Ceiling & Roofing Glossary

Do you need bit more help understanding your quotation? Perhaps you can’t explain what has happened to your ceiling? To assist we have put together a glossary to help you better understand the world of ceiling and roofing repairs.


Asbestos – This is a ‘greyish’ mineral that separates readily into long, flexible fibers. Asbestos used to be a primary product in many materials e.g. insulation, roofing shingles, floor and ceiling tiles, cement pipes and other building materials. Prolonged inhalation of tiny asbestos fibers are dangerous and can cause asbestosis. Asbestos can be a cause of lung cancer or other serious lung diseases.

Anticon Blanket – foil/sarking surface sheet covering a glasswool blanket.

Architrave – framing around door or window.


Batt – pieces of fabric (usually fiberglass insulation) used for ‘stuffing’ and ‘batting’.

Batten – a batten is a roofing or tile batten. ‘Roofing lathe’ is another name for a batten. A Batten is installed horizontally and in-place. This therefore supports materials such as tiles or tin sheets. In addition, the spacing of a batten is dependent on the type of roofing material used.

Back-blocking – usually a 200mm2 – 300mm2 piece of Gyprock secured at interims using Gyprock adhesive along joint lines on the topside of a Gyprock ceiling (via roof cavity). They provide structural reinforcement to a Gyprock ceiling. ‘Back-blocking’ is now a requirement under standard ref: AS/NZS 2589:2007.

Bargeboard – a bargeboard is fixed to the gable end of a roof structure. They conceal the ends of roof timbers whilst providing aesthetic benefit.

Black mould – known as Stachybotrys Chartarum, producing toxins called Mycotoxins. One of the few toxic moulds that can grow in the home and poses extreme danger to humans.

Bradford (CSR) – Australian manufacturer of insulation products.


Cathedral ceiling – Usually mirroring the gradient and shape of the roof structure. Typically high pitched and symmetrical in shape.

CSR – CSR is an Australian manufacturer of plasterboard products.

Cellulose insulation – Cellulose is an old form of an insulation product. This insulation was made up of a range of materials such as:

  • Newspaper (hammer milled)
  • Cardboard
  • Cotton
  • Straw
  • Sawdust
  • Hemp
  • Corncob.

Cornice – horizontal decorative moulding, typically installed at the top edge of where wall and ceiling meets, concealing any imperfections and adding an aesthetic quality to a room,

Colorbond – a painted steel sheet product. Furthermore, zinc and aluminum are both used to coat these sheets. Therefore, this coating ensures that the colorbond sheet remains rust proof.

Ceiling rose – this is a fixed decorative circular. A light fitting or chandelier may be suspended from a ceiling rose.

Cowl – covers flue pipe or chimney. Therefore, a cowl prevents water from entering.


Eaves – Eaves are part of the roof that overhangs the building. Overall, these are certainly practical design features for both hot and wet weather.

Eave vent – small ceiling-like vent installed into exterior eave, allowing fresh air to enter and circulate in roof cavity.

Edmonds (CSR) – Australian manufacturer of ventilation products.


Flexipoint cement – pre-mixed and pre-coloured flexible pointing compound used to point ridgecaps of roof tiles.

Flashing – Flashing is installed around the joints of a structure. It is a watertight material. A common material used for flashing is lead.

Fixing/s – fastener used to secure a material down in place.

Flue stack – a Flue stack is a vertical pipe which gases from, like a type of chimney.

Fibrous plaster – hessian dipped in plaster and cast in a mould. Finally, this plaster is strengthened by timber laths and ribs.

Felt – a bitumen/tar material roll. Felt is used on the underside of roof fabric. Above all, it is a waterproof membrane i.e. tile or tin.


Gable – the end of a roof and triangular in shape

Gutter valley – ‘V’ shaped gutter located between two sloping sections of roof. The valley directs rain water down to the gutter at perimeter of roof space.

GyprockGyprock is a building material used for walls and ceilings. Gyprock sheets are made up of compacted plaster, covered with thick facer and backer paper.

Gutter – trough-like design installed beneath roof fabric at perimeter of roof space. Gutters will direct and drain rainwater.


Hardieboard – Hardieboard is a cement fiber sheet. It is commonly used for external eaves.

Hip Roof – roof with no gables or vertical sides

Joist – horizontal structuring used to frame open spaces, typically between beams and transfer load to vertical structure


Knauf – New Zealand manufacturer of insulation and plasterboard products.

