Glossary / Business

Construction Glossary

(GF CI) Or (GF): Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter an ultra sensitive plug designed to shut off all electric current.
A-C: An abbreviation for air conditioner or air conditioning.
A-C Condenser: The outside fan unit of the Air Conditioning system. It removes the heat from the freon gas and 'tur
A-C Disconnect: The main electrical ON-OFF switch near the A/C Condenser.
Aerator: The round screened screw-on tip of a sink spout. It mixes water and air for a smooth flow.
Aggregate: A mixture of sand and stone and a major component of concrete.
Air space : The area between insulation facing and interior of exterior wall coverings. Normally a 1' air gap.
Allowance(s) : A sum of money set aside in the construction contract for items which have not been selected and spe
Amortization : A payment plan by which a loan is reduced through monthly payments of principal and interest.
Anchor Bolts: Bolts to secure a wooden sill plate to concrete , or masonry floor or wall.
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): Annual cost of credit over the life of a loan, including interest, service charges, points, loan fee
Appraisal: An expert valuation of property.
Apron: A trim board that is installed beneath a window sill
Architect : One who has completed a course of study in building and design, and is licensed by the state as an a
Area Wells: Corrugated metal or concrete barrier walls installed around a basement window to hold back the earth
Assessment : A tax levied on a property, or a value placed on the worth of a property.
Assumption : Allows a buyer to assume responsibility for an existing loan instead of getting a new loan.
Astragal: A molding, attached to one of a pair of swinging double doors, against which the other door strikes.
Attic Access: An opening that is placed in the drywalled ceiling of a home providing access to the attic.
Attic Ventilators: In houses, screened openings provided to ventilate an attic space.
Back Charge: Billings for work performed or costs incurred by one party that, in accordance with the agreement, s
Backfill: The replacement of excavated earth into a trench around or against a basement /crawl space foundatio
Backing: Frame lumber installed between the wall studs to give additional support for drywall or an interior
Backout: Work the framing contractor does after the mechanical subcontractors (Heating-Plumbing-Electrical) f
Ballast: A transformer that steps up the voltage in a florescent lamp.
Balloon : A loan that has a series of monthly payments with the remaining balance due in a large lump sum paym
Balloon Framed Wall: Framed walls (generally over 10' tall) that run the entire vertical length from the floor sill plate
Balusters: Vertical members in a railing used between a top rail and bottom rail or the stair treads. Sometimes
Balustrade: The rail, posts and vertical balusters along the edge of a stairway or elevated walkway.
Barge: Horizontal beam rafter that supports shorter rafters.
Barge Board: A decorative board covering the projecting rafter (fly rafter) of the gable end. At the cornice, thi
Base Or Baseboard: A trim board placed against the wall around the room next to the floor.
Base Shoe: Molding used next to the floor on interior base board. Sometimes called a carpet strip.
Basement Window Inserts: The window frame and glass unit that is installed in the window buck.
Bat : A half-brick.
Batt : A section of fiber-glass or rock-wool insulation measuring 15 or 23 inches wide by four to eight fee
Batten: Narrow strips of wood used to cover joints or as decorative vertical members over plywood or wide bo
Bay Window: Any window space projecting outward from the walls of a building, either square or polygonal in plan
Beam: A structural member transversely supporting a load. A structural member carrying building loads (wei
Bearing Header: (a) A beam placed perpendicular to joists and to which joists are nailed in framing for a chimney, s
Bearing Partition: A partition that supports any vertical load in addition to its own weight.
Bearing Point: A point where a bearing or structural weight is concentrated and transferred to the foundation
Bearing Wall: A wall that supports any vertical load in addition to its own weight.
Bedrock: A subsurface layer of earth that is suitable to support a structure.
Bid: A formal offer by a contractor, in accordance with specifications for a project, to do all or a phas
Bid Bond: A bond issued by a surety on behalf of a contractor that provides assurance to the recipient of the
Bid Security: Funds or a bid bond submitted with a bid as a guarantee to the recipient of the bid that the contrac
Bid Shopping: A practice by which contractors, both before and after their bids are submitted, attempt to obtain p
Bidding Requirements: The procedures and conditions for the submission of bids. The requirements are included ion document
Bifold Door: Doors that are hinged in the middle for opening in a smaller area than standard swing doors. Often u
Binder: A receipt for a deposit to secure the right to purchase a home at an agreed terms by a buyer and sel
Bipass Doors: Doors that slide by each other and commonly used as closet doors.
