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Glossary of Terms Used in Roofing

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Glossary of Terms Used in Roofing

Acrylic Elastomeric Coating

Liquid roofing and wall coating material comprised of acrylic resin; a type of plastic that is weather and UV resistant. Acrylic elastomeric coatings are utilized to create what is known as cool roofs, because of their high reflectivity.


Bubbles that appear on the surface of a roofing system that indicate damage sustained due to extreme heat and material breakdown.


The process of covering the rivets and fastening heads that attach metal roofing components together with caulk. This not only seals the holes in the roofing materials caused by the penetration of the rivets and fastening heads but also protects them from corrosion.

Cool Roof

A highly reflective roofing system that is capable of reflecting UV rays and emitting – or radiating – absorbed solar energy. Cool roofs reduce heat transfer and, thereby, reduce the amount of energy required to mechanically-cooled interior air. This, in effect, reduces pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, which ultimately reduces the carbon footprint of the property.

Energy Star

The standard that measures and rates the energy efficiency of consumer products. The Energy Star rating system was established in 1992 in the United States by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy.

Fire Rating

Similar to the R-Value utilized to measure the insulating properties of a substance. A fire rating measures the amount of time that any given material can withstand a range of temperatures before combusting.


Materials used to seal and protect the corners and valleys of a roofing system. Flashing is also utilized to seal the protruding bases of ventilation pipes, duct work and chimneys.


Small cracks or tears in the surface of a roofing system that provide water access to the substrate roofing materials and interior spaces of the property.


This term literally means cast as a single piece or composed of a massive, cohesive and undifferentiated whole. A monolithic roof coating is a single and seamless layer, which means it is very much like a large umbrella.

Parapet Wall

A barrier or built up wall that extends above the height of a building’s rooftop to hide ventilation and HVAC systems, and; to prevent water from running down the face of the building. Elastomeric coatings are often applied to the parapet wall, whenever roofing renovations are performed, to ensure that any cracks or potential leaks at the intersection of the wall and rooftop are sealed.


The gathering of water in depressed areas in a roofing system. Still, sitting water, or ponding water, on a rooftop can contribute to material breakdown as well as the growth of molds and algae.


A measurement of the thermal resistance of a product per inch of applied material thickness. An easier way to understand the R-Value rating system is to contemplate the R-Value rating of any given material in terms of time. Insulation with an R-Value of 7, for instance, will take 7 hours to penetrate, which means it will take approximately 7 hours for the external heat or cold to travel through the material and affect the interior temperatures of a property.


An inherent property of a substance or surface to deflect – or throw back – light. Reflectivity is a vital characteristic of SPF, silicone and acrylic elastomeric coatings, because it is this quality that helps create the cool roof effect and reduce energy consumption.

Silicone Elastomeric Coating

Liquid roofing and wall coating material with a silicone base, which is a heat-resistant, hydrophobic and rubber-like material that bonds to virtually any substrate material to which it is applied.

Sprayed Polyurethane Foam (SPF)

Liquid insulation that is spray-applied. This material expands to many times its original size, and is utilized for a multitude of purposes. High density formulas are applied to restore aging and damaged roofing systems. SPF supplies insulation at an R-Value of 7 per inch of material thickness. It is also waterproof, eliminates thermal bridging and it is durable enough to withstand foot traffic associated with regular maintenance.

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