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Siding Terms


Whether you’re a homeowner, a contractor, or simply someone interested in understanding the various components and techniques involved in exterior siding, this dictionary is designed to provide you with a wealth of knowledge. From basic terminologies to advanced concepts, we have compiled an extensive collection of terms and definitions to help you navigate the world of siding with confidence. 


Backer Board  – A flat material used on the face of the house, between the studs and the siding, to provide a nailable surface for the siding.

Blind-nailing – A method of installing siding where nails are driven through the upper part of the siding, hiding them from view.

Board and Batten A siding style characterized by wide vertical boards (boards) with narrower strips (battens) covering the seams. Board and batten siding is installed vertically. 

Butt Joint – The point where two siding panels meet without overlapping.

Butt Lock – Located on the bottom edge of a vinyl panel which locks onto the previously installed panel.

Caulking – Waterproof material used to seal joints.

Channel – The area of the accessory trim or corner post where siding or soffit panels are inserted. Channels also refer to the trim itself, and are named for the letters of the alphabet they resemble, for example J-channel and F-channel are available

Clapboard – Overlapping, horizontal wood plank siding made from either rectangular planks or taped planks. Also known as bevel siding, it is a type of horizontal siding with overlapping, wedge-shaped boards.

Cornice – The decorative molding or projection that extends horizontally along the top edge of a wall.

Course – A row of panels, one panel wide, running the length of the house from one side to the other or, in the case of vertical siding, from top to bottom.

Cupping – A warp across the board in wood plank siding. 

D4 Profile – Two four-inch wide horizontal traditional planks per single panel of siding.

D5 Profile – Two five-inch wide horizontal traditional planks per single panel of siding.

D6 Profile – Two six-inch wide horizontal traditional planks per single panel of siding. 

Drip Cap – An accessory installed with vertical siding to ensure that water drips away from panels and does not infiltrate them; it is also used as a vertical base.

Drip Edge – A metal flashing installed at the edge of the roof to prevent water from seeping behind the siding.

Dutchlap – A more decorative variation on the clapboard style where the face (or width) of the board is beveled for added dimension.

Expansion Joint – A gap left between sections of siding to allow for expansion and contraction due to temperature changes.

Fascia – The material that covers the end of the roof rafters and provides the finished appearance to the edge of the roof.

Fiber Cement Siding – A composite material made from cement, sand, and cellulose fibers, known for its resistance to fire, rot, and insects.

Flashing  – A type of sheet metal used at intersections of building components to prevent water penetration, flashings are commonly used above doors and windows in exterior walls and are used under the siding to prohibit water penetration.

J-channel – A manufacturing component of vinyl siding systems that have a curved channel that the planks fit into, used around windows and doors to make a weathertight seal.

Lap Siding – A siding style where each board overlaps the one below it, creating a layered effect.

Miter – A miter joint is the meeting of two panels, usually at a 90-degree angle where each panel is cut at a 45-degree angle. Soffit material may be installed in this manner to provide a more aesthetically pleasing appearance.

Nailing Hem (or Flange)  – The section of siding or accessories where the nailing slots are located. 

R-value – A measure of thermal resistance indicating how well siding or insulation can resist heat transfer.

Shake Siding – Siding made from wooden shingles or shakes that are usually arranged in a staggered pattern. Sometimes known as shingle siding, shake siding comes in widths from about four inches to 12 inches. It is installed like lap siding, starting at the lowest row, and moving up the wall. The random widths of the shakes provide a distinctive look to the wall.

Shiplap – A type of siding where the boards have a groove on one edge and a tongue on the other, allowing them to fit together tightly.

Siding Gauge – A tool used to measure and mark the desired overlap between adjacent siding panels.

Siding Nailer – A specialized pneumatic tool designed for fastening siding to the wall with nails or staples.

Siding Profile – The shape and design of the siding, such as smooth, textured, or decorative patterns.

Siding Vent – A ventilation system integrated into the siding to allow air circulation and prevent moisture buildup.

Soffit – Material used to enclose the horizontal underside of an eave, cornice, or overhang. Some soffit panels may also be used as vertical siding.

Starter Strip – A narrow strip of material, often metal or plastic, used as a base for the first row of siding to secure it to the wall.  It is used to connect the first course of siding to the structure.

T3 Profile – Three three-inch wide horizontal traditional planks per single panel of siding. 

Trim – The decorative elements, such as corner posts, window surrounds, and door frames, used to enhance the appearance of siding.

Underlayment  – A layer of material, such as felt or house wrap, installed between the sheathing and siding for added protection.

Vapor Barrier – A material installed beneath the siding to prevent moisture from penetrating the walls.

Veneer – Veneer is one ply or one thickness of something; in siding, there are brick and stone veneers. There are also veneers of one wood bonded to another.

Vinyl Siding – A type of plastic siding made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride) that is popular for its durability and low maintenance.

Weather-resistant Barrier  – A material installed between the siding and sheathing to protect against water and air infiltration.

Weep Hole –  A small hole in the bottom butt edge of the vinyl siding panel, allowing condensation to escape. 

Wood Shakes -Thick, rough, uneven shingles that hand split, split and sawn on one side, or sawn on both sides, used as siding.

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