Blankets: Fiber-glass or rock-wool insulation that comes in long rolls 15 or 23 inches wide.
Block Out: To install a box or barrier within a foundation wall to prevent the concrete from entering an area.
Blocked (Door Blocking): Wood shims used between the door frame and the vertical structural wall framing members.
Blocked (Rafters): Short '2 by 4's' used to keep rafters from twisting, and installed at the ends and at mid-span.
Blocking: Small wood pieces to brace framing members or to provide a nailing base for gypsum board or paneling
Blow Insulation: Fiber insulation in loose form and used to insulate attics and existing walls where framing members
Blue print(s) : A type of copying method often used for architectural drawings. Usually used to describe the drawing
Blue Stake: Another phrase for Utility Notification. This is when a utility company (telephone, gas, electric, c
Board Foot: A unit of measure for lumber equal to 1 inch thick by 12 inches wide by 12 inches long. Examples: 1'
Bond or bonding : An amount of money (usually $5,000-$10,000) which must be on deposit with a governmental agency in o
Boom: A truck used to hoist heavy material up and into place. To put trusses on a home or to set a heavy b
Bottom chord : The lower or bottom horizontal member of a truss.
Bottom Plate: The '2 by 4's or 6's' that lay on the subfloor upon which the vertical studs are installed. Also cal
Brace: An inclined piece of framing lumber applied to wall or floor to strengthen the structure. Often used
Breaker Panel: The electrical box that distributes electric power entering the home to each branch circuit (each pl
Brick Ledge: Part of the foundation wall where brick (veneer) will rest.
Brick Lintel: The metal angle iron that brick rests on, especially above a window, door, or other opening.
Brick Mold: Trim used around an exterior door jamb that siding butts to.
Brick Tie: A small, corrugated metal strip @ 1' X 6' - 8' long nailed to wall sheeting or studs. They are inser
Brick Veneer: A vertical facing of brick laid against and fastened to sheathing of a framed wall or tile wall cons
Bridging: Small wood or metal members that are inserted in a diagonal position between the floor joists or raf
Buck: Often used in reference to rough frame opening members. Door bucks used in reference to metal door f
Builders Risk Insurance: Insurance coverage on a construction project during construction, including extended coverage that m
Building Codes: Community ordinances governing the manner in which a home may be constructed or modified.
Building Insurance: Insurance covering the structure of the building.
Building Paper: A general term for papers, felts, and similar sheet materials used in buildings without reference to
Built-Up Roof: A roofing composed of three to five layers of asphalt felt laminated with coal tar, pitch, or asphal
Bull Nose (Drywall): Rounded drywall corners.
Bundle : A package of shingles. Normally, there are 3 bundles per square and 27 shingles per bundle.
Butt Edge: The lower edge of the shingle tabs.
Butt Hinge: The most common type. One leaf attaches to the door's edge, the other to its jamb.
Butt Joint: The junction where the ends of two timbers meet, and also where sheets of drywall meet on the 4 foot
Buy Down: A subsidy (usually paid by a builder or developer) to reduce monthly payments on a mortgage.
By Fold Door: Doors that are hinged in the middle for opening in a smaller area than standard swing doors. Often u
By Pass Doors: Doors that slide by each other and commonly used as closet doors.
Caisson: A 10' or 12' diameter hole drilled into the earth and embedded into bedrock 3 - 4 feet. The structur
Cantilever: An overhang. Where one floor extends beyond and over a foundation wall. For example at a fireplace l
Cantilevered Void: Foundation void material used in unusually expansive soils conditions. This void is 'trapezoid' shap
Cap: The upper member of a column, pilaster, door cornice, molding, or fireplace.
Cap Flashing: The portion of the flashing attached to a vertical surface to prevent water from migrating behind th
Capital: The principal part of a loan, i.e. The original amount borrowed.
