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Siding Terminology: A Glossary of Siding Terms You Should Know

vinyl siding terminologyWhen buying siding for your home, you may run across some strange terms that you may have never heard before. Instead of ignoring this home improvement speak, learn to understand it. Some of these siding terms might help you better understand what kind of siding you’re looking for.

We’ve put together a glossary of commonly used siding terms below.

Batten

A strip of wood that seals joints in wooden siding. Modern “board and batten” siding refers to the old wood siding that had “boards” and “battens” to fill the gaps between the boards. Battens are the smaller part that go between the boards.

Buttlock

The bottom portion of a panel of vinyl siding that locks into a previous panel that was just installed. This keeps the siding from moving around. This is probably not the best name ever given!

Channel

The area on a piece of siding that allows for another piece of siding or trim to be inserted.

Course

A course of siding refers to one row of siding that runs the length of an exterior wall. Multiple “courses” of siding are used to fill up an exterior wall.

Drip Cap

Another word for head flashing, it’s a piece of trim that deflects water away from the top of vertical siding.

Eaves

The part of your roof that overhangs over the exterior walls.

Exposure

Sometimes called “reveal”, the exposure refers to the width of a board of siding.

F-Channel

Molding that is shaped like the letter F that is used to trim siding that’s installed at a 90 degree angle.

Face

The part of the siding that is visible after it is installed.

Face Nail

Face nailing is most definitely frowned upon! It’s when siding is installed by putting nails through the “face” of the siding, exposing the nails rather than hiding them.

Fascia

Fascia or fascia board is a board that runs horizontally and covers the joint or intersection of the top of an exterior wall and the overhanging lower edge of a roof.

Flange

The part of a piece of siding where the mounting holes are located, usually at the top.

Flashing

A piece of metal that is used above doors and windows to keep water from coming into a home or building.

Frieze

Usually a decorative band that connects the top of the siding to the soffit.

Furring Strip

Furring strips are wooden strips that are sometimes attached to the exterior of a house for the siding to attached to. They can also be used to straighten surfaces on the exterior of your home that are not perfectly flat.

Gable

A gable is usually the triangular part of a wall where the pitch of your roof intersects.

different vinyl siding colors

Head Flashing

A piece of trim that’s meant to deflect water away from the top of vertical siding. This is to prevent water from getting behind the siding, preventing the backerboard from rotting over time.

J-Channel Molding

J-shaped trim that is used to finish edges of siding.

Lap

Lap is short for “overlap”. When one panel of siding overlaps another, it is called a lap joint. Naturally, laps are necessary on siding so that you don’t see the nails that fasten the siding to the exterior of your home.

Lock

A part of siding that locks in with a locking leg to join siding panels together.

Locking Leg

Slips into the lock and creates a tight fit between two siding panels.

Miter Joint

The intersection of two panels at a 90 degree angle. Usually each panel is cut at a 45 degree angle. Soffit is sometimes cut in this way at corners to provide an overall better appearance.

Nail Hole Punches

The holes in the flange of a piece of siding that nails go through to fasten the siding to a wall.

Plumb or Square

Perfectly perpendicular measurement of an object that is exactly 90 degrees from a level, horizontal surface. A “square” or “speed square” is also a tool used to achieve a perfect 90 degree level between two objects. It’s important that your siding is plumb to the exterior wall of your home, otherwise you would have crooked siding!

Plywood Backerboard

Backerboard is the panel that is nailed to the studs of the exterior walls of your home. The backerboard (usually plywood) allows for siding to be fastened to it.

Profile

The shape or “profile” of the face of the siding.

Scoring

A “light cutting” of a piece of siding so that when bent, the siding will snap into two pieces with a clean edge for each piece.

Shadow Line

The shape of the shadow that is cast by your home’s siding profile.

Siding Square

Usually refers to a 10 foot by 10 foot piece of siding.

Soffit

The part where the exterior walls meet the roofline of a house. Soffits are usually vented to allow air to come in and out while still preventing water from coming in.

Starter Strip

Refers to the the piece that secures the first panel or course of siding to a wall.

Strapping

Another term for furring strips, strapping is a piece of wood or metal placed on the exterior wall of a home so that siding can be attached to it.

Tongue and Groove

A type of interlock that joins two pieces of siding together. A “tongue” slips into the adjacent “groove” on another piece of siding.

Weep Holes

These are tiny holes that are found in the bottom edge of siding that allows built up condensation to run off and out of your siding. It prevents water buildup between the backerboard and your siding.

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