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A Rundown of Low-Slope Roof Spec Terms


By Joe Thompson on August 26th, 2022

When you decide to go with a CertainTeed low-slope roofing system, you have a complete range of products to choose from so you can meet the specifications and requirements of nearly any job. CertainTeed’s low-slope systems are comprised of components from our Flintlastic® commercial roofing family—a versatile offering of SBS-modified bitumen products that can be hot asphalt applied, cold-adhered, torch-welded or self-adhered and APP-modified bitumen products that are torch-welded, as well as Flintglas® hot-asphalt applied BUR (built-up roofing) products.

If you peruse all the options, you’ll find gravel-surfaced, mineral-surfaced, and smooth-surfaced roof systems for both insulated and non-insulated structures. Our roof systems can have two to five plies with either a mechanically attached base sheet or fully adhered base ply. And all these features—from surfacing type to application method—are identified with CertainTeed’s unique low-slope roofing systems specification nomenclature.

Quick Guide to Low-Slope Roofing Systems Nomenclature

Flintlastic products can be used in various system configurations with specifications expressed in alphanumeric combinations. In other words, each roofing system can be described, or specified, with a series of letters. 

Cap Sheet


Base Attachment

Number of Piles

Cap Application


Self Adhered


Gravel Surface


Fully-adhered/Non-insulated substrate



Self Adhered


Atactic Polypropylene


Mineral Surfaced Cap Sheet


Fully-adhered/Insulated substrate



Torch Welded


Styrene Butadiene Styrene




Mechanically attached through insulated substrate



Cold Process (adhesive)


Built Up Roofing




Mechanically attached through non-insulated substrate



CertaFast (base sheet application)


This table, found in the CertainTeed Commercial Roof Systems Specifications manual, is like a cheat sheet for specifying CertainTeed low-slope roof systems. Let’s go column by column to understand our nomenclature.

Cap Sheet

SA indicates a self-adhered cap sheet system. APP and SBS denote an APP-modified or SBS-modified bitumen system, respectively. And BUR stands for a built-up roofing system.

The letter G tells you the system is gravel surfaced, M tells you it is mineral surfaced, and S means the system is smooth.

Base Attachment

Things get slightly more complex in this column. The letters here tell you whether your system is going down direct to the substrate or to insulation, and whether it is mechanically attached over insulation or to a nailable substrate.  

C indicates a fully adhered system with a non-insulated substrate, whether wood or concrete. But remember, once insulation is added to the system, you won’t use C in your specification. I, for insulated, stands for fully adhered with an insulated substrate. IN indicates a base sheet mechanically attached through an insulated substrate and N by itself means mechanically attached through a non-insulated substrate.

Number of Plies

This number simply tells you if there are 2, 3, 4, or 5 plies.

Cap Application

S means that cap application is self-adhered and T means it is torch welded. A stands for hot asphalt cap application and C stands for cold adhered. CF, which stands for CertaFast™, is a combination mechanical attachment/torch welded system typically used in custom specified assemblies.

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Know Your Specs to Secure Your Warranty

When you register a CertainTeed warranty, it is critical that you know the CertainTeed specification nomenclature for your particular roof system. Unfortunately, generic nomenclature that might apply to other brands’ products will not allow us to properly identify the components of your CertainTeed roof. Fortunately, we are here to help you accurately identify your installed systems so you can take full advantage of our industry-leading warranty terms.

Have a Question for Joe? 

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About Joe Thompson 

A key member of the CertainTeed Commercial Roofing Technical Services team, Joe Thompson has been assisting customers with low-slope roofing installations and inspections for nearly two decades. Not one to sit on his hardhat, he travels throughout the United States serving as lead instructor for CertainTeed’s popular Flintlastic SA commercial roofing installer-training courses. An IIBEC member in good standing, Joe has attended so many roofing educational courses that he has lost count

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