Capital And Interest: A repayment loan and the most conventional form of home loan. The borrower pays an amount each month
Capped Rate: The mortgage interest rate will not exceed a specified value during a certain period of time, but it
Casement: Frames of wood or metal enclosing part (or all) of a window sash. May be opened by means of hinges a
Casement Window: A window with hinges on one of the vertical sides and swings open like a normal door
Casing: Wood trim molding installed around a door or window opening.
Caulking: (1) A flexible material used to seal a gap between two surfaces e.g. Between pieces of siding or the
CCA (Chromated Copper Arsenate): A pesticide that is forced into wood under high pressure to protect it from termites, other wood bor
Ceiling Joist: One of a series of parallel framing members used to support ceiling loads and supported in turn by l
Celotex: Black fibrous board that is used as exterior sheething.
Cement: The gray powder that is the 'glue' in concrete. Portland cement. Also, any adhesive.
Ceramic Tile: A man-made or machine-made clay tile used to finish a floor or wall. Generally used in bathtub and s
CFM (Cubic Feet Per Minute): A rating that expresses the amount of air a blower or fan can move. The volume of air (measured in c
Chair Rail: Interior trim material installed about 3-4 feet up the wall, horizontally.
Chalk Line: A line made by snapping a taut string or cord dusted with chalk. Used for alignment purposes.
Change Order: A written document which modifies the plans and specifications and/or the price of the construction
Chase: A framed enclosed space around a flue pipe or a channel in a wall, or through a ceiling for somethin
Chink: To install fiberglass insulation around all exterior door and window frames, wall corners, and small
Chip Board: A manufactured wood panel made out of 1' - 2' wood chips and glue. Often used as a substitute for pl
Circuit: The path of electrical flow from a power source through an outlet and back to ground.
Circuit Breaker: A device which looks like a switch and is usually located inside the electrical breaker panel or cir
Class A: Optimum fire rating issued by Underwriter's Laboratories on roofing. The building codes in some area
Class C: Minimum fire rating issued by the Underwriters' Laboratories for roofing materials.
Clean Out: An opening providing access to a drain line. Closed with a threaded plug.
Clip Ties: Sharp, cut metal wires that protrude out of a concrete foundation wall (that at one time held the fo
CO: An abbreviation for 'Certificate of Occupancy'. This certificate is issued by the local municipality
Cold Air Return: The ductwork (and related grills) that carries room air back to the furnace for re-heating.
Collar: Preformed flange placed over a vent pipe to seal the roofing above the vent pipe opening. Also calle
Collar Beam: Nominal 1 or 2-inch-thick members connecting opposite roof rafters. They serve to stiffen the roof s
Column: A vertical structural compression member which supports loads.
Combustion Air: The duct work installed to bring fresh, outside air to the furnace and/or hot water heater. Normally
Combustion Chamber: The part of a boiler, furnace or woodstove where the burn occurs: normally lined with firebrick or m
Compression Web: A member of a truss system which connects the bottom and top chords and which provides downward sup
Compressor: A mechanical device that pressurizes a gas in order to turn it into a liquid, thereby allowing heat
Concrete: The mixture of Portland cement, sand, gravel, and water. Used to make garage and basement floors, si
Concrete block : A hollow concrete 'brick' often 8' x 8' x 16' in size.
Concrete board : A panel made out of concrete and fiberglass usually used as a tile backing material.
Condensation: Beads or drops of water (and frequently frost in extremely cold weather) that accumulate on the insi
Condensing unit : The outdoor component of a cooling system. It includes a compressor and condensing coil designed to
Conditions Convenants and Restrictions (CC and Rs) : The standards that define how a property may be used and the protections the developer makes for the
Conduction: The direct transfer of heat energy through a material.
Conductivity: The rate at which heat is transmitted through a material.
Conduit, Electrical: A pipe, usually metal, in which wire is installed.
Construction Contract : A legal document which specifies the what-when-where-how-how much and by whom in a construction proj
Construction Drywall: A type of construction in which the interior wall finish is applied in a dry condition, generally in
Construction, Frame: A type of construction in which the structural components are wood or depend upon a wood frame for s
Continuity Tester: A device that tells whether a circuit is capable of carrying electricity.
