Siding terminology can end up sounding like a foreign language if you’re not familiar with the lingo. Knowing siding terminology and siding terms also can help you work more efficiently with your siding contractor. When in doubt, ask questions to make sure you understand your siding contractor. Here’s a helpful list of basic siding terminology.
Backerboard: This is a board or some type of flat-surfaced material that is fastened to the studs on the exterior side of the house. This provides a flat surface to which siding is attached.
Board and Batten: Board and batten, or board-and-batten, describes a type of exterior that has alternating wide boards and narrow wood strips, called battens.
Clapboard: Clapboard is a style of siding in which long, rectangular siding is installed horizontally, and overlaps the preceding piece of siding.
Cupping: Cupping occurs when wood plank siding has warped.
Drip Cap: Also known as “head flashing,” the drip cap is a piece of trim that’s attached at the top of vertical siding. It’s purpose is to divert water away, and keep water from running down behind the siding.
Eaves: Eaves are the overhanging lower edge of the roof that extends out beyond the vertical walls of the home.
Face: The “face” is the portion of a siding panel that will be visible after installation.
Face Nailing: Face nailing occurs when installers nail through the part of the siding that will be visible when the job is done. This is not recommended.
Flashing: Flashing is aluminum sheeting (or some other type of metal) that’s used on exterior walls, typically above doors and windows, in order to keep water out of the building. Flashing protects the backerboard and other structural components of a home by diverting water away.
Gable: The upper triangular area of a home. Typically gables will have a gable vent installed to reduce heat and minimize moisture build-up by providing air flow to the attic area.
Lap Siding: Lap siding is a specific technique in which siding or trim overlaps the previously installed panel. (The term “lap” is short for “overlap.”)
Miter Joint: A miter joint occurs when two pieces of trim have been cut at a 45-degree angle so they can be positioned together for a more finished look.
Nailing Hem: This is the area on a panel of siding or piece of trim where the fastening holes are located.
Soffit: The soffit is the area below the rafters on the exterior of a home. The soffit area should be protected in order to prevent infiltration of insects and the elements (rain, snow, etc.) while still providing some ventilation.
Tongue and Groove: This indicates the way siding panels may be connected together. The tongue (protruding part on one panel) inserts into a groove on the next panel, thus tying them together.
Underlayment: This is a term that described any material that’s applied over the exterior wall surface and underneath the siding.
Wall Cladding: Wall cladding is another phrase for siding.
Windload Pressure: This is a measurement of how well a panel can withstand high winds.
There’s a lot more siding terminology that’s used in the siding industry by those in the know. But these basic siding terms should help you converse with more knowledge when speaking with siding contractors.
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