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Finished Touch Exteriors, A Minnesota Roofing and Siding Company, Family Owned and Operated.

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Understanding the terms your contractor is using, either when you are speaking with them or in the contract itself, could make the difference in the contractor you choose. The terms provided here are meant to help you understand some of the terms that may be used and can help better equip you with your contracting decision.

Roofing Terminology

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Built-up Roof
A low-slope (or flat-seeming) roof covered with alternating layers of roofing felt and hot-mapped asphalt and topped off with a layer of gravel.

The portion of the roof projecting out from the side walls of the house.

The flashing which is imbedded at its top in a wall or other vertical structure and is lapped down over shingle flashing.

Horizontal rows of shingles or tiles.

The strip of metal extending out beyond the eaves or rakes to prevent rainwater from rolling around the shingles back onto the wooden portion of the house.

The lower edge of a roof (usually overhanging beyond the edge of the house).

Trimboard behind the gutter and eaves.

Sheet metal or other material used at junctions of different planes on a roof to prevent leakage.

The "tar paper" used by roofer, usually made of a combination of asphalt and either paper or rags.

Frieze Board
A Board at the top of the house's siding, forming a corner with the soffit.

The triangular upper part of a wall closing the end of a ridged roof

The external angle at the junction of two sides of a roof whose supporting walls adjoin.

In a flat roof, a horizontal structural member over which sheathing is nailed.

A structural member (usually slanted) to which sheathing is nailed.

The slanting edge of a gabled roof extending beyond the end wall of the house.

The horizontal line at the top edge of two sloping roof planes.

The rigid material (often one inch by six inch or one inch by twelve inch boards or sheets of plywood) which is nailed to the rafters, and to which shingles or other outside roofing materials are secured.

Shingle Flashing
Flashing that is laid in strips under each shingle and bent up the edge of a chimney or wall.

The number of inched of vertical rise in a roof per 12 inches of horizontal distance. Also referred to as pitch.

The boards that enclose the underside of that portion of the roof which extends out beyond the sidewalls of the house.

One hundred square feet of roof, or the amount of roofing material needed to cover 100 square feet when properly applied.

The material (usually roofing felt) laid on top of sheathing before shingles are applied.

The less-than 180-degree angle where two sloping roof sections come together.

Valley Flashing
The flashing in valleys, extending in under to shingles on both sides.


Siding Terminology

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The material that is nailed to the studs on the exterior side of the wall, providing a surface area to fasten the siding and trim.

The piece of siding located on the opposite side to the fastening strip, which locks into the preceding piece of siding or trim.

Center Butt
The bend in the center of a piece of siding that makes the siding appear to be two pieces instead of one.

The location on a piece of trim or post such as an inside or outside corner or a J or F Channel that is designed to accept the insertion of a piece of siding.

A single row of siding that runs from one outside edge to the opposite edge.  In vertical panels, it is a single panel running from the highest point of the area to be sided to the lowest point.

If the fastening portion of a piece of siding has been trimmed away due to size, it is necessary to form crimps on the remaining piece of panel in order for the panel to fit tightly into the slot in the trim.  Crimps are formed using a special tool called a snaplock punch.

Drip Cap
A piece of trim used to deflect water away from the top of vertical siding, to prevent water from getting in behind the siding.  In some instances a drip cap may be used over windows and doors to deflect water run-off.

The F-channel is a piece of trim that is designed to take a piece of siding at a 90 degree angle to the fastening structure.

The side of a siding panel that is viewed after installation.

Face Nailing
The nailing of siding through the visible portion of the panel instead of the nailing strip.  This is not recommended.

Fascia Board
The material that covers the end of the roof rafters and provides the finished appearance to the edge of the roof.

Finishing Trim
Trim pieces used to provide an aesthetic finished edge to a siding panel or soffit panel.

The area on a siding panel or piece of trim where the fastening holes are located.

A piece of material used to deflect water so that it cannot get in behind siding material or trim pieces and damage the backerboard or other structural components of the home.

