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Siding Glossary & Information

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Siding Glossary

siding glossary section 'A' siding glossary section 'b'' siding glossary section 'C' siding glossary section 'D' siding glossary section 'E' siding glossary section 'F' siding glossary section 'G' siding glossary section 'H' siding glossary section 'I' siding glossary section 'J' siding glossary section 'K' siding glossary section 'L' siding glossary section 'M' siding glossary section 'N' siding glossary section 'O' siding glossary section 'P' siding glossary section 'Q' siding glossary section 'R' siding glossary section 'S' siding glossary section 'T' siding glossary section 'U' siding glossary section 'V' siding glossary section 'W' siding glossary section 'X' siding glossary section 'Y' siding glossary section 'Z'

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Aluminum Siding: Horizontal planks of aluminum with a baked on enamel finish.

American Hardboard Association (AHA):  The national trade organization for the manufacturers of hardboard products.

American National Standards Institute (ANSI): ANSI is a private, nonprofit organization that oversees the voluntary standardization and assessment of US products, to enable the US to better compete globally and enhance the quality of life in the US by conformity of product standards.

American Society of Testing Materials International: ASTM International is a nonprofit organization that helps develop voluntary standards for products, services, materials and systems world-wide.


Backerboard: A board or other flat surface nailed between the studs of an exterior wall that provides a surface that siding is attached to.

Backer Tab:  Provides support for non-insulated 8" siding at panel overlaps (joints) and behind panels at corners to ensure a smooth installation.

Battens:  Narrow strips of wood placed over joints in vertical wood plank siding to seal the joints.

Beveled: Clapboards that are tapered rather than cut perfectly rectangular.

Board and Batten: An exterior treatment of vertical boards with battens covering the seams.

Brick Ties:  Accordion type metal fasteners used to attach a brick veneer to the wood framework of a house.

Brick Veneer: A wall construction method in which a layer of bricks is attached to the wood framework of a house using brick ties.

Butt Edge:  The part of siding that protrudes from the exterior wall.

Buttlock: Located on the bottom edge of a vinyl panel which locks onto the previously installed panel.


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Carpenter Ants:  Large black ants that may make their nests in walls, behind siding, or in insulation; carpenter ants don't eat wood, they excavate wood to build their homes in the cavities left behind.

Caulking: Waterproof material used to seal joints at intersections of building components, used with some types of siding.

Center Butt:  A crease in the center of a siding panel that makes the siding look like two pieces instead of one.

Channel: The area on a piece of trim or post, such as an inside or outside corner or a J- or F- Channel, where home siding or soffit panels are inserted.

Checking:  A crack or split along the grain in wood plank siding as a result of cupping.

Clapboard:  Long rectangular wooden siding that is installed horizontally in an overlapping manner.

Composite Board: Blanks or sheets of weather resistant compressed wood fibers used as siding.

Course:  Each row of siding material.

Cupping:  A warp across the board in wood plank siding. 

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D4 Profile:  Two four-inch wide horizontal traditional planks per single panel of siding.

D5 Profile: Two five-inch wide horizontal traditional planks per single panel of siding.

Detachment: Separation of the siding material veneer or stucco from its attachment to a house.

Double Course: An under-course of shingles or shakes, not exposed to the weather, is covered completely by a top course.

Double Wall Siding:  Siding in which sheathing is installed and is then covered by exterior siding.

Drip Cap/Head Flashing: Trim that  prevents water from running behind vertical siding; also used over windows and doors.

Dutch Lap: A more decorative variation on the clapboard style where the face (or width) of the board is beveled for added dimension.

Dust Mites:  Virtually walking stomachs.

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Eaves: The overhanging lower edge of a roof.

Ell: An extension of a building at right angles to its length.

Exposure (or Reveal): The width of a board of siding.

Exposure I Grade Plywood: Type of plywood approved by the American Plywood Association for exterior use.


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Face: The part of the vinyl panel that is visible once the vinyl is installed.

Face Nailing: Fastening nails onto the visible part of the siding, or face, as opposed to using the nail hem slot.

Fascia: A flat board that runs along the eaves of a roof, typically capping the ends of the roof rafters to give the roof edge a more finished look and to provide a base for attaching gutters.

F-Channel (F-Molding or F-Trim):  F-Shaped molding used to trim siding that is installed at a 90-degree angle.

Finish: The type of texture or level of glass on a piece of siding, also called the Pattern.

