Understanding Basic Siding Terminologies

A full home exterior renovation can make you feel both anxious and excited. On the one hand, you’ll finally get new roofing, siding, windows and doors, giving your home a big boost in terms of aesthetic appeal. On the other hand, you may become too overwhelmed given how immense such an investment is. A lot of factors and details are involved, after all, so it takes careful planning and consideration from start to finish. 

Choosing the Right Contractor

One of the first things you should do when planning an exterior remodel is to hire a contractor for the job. Anyone can claim they’re professional contractors, so you’ll have to consider your prospects carefully. Even if they offer cheap estimates, they might be doing that just so they’ll be chosen for the project. They’ll likely have hidden fees and add them later during the remodeling process.

Because your exterior remodeling project is a big investment, you shouldn’t hire just anyone for the job. Even if you’re only planning to replace your siding, it still makes up a big portion of your exterior. Taking the DIY approach can become costly while settling for a cheap contractor won’t guarantee a successful installation. Only a trained and experienced siding installer knows how to listen to your concerns and provide the best solutions for your project. Their services ensure that the job gets done professionally and efficiently.

Defining Common Siding Terms

When you work with a professional contractor like Paddy’s, you can count on the team to explain each stage of your exterior renovation in detail. We provide the remodeling options for your home and budget. This helps you become aware of what’s being done and what to expect as they work on your property. We’ll also answer any questions or concerns you might have to better understand your project. 

When discussing the remodeling details with your hired contractors, they may get technical with the process and use terms you haven’t heard before. It helps a great deal in your exterior remodeling project to learn and understand the basic terms. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of the usual siding terms and their definitions:

  • Batten – In traditional wooden siding, this refers to a strip of wood that seals the joints. But in modern “board and batten” siding, the term refers to the smaller part that goes between the boards to fill the gaps between the panels.

  • Buttlock – In vinyl siding and soffit installation, this refers to the bottom edge of a panel. This part faces opposite the nailing slots and locks another preceding panel just installed. This essentially prevents the whole siding or soffit from moving around.

  • Channel – This is the area in an accessory trim or corner post where the siding or roofing soffit panels are inserted. They’re designed to let another piece of siding or trim be inserted. It also sometimes refers to the trim itself since they’re named for the letter they resemble, such as the F-channel and J-channel. F-channel moldings are used to trim siding panels that are installed at a 90-degree angle and create a “shelf” for soffits to slide into and rest on. Meanwhile, J-channel moldings go around corners for windows and doors.

  • Course – This refers to a single row of siding running the length of an exterior wall. Multiple “courses” of siding are used to fill up an exterior wall. In vertical siding, a course runs from top to bottom.

  • Drip cap – Also known as head flashing, this accessory is a piece of trim used in vertical siding to deflect water away from the top. This ensures the water drips away from panels and doesn’t penetrate the panels.

  • Eaves – This refers to the underside of your roofing system that overhangs over the exterior walls.

  • Exposure – Also known as a “reveal”, this refers to the siding panel’s width.

  • Face – This refers to the part of the siding that’s visible after installation.

  • Face nailing – This is the act of installing siding by putting nails through its face. This exposes the nails rather than hiding them, which is why it isn’t always practiced by professional contractors.

  • Fascia – Short for fascia board, this is attached to the ends of the rafters between the roofing material and the soffit overhang. They’re meant to cover the joint on that part of your roofing system from the top of an exterior wall and the overhanging lower edge. The covering around the board is called a fascia cap or cover.

  • Flashing – This is a piece of thin, flat metal that’s also used in roofing systems. It should meet the requirements of International Code Council® (ICC) AC148 and is positioned under or behind J-channels. It’s also used in doors, windows and corner posts to prevent water from coming into your home.

  • Furring strip – This is a wooden strip attached to the home exterior to even a surface before installing the siding. It’s sometimes referred to as “strapping” and only used if some parts of the exterior surface aren’t perfectly flat.

  • Lap – Short for “overlap”. It refers to overlapping the ends of two siding panels to allow proper expansion and contraction. Depending on the material you choose, it’s usually necessary so that the nails that fasten the siding aren’t seen.

  • Plumb/square – This refers to a perpendicular measurement of an object exactly 90 degrees from a level and horizontal surface. Sometimes, a “speed square” tool is used to achieve a perfect 90-degree level between two objects.

  • Scoring – This is the act of “light cutting” using either a scoring tool, sharpened awl or a utility knife. This is done across a soffit or siding panel face without cutting all the way through the piece. When bent, the siding will snap cleanly into two pieces.

  • Siding square – This refers to a 10 foot by 10 foot piece of siding.

  • Tongue and groove – This interlocking method joins two pieces of siding together. A “tongue” slips into the adjacent “groove” on another siding panel.

If you’re looking for a professional who can replace siding or repair chimneys, Paddy’s has you covered with their years of industry experience. To get started, just give us a call at (302) 388-3625 to request an estimate. You can also fill out our convenient contact form!

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