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Siding, Soffit & Gutter Terminology

  • Acrylic: A synthetic resin and a mild alkaline polymer substance (methyl isobutyl ketone) used to make high-quality and durable acrylic coatings or paintings. Partnering with a world leader in acrylic technology, Kaycan Products has developed a process to fuse a protective acrylic layer to a vinyl base.

  • Application Rate: The quantity (mass, volume, or thickness) of material applied per area.

  • Apron Flashing: A term used for a flashing located at the juncture of the top of the roof and a vertical wall or steeper-sloped roof.

  • Band Board: The band joist and sill plate are the set of boards (in wood frame houses), or blocks (in a brick house) that sit on top of the foundation wall and run in a band around the house.

  • Batten: A strip of wood that seals joints in wooden siding. Modern “board and batten” siding refers to the old wood siding that had “boards” and “battens” to fill the gaps between the boards. Battens are the smaller part that go between the boards.

  • Bead Board Siding: Beadboard siding is a term that many people have heard of, but are not sure what beadboard truly is. Beadboard is a type of narrow, vertical, wood siding that usually comes about 1/3 up the wall. There is a small ridge between each plank of wood, also known as a “bead”, hence the name “beadboard”.

  • Bond: The adhesive and/or cohesive forces holding two components in positive.

  • Buttlock: The bottom portion of a panel of vinyl siding that locks into a previous panel that was just installed. This keeps the siding from moving around.

  • Butt Joint: A joint formed by adjacent, separate sections of material, such as where neighboring pieces of insulation but.

  • Carbon Black: A material produced by the incomplete combustion of heavy petroleum products such as FCC tar, coal tar, ethylene cracking tar, or vegetable matter. Carbon black is found in dark colored vinyl siding and it absorbs approximately 95 percent of Solar IR.

  • Caulk: A material (usually a composition of vehicle and pigment) used for/sealing joints or junctures, where no elastomeric properties are required. (See.)

  • Caulking: (1) The physical process of sealing a joint or juncture; (2) Sealing and weather-tight the joints, seams, or voids between adjacent units by filling with sealant.

  • Cellulose Insulation: Fiber insulation, primarily made from recycles newsprints, used in enclosed existing walls, open new walls, and unfinished attic floors.

  • Chalk Line: A line made by snapping a taut string or cord dusted with chalk. Used for alignment purposes.

  • Chalking: The degradation or migration of an ingredient, in paints, coatings, or other.

  • Chemical Resistance: The ability to withstand contact with specified chemicals without significant change in properties.

  • Counter Flashing: Formed metal sheeting secured on or into a wall, curb, pipe, rooftop, or other surface, to cover and protect the upper edge of the membrane base or underlying metal flashing and associated fasteners from exposure to the.

  • Course:  A course of siding refers to one row of siding that runs the length of an exterior wall. Multiple “courses” of siding are used to fill up an exterior wall.

  • Delta E:  A unit of measurement that gauges and measures the difference between two colors. A Delta E of one is virtually naked to the visible eye when two colors are placed side-by-side.

  • Downspout: A pipe to carry rainwater from a roof to a drain or to ground level. The purpose of a downspout is to allow water from a gutter to reach the ground without dripping or splashing down the building structure.

  • Downspout Adapter: A downspout adapter is used to change the shape of the downspout where it attaches to another pipe or an underground drain system.

  • Drain: An outlet or other device used to collect and direct the flow of runoff water from roof area.

  • Drip Edge: A metal flashing, or other overhanging component, with an outward lower edge, intended to control the direction of dripping water and help underlying building components. A drip edge also can be used to break the contact between the roof perimeter and wall components to help prevent action.

  • Drip Cap: Another word for head flashing, it’s a piece of trim that deflects water away from the top of vertical siding.

  • Dutch Lap Siding: A style of vinyl siding that creates overlapping horizontal rows. It is designed to resemble hand-carved, Old World-style wood siding.

  • Eaves: The part of your roof that overhangs over the exterior walls.

  • Elbow: An elbow on a rain gutter is a piece of downspout used to turn around the contour of the home. The elbow allows you to go from the eave back to the wall and then back down to the ground. The gutter elbows turn sections of a downspout to the left, right, forward and backward down the wall.

  • End Cap: A gutter end cap is the fitting that attaches to and closes off the end of the gutter. It can be crimped, riveted, or screwed in place before applying

  • End Lap: The distance of overlap where one ply, panel, or piece extends beyond the end of the immediately adjacent underlying ply, panel, or piece.