Finishing Trim: The finished edge of a piece of panel

Fire-retardant-treated (FRT) Plywood: Plywood that has been impregnated under pressure with mineral salts; in the event of fire, the burning wood and salts emit noncombustible gases and water vapor instead of the usual flammable vapors.

Flange: Material used to deflect water from siding or trim in order to prevent damage to the home.

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. 

Frieze: A decorative, horizontal band that connects the top of siding to the soffit.

Furring Strip: A wooden or steel framing material applied to provide an even nailing base.

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Gable: The upper triangular end of a house from cornice to eaves to ridge.

Gable Vent: A vent in the gable of a house that reduces heat and moisture build up by increasing the flow of air to the attic.

Gauge:  A metal thickness measurement; a smaller number indicates a thicker metal.

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Horizontal Siding: Siding panels that run horizontally or from one side to another.

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Individual Outside Corner Cap:  Possible alternative to outside corner posts when installing 8" horizontal siding. Maintains continuity of siding courses in traditional clapboard style.

Inside Corner Post:  Provides a means of joining at inside corners where siding butts both sides.  Deeper posts are for insulated siding and narrower posts are for non-insulating siding.

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

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J Channel: A manufacturing component of vinyl or aluminum siding systems which have a curved channel that the planks fit into, used around windows and doors to make a weather-tight seal.

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Lap: To overlap panels or pieces of trim to allow for expansion and contraction of siding.

Lap Siding: An installation technique in which each piece of siding is 'lapped' over the previous piece to provide a waterproof barrier.

Lintel: A steel angle iron or beam over window and door openings that spans the opening and transfers the weight of the masonry to the sides of the opening. 

Lock: The lock, combined with the locking leg, form a 'lock' between siding panels or courses of panels.

Locking Leg: The locking leg, slipped into the lock, forms a tight connection between siding panels or courses of panels.


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Milled Planks: Various cuts of plank siding, including V-groove, U-groove, channel, rabbeted bevel, shiplap and drop.

Miter Joint: The area where two siding panels meet, usually at a 90 degree angle.

Mitre Cut: Diagonal cut, beveled to a specific angle (usually 45), sometimes applied to an overlapping siding or soffit panel surface for a neater appearance.

Model Building Code: These building codes vary by area of the country and are considered the standard for that area.

Moisture Permeable:  A surface that allows moisture to pass through it.

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Nailer: Sometimes referred to as blocking; a piece of pieces of dimensional lumber and/or plywood secured to a structure deck or walls that provides a receiving medium for the fasteners used to attach membrane or flashing.

Nail Hem: The part of the siding panel or trim that contains the fastening holes, also called a flange. 

Nail Hole Punch: A tool that creates an oval hole in the vinyl siding where the nails go, allowing for expansion and contraction of the vinyl siding.

Nail Slot: A hole in the nailing hem or flange of the backerboard into which a fastener, nail, or staple is inserted.

Non-Veneer Panel: Any wood based panel that does not contain veneer and carries and APA span rating, such as wafer board or oriented strand board.

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Outside Corner Post: Provides neat appearance outside corners for vertical and horizontal siding.  Receives siding from both sides. Deeper post is used with insulated, while a narrower post is used with non-insulated, siding.

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Panel Projection: The amount that a panel of vinyl sticks out away from the wall, you should choose the larges profile for the style of panel you want.

Plumb: A measurement that is exactly vertical 90-degrees from a level, horizontal surface.

Plywood Siding: Plywood sheets used for siding that often have grooved or decorative outer surfaces.

Positive Lock: A locking mechanism that allows siding panels to move back and forth for simple installation, while ensuring that panels stay permanently attached during inclement weather.

Profiles: The technical term for siding panels used by those in the industry.

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Rake: The edge or overhang beyond the wall of a gable roof or other sloped roof.

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Scoring: Scratching a straight line into the surface of a siding panel using a sharp tool. The panel can then be bent at the location of the score mark and snapped into two pieces with clean edges.

Service Life: The period of time a building component or system will function successfully without replacement or excessive repair assuming reasonable or expected periodic maintenance is performed.

Shadow Line: The shadow cast by a home's siding.

Shake Siding:  Sometimes known as shingle siding, shake siding comes in widths from about 4-inches to 12-inches and is installed like lap siding, starting at the lowest row and moving up the wall. The random widths of the shakes provide a distinctive look.

Shiplap: A style of milled plank, used in siding, that is laid close enough so as to appear to be butted.

Siding Removal Tool: A tool with a curved metal end that is used for removing attached panels of siding.

