What Siding Terms Should I Know?

Do you know what a soffit is? What about a fascia? Learn these home siding terms and so you can get what you want from your contractor.

Do you know what a soffit is? What about a fascia? Learn these home siding terms and so you can get what you want from your contractor.

Backerboard: A board or other flat surface nailed between the studs of an exterior wall that provides a surface on which to attach siding.

Battens: Strips of wood used to seal joints in wood siding.

Beveled: Tapered, opposed to rectangular, clapboards.

Butt Edge: The part of siding that pertrudes from the exterior wall.

Buttlock: The bottom edge of a vinyl siding panel that locks into the previously installed panel.

Caulking: A material or substance used to adhere siding to other building materials.

Center Butt: A crease in the center of a siding panel that makes the siding look like two pieces instead of one piece.

Channel: The area on a piece of trim or post, such as an inside or outside corner or a J- or F- Channel, where home siding or soffit panels are inserted.

Clapboard: Long, rectangular wooden siding that is installed horizontally in an overlapping manner.

Composition Board: Sheets of weather-resistant compressed wood fibers used as home siding.

Course: One row of siding that runs from one horizontal or vertical edge to another.

Cupping: The warping of wood plank siding.

Double Course: When new siding is laid on top of a layer of shingles or shakes.

Drip Cap/Head Flashing: Trim that prevents water from running behind vertical siding. Also used over windows and doors.\

Dutchlap or Shiplap: The wide trim along the roofline above the vinyl siding.

Eaves: The overhanging lower edge of a roof.

Exposure (or Reveal): The width of a board of siding.

F-Channel (F-Molding or F-Trim): F-shaped molding used to trim siding that's installed at a 90-degree angle.

Face: The area of vinyl siding that is visible after installation.

Face Nailing: The act of fastening nails onto the visible part of the siding (or face), as opposed to using the nail hem slot.

Fascia (or Fascia Board): A horizontal board that runs along the lower end of a roof and covers the joint between the top of the wall and the eaves.

Finish/Pattern: The type of texture or level of gloss of a piece of siding.

Finishing Trim: The finished edge of a piece of panel. 

Flange: Material used to deflect water from siding or trim to prevent damage to the home.

Flashing: A sheet of aluminum or some other metal that is used on exterior walls above the doors and windows to keep water out of a building.

Frieze: A decorative, horizontal band that connects the top of the siding to the soffit.

Furring Strip: A wooden or steel framing material applied to provide an even nailing base. 

Gable: The upper triangular end of a house from cornice or eaves to ridge.
Gable Vent: A vent in the gable of a home that reduces head and moisture buildup by increasing the flow of air to the attic.

J-Channel (J-Molding or J-Trim): J- shaped molding used to finish the edges of siding.

Lap: To overlap a panels or pieces of trim to allow for expansion and contraction of siding.

Lap Siding: An installation technique in which each piece of siding is "lapped" over the previous piece to provide a waterproof barrier.

Lock: The lock, combined with the locking leg, form a "lock" between siding panels or courses of siding panels.

Locking Leg: The locking leg, slipped into the lock, forms a tight connection between siding panels or courses of siding panels.

Miter Joint: The area where two siding panels meet, usually at a 90-degree angle.

Nailing Hem: The part of the siding panel or trim that contains the fastening holes.

Nail Hole Punch: A tool that creates an oval hole in the vinyl siding where the nails will go, allowing for expansion and contraction of the vinyl siding.

Nail Slot: A hole in the nailing hem or flange of the backerboard into which a fastener, nail, or staple is inserted.

Plumb: A measurement that is exactly vertical 90 degrees from a level, horizontal surface.

Plywood Siding: Plywood sheets used for siding that often have grooved or decorative outer surfaces.

Positive Lock: A locking mechanism that allows siding panels to move back and forth for simple installation, while ensuring that panels stay permanently attached during inclement weather.

Profile(s): The technical term for siding panels used by those in the business.

Rake: The edge or overhang beyond the wall of a gable roof or other sloped roof.

Scoring: Scratching a straight line into the surface of a siding panel using a sharp tool. The panel can then be bent at the location of the score mark and snapped into two pieces with clean edges.

Shadow Line: The shadow shape cast by a home's siding.

Siding Removal Tool: A tool with a curved metal end that is used for removing attached panels of siding.

Snaplock Punch: A handheld tool used to form crimps into siding panels, allowing cut panels to fit tightly into the appropriate slot in the trim.

Soffit: The part of the cornice or eave of a house where the roof projection and the exterior walls meet.

Square: A 10' X 10' section of siding.

Strapping: Wood or metal affixed to the exterior of a building that provides a smooth surface on which to attach new siding.

Starter Strip: A home siding accessory used with vertical and horizontal siding that secures the first course, or row, of siding to the wall framework.

Stucco: An exterior finish for masonry or frame walls, usually composed of cement, sand, and hydrated lime mixed with water and laid on wet.

T-Channel (T-Molding or T-Trim): T-shaped molding used as a trim between the ends of two panels.

Tongue and Groove: The type of connection between siding panels in which the tab, or tongue, of one panel is placed into a groove located at the end of another board.

Vinyl Siding: Low-maintenance, plastic siding that is available in many colors and styles.

Wall Cladding: Another word for siding.

Wall Sheathing: Sheets of wood that cover the wall framework of a house; siding is applied onto the wall sheathing.

Weep Holes: Small holes in the bottom butt edge of home siding that allows condensation to run off.

Windload Pressure: A measurement of how well a panel can withstand high winds.

Wood Shakes: Siding that is made from hand-split, rough, cedar shingles.

Wood Shingles: Pieces of wood siding that are machine cut, smooth, and uniform. They are installed in an overlapping pattern.

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