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Siding Glossary

When deciding on siding for your northern Virginia, Maryland or Washington DC home, you should become familiar with the following terms and phrases. Northern Virginia Roofing wants you to be an informed buyer so that we can help you make the best choice.

Thickness or gauge – A measure that is useful for comparing siding materials. Steel siding is about .019 inch thick. Vinyl is between .038 and .055 inch thick. Thicker siding costs more but performs better than thinner siding.

Wind load rating – Refers to the sustained wind speed, measured in miles per hour, which the siding is able to withstand without being torn from the side of the house. Hurricane-force winds start at 65 MPH, but most synthetic sidings have wind load ratings in excess of 100 MPH.

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

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.

Dutchlap or Shiplap —A more decorative variation on the clapboard style where the face (or width) of the board is beveled for added dimension.

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.

Flashing — A type of sheet metal used at intersections of building components to prevent water penetration, flashings are commonly used above doors and windows in exterior walls and are used under the siding to prohibit water penetration

Weep Hole — A small hole in the bottom butt edge of the vinyl siding panel, allowing condensation to escape.

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

Furring/Furring Strip — A wooden or steel framing material used to provide an even nailing base. To “fur” a surface means to apply these strips.

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

Drip Cap — A piece set on top of the door casing and nailed in. The drip cap has a groove cut underneath in the bottom front edge. This groove causes water to
drip off the front edge rather rolling back to the door or window casing.

Water Table Band — A wide trim board at the bottom of a wall. This is put on before the first piece of siding and is usually the same level as the first floor.

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