Single course: Wood shingles or shakes applied where each course is exposed to the weather.

Snaplock Punch: A handheld tool used to form crimps into siding panels, allowing cut panels to fit tightly into the appropriate slot in the trim.

Snaplock Finish Trim:  Used to finish off (trim) job-site cuts on siding, as under windows, at eaves, and at porch door locations. May also be used to receive vertical siding at corners and window jambs. The snap-lock design allows siding to be notched and locked into place without face nailing.

Soffit: The part of the cornice or eave of a house where the roof projection and the exterior walls meet.  Can be vented or unvented.

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

Spalling: Crumbling and falling away of bricks, concrete or blocks.

Square: A 10x10 section of siding.

Starter Strip: A home siding accessory used with vertical and horizontal siding that secures the first course, or row, of siding to the wall framework.

Strapping: Wood or metal affixed to the exterior of a building that provides a smooth surface on which to attach new siding.

Stucco: A type of water resistant, plaster like siding material made of cement, sand and water, it may have an acrylic finish.

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T-Channel:(T-Molding or T-Trim)  T-shaped molding used as trim between the ends of two panels.

Tongue & Groove:  (T&G) Tongue and groove, a connection system between components, like wood, in which the tab or tongue of one board is placed into the groove at the end of another board.

Termites:  Social insects that live either in the ground or in wood and eat wood, they cause serious structural damage to a house.

Thermal Stress: The stress due to expansion and contraction that occurs due to changes in temperature.

Thermal Resistance (R):  The quantity determined by the temperature difference at steady state between two defined surfaces of a material or construction that induces a unit heat flow rate through a unit area.  A thermal resistance (R) value applies to a specific thickness of a material or construction. Can be added, subtracted, multiplied and divided by mathematically appropriate methods.

Trim Coil: Painted aluminum and steel material commonly used to case around windows. Allows remodeler to totally enclose the house.

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UL Label:  Label displayed on packageing to indicate the listing for fire and/or wind resistance of asphalt roofing.

Undereave: Underside area of the overhang at the eave of the roof.

Underlayment: Weather resistant material placed under siding panels.


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Vinyl Siding:  Horizontal polyvinyl chloride planks.

Veneer: Veneer is one ply or one thickness of something; in siding there are brick stone veneers, there are also veneers of one wood bonded to another.

Vapor Retarder:  Any material used to prevent the passage of water vapor.  Material which, when installed on the high-vapor-pressure (warm in the winter) side of a material, retards the passage of moisture vapor to the lower-pressure (cold in winter) side.

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Wall Cladding:  Another term for siding.

Wall Sheathing:  Sheets of plywood or wood planking used to cover the wall framework of the house.

Water-Shedding:   The ability of individual, overlapping components to resist the passage of water without hydrostatic pressure.

Wedge: Wedges are used behind fascia brackets to accommodate for an angled fascia or rafter tail. Wedges range from 7.5 degrees to 45 degrees.

Weep Holes: Small holes in the bottom butt edge of home siding that allows condensation to run off.

Windload Pressure:  Is a measurement of how well a panel might perform in high wind areas.

Window Head Flashing:  Possible alternative to J-channel to receive siding over doors and windows and as a base flashing on vertical siding installations.

Wire Mesh:  A mesh attached to the wall sheathing and studs used to anchor a stucco base coat to the wall.

Wood Plank Siding: Rectangular wood planks that are installed horizontally or vertically.

Wood Shakes:  Thick, rough, uneven shingles that are hand split, split and sawn on one side or sawn on both sides, used as siding.

Wood Shingles:  Sawn shingles that are of uniform thickness.

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Zincalume: Steel sheeting that is protected against corrosion by an aluminum-zinc coating.

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Siding 101

Siding is to your house as clothing is to your body; it protects against the elements as well as reflects your individual style and appearance.  Siding helps prevent moisture from penetrating into your home, and helps prevent mold, bacteria and dust mites and other pests from moving in and causing damage to the house and to your health.  Quality Siding can also help make your home more energy efficient while allowing you to relax and worry less about maintenance.

Siding today, comes in many colors, textures, and sizes. The type of siding you choose should be appropriate for your style of home and the environment in which you live.  Vinyl siding is the most popular due to it's toughness, style, low maintenance and reasonable costs.