Furring Strip
A piece of material usually wood, but can be metal, that is placed on the outer surface of the building to provide a surface to fasten the siding too.  It is also used to straighten or correct surfaces that are not flat.  A common use of a furring strip is to install them over brick, stucco and previously installed siding.

Head Flashing
A piece of trim used to deflect water away from the top of vertical siding, to prevent water from getting in behind the siding.  In some instances a head flashing may be used over windows and doors to deflect water run-off.

Inside Corner
A trim piece used to mate courses of siding on a 90 degree inside corner.

The most common trim piece.  It is used around windows, doors, eaves and soffits to provide a grove for the end of a siding panel or soffit panel.

When a panel or piece of trim overlaps a previous panel or trim, it is considered to be a "lap" joint.  The term is derived from the word "overlap".

The portion of the siding panel that accepts the locking leg from the next course of panels or from the starter strip.

Locking Leg
The portion of the siding panel that slips into the lock from the previous course of panels.

If the fastening portion of a piece of siding has been trimmed away due to size, it is necessary to form lugs on the remaining piece of panel in order for the panel to fit tightly into the slot in the trim.  Lugs are formed using a special tool called a snaplock punch.

A miter joint is the meeting of two panels, usually at a 90 degree angle where each panel is cut at a 45 degree angle.  Soffit material may be installed in this manner to provide a more aesthetically pleasing appearance.

Nailing Hem
The area on a siding panel or piece of trim where the fastening holes are located.

Nail Hole Punch
The "nail hole punch" creates an oval hole in the vinyl siding for nail placement.  It is critical in order to allow expansion and contraction of the vinyl siding

Nail Slot
The slotted hole in the nailing hem or flange that has been created as a position for installing the fastener, nail or staple, into the backerboard.

Outside Corner
A trim piece used to mate courses of siding on a 90 degree outside corner.

A line that is exactly 90 degrees from a horizontal surface or line is considered to be "plumb".

The industry term for the aesthetic appearance of the siding.

Siding Removal Tool
A tool designed to help remove siding panels without damage to the panel and without causing injury to the installer.

Snaplock Punch
The "snaplock punch" is used to secure the vinyl siding and skirting to finished trim.  Tabs grip a greater surface area and guard against dislodging due to relaxation of vinyl from heat and wind.

Scratching the surface of a siding panel at a specific point using a utility knife or other sharp tool.  The score mark allows the panel to be bent at an exact location and when bent it will snap into two peices leaving clean edges.

The soffit is the area below or to the inside (if there is a gable roof) of the rafters that is on the exterior side of the house.  The soffit area must be protected from the elements, insects and pests that could enter the home while, in most cases, still providing ventilation.

A piece of material usually wood, but can be metal, that is placed on the outer surface of the building to provide a surface to fasten the siding too.  It is also used to straighten or correct surfaces that are not flat.  A common use of a strapping is to install it over brick, stucco and previously installed siding.

Starter Strip
A horizontal strip, fastened to the lowest point of the siding installation.  It is used to connect the first course of siding to the structure.

A trim that is used to join the ends of two panels.  The most common application is the conversion from horizontal siding on a wall to vertical siding on a roof gable.

Underlayment is the term used to describe any type of material that is used under the siding, between the exterior wall surface and the back of the panel.

Ventilated Soffit
Soffit panels that have a series of holes or slits, covered with a screen material that allows air to enter or exit the attic space, while keeping insects and pests out.

Weep Holes
A hole that has been introduced into a siding panel or trim piece to allow water to drain away from the panel.


Window Terminology

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The ratio of radiant energy absorbed to total incident radiant energy in a glazing system.

A thermoplastic with good weather resistance, shatter resistance, and optical clarity, used for glazing.

Aluminum Clad
A window or door made from wood with an exterior skin of aluminum.

Aluminum Window
A window whose frame and sashes are made from aluminum.

Argon Gas
Argon is a safe, odorless, colorless, non-toxic, non-flammable inert gas that is commonly used in place of air between the glass panes of an insulated Low-E glass unit.

