Get to Know Your Siding

Washington-based siding contractors share the inside scoop on siding terms.

The Different Parts of Siding Explained

Vinyl siding is one of the most widely used types of home covering. Not only is it inexpensive, but it is also durable and comes in an almost endless variety of colors and textures. This article is not going to cover all the elements of siding, but it will cover the basics so a customer can feel more at ease when talking to a siding company regarding home renovation and siding installation. 

Though there are many types of siding including wood siding, cedar siding, stone siding, and metal siding, vinyl siding vocabulary is the primary subject of this blog entry.

The Starting Pieces

When installing siding, a contractor has to start at the exterior wall. Previously installed siding has to be removed as well as the layer behind it called the backboard. There may be an extra layer between the blackboard and the vinyl siding such as Tyvek wrap which would be considered an underlayment.  

Furring strips are typically wooden strips used to even out a wall’s surface and create attachment points for the siding. Strapping or furring strips can be used over brick or existing siding. These ensure the siding looks straight and even when fully completed. The starting strip, the first piece that needs to be placed, is then attached to the home’s exterior.

The Parts of a Piece of Siding

The siding piece itself has several different parts. These are listed and explained below.

  • Nailing Hem: This is the portion of the siding that has holes for nails and where it attaches to the house.
  • Face:  The face is the visible portion of the siding when installation is finished.
  • Center Butt:  This bump in the middle of the siding makes it look like two pieces instead of one solid piece.
  • Lap: This is the portion that overlaps (hence the name) the previous piece of siding at the nailing hem.

While siding is typically installed horizontally, it can be installed as vertical siding for a bit of eye-catching curb appeal.


Trim is the part of the siding that makes it look finished. These pieces cover the edges of the siding not only for aesthetic purposes but also for protection. There are many different kinds of trim and some parts are specifically made to go on eaves and roof supports to protect them from water damage and pest infestation.  Some of these pieces include the following:

  • J- channel
  • Finishing trim 
  • Soffit 
  • T-channel
  • Inside corners 
  • Outside corners

Finding a Siding Company

Once a homeowner decides that they need new siding, finding the contractor to do it is the next step. When looking for someone to provide siding services, there are several things to consider. A contractor may be inexpensive, but how is the company’s work? 

Check with trusted sources for recommendations, whether this is talking to friends, family, and neighbors or simply scanning online reviews. Is the company well established? What offers do they have available? 

Look for BBB accreditation and membership in reputable trade associations like the Master Builders Association. These tips should help you find a siding contractor who can do the work right the first time.

About Cobalt Exteriors

Cobalt Exteriors has been a trusted source of decks, windows, roofing, and siding since opening their doors in 1989. Call today for both residential and commercial projects in the Woodinville area.