  • Exposure: Sometimes called “reveal”, the exposure refers to the width of a board of siding.

  • F-Channel: Molding that is shaped like the letter F that is used to trim siding that’s installed at a 90 degree angle.

  • Face: The part of the siding that is visible after it is installed.

  • Face Nail: Face nailing is most definitely frowned upon! It’s when siding is installed by putting nails through the “face” of the siding, exposing the nails rather than hiding them.

  • Fade Factor: See Hunter’s Scale.

  • Fan Fold: A thin perforated, extruded polystyrene foam board faced on one side with a plastic film facer to enhance the application of new or replacement siding while also adding insulation.

  • Fasteners: Any of a wide variety of mechanical securement devices and assemblies, nails, screws, cleats, clips, and bolts, which may be used to secure various types of a roof assembly.

  • Fascia: Fascia or fascia board is a board that runs horizontally and covers the joint or intersection of the top of an exterior wall and the overhanging lower edge of a roof.

  • Ferrule: A small metal sleeve placed inside a gutter at the top. The ferrule acts as a spacer in the gutter to maintain its original shape.

  • Fiberglass Insulation: Blanket or rigid board insulation, composed of glass fibers together with a binder, faced or unfaced, used to insulate roofs and walls.

  • Fire Resistance: The ability of a building component to act as a barrier to the spread of fire and confine it to the area of origin.

  • Flame Retardant: A substance which is added to a polymer formulation to reduce its tendency to burn.

  • Flashing: Components used to weatherproof or seal the roof system edges at, penetrations, walls, expansion joints, valley, drains, and other places the roof covering is interrupted or terminated. For example, membrane base covers the edge of the field membrane, and cap flashings or counter flashings the upper edges of the base flashing.

  • Flange: The part of a piece of siding where the mounting holes are located, usually at the top.

  • Frieze Board: A kind of trim that is usually installed between the soffit and the top of a house's siding. The primary function of the frieze board trim is to finish and beautify seams and corners of the house's exterior.

  • FSC (Forest Stewardship Council): FSC certification ensures that products come from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits.

  • Furring Strip: Furring strips are wooden strips that are sometimes attached to the exterior of a house for the siding to attached to. They can also be used to straighten surfaces on the exterior of your home that are not perfectly flat.

  • Gable: A gable is usually the triangular part of a wall where the pitch of your roof intersects.

  • Gutter Apron: A Specialized Drip Edge designed to direct water into the gutter system. Gutter Apron is installed over the roof edge and hangs in the gutter.

  • Gutter Strap: A custom formed and prefabricated piece of metal that secures the downspout to the wall of the property.

  • Head Flashing: A piece of trim that’s meant to deflect water away from the top of vertical siding. This is to prevent water from getting behind the siding, preventing the backerboard from rotting over time.

  • Hidden Hanger: Fastening System for gutter systems that are installed at the center of the gutter trough, making them invisible from the ground.

  • House Wrap: A lightweight, paper-like material that is most often used to completely cover the house, directly on top of the sheathing and behind the vinyl siding. Its primary purpose is to prevent air and water leaks that may have seeped past the vinyl exterior.

  • Hunter’s Scale: The Hunter’s scale is way of measuring small—almost infinitesimal—differences in pigment to tell whether or not a surface is faded. It’s used by the siding industry to determine whether or not fading is within the range of expected deterioration.

  • Insulation: Any of a variety of materials designed to reduce the flow of heat, either from or into a building.

  • Intake Ventilation: The fresh air that is drawn into a passive ventilation system typically installed in the soffit or eave of a roof.

  • J-Block: Also known as a mounting block, is a durable, maintenance-free, U.V. stabilized siding component which is used for installing exterior light fixtures on vinyl siding

  • J-Channel: J-channels are used around windows and doors, on inside corners and where the siding meets the soffit or roof at an angle.

  • Lap: Lap is short for “overlap”. When one panel of siding overlaps another, it is called a lap joint. Naturally, laps are necessary on siding so that you don’t see the nails that fasten the siding to the exterior of your home.

  • Lap Siding: A type of siding that is installed horizontally on your home.

  • Lock: A part of siding that locks in with a locking leg to join siding panels together.

  • Locking Leg: Slips into the lock and creates a tight fit between two siding panels.

  • Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS): A written description of the chemicals in a, and pertinent other data including such things as safe handling and procedures. In accordance with OSHA regulations, it is the manufacturer’s to produce an MSDS and the employer’s responsibility to communicate contents to employees.