Contractor: A company licensed to perform certain types of construction activities. In most states, the generals
Control Joint: Tooled, straight grooves made on concrete floors to 'control' where the concrete should crack
Convection: Currents created by heating air, which then rises and pulls cooler air behind it. Also see radiation
Conventional loan : A mortgage loan not insured by a government agency (such as FHA or VA)
Convertibility : The ability to change a loan from an adjustable rate schedule to a fixed rate schedule.
Cooling Load: The amount of cooling required to keep a building at a specified temperature during the summer, usua
Coped: Removing the top and bottom flange of the end(s) of a metal I-beam. This is done to permit it to fit
Coped Joint: Cutting and fitting woodwork to an irregular surface.
Corbel: The triangular, decorative and supporting member that holds a mantel or horizontal shelf.
Corner Bead: A strip of formed sheet metal placed on outside corners of drywall before applying drywall 'mud'.
Corner Boards: Used as trim for the external corners of a house or other frame structure against which the ends of
Corner Braces: Diagonal braces at the corners of the framed structure designed to stiffen and strengthen the wall.
Cornice: Overhang of a pitched roof , usually consisting of a fascia board, a soffit and appropriate trim mol
Counter Flashing: A metal flashing usually used on chimneys at the roofline to cover shingle flashing and used to prev
Counterfort: A foundation wall section that strengthens (and generally perpendicular to) a long section of founda
Course: A row of shingles or roll roofing running the length of the roof. Parallel layers of building materi
Cove Molding: A molding with a concave face used as trim or to finish interior corners.
Crawl Space: A shallow space below the living quarters of a house, normally enclosed by the foundation wall and h
Credit Rating: A report ordered by a lender from a credit agency to determine a borrower's credit habits.
Cricket: A second roof built on top of the primary roof to increase the slope of the roof or valley. A saddle
Cripple: Short vertical '2 by 4's or 6's' frame lumber installed above a window or door.
Cross Bridging: Diagonal bracing between adjacent floor joists, placed near the center of the joist span to prevent
Cross Tee: Short metal 'T' beam used in suspended ceiling systems to bridge the spaces between the main beams.
Crown Molding: A molding used on cornice or wherever an interior angle is to be covered, especially at the roof and
Culvert: Round, corrugated drain pipe (normally 15' or 18' in diameter) that is installed beneath a driveway
Cupping: A type of warping that causes boards to curl up at their edges.
Curb: The short elevation of an exterior wall above the deck of a roof. Normally a 2 by 6 box (on the roof
Curb Stop: Normally a cast iron pipe with a lid (@ 5' in diameter) that is placed vertically into the ground, s
Cut-In Brace: Nominal 2-inch-thick members, usually 2 by 4's, cut in between each stud diagonally.
Dado: A groove cut into a board or panel intended to receive the edge of a connecting board or panel.
Damper: A metal 'door' placed within the fireplace chimney. Normally closed when the fireplace is not in use
Dampproofing: The black, tar like waterproofing material applied to the exterior of a foundation wall.
Daylight: The end of a pipe (the terminal end) that is not attached to anything.
De-Humidistat: A control mechanism used to operate a mechanical ventilation system based upon the relative humidity
Dead Bolt: An exterior security lock installed on exterior entry doors that can be activated only with a key or
Dead Light: The fixed, non-operable window section of a window unit.
Deck, Decked: To install the plywood or wafer board sheeting on the floor joists, rafters, or trusses.
Dedicated Circuit: An electrical circuit that serves only one appliance (ie, dishwasher) or a series of electric heater
Default: Breach of a mortgage contract (not making the required payments).
Delamination: Separation of the plies in a panel due to failure of the adhesive. Usually caused by excessive mois
Disconnect: A large (generally 20 Amp) electrical ON-OFF switch.
Discount Rate: A mortgage interest rate that is lower than the current rate for a certain period of time, e.g. 2.00
Door Operator: An automatic garage door opener.
Door Stop: The wooden style that the door slab will rest upon when it's in a closed position.
Doorjamb, Interior: The surrounding case into which and out of which a door closes and opens. It consists of two upright
Dormer: An opening in a sloping roof, the framing of which projects out to form a vertical wall suitable for
Double Glass: Window or door in which two panes of glass are used with a sealed air space between. Also known as
Double Hung Window: A window with two vertically sliding sashes, both of which can move up and down.
Down Payment: The difference between the sales price and the mortgage amount. A downpayment is usually paid at clo
Downspout: A pipe, usually of metal, for carrying rainwater down from the roof's horizontal gutters.
Drain Tile: A perforated, corrugated plastic pipe laid at the bottom of the foundation wall and used to drain ex
Draw: The amount of progress billings on a contract that is currently available to a contractor under a co
Drip: (a) A member of a cornice or other horizontal exterior finish course that has a projection beyond th
Drip Cap: A molding or metal flashing placed on the exterior topside of a door or window frame to cause water
Dry In: To install the black roofing felt (tar paper) on the roof.
Drywall: (or Gypsum Wallboard (GWB), Sheet rock or Plasterboard) A manufactured panel made out of gypsum pla
Ducts: The heating system. Usually round or rectangular metal pipes installed for distributing warm (or col
Due-On-Sale: A clause in a mortgage contract requiring the borrower to pay the entire outstanding balance upon sa
Dura Board, Dura Rock: A panel made out of concrete and fiberglass usually used as a ceramic tile backing material. Commonl
DWV (Drain-Waste-Vent): The section of a plumbing system that carries water and sewer gases out of a home.
Earnest Money: A sum paid to the seller to show that a potential purchaser is serious about buying.
Earthquake Strap: A metal strap used to secure gas hot water heaters to the framing or foundation of a house. Intended
Easement: A formal contract which allows a party to use another party's property for a specific purpose. E.g.
Eaves: The horizontal exterior roof overhang.
Egress: A means of exiting the home. An egress window is required in every bedroom and basement. Normally a
Elbow (Ell): A plumbing or electrical fitting that lets you change directions in runs of pipe or conduit.
Electric Lateral: The trench or area in the yard where the electric service line (from a transformer or pedestal) is l
Electric Resistance Coils: Metal wires that heat up when electric current passes through them and are used in baseboard heaters
Electrical Entrance Package: The entry point of the electrical power including: (1) the 'strike' or location where the overhead o
Electrical Rough: Work performed by the Electrical Contractor after the plumber and heating contractor are complete wi
Electrical Trim: Work performed by the electrical contractor when the house is nearing completion. The electrician in
Elevation Sheet: The page on the blue prints that depicts the house or room as if a vertical plane were passed throug
Equity: The 'valuation' that you own in your home, i.e. The property value less the mortgage loan outstandin
Escrow : The handling of funds or documents by a third party on behalf of the buyer and/or seller.
Escutcheon: An ornamental plate that fits around a pipe extending through a wall or floor to hide the cut out ho
Estimate: The amount of labor, materials, and other costs that a contractor anticipates for a project as summa
Estimating: The process of calculating the cost of a project. This can be a formal and exact process or a quick
Evaporator Coil: The part of a cooling system that absorbs heat from air in your home. Also see condensing unit.
Expansion Joint: Fibrous material (@1/2' thick) installed in and around a concrete slab to permit it to move up and d
Expansive Soils: Earth that swells and contracts depending on the amount of water that is present. ('Betonite' is an
Exposed Aggregate Finish: A method of finishing concrete which washes the cement/sand mixture off the top layer of the aggrega
Extras: Additional work requested of a contractor, not included in the original plan, which will be billed s
Face Nail: To install nails into the vertical face of a bearing header or beam.
Faced Concrete: To finish the front and all vertical sides of a concrete porch, step(s), or patio. Normally the 'fac
Facing Brick: The brick used and exposed on the outside of a wall. Usually these have a finished texture.
Fascia: Horizontal boards attached to rafter/truss ends at the eaves and along gables. Roof drain gutters ar
Felt: Tar paper. Installed under the roof shingles. Normally 15 lb. Or 30 lb.
