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This glossary was designed to help those not directly involved in roofing with their understanding of roofing terminology. Many technical and chemical terms were not included.
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AAMA: American Architectural Manufacturers Association

Absorption: The act or process of retaining foreign particles such as gas or liquid without transmission of these particles.

ACI: American Concrete Institute

Acid Etch: (1) The use of a strong acid to remove the surface of concrete thereby exposing the aggregate. (2) The use of a strong acid to etch the surface of material such as metal in order for that material to accept a primer or Spray Polyurethane Foam.

ACIL: American Council of Independent Laboratories

Acrylic Coating: A coating system with an acrylic resin base.

Acrylic Resin: Polymers of acrylic or methacrylic monomers often used as a latex base for coating systems.

Active: Will corrode in the presence of moisture or a "noble" metal.

Adhere: The clinging of one surface to another; either molecularly or otherwise.

Adhesion: The state of adhering

AFA: American Fiberboard Association

AGC: Associated General Contractors of America

Aggregate: A surfacing or ballast for a roof system. Aggregate can be rock, stone, crushed stone or slag, water-worn gravel, crushed lava rock or marble chips.

AHA: American Hardboard Association

AIA: American Institute of Architects

Air Blown Asphalt: Asphalt produced by blowing air through molten asphalt held at an elevated temperature. This procedure is used to modify properties of the asphalt.

Alligatoring: The cracking of the surfacing bitumen on a built-up roof, producing a pattern of cracks that resemble an alligator’s hide. <picture>

Aluminized Steel: Sheet steel with a thin aluminum coating on the surface to enhance the steel’s ability to withstand weathering.

Aluminum: A non-rusting metal used in roofing for metal roofing and the fabrication of gutter and flashings.

Ambient Temperature: The temperature of the air.

Anodic: When two metals are connected in an electrolyte, they will form a galvanic cell, with the higher metal in the galvanic series being the anode. The anodic will oxidize and produce an electrical current which protects the cathode from corrosion.

ANSI: American National Standards Institute

APA: American Plywood Association

APP: See Atactic Polypropylene.

Application Rate: The rate at which a material is applied per unit area.

Apron Flashing: A flashing located at the low end of a curb or penetration.

Architectural Panel: A metal roof panel that usually requires solid decking underneath.

Architectural Shingle: Shingle that provides a dimensional appearance. See also Dimensional Shingle.

Area Divider: A flashed assembly usually extending above the surface of the roof that is anchored to the roof deck. It is used to relieve thermal stresses in a roof system where an expansion joint is not required, or to separate large roof areas.

ARMA: Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association

ASA: American Subcontractors Association

Asbestos: An incombustible fibrous mineral form of magnesium silicate formerly used for fireproofing and sometimes used for the reinforcement of roofing materials.

ASC: Associated Specialty Contractors

ASHI: American Society of Home Inspectors

ASHRAE: American Society of Heating, Refrigerating & Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc.

Asphalt: A substance left as a residue after evaporating or otherwise processing crude oil or petroleum. Asphalt can be refined to conform to various roofing grade specifications:

  • Dead-Level Asphalt: A roofing asphalt conforming to the requirements of ASTM Specification D 312, Type I. This asphalt is for use in roofs which do not exceed a ¼ in 12 slope (2%).
  • Flat Asphalt: A roofing asphalt conforming to the requirements of ASTM Specification D 312, Type II. This asphalt is for use in roofs which do not exceed a ½ in 12 slope (4%).
  • Steep Asphalt: A roofing asphalt conforming to the requirements of ASTM Specification D 312, Type III. This asphalt is for use in roofs which do not exceed a 3 in 12 slope (25%).
  • Special Steep Asphalt: A roofing asphalt conforming to the requirements of ASTM Specification D 312, Type IV. This asphalt is for use in roofs which do not exceed a 6 in 12 slope (50%).

Asphalt Emulsion: A mixture of asphalt particles and an emulsifying agent such as bentonite clay and water.

Asphalt Felt: An asphalt-saturated and/or an asphalt-coated felt membrane. (See also Felt.)

Asphalt Primer: See Primer.

Asphalt Roof Cement: The proper name for Plastic Cement and Flashing Cement. Asphalt roof cement consists of solvent-based bitumen, mineral stabilizers, and other fibers (sometimes asbestos). Asphalt roof cement is categorized by ASTM standard D 2822-91 (1997) or for non-asbestos, ASTM standard D 4586-93.

  • Plastic Cement is for use on low-slope surfaces, conforms to ASTM Specification D 312, Type I; Specification D 449, Types I or II; or Specification D 946. Plastic Cement is self-sealing, adhesive and ductile and is classified by ASTM Standard D 2822-91 Asphalt Roof Cement, and D 4586-92 Asphalt Roof Cement, Asbestos-Free, Types I and II.
  • Flashing Cement can be used on vertical surfaces and has a high softening point, low ductility and conforms to the requirement of ASTM Specification D 312, Types II or III; or Specification D 449, Type III.

ASTM: American Society for Testing and Materials

Atactic Polypropylene: A group of high molecular weight polymers formed by the polymerization of propylene.

Attic: The open area above the ceiling and under the roof deck of a steep-sloped roof.

AWPA: American Wood Preservatives Association

AWS: American Welding Society

  
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