Exterior Remodeling Glossary

Balustrade: A railing composition composed of upper and lower rails, balusters and pedestals. Materials used can range from stone to brick, wood and sheet metal.

Bay Window: A window generally consisting of three wall segments. Two side wall segments attached to the main wall plane of the home project at some angle and adjoin a wall section parallel with the home’s main wall surface. Each wall section contains a window (or windows).

Bearing Wall: Any wall that carries a structural load.

Canopy: A projecting roof structure that shelters an entrance. Sometimes, they are made out of fabric to create shade and can be fixed tightly in place or allowed to drape elegantly.

Casement Window: A window that pivots on a side hinge much like a door with a handle to crank the window open.

Clapboard: These are long, narrow boards that are placed horizontally on the exterior of a structure to protect the home from the elements. One edge is thicker than the other, allowing the planks to overlap and create a waterproof barrier.

Dormer: A projection from a sloping roof that usually contains a window. Some dormers are purely decorative while others allow the natural light to enter into upper floors or attic.

Eaves: The lower part of a roof plane that extends outward from the structure at the same slope as the roof and is generally finished with a fascia board. Sometimes referred to as the roof overhang. The eave on a gable end is sometimes referred to as the gable overhang.

Fixtures: Any electrical, HVAC or plumbing appliance or article that is attached to the structure. (E.g. sink, tub, water heater, furnace, etc.)

Gable: When a roof pitch end terminates at an exterior wall a triangular shape is created within the roof planes. This triangular wall section is called a gable.

Parapet: The portion of wall that projects above the adjacent roof.

Post and beam construction: A simple building framing system that uses a series of vertical posts and horizontal beams.

Pier Foundation: Piers are created by filled drilled holes in the ground with concrete reinforced with steel. Beachfront homes are often built on pier foundations.

Portico: A portico consists of a set of columns that support a roof, creating a covered porch, entrance or walkway. “Portico” is an Italian word, but the style originated in ancient Greece, where porticoes and colonnades were popular gathering places.

Rebar: Reinforcing bar that is used to strengthen concrete structures.

Retractable awning: A covering of fabric that can be opened or closed to create shade. It must be attached to a fixed structure like a building or arbor.

Single Hung and Double Hung Windows: A single-hung window is made up of one fixed sash at the top and a movable sash at the bottom. A double-hung window is made up of two sashes that travel vertically in channels independently of each other. These two types are the most common residential windows.

Slab Foundation: A foundation in which a concrete slab foundation floor creates the first floor of a home. A slab foundation can be built with a stem wall and footings around its edge or as a monolithic slab having no stem wall or footings created at its edges.

Sliding Door: A sliding door, also called a bypass door or slider, hangs from an overhead track and moves sideways to open. It’s composed of two sections with one section actively sliding over the other section when opened. A track beneath the door helps keep it in line.

Stud: A vertical framing member usually used to create walls.

Trellis: A trellis is a vertical, or almost vertical, grid composed of wood or metal strips set in a frame. It provides support for climbing vines or other plants. A trellis can be a simple frame with latticework panels. Or it can be far more elaborate combining lattice, fretwork and arches in a finished product.

Vestibule: A vestibule is a small room, hallway or passageway that connects the entry of a house with its interior. The area can be completely or partially enclosed. Vestibules originally served two purposes: providing a formal entrance and keeping the cold from the rest of the house when opening the front door.

For a More Complete Breakdown of Exterior Design Terms, Please Visit the Following Sources: