Siding terminology 101: How to talk about a siding project like a pro

Just a image
Michael Buck

The world of architecture, exterior design, and construction can throw an awful lot of unfamiliar vocabulary your way. By getting to know your fascia from your friezes, you can begin to speak the same language as your contractor or builder, which may help your siding project go that much smoother.

Use this list for answers to frequently asked questions about common siding terminology so you can start to speak like a pro.

What are battens?

Battens are vertical trim strips placed on panel siding at regular intervals to cover joints and create an architectural aesthetic. Battens are a critical part of the farmhouse look.

What is Batten Siding?

What is fascia?

A fascia is a band that runs horizontally under the edge of a roof. On a house, it is the fascia that usually caps the ends of rafters and sometimes holds the gutter.

fascia on a house

What is a frieze?

A frieze is an ornamental, horizontal band that appears on the exterior walls of a building or house, usually near the roofline.

what is frieze on a house exterior?

What are gables?

A gable is the generally triangular portion of a wall between the edges of a dual-pitched roof.

What are gables on a house exterior?

What is house wrap?

House wrap, or weather barrier, covers a structure’s exterior prior to siding installation. It prevents rain from getting into the walls, while allowing water vapor to escape. James Hardie offers several Hardie® Weather Barrier products that work well with our siding products.

What is a house wrap?

What is lap siding?

One of the most popular siding styles, lap siding, also called clapboard, is any type of siding installed horizontally on your home. The boards are installed from the bottom up so they overlap each other. This type of siding can come in many different textures and colors.

Lap siding image on house exterior

What is panel siding?

Panel siding is long, tall boards that come in a variety of textures. This type of siding is commonly used with batten strips, but it can also be used on its own. Explore the versatility of Hardie® Panel Vertical Siding in more detail.

Hardie Panel siding on house exterior

What is shingle siding?

Traditionally, shingle siding, sometimes also called shake siding, is individual cuts of wood of varying widths. Modern shingle siding comes in materials such as low maintenance fiber cement and is often manufactured in panels, which helps make it easier to install while maintaining the traditional aesthetic.

Hardie shingle siding on house exterior

What is siding exposure?

Sometimes referred to as the reveal, siding exposure is the visible space between the bottoms of adjacent rows of siding. This term is most frequently used when describing lap siding. Exposure differs from the total height of your siding planks because rows of siding will slightly overlap each other during installation.

siding exposure example

What is soffit?

The soffit is the underside of any construction element. The word is also used to describe the material used to cover the exposed surface beneath the overhang of a roof. James Hardie’s Hardie® Soffit Panels come in a range of textures and venting options, which you can explore here.

Hardie soffit on house exterior

What is blind and face nailing?

There are two general ways to secure lap siding to the wall -- blind and face nailing. Blind nailing is when the fastener drives through the top of the plank, while in face nailing the fastener drives through the overlap at the bottom of the plank. James Hardie recommends blind nailing, but face nailing may be required for certain installations.

blind and face nailing graphic

Now that you can speak like a contractor, find one in your area who can help you get your siding replacement project started. You can also browse tips for choosing a contractor which outline nine important steps to follow. If you’re thinking about new construction, read this helpful guide on building a house.

Michael Buck