12 Terms to Know if You are Renovating the Exterior of Your Home

With Home Improvement and DIY projects being at an all-time high, talking with your contractor or architect about shutters and downspouts may come with relative ease. Still, the conversation can turn hazy quickly when asked about preferences on soffits, fascia, and facades.

Being able to identify key exterior elements of your home is a critical part of being able to chime in on the design you want. It could also save you time and money in the long run. With prices being what they are right now, every bit helps.

Here are 12 terms to help you navigate the jargon and get you off to a fast start!


Limitless style options for the front face of your home, and the first view someone gets, range from elegant contemporary to eclectic and traditional. When choosing a fa├žade consider the interior of your home as both should blend well to create balance and harmony.

Box End

The part of the house located at gables where siding and the roofline connect and give your home a better appearance.

Siding Corner

Built at a right angle to hide or cover where two sides of adjoining faces meet, siding corners can be of different styles and colors to complement the siding.


These structures built on a roof create window openings in attics or loft spaces to add light and interesting roof angles to the front or side of your house. Styles include hipped, eyebrow shaped, segmental, shed, gabled, arched, and flat.


Also called overhangs, are the part of the roof that protrudes over the side of your home and protects siding from water run-off, provides shade, and can be a good place to install security cameras. Typical styles are box, open, and closed.


An architectural term for the board is located under the roof lining or edge and located at the point where the roof edge meets the gutter. Fascia trim provides a curb appeal and tidy look and comes in a variety of materials: aluminum, wooden, vinyl, and unplasticized vinyl. It also protects the inner parts of the roof from external elements and keeps the roof safe from insects.


When two adjoining slopes of a roof connect, a triangle is formed. That triangular extension is called a gable and a house can have two or more depending on its size and exterior design. Gables add detail, structure, and depth to a property, as well as good water drainage and headroom to shelter your front door area from rain. Various types to consider include a front roof gable typical on a traditional home, a box gable roof, and a cross gable roof for a more complex design.


The edges of the triangular section of a gable are called the rake and cover exposed edges and the gable ends to provide a neat appearance. It can be flat without overhang or provide an overhang like an eave that is left open or covered with a soffit. There are three types of rakes: overhanging with exposed rafters, overhanging and boxed with soffit, and extended rake. It is available in different materials such as pinewood, cedar, concrete board, and PVC board. You can choose the material that complements your roof and can also be painted in different colors.


Shields your home against snow, hail, rain, heat, and strong winds. There are abundant options of siding material from wood, the most common, to fiber cement, the most recent.


Are not only aesthetically pleasing but provides privacy, protection, and ventilation to a house. Shutters make a home look beautiful and welcoming and come in various options: raised panel, louvered, board and batten, Bahama, or Bermuda.


Attached to overhangs to provide cover under roof extensions, and used to conceal a porch ceiling, give overhangs a box look, shield a rafter, and block gaps between walls and roofs. They are generally vented to allow air to pass through and are made of materials such as wood, vinyl, UPVC, and aluminum. They keep water, insects, and animals from entering the roof spaces.

Window and Door Trim

The casing around a window or door provides a finished look and can be decorative as well as functional. Used to cover or hide gaps between the wall and window or door frames, trim is usually painted a color that compliments the paint of the existing doors and windows.