Home Improvement Glossary: Terms You Should Know

If you’re a first-time homeowner or have never had a major update to your home, it can be intimidating on where to even begin when starting a home renovation project. Our expert team is here to help you in any way we can. So, we wanted to round up common terms that are used in the home improvement industry. When looking to upgrade your windows, siding, roof, or bath use this glossary guide to help you gain knowledge about what you’re looking for. Knowing these will have you feeling more confident in your shopping process.

Save this post so you can reference it at a convenient time when you’re ready to start that next project or when you start shopping for new windows, walk-in shower, etc.

Window terms

  • Sash – A window that is made of one or more movable panels, or “sashes”.
  • Vinyl – A windows made from a plastic material, PVC.
  • Single hung – one fixed sash and one that slides up and down.
  • Double hung – a set of vertical sashes that slide both up and down.
  • Casement – These are the perfect windows for increasing ventilation in a living space or smaller room.
  • Picture – Fixed panes that cannot be moved or opened.
  • Siding – like double hung windows but are turned 90 degrees horizontally.
  • Awning – hinged at the top and swing outward from the bottom.
  • Bay – extends outwards from the home.
  • Bow– like bay windows but are mounted on rounded frames.
  • Garden – projects outwards, usually for over a kitchen sink or countertop.
  • Specialty – a custom window fit to your home’s uniquely shaped openings.
  • NFRC – National Fenestration Rating Council – a label for an energy-efficient performance rating.
  • AAMA Gold label – American Architectural Manufacturers Association. This requires companies to pass the required rigorous testing within its quality assurance system.
  • U-Factor – This number indicates how well your new windows will prevent heat transfer. .20-1.20 the lower the numbers the better the u-factor rating.
  • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient – This number measures your window’s ability to resist heat gain on a 0-1 scale. The Lower number indicate better resistance.
  • Visible transmittance – window’s ability to effectively allow daylight into your home.

Siding terms

  • Soffit– This is the material that is used under the eaves or overhangs.
  • Course – A row of panels that runs the length of the house for horizontal siding and top to bottom for vertical siding.
  • Dutchlap or Shiplap– This is a type of siding with a beveled face that provides an attractive and decorative look to the siding.
  • Fascia Board– The board that is attached to the rafters between the roof and soffit and is covered by a fascia cap.
  • Flashing– Sheet metal that is used above windows and doors and under the siding to prevent water infiltration.
  • Weep Hole– A hole in the bottom edge of a siding panel to enable the discharge of condensation.
  • Square – This is a 10 x 10 foot section of the wall that is equal to 100 square feet.
  • Furring Strip– A framing material that can be either wood or metal that is used as a base for nailing.
  • Lap – The overhang of siding or roofing material.
  • Drip Cap– This is set on top of a door casing and allows water to drip off and away from the casing.

Roof terms

  • Shake Shingles – wooden shingle individually applied
  • Asphalt Shingles – A traditional choice for homeowners that come in a wide variety of colors and styles
  • Polymer shingles – shingles that are a mixture of recycled plastics and rubber
  • Slate Roof Tiles – Roofing tiles that are stone slabs made of slate
  • Composition shingles – also known as asphalt shingles or three-tab shingles. They have a coating of granules on the surface.
  • Dimensional Shingles – high end roofing material
  • Haag Certified -An individual who has been trained and certified by Haag Engineering to install roofing systems

Bath terms

  • Shower caddies – seamless blend in additional organization into your shower.
  • Grab bars – Improve the safety of your bathroom with a grab bar.
  • Shaving stands – A foot stand that helps reduce bathroom slips.
  • Wall surrounds – The walls of your showers.

Call All States Home Improvement

If you’re still feeling lost in your home improvement process, our team is here to help you. When you need help with roofing, siding, windows, or bath, contact us. We will guide you through the process to get the best results for your home and for your specific needs. Let our family make your family home more beautiful, comfortable, and valuable.


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