Common Parts of a House Exterior

Whether you have owned a home for 40 years or you are a grade-school student looking to learn more about homes, naming the various parts of a house exterior can be challenging. Well, we are here to help. As an exterior cleaning company with 20 years of experience, our team at Perfect Power Wash knows a thing or two about the outside of homes.

Below we listed all the common terms associated with the various parts of a house exterior. We have listed them in alphabetical order, so you can use it as a glossary and find what you are looking for right away.

All the Parts of a House Exterior

Box End

Box ends of a home are located at the gables, generally where the siding and roof line meet. They create a better appearance and seal in the areas where the siding and roof meet.

Chimney

Chimneys are designed to aid in the release of smoke and toxic gases from the interior of a home. They are primarily attached to the fireplace and built vertically to push the hot fumes upward and out of the home.

Column

Columns are typically located at the face of the home. Coming in multiple styles, columns are used for structural soundness, as well as a decorative touch.

Corner Post

Corner posts are constructed at a 90-degree angle and located on the corners of homes and garages. Typically made of aluminum, they are designed to protect the attached corners from damage and support the corner structurally.

Drip Edge

Drip edges are located underneath the edge of a roof line near the gutters. They are designed to protect the roof by letting rainwater at the edge of the roof work its way into the gutters.

Driveway

The gateway to your home, the driveway brings you from the street to your front doorstep. Driveways are generally comprised of concrete or asphalt, though different types of concrete and gravel are relatively common.

Dormer

Dormers are located along the angle of a roof and contain windows. Dormers generally encapsulate areas like attics on the higher levels of a home.

Down Spouts

Downspouts are attached at the ends of gutters and move vertically down edges of a home. These aluminum tubes direct water down the side of the home and away from the foundation.

Eave

An eave is the part of the roof that hangs over the side of the home. Otherwise known as an overhang, eaves are designed to push water clear of the siding.

Fascia

The fascia is located at the point where the gutter and roof line meet. They are generally made of aluminum and wood.

Flashing

Flashing is usually located on several areas of a home. It is designed to direct water away from vulnerable areas within the home’s exterior.

Foundation

Foundations are found at the base of a home at ground level. They are designed to bear the weight of the home and provide strength and stability.

Frieze Board

Frieze board is trim installed where the siding meets the soffits. It is generally horizontal and placed at the very top end of the siding under the edge of the roof.

Gable

Gables are two sloping sections of a roof that come together to create a peak. They are used as an aesthetic element.

Garage

Attached or detached, garages are used for parking cars and general storage.

Gutters

Typically made of aluminum, gutters are found along the perimeter of a house. This piece collects rainwater, leads it to downs spout, and away from the home.

Note: Gutter guards are becoming a popular feature on the exterior of homes. Typically made of stainless steel, this piece covers your gutters and prevents gutters from clogging due to leaves, twigs, and samaras (helicopters).

Hip

A hip is a connecting point between two different sides of a roof that slope downward.

Patio

Patios are outdoor spaces that are commonly comprised of a type of concrete. They are typically adjoined to the house.

Porch

A porch is generally at the front entrance of a home and sheltered by a roof or eaves. Porches can also be in the back of homes, similar to patios, and be used as entertainment areas.

Railing

Railings are located in spots like the sides of steps and around the outside of a deck. They are used as a border and safety precaution.

Rake

Rake is the term used for the sloped sides on the end of a gabled roof.

Ridge

A ridge is a peak on a roof where two sloping sides meet. Ridge is also the term for the beam used to build this part of the roof.

Sidewalks

Sidewalks are typically made of concrete and create paths to various areas on the outside of a home.

Soffit

Soffits are made of vinyl, wood, and most commonly aluminum. They are attached under roof overhangs to protect the tresses that hang over the side of a home or to cover porch ceilings. Soffits are often vented to allow airflow into your attic.

Steps

Steps are generally located at the ends of porches and decks to help people reach a surface that is either above or below them.

Shingles

Shingles cover a roof and are generally made of asphalt and limestone. They are nailed and overlap to protect your home from weather elements.

Siding

Siding is the term for the exterior walls of the home. The most common types are vinyl, aluminum, and brick.

Vents

Vents are located in different spots on a roof and allow air to escape from a home.

Windows/Doors

Windows are strategically laid out on a home to allow light inside and provide views outside. They are typically fitted with glass. Doors, either hinged or sliding, allow people to enter and exit a home. Here are a few features that relate to them.

  • Apron
    • An apron is a decorative trim installed beneath a window and against the siding.
  • Grid
    • A window grid is created by materials laid within the glass of a window to create the look of multiple panes. Grids can also be placed on the exterior of a window. Depending on how grids are installed, they can either be decorative or supportive in nature.
  • Header
    • Headers are trim boards above doors/windows that are both decorative and built for supporting the weight above it.
  • Shutters
    • Shutters are found on the left and right sides of windows. While they originally served as a functional piece to protect homes from storms, today they are more commonly used for decoration and often have no functionality.
  • Trim
    • Trim comes in many forms such as vinyl, wood, and aluminum. It is used around windows and doors both on interiors and exteriors to help improve aesthetics.
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