Awning Window
A window unit which projects outward toward the exterior of the building as it opens. Hinges at the top of the side frame members, permitting the sash to open up and out like anwning.

Basic Unit
This term is given to the fundamental "building block" units of each standard window product line. These units are members of a series of standard sizes. They lack exterior trim or installation flanges but are otherwise complete.

Cosmetic covering, usually found on the exterior of the window or door to achieve aesthetic sight lines or to integrate the window or door system into the building surface or weatherproofing system. If panning is being used for weather, the panning is not considered cosmetic, but part of the window system.

A window sash that swings open on side hinges; in-swinging are French in origin; out-swinging are from England.

Casement Window
A projecting window with a single sash hinged at the sides and usually opening outward like a door and operated by a (crank) handle which turns to open or close the unit.

Casing (Trim)
Exposed molding or framing around a window or door, on either the inside or outside, to cover the space between the window frame or jamb and the wall.

A designation given to products whose exposed exterior surfaces are sheathed with specially formed aluminum.

Protective material, typically vinyl or aluminum, sometimes applied to the exterior of wood windows to prevent decay and reduce the need for painting.

Divided Lights
Individual panes of glass separated by muntins within a window sash.

Door Jamb
The part of a door frame which surrounds and contacts the edges of the stiles and top rail of a door; jambs may be classified as (1) "head or "side" jambs and (2) "plain" or "rabbeted".

Double Glazed Units
Units consisting of two lites of glass and one air space in between.

Double Glazing
In general, two thicknesses of glass separated by an air space within an opening to improve insulation against heat transfer and/or sound transmission. In factory-made double glazing units, the air between the glass sheets is thoroughly dried and the space is sealed airtight, eliminating possible condensation and providing superior insulating properties.

Double Hung Window
Two sash which move vertically, by-passing each other in a single frame. Sash may be counter-balanced by weights or springs.

ENERGY STAR is an independent U.S. government program establishing a standard set of guidelines to recognize the energy efficiency of various products. ENERGY STAR guidelines are used in conjunction with a variety of building materials, including windows and patio doors. Over the past ten years, ENERGY STAR guidelines have helped double the efficiency of windows they endorse.

The arrangement, proportioning, and design of windows in a building.

Fixed window, lite, or panel
Fixed means that it does not open or move.

The structural parts of a window, including the jambs and reinforcing members.

Gas Fill
Heavier-than-air gas, such as argon or krypton, sometimes used to fill the air space in windows with insulating glass to boost energy performance.

Glass; used to refer to the type of glass or system used in a particular window, such as, plate glass, tempered glass, Low-E, or tinted.

One-piece decorative latticework that may snap into a sash to simulate divided lights.

Hung Window
A window in which the operating sash move up and down within the master frame. The weight of each operating sash is counterbalanced with balances to permit easy operation.

I.G. Unit (Insulating Glass Unit)
Two or more lites of glass separated by a spacer and hermetically sealed at the glass edges.

Two or three panes of glass separated by an air space.

Insulating Glass
The sides of a window assembly.

An inert, odorless, colorless, tasteless, nontoxic gas which is about 12 times denser than air. It is used to replace air between the glass panes to reduce temperature transfer and deter convection. The gas provides a higher performance than windows produced without it.

A composite unit of glass and interlayer material.

Laminated Glass
Two or more pieces of glass bonded together over a plastic interlayer.

A unit of glass, in window or door that is enclosed by the sash or muntins and bars. This can also be called a pane.

Low-E Glazing
Glass or plastic treated with transparent metallic film to improve resistance to thermal transfer.

Narrow strips that separate individual panes of glass in a window sash.

A major component of a sliding glass door, consisting of a lite of glass in a frame installed within the main (or outer) frame of the door. A panel may be sliding or fixed.

Picture Window
Non-venting or non-operable window. Also known as a fixed window.

Pivot Window
A window with a sash that swings open or shut by revolving on pivots at either side of the sash or at top and bottom.

Prime Window
An entire window assembly including sash and jambs.

Rough Opening
Opening in a structural frame that accommodates a window.

