a gable as gravity makes the water move down the roof diagonally. Some homes have an over extended gutter to capture run off from the dry verge.

Dry Verge / Flashings

To protect exposed tiles above the barge board a dry verge is fitted. Made of plastic, dry verges clip together and run in line with the tiles. This is a modern alternative to lead flashings.

Capping Boards

Wood without proper maintenance will rot and breakaway. Homeowners who don’t want a full fascias and soffits replacement or to maintain their wooden fascias and soffits can go for a cap over. This puts a plastic cover over the wood and protects it, reducing maintenance costs and preserving the original wood.

Box ends

Made from fascia board and uPVC trims, box ends are considered a work of art and are found on roofs which don’t have a continuous roofline, otherwise known as gable ends. Fitting box ends is highly skilled job which requires precise cuts to fit perfectly.

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Get in Touch

To learn more about what’s involved with roofline projects, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the friendly and knowledgeable team at the Gutter & Cladding Company today on 01202 470044 and we’ll be happy to help.