  • Metal Flashing: Accessory components fabricated from sheet metal and used to terminate roof covering edges. Frequently used as through-wall, cap flashing (coping), counterflashing, step-flashing, etc. (See Flashing.)

  • Miter: Miters, or corner pieces, are the gutter fittings that connect two gutters at a corner. Box Miters are the corner pieces made up of two pieces of gutter that are seamed together. Strip Miters require the two adjoining gutters to be cut on 45 degree angles.

  • Miter Joint: The intersection of two panels at a 90 degree angle. Usually each panel is cut at a 45 degree angle. Soffit is sometimes cut in this way at corners to provide an overall better appearance.

  • Nail Hole Punches: The holes in the flange of a piece of siding that nails go through to fasten the siding to a wall.

  • Nailing: The application of nails.

  • Outlet: Gutter outlets, or gutter drops / goose necks are parts installed in a gutter to direct water to a downspout or elbow.

  • Pop Rivets: A fastening metal pin intentionally distorted and clamped as an alternative to the long-term reliance upon the holding capability of a threaded screw.

  • Plumb or Square: Perfectly perpendicular measurement of an object that is exactly 90 degrees from a level, horizontal surface. A “square” or “speed square” is also a tool used to achieve a perfect 90 degree level between two objects.

  • Plywood Backerboard: Backerboard is the panel that is nailed to the studs of the exterior walls of your home. The backerboard (usually plywood) allows for siding to be fastened to it.

  • Profile: The shape or “profile” of the face of the siding.

  • PVC: Polyvinyl Chloride.

  • R-Value: The resistance to heat transfer of a material. Insulators have relatively high R.

  • Side Lap: The continuous longitudinal overlap of neighboring like materials. 

  • Scoring: A “light cutting” of a piece of siding so that when bent, the siding will snap into two pieces with a clean edge for each piece.

  • Shadow Line: The shape of the shadow that is cast by your home’s siding profile.

  • Siding Square: Usually refers to a 10 foot by 10 foot piece of siding.

  • Soffit: The enclosed underside of any exterior overhanging section of a roof eave.

  • Soffit Vent: A premanufactured or custom built air inlet source located at the eave or in the soffit of a roof assembly.

  • Splice: Bonding or joining of overlapping materials.

  • Split Block: Also known as a Split Recessed Mounting Block or a Spigot Block, is a siding accessory that splits apart to fit around existing pipes and vents.

  • Spike: A spike fastener that is driven through the front upper lip of the gutter into the ferrule, which passes through the back portion of the gutter into the fascia board to hold the gutter in place. The ferrule acts as a spacer in the gutter to maintain its original shape.

  • Splash Block: Splash blocks are rectangular pieces of plastic or concrete placed underneath the end of the downspout. Their purpose is to direct water as far away from your home as possible while preventing the soil from eroding and causing foundation issues.

  • Splash Guards: Splash Guards are designed to keep water from over shooting gutters during heavy rain fall and allow for maximum efficiency for water flow. Splash Guards are placed in areas of a gutter system—usually valleys, also known as miters—where overspilling may occur.

  • Starter Strip: Refers to the piece that secures the first panel or course of siding to a wall.

  • Strapping: Another term for furring strips, strapping is a piece of wood or metal placed on the exterior wall of a home so that siding can be attached to it.

  • Tongue and Groove: A type of interlock that joins two pieces of siding together. A “tongue” slips into the adjacent “groove” on another piece of siding.

  • U-Value: A measure of the heat transmission through a building part (such as a wall or window) or a given thickness of a material (such as insulation) with lower numbers indicating better insulating properties.

  • UL Label: An identification label or seal affixed to a roofing product or package with authorization of Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. The presence of the label indicates the product has met certain performance criteria.

  • Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL): An organization that tests, rates and classifies assemblies for their resistance to: fire, impact, leakage, corrosion of metal, and wind uplift.

  • Vapor Barrier: Material installed to impede or restrict the passage of water.

  • Vinyl Siding Institute (VSI): The Vinyl Siding Institute, Inc. (VSI) is the trade association for manufacturers of vinyl and other polymeric siding and suppliers to the industry.

  • Weep Holes: Small openings whose purpose is to permit drainage of water that inside a building component (e.g., a brick wall, skylight frame, etc.).

  • Wicking: The ability of a liquid to flow in narrow spaces