Siding Terminology & Glossary – 57 Definitions You’ll Need To Know

Every industry has its own vocabulary. If you plan to have work done on your house, or are a DIYer who takes care of most repairs, a knowledge of the lingo will help you navigate the project and negotiate with the experts. Here are some siding terms that will help you keep the communication clear and everyone on the same page.

1. Batten

Used in vertical siding, these are the vertical strips of narrow boards that cover the seams where two wider boards have been butted-up against each other.

2. Backerboard

Once the frame of the house is built, plywood or some other product will be nailed to the frame. This is the backerboard, and siding and trim will be fastened to it.

3. Buttlock

This piece of your selected siding is opposite to the fastening strip. It will lock into the piece of trim or siding you just put in place.

4. Center Butt

This is a bend in the middle of a plank of siding. It looks like the plank is in 2 pieces rather than one.

5. Channel

Inside and outside corners and other places that require trim will fit into a channel, such as a J- or F-channel.

6. Checking

This fault appears in older or inferior siding. It is a split or crack that shows up in the wood grain of a plank. It can cause the plank to cup or bow.

7. Clapboard

This is a type of siding that uses overlapping planks attached horizontally on the wall. The planks may be tapered or evenly milled.

8. Course

This is one row of whichever siding you install. It will run from one side to the other of a wall on a horizontal installation, or from top to bottom on a vertical installation.

9. Crimp

Sometimes, the part of a siding plank that locks it into place has been removed. To make it fit into the plank next to it, it must be mashed. A snaplock punch will crimp the siding.

10. Cupping

A wood plank may warp from side to side, creating a “cup” down the length of the board.

11. Double course

This is a row of shingles, shakes, or siding that is completely covered up by the next application of product.

12. Drip Cap

This trim will deflect water from the top surface of siding that has been installed vertically. This keep water from seeping behind the planks. Often, a drip cap is used over doors and windows funnel water away from those openings.

13. Dutchlap or Shiplap

Once the siding is installed, a wide piece of trim is placed just below the roofline. This is the shiplap.

14. Eaves

Eaves are the overhang of the roof.

15. F-Channel

The trim piece called an F-channel allows you to make a 90-degree turn with your siding.

16. Face

This is the part of the siding that you see once it is installed.

17. Face Nailing

NOT recommended. This is the act of driving a nail through the part of the panel that you
can see. Use the nailing strip, instead.

18. Fascia Board

Without the fascia board, you would see the ends of the rafters of the roof. The fascia board closes the roof in and finishes the edge.

19. Finish/Pattern

Each style of siding has either a texture or gloss-level.

20. Finishing Trim

These pieces finish off the edges to siding or soffits, giving them a professional look and adding to structural integrity.

21. Flange

The fastening holes of a strip of siding are located on the flange.

22. Flashing

This is usually an aluminum strip that is used to deflect water. It is used behind siding and trim pieces to protect the backerboard.

23. Frieze

This is a decorative feature that covers the top of the siding where it connects to the soffit.

24. Furring Strip

This strip of wood or metal is attached to brick, stucco, or old siding. These strips will receive the nails from the new siding.

25. Gable

This is the triangular area formed by the cornice to the ridge.

26. Gable Vent

This small screened section allows air to circulate in the attic. It reduces the moisture buildup in the walls.

This is another way to deflect running water from the top edges of vertically installed siding. It, also, is used over windows and doors.

28. Inside Corner

When making a 90-degree turn with siding, the “inside corner” is a trim piece that connects the courses.

29. J-Channel

The J-channel is used over windows, doors, soffits, and eaves to provide a gr0ove for siding.

30. Lap

This is the place where two pieces of trim or panels overlap each other.

31. Lintel

This piece of angle iron spans the top of windows and doors. It is designed to support the weight of brick and transfer the weight to the sides. This may also be a beam.

32. Lock

The siding panel has an edge that accepts the edge from the next course or starter strip. The joining of these two strips is the lock.

33. Locking Leg

This edge is the one that slides into the lock on the previously installed section of siding.

34. Lug

When a piece of siding has been trimmed because of size, the remaining panel needs lugs formed with a snaplock punch. This allows them to fit snugly into the trim slot.

35. Miter

This is the aesthetically pleasing way to join two panels. Each end is cut at a 45 degree angle so that when joined, they create a 90 degree angle.

36. Nailing Hem

Also called the flange, this is the strip with holes for fastening the siding to the structure.

37. Nail Hole Punch

This tool creates an oval hole in vinyl siding. It allows a nail to be driven without damaging the vinyl, and allows for expansion and contraction.

38. Nail Slot

This is the slot in the flange or nailing hem through which the nail is driven.

39. Outside Corner

This trim piece joins siding courses at a 90 degree angle on the outside corner.

40. Plumb

A plumb line demonstrates when the horizontal surface you are working on is at a 90 degree angle with the ground.

41. Profile

This is the term used in the industry to describe the aesthetic look and shape of the siding.

42. Positive Lock

This mechanism allows for panels to be slid back and forth. It aids installation while keeping them attached when installation is complete.

43. Reveal

Also called the “face” this is the part of the siding that you see.

44. Scoring

This act of running a utility knife blade across a panel will cause the panel to snap apart cleanly along the scored line.

45. Shake

This is a shingle that is split from a log, producing a surface that has more texture than a regular shingle.

46. Sheathing

Plywood or other material nailed to the home’s structure is called sheathing. Another name for it is backerboard.

47. Shingle

This is a small piece of wood sawn on both sides and used as siding.

48. Snaplock Punch

This handtool allows you to crimp siding panels so they will fit into the slot on the trim piece.

49. Square

This unit of measurement refers to the number of feet that must be covered with siding, or the area, of the job being planned.

50. Strapping

Also called a “furring strip,” strapping is a strip of wood or metal attached to the surface that gives the installer something to nail into. It can also be used to correct uneven or off-plumb surfaces.

51. Starter Strip

This is the strip attached to the bottom of the wall to which the first course can be attached.

52. T-Channel

This trim piece joins the ends of 2 siding panels.

53. Underlayment

Material that is installed beneath siding is underlayment.

54. Veneer

A veneer is a single thickness. It might be brick, stone, or wood veneer.

55. Ventilated Soffit

The soffit of each house has screened openings that allow air to enter and exit without allowing pests in.

56. Weep holes

Panels of siding or trim may have weep holes to allow water to drain off.

57. Windload Pressure

This is a gauge of how much wind a panel can withstand.

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