Measurement of resistance to heat flow; usually refers to the rating of glazing—the higher the R-value, the better the window.

Safety Glass
A strengthened or reinforced glass that is less subject to breakage or splintering.

Window component that retains glass.

Sash Balance
Mechanism that controls the operation of double-hung window sashes.

Single Hung Window
A window consisting of two sashes of glass, the top one stationary and the bottom movable.

Skylight (operable or pivot)
A roof window that gives light and ventilation.

Sliding Window
A window fitted with one or more sashes opening by sliding horizontally or vertically in grooves provided by frame members. Vertical sliders may be single- or double-hung.

Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC)
The fraction of solar radiation admitted through a window or skylight, both directly transmitted, and absorbed and subsequently released inward. The solar heat gain coefficient has replaced the shading coefficient as the standard indicator of a window's shading ability. It is expressed as a number between 0 and 1. The lower a window's solar heat gain coefficient, the less solar heat it transmits, and the greater it’s shading ability. SHGC can be expressed in terms of the glass alone or can refer to the entire window assembly.

Sound Transmission Class (STC)
The sound transmission loss rating of a material over a selected range of sound frequencies. The higher the number, the less sound transmitted.

Tempered Glass
Glass with a surface compression of no less than 10,000 psi, or an edge compression of no less than 9,700 psi. When broken, the glass breaks into pebbles instead of shards.

Tilt Window
A single- or double-hung window whose operable sash can be tilted into the room for interior wash ability.

Tinted Glass
Glass with a material added to give the glass a light and/or heat reducing capability and color.

Measurement of thermal transfers; usually refers to a window’s overall rating—the lower the U-value, the better the window.

A plastic material used for cladding or entire window units. Vinyl is a generic term for modified PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride).

Vinyl Window
A window whose frame and sashes are made from vinyl.

Vinyl-Clad Window
A window with exterior wood parts covered with extruded vinyl.


Door Terminology

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Inswing (I/S)
A door that opens in.

Outswing (O/S)
A door that opens out.

Left Hand
For an I/S door, hinges are on the left and for an O/S door hinges are on the right (when the door is viewed from the house's exterior).

Right Hand
For an I/S door, hinges are on the right and for an O/S door hinges are on the left. (when the door is viewed from the house's exterior).

A pane of glass in a door.

Divided lite
Panes of glass that are or appear to be divided.

Plastic, wooden or metal assembly in a door that gives the appearance of divided lites.

Entry Doors
  • Steel doors have energy efficient foam core insulation and are fully weatherstripped by the manufacturer. They are highly resistant to shrinking, swelling and warping. Their tough steel construction will withstand years of extreme weather conditions with minimum maintenance. The doors can be purchased with predrilled doorknob and lockset holes, making installation even easier. Steel doors come preprimed and ready to paint.
  • Fiberglass doors offer the same energy saving and easy installation qualities as steel doors. Fiberglass doors have wood grain texture molded into the door so they give the appearance of a real wood door when painted or stained. Their high quality composite construction make these doors resistant to all sorts of weather as well as scratches and dents. These are an excellent choice for extreme climates and high traffic entrances.
  • Wood doors offer the most traditional look. The familiar look and feel of a well-crafted wooden door sends an inviting message of home and hearth. The substantial weight of a wooden door adds a sense of security and sturdiness to your home. These doors may be painted or stained for a natural, warm appearance. Wooden doors are usually made using frame and panel construction to counteract the effects of climatic or seasonal changes.

There are plenty of accents available to help you fully customize your entryway to your needs and desires.

  • Glass All door types are available with decorative glass. While most doors have insulated glass for energy efficiency, others may have beveled, silk-screened or stained glass with genuine brass caming (joining strips for segmented glass). The glass may be one large lite or have a grille that separates the glass into several lites.
  • Sidelites Sidelites are available for all types of doors. You may use one sidelite on either side of the door or have one on each side.
  • Transoms Transoms are available for all types of doors, in three distinct shapes: arch, ellipse and box.
  • In-glass Blinds Some doors have adjustable blinds made inside the glass pane.
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