Female: Any part, such as a nut or fitting, into which another (male) part can be inserted. Internal threads
Ferrule: Metal tubes used to keep roof gutters 'open'. Long nails (ferrule spikes) are driven through these t
FHA Strap: Metal straps that are used to repair a bearing wall 'cut-out', and to 'tie together' wall corners, s
Field Measure: To take measurements (cabinets, countertops, stairs, shower doors, etc.) In the home itself instead
Finger Joint: A manufacturing process of interlocking two shorter pieces of wood end to end to create a longer pie
Fire Block: Short horizontal members sometimes nailed between studs, usually about halfway up a wall. See also '
Fire Brick: Brick made of refractory ceramic material which will resist high temperatures. Used in a fireplace a
Fire Retardant Chemical: A chemical or preparation of chemicals used to reduce the flammability of a material or to retard th
Fire Stop: A solid, tight closure of a concealed space, placed to prevent the spread of fire and smoke through
Fire-Resistive Or Fire Rated: Applies to materials that are not combustible in the temperatures of ordinary fires and will withsta
Fireplace Chase Flashing Pan: A large sheet of metal that is installed around and perpendicular to the fireplace flue pipe. It's p
Fish Tape: A long strip of spring steel used for fishing cables and for pulling wires through conduit.
Fishplate (Gusset): A wood or plywood piece used to fasten the ends of two members together at a butt joint with nails o
Fixed Price Contract: A contract with a set price for the work. See Time and Materials Contract.
Fixed Rate: A loan where the initial payments are based on a certain interest rate for a stated period . The ra
Fixed Rate Mortgage: A mortgage with an interest rate that remains the same over the years.
Flagstone (Flagging Or Flags): Flat stones (1 to 4 inches thick) used for walks, steps, floors, and vertical veneer (in lieu of bri
Flakeboard: A manufactured wood panel made out of 1' - 2' wood chips and glue. Often used as a substitute for pl
Flame Retention Burner: An oil burner, designed to hold the flame near the nozzle surface. Generally the most efficient type
Flashing: Sheet metal or other material used in roof and wall construction to protect a building from water se
Flat Mold: Thin wood strips installed over the butt seam of cabinet skins.
Flat Paint: An interior paint that contains a high proportion of pigment and dries to a flat or lusterless finis
Flatwork: Common word for concrete floors, driveways, basements, and sidewalks.
Floating: The next-to-last stage in concrete work, when you smooth off the job and bring water to the surface
Floating Wall: A non-bearing wall built on a concrete floor. It is constructed so that the bottom two horizontal pl
Flue: Large pipe through which fumes escape from a gas water heater, furnace, or fireplace. Normally these
Flue Collar: Round metal ring which fits around the heat flue pipe after the pipe passes out of the roof.
Flue Damper: An automatic door located in the flue that closes it off when the burner turns off: purpose is to re
Flue Lining: 2-foot lengths, fire clay or terra-cotta pipe (round or square) and usually madein all ordinary flue
Fluorescent Lighting: A fluorescent lamp is a gas-filled glass tube with a phosphur coating on the inside. Gas inside the
Fly Rafters: End rafters of the gable overhang supported by roof sheathing and lookouts.
Footer, Footing: Continuous 8' or 10' thick concrete pad installed before and supports the foundation wall or monopos
Forced air heating : A common form of heating with natural gas, propane, oil or electricity as a fuel. Air is heated in t
Form: Temporary structure erected to contain concrete during placing and initial hardening.
Foundation: The supporting portion of a structure below the first floor construction, or below grade, including
Foundation Ties: Metal wires that hold the foundation wall panels and rebar in place during the concrete pour.
Foundation Waterproofing: High-quality below-grade moisture protection. Used for below-grade exterior concrete and masonry wal
Frame Inspection: The act of inspecting the home's structural integrity and it's complianceto local municipal codes.
Framer: The carpenter contractor that installs the lumber and erects the frame, flooring system, interior wa
Framing: Lumber used for the structural members of a building, such as studs, joists, and rafters.
Frieze: In house construction a horizontal member connecting the top of the siding with the soffit of the co
Frost Lid: Round metal lid that is installed on a water meter pit.
Frost Line: The depth of frost penetration in soil and/or the depth at which the earth will freeze and swell. Th
Furring Strips: Strips of wood, often 1 X 2 and used to shim out and provide a level fastening surface for a wall or
Fuse: A device often found in older homes designed to prevent overloads in electrical lines. This protects
Gable: The end, upper, triangular area of a home, beneath the roof.