Keys – part of the roof that overhangs a building not closed-in. For example, these parts are not closed-in with fibro-cement sheeting. Therefore, allowing natural airflow into the roof cavity.


Lath and plaster – consisting of lath, plaster and keys. Construction method used for ceilings and walls circa <1950


Mould – Mould is a type of Fungi and grows best in damp and badly ventilated areas. Mould grows in ceilings of rooms with high humidity and condensation. Furthermore, mould is likely to grow in rooms with water leaks. You can see here on how to fix ceiling mould.


Natural Ventilation – Natural Ventilation is our preferred method of getting air into the home. External natural air is allowed to enter and exit the home via doors and windows.


Open Eave – part of a roof which overhangs the building not closed in i.e. parts not closed-in with fibro-cement sheeting. An open eave allows natural airflow into the roof cavity.


Plasterboard – used for ceilings and stud walls. Plasterboard is made up of plaster (calcium sulphate dehydrate) and paper covering.

Pointing – filling brickwork joints with mortar. Pointing is also commonly used on a roof to apply flexi-point cement to ridge cap tiles.

Prop-jack – Telescopic steel post used for temporary ceiling support

Pinnacle – small pointed structure on top of a building

Parapet – low protective wall located along perimeter/edge of roof


R-Value – measure of heat flow through a set thickness of material

Roof vent – used to disperse heat from a roof space in Summer or assist with condensation in Winter. Can be wind or electrically driven

Raked ceiling – can have exposed rafters and minimal/non-existent roof cavity above ceiling. Other skillion ceilings may be battened-out over rafters, allowing installation of Gyprock or plasterglass ceilings. This in turn creates a skillion roof cavity of circa 90 mm, allowing enough space for an insulation product to be installed.

Rafter – load-bearing beam forming part of the internal structure of a roof

Rockwool insulation – also know as ‘mineral wool’ insulation. Rockwool insulation is made from volcanic rock and other raw materials. Furthermore, it is engineered and formed into fibers, resulting in a wool-like texture.


Sarking – this is a building fabric (typically reflective foil). Sarking is generally found fixed to roof structures before tiles or tin are installed. This therefore provides insulation benefits and acts as a watertight membrane.

Sagging – ceiling sagging can occur for several reasons, including too much weight exerted on ceilings. For instance:

  • insulation Poorly installed insulation.
  • plasterglass strapping that has not been maintained.
  • Water ingress.

Any of the aforementioned can result in visual sagging of a ceiling. Left too long without attention, a sagging ceiling will certainly collapse. Consequently, this may lead to disruption around the home including expensive rectification costs.

Strapping – plasterglass ceilings need ceiling straps. These straps secure and hold the ceiling in place. They are traditionally made up of horse hair and plaster, whilst the more modern mix is fiber glass strands and plaster. The product is lay across a joist and plasterglass ceiling.

Silicon – Silicon acts both as a sealant and an adhesive. It is also a finishing product. You will find Silicon mainly used around edges of flashing. Therefore, silicon ensures a water seal on the flashing. Finally, it is also great as a temporary overnight fix for roof works.

Soffit – the underside of a structure. Such as an overhanging eave or balcony.

Skillion ceiling – can have exposed rafters and minimal/non-existent roof cavity above ceiling. Consequently, Gyprock or plasterglass is used to create a smooth surface. This can in turn create a cavity of circa 90 mm, which will allow enough space for an insulation product to be installed.

Skirting – timber trimming material used to run along base of interior wall


Tile – building fabric used for covering roof structure. Tiles are made from baked clay and installed in overlapping rows.

Truss – structural framework of a roof, made up of rafters, struts and posts.

Vaulted ceiling – Typically arched in design. Therefore, ceilings raised higher than 2.4 m are generally considered vaulted.


Whirlybird – used to disperse heat from a roof space in Summer. Whilst assisting with condensation in Winter. Whirlybirds are driven by wind or electricity.

Washer – will seal and spread pressure. In addition, a washer can act like a spacer. Therefore, providing a water seal for roof fixings.

Weep Holes – a weep hole is a drilled hole, creating a drainage system for trapped water e.g. a brick in a wall or window frame.


Zincalume – comprised of 55% aluminium, 43.5% zinc and 1.5% silicon, which therefore results in a very durable metal. Lifespan of x 4 any galvanized steel roof. Simply contact our friendly team at Pinnacle today for an obligation free inspection and quotation.


At Pinnacle Roofing and Ceiling Services we pride ourselves on a friendly, reliable service combined with good honest work.

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