Is It Time for New Siding? Know The Industry Lingo

When it's time to repair or replace the siding on your house, you're going to hear a lot of terminology that you might not quite understand. Words like J Channel, Drip Cap, and weep holes - you need to know the lingo so you can speak with siding and roofing companies and have a basic concept of what they're saying.House with exterior siding.

And here's the reality of living in the Niagara region - weather is not your home's friend, and the brutal combination of wind, rain, and snow mean it needs more siding TLC in general.

Siding Terminology

  •  Backerboard - the material (usually plywood) that attaches to the studs of the house and provides a flat surface for the siding. Wall sheathing is another term you might hear that means the same thing.
  •  Buttlock - Not nearly as risque as it sounds. Most siding today locks together; the buttlock is the bottom of a vinyl siding panel that locks into the panel above.
  •  Channel - the area where the siding and soffits meet the trim or corner posts. A J‑Channel is shaped like a J, and an F‑Channel like an F. The F-Channel, for example, hangs upside down from the fascia board and provides a shelf for the soffit to slide on.
  •  Checking - a crack that splits along the grain of wood siding.
  •  Course - a row of siding on the house. It takes several courses to complete the entire exterior wall.
  •  Cupping - a warp on a panel of wood siding.
  •  Exposure - the width of a siding panel, also referred to as the "reveal". This is basically the amount of siding that's visible, or exposed, on any given panel.
  •  Fascia - the exterior board that runs along the roof's edge and covers the overhang of the rafters.
  •  Gable - the triangular part of the roof where the roof pitch meets.
  •  Head Flashing - trim that deflects water away from vertical siding panels. This saves the backerboard from moisture damage. A drip cap is the same thing.
  •  Soffit - where the vertical wall of the house meets the roofline. Soffits are usually vented to allow for air circulation while repelling moisture.
  •  Weep Holes - tiny, almost invisible holes at the bottom of a panel. They let condensation run off and out and prevent moisture buildup on the backerboard.

Siding Profiles

Profiles refer to the cosmetics of siding, ie: the architectural style. These are the most common in St. Catharines and the Niagara area. 

  •  Clapboard - the basic, crisp, single edge panel, common on Cape Cod style and saltbox houses.
  •  Dutch Lap - similar to clapboard, but with a curve at the top of each course. Dutch Lap originated in Northern Europe and can be found on many newly built homes in the Niagara Region.
  •  Beaded - a narrow bead runs along the bottom of the course, and creates a shadow of definition on the next course down. This is a popular look as it creates a nice accent.
  • Vertical - courses of vertical siding do run up and down, but also have a board-and-batten look; a wide-narrow-wide pattern. Each course has a wide (board) and narrow (batten) definition of the profile. Board-and-batten dates back to Medieval Europe and is common on lake front homes such as those found in Port Colborne or Port Dalhousie. It has traditionally been used as accent siding, but recently home owners are opting for vertical siding for the entire house.

The takeaway? Once you have to start repairing your siding, it’s time to keep a close eye on it and have it inspected once a year.

If you're unclear about your exterior siding needs, have the roofing and siding pros at Gary Wild Roofing come by and provide the right solution for you.


What they're saying

I couldn’t afford a new roof right now, the staff at Gary Wild informed me that only a repair was needed... thank you.

Mary M. - Grimsby