There are many types of siding to consider;

  • Aluminum Siding: a metal siding that tends to be more popular than steel because exposed areas of steel siding may rust. Aluminum comes in long panels with a baked on enamel finish that can be textured or smooth. Aluminum siding may dent. It is very waterproof and acts as a good heat insulator.
  • Rectangular Plank are perfectly rectangular wood planks that are applied vertically with their ends butted together to form a smooth appearance. The vertical joints are covered by long narrow strips of wood called 'battens' to help keep moisture out and to give a vertical rise and fall appearance to the siding.
  • Clapboard Siding is also rectangular planking, applied horizontally and overlapped. It will not look as smooth unless the edges of the planks are beveled or tapered.
  • Composition Board, or hardwood, are planks or sheets of compressed wood fiber along with weather resistant adhesive.
  • Shingles are usually cedar, redwood or cypress. They are smooth sawn and of uniform size and shape, applied from the bottom up and overlapping each other. They may be applied in a single or double course.
  • Shakes are a rough type of wooden shingle, and can be either hand split and sawn on one side or sawn on both. They are not uniform in size, or shape which gives a rustic look to the exterior of the home. Like Shingles, they may be applied in a single or double course.
  • Stucco is very similar to plaster on an interior wall, and like vinyl is a durable siding. Wire mesh is attached to the sheathing and studs of the house and then two or three coats of stucco mixtures are applied over the mesh. A final top coat is then applied in order to provide a smooth or textured appearance.
  • Veneers are typically brick or stone, applied one ply thick either as a whole house veneer or on select portions of the house as an accent. Applied from the ground up, they are attached to the wall sheathing with brick ties, that can expand and contract as the frame does to help keep the veneer from cracking. An L-shaped metal flashing is generally used under the brick and up the wall in order to keep water from the foundation. Weep holes also allow moisture to escape.
  • Vinyl Siding is the most popular choice among home owners for many reasons. They resemble wood and act much the same way as aluminum without the potential for denting. Standard vinyl siding has three components - a nail hem at the top of the panel where slots are located, the face which is the exposed area of the panel and visible, and the butt lock, which is located on the bottom of the panel and locks into the previously installed panel. Channels and other accessories can be functional or decorative or both.
  • Wood plank siding can be perfectly cut into rectangular, tapered or specialty milled cuts like V-groove or U-groove, channel, rabbeted bevel, shiplap, and drop. Special milled cuts allow the panels to fit together in such a way as to protect the joints from water infiltration.
  • Plywood Siding consists of 2 materials glued and veneered and is more water resistant than indoor plywood.

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Siding Care & Maintenance

General maintenance will depend on the type of siding you select. Iossi offers a wide range of low maintenance siding that will limit the amount of time or the expense of maintaining your siding greatly.

Siding maintenance;

  • Aluminum Siding: easily maintained in the first few years, but will need to be checked after that time period. Check for color fade, blister, or cracks as well as dents.  CLEAN using plain water and using low pressure. You may use a biodegradable detergent and hose it off with a light spray.
  • Wood Planking will need to be repainted periodically.
  • Composition Board, or hardwood, will need a great deal of TLC, especially in wet climates.  They must be repainted often because they do not hold paint as well as wood siding.  If left exposed for too long, the board will be susceptible to moisture damage from the environment and from other sources like water sprinklers.  Nails must be checked to make sure they have not broken the surface finish.  In addition you will need to check for damage caused by birds, wildlife and insects.
  • Shingles and Shakes should not be installed close to the ground where moisture can wick upward and behind them.  Check for soil build up and remove.  Shakes and Shingles may fade unevenly over time depending on landscaping or closeness of other structures that create partial shade areas.  They can be painted or stained to help preserve them, and depending on the climate this may need to be done every 5 to 7 years for paint and every 3 years for staining.
  • Stucco  will need to be checked for cracks, and all lose material should be scraped from the cracks before caulking. Always use a paintable caulking.
  • Vinyl Siding is simple to maintain.  From time to time simply use a mild detergent and water to  remove any dirt, dust, grass stains, etc.  A soft bristled brush or a soft cloth can be used to wipe it clean, especially if the surface is textured.  Homeowners should keep grills and combustible materials, dry leaves and mulch away from the siding.
  • Brick and Stone veneers may need to be checked for spalling - when mortar falls out or crumbles.  Check the bottom of the wall and the areas where wall meets wall, clear away any debris and keep vines off the veneer. Cracks or spalling should be patched or replaced as soon as possible Mortarless brick will not have the same problems.
  • Plywood Siding can expand and contract at different rates than the framing it is attached to.  Check the nails to ensure they have not lifted, and keep the surface finish fresh to avoid deterioration, moisture infiltration, and warping.

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