Siding Glossary of Terms

Battens: Thin strips of wood that seal the joints of vertical wood planking. 

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

Beveled Clapboards: Tapered clapboards rather than a perfectly cut rectangular. 

Blind Nail: An installation for Hardie siding where each board is nailed corner to corner, on a nailing line, and then overlapping that nailed layer with the next board—so that all siding nails are hidden.

Blow-In Insulation: Blowing or spraying loose insulation product into cavities, attics, and floors for better R- value, home heating efficiency.

Board and Batten: A style in which a narrow strip of siding appears to cover the seam between two wider boards. Board and batten siding is installed vertically.

Brick veneer: A process of constructing a wall which involves a layer of bricks being attached to a wood framework of a house using brick ties. 

Butt Seam /Joint:  The gap between the exposed ends of lap siding.

Capillary Break: A hydrophobic material uses in the gap between parallel layers of siding and roofing.

Caulking: A waterproof filler or sealant 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.

Checking: A split or crack that shows up in the wood grain of a plank causing the plank to cup or bow.

Clapboard: Overlapping, horizontal wood plank siding made from either rectangular planks or taped planks.

Color fading: A common occurrence in vinyl and painted wood siding when vulnerable to the elements, expansion and contraction, as well as sun rays.

Color Plus: Hardie’s factory application of siding paint which provides extra protection against the elements, bugs, water, fire, and wood peckers. It is beautiful, baked-on, long-lasting, and vibrant.

Contemporary: A common term used for “modern” siding styles such as the popular Board and Batten look.

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.

Crown Moulding: A form of cornice created out of decorative molding installed along rooflines and window & door openings.

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

Dormer: A raised section of the roof. Dormers commonly contain a window that projects vertically through the slope in the roof.

Drip Cap/Head Flashing: 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.

Eaves: Eaves are the overhang of the roof.

Face Nailing: This is the act of driving a nail through the part of the panel that you can see.

Fascia Board: A board attached to the ends of the rafters between the roofing material and the soffit overhang. Fascia cap is the covering around that board.

Fiberboard Siding: is a building material used to cover the exterior of a building in both commercial and domestic applications. 

Fiber cement is a composite material made of cement reinforced with cellulose fibers.

Finish/Pattern: Each style of siding has either a texture or gloss-level.

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

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

Flashing: A type of sheet metal used at intersections of building components to prevent water penetration. Commonly used above doors and windows on exterior walls.

Friezeboard: A horizontal or angled trim board installed flat against the wall and which covers the gap between the top of the siding and the soffit.

Furring/Furring Strip: A wooden or steel framing material, usually 1″ x 3″, used to provide an even nailing base. To “fur” a surface means to apply these strips.

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

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

Galvanized Nail: A nail with a protective zinc coating to steel or iron. However, when subjected to the elements, these nails tend to rust and leave orange/ yellow residue on white trim boards and siding.

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

Hidden Fasteners: Stainless steel flat tabs that are attached to the backside of Hardie trim in order to avoid the appearance of dots on trim (Face Nail Installation)

House Wrap:  A weather resistant barrier preventing rain from getting into the wall while allowing water vapor to pass to the exterior. Tyvek and Typar are low grade house wraps while Hardie’s House Wrap’s breathability is the most efficient.

Ice & Water Barrier: A self-adhered waterproofing material installed along eaves, valleys, side walls, and other sensitive areas to protect against ice damage and wind-driven rain.

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

James Hardie: The world leader in fiber cement siding and trim. Engineered to stand up to the elements and pests.

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

Lap: The part of the roofing/siding material that overlaps a section of adjacent material.

Lap Plank Siding: Technique for installing horizontal siding boards. Each piece of siding is ‘lapped’ over the piece below it to provide a waterproof covering for the house.

Lead Disposal: Existing painted and stained siding up to 1978 can contain dangerous lead. Contractors should be certified for the proper removal and disposal of lead. Proper equipment, saws, suits, and tarping must be followed by EPA law compliance.

Masonite: A type of hardboard that is engineered of wood pieces glued with a paper overlay. It is highly absorbent to water, rot, and attracts insets and woodpeckers.

Miter: 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.

Mounting Block: A PVC block used around any siding penetration like electrical boxes or plumbing.

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

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

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

Proper Vent: A styrofoam attic insulation rafter baffle that is installed in attic bays to break resistance and lightweight rigidity for constant flow of fresh air from soffit vent to the ridge vent.

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

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

Ridge vent: An exhaust vent that runs horizontally along the peak of the roof allowing warm, humid air to escape from the attic. Attic ventilation requirements are calculated by contractor to determine how much exhaust ventilation you would need to properly ventilate your roof and attic.

Scallop: A profile of siding commonly seen on unique architectural home styles like Cape Cod and Craftsman and have a half-round appearance.

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

Shadowline: A small reveal overhang along the top of a fascia board that ties into the roof’s edge. If a house has a shadowline and the homeowner is not doing their roof at the same time, this piece must be replicated. If the homeowner is doing their roofing at the same time as the siding, it is very common to not need to replicate unless the homeowner likes the decorative detail.

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

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

Spray Foam Insulation: An alternative to blown-in insulation (fiberglass) that when mixed creates a chemical reaction expanding 30-60 times its liquid volume after sprayed in place.

Square: Unit of measure for siding equal to 100 square feet (or a 10-foot by 10-foot wall section).

Staging: Scaffolding, ladders, and other equipment required to properly and safely allow workers to install siding.

Stainless Steel Nail: More expensive than galvanized (zinc coated nails), Stainless Steel nails are encouraged for outdoor applications as they do not corrode or breakdown.

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.

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

Stucco: A type of water resistant, plaster like siding material made of cement, sand and water; it may have an acrylic finish.

Tongue and Groove (T&G): Tongue and groove is a connection system between components, like wood, in which the tab or tongue of one board is placed into the groove at the end of another board.

T 1-11: Hardboard, exterior siding that has vertical grooves made to simulate separate boards.

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.

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

Versetta Stone:  A panelized stone that comes in a variety of styles and colors. It is a common decorative upgrade for Hardie customers.

Vinyl Siding: Horizontal polyvinyl chloride planks.

Wainscoting: A raised decorative panel below a window—commonly in PVC.

Wall Cladding: Another term for siding.

Wall Sheathing: Sheets of plywood or wood planking used to cover the wall framework of the house.

Water Management: A whole house system ( like Hardie’s) that focuses on diverting water away from common collection points where a house would be susceptible to water, rot, and insect damage. This includes a drainage wrap.

Water Table: An architectural feature that consists of a projecting course that deflects water running down the face of a building away from lower courses or the foundation. These are primarily made of PVC and can also be purely decorative.

Water Table Cap: A PVC component that can be added on top of a watertable to improve more decorative detail and curb appeal on a home.

Weep Hole: A small hole in the bottom of windows, doors or siding allowing condensation to escape.

Windload Pressure: Is a measurement of how well a panel might perform in high wind areas.

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

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