House Siding Terms You Need to Know

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If you’ve been looking into investing in new siding for your home, no matter where you are in the process, you have probably seen some terms you’re unfamiliar with. Whether you’ve run across these words and phrases on websites or during conversations with contractors, it can be disheartening to feel like you don’t fully understand the residential renovation you’re about to take on. 

Here, you’ll discover a list of house siding terms you should know before your exterior renovation gets going. This glossary will make it easier for you to understand information as you research siding options and as you discuss your vision for your house with contractors. 

Aluminum Siding: Siding made out of aluminum boards that has an enamel finish. This type of siding is durable, but the baked-on enamel color can fade in the sun. 

Backerboard: The flat material that is placed behind siding between the studs and siding boards, so there is something solid to nail the siding to. Plywood is often used. 

Battens: Strips of wood that are installed over the joints in wood siding boards to prevent water from seeping in and insects from entering. 

Channel: The section where siding boards and soffits are attached to a home’s trim. This word can also be used to describe the trim itself, which has alphabetical names, such as J-channel and F-channel, for easy reference. 

Checking: A crack that can occur in the grain of wood siding. 

Clapboard: A type of siding that features horizontal, interlocking boards. Clapboard has been used on houses in America since the Colonial Era. 

Course: The term used to refer to one row of siding.

Cupping: A warped section of wood siding. 

Double Course: The term used to refer to a row of siding when a layer of bricks or wood shakes are underneath. 

Face: The outward-facing side of siding that can be seen after installation. 

Fascia: A board that is installed along a roofline to give siding a finished, professional appearance.  

Flashing: A layer of rubber or metal that is used for waterproofing. In regard to siding, flashing is installed behind the siding boards.

Lap: A slight overlap of two siding boards. This allows the material to expand or contract as needed when the seasons change.

Nailing Hem: The area of a siding panel where the nail slots can be found. 

Overhang: The section of roof that extends beyond a structure’s exterior walls. The soffit is the underside of the overhang. 

Single Course: Wood shingles (commonly called “shakes”) applied, so each course is completely exposed to the elements.

Soffit: The underside of the overhang that falls between the roof and the side of a home. Soffit often has vents, so attics can receive proper air circulation. 

Square: A unit of measure that is equal to 100 square feet of siding.

Tongue and Groove: A method of connecting siding boards that involves inserting the “tongue” of one board is placed into the “groove” of the board above or below it, depending on how the siding is being hung. 

Vinyl Siding: The most popular siding material in America, vinyl is made of durable plastic that is available in a wide range of colors.  

Weep Holes: Small openings in siding panels that allow for water runoff.  

Wood Plank Siding: Rectangular wood boards that can be hung vertically or horizontally depending on a homeowner’s preference.

Wood shakes: Thick, rugged shingles, either hand split or sawn, that can be used for exterior cladding. This type of “siding” is untraditional, but enjoying a resurgence in popularity thanks to the Modern Farmhouse trend. 

If you familiarize yourself with this residential siding terminology, you’ll be well on your way to a successful home renovation!

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