Gang Nail Plate: A steel plate attached to both sides at each joint of a truss. Sometimes called a fishplate or gusse
Gas Lateral: The trench or area in the yard where the gas line service is located, or the work of installing the
Gate Valve: A valve that lets you completely stop—but not modulate—the flow within a pipe.
General Contractor : A contractor who enters into a contract with the owner of a project for the construction of the proj
Girder: A large or principal beam of wood or steel used to support concentrated loads at isolated points alo
Glazing: The process of installing glass, which commonly is secured with glazier's points and glazing compoun
Globe Valve: A valve that lets you adjust the flow of water to any rate between fully on and fully off. Also see
Gloss Enamel: A finishing paint material. Forms a hard coating with maximum smoothness of surface and dries to a s
Glued Laminated Beam (Glulam): A structural beam composed of wood laminations or lams. The lams are pressure bonded with adhesives
Grade: Ground level, or the elevation at any given point. Also the work of leveling dirt. Also the designat
Grade Beam: A foundation wall that is poured @ level with or just below the grade of theearth. An example is the
Graduated Payment Mortgage (GPM) : A fixed-rate, fixed-schedule loan. It starts with lower payments than a level payment loan: payments
Grain: The direction, size, arrangement, appearance, or quality of the fibers in wood.
Grid: The completed assembly of main and cross tees in a suspended ceiling system before the ceiling panel
Ground: Refers to electricity's habit of seeking the shortest route to earth. Neutral wires carry it there i
Ground Fault: Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI, GFI) - an ultra sensitive plug designed to shut off all elec
Ground Iron: The plumbing drain and waste lines that are installed beneath the basement floor. Cast iron was once
Groundwater: Water from an aquifer or subsurface water source.
Grout: A wet mixture of cement, sand and water that flows into masonry or ceramic crevices to seal the crac
Gusset: A flat wood, plywood, or similar type member used to provide a connection at the intersection of woo
Gutter: A shallow channel or conduit of metal or wood set below and along the (fascia) eaves of a house to c
Gyp Board: Drywall. Wall board or gypsum. A panel (normally 4' X 8', 10', 12', or 16')made with a core of Gypsu
Gypsum Plaster: Gypsum formulated to be used with the addition of sand and water for base-coat plaster.
H Clip: Small metal clips formed like an 'H' that fits at the joints of two plywood (or wafer board) sheets
H V A C: An abbreviation for Heat, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning
Hardware: All of the 'metal' fittings that go into the home when it is near completion. For example, door knob
Haunch: An extension, knee like protrusion of the foundation wall that a concrete porch or patio will rest u
Hazard insurance : Protection against damage caused by fire, windstorms, or other common hazards. Many lenders require
Header: (a) A beam placed perpendicular to joists and to which joists are nailed inframing for a chimney, st
Hearth: The fireproof area directly in front of a fireplace. The inner or outer floor of a fireplace, usuall
Heat Meter: An electrical municipal inspection of the electric meter breaker panel box.
Heat Pump: A mechanical device which uses compression and decompression of gas to heat and/or cool a house.
Heat Rough: Work performed by the Heating Contractor after the stairs and interior walls are built. This include
Heat Trim: Work done by the Heating Contractor to get the home ready for the municipal Final Heat Inspection. T
Heating Load: The amount of heating required to keep a building at a specified temperature during the winter, usua
Heel Cut: A notch cut in the end of a rafter to permit it to fit flat on a wall and on the top, doubled, exter
Highlights: A light spot, area, or streak on a painted surface.
Hip: A roof with four sloping sides. The external angle formed by the meeting of two sloping sides of a r
Hip Roof: A roof that rises by inclined planes from all four sides of a building.
Home Run (Electrical): The electrical cable that carries power from the main circuit breaker panel to the first electrical
Honey Combs: The appearance concrete makes when rocks in the concrete are visible and where there are void areas
Hose Bib: An exterior water faucet (sill cock).
Hot Wire: The wire that carries electrical energy to a receptacle or other device—in contrast to a neutral,
Humidifier: An appliance normally attached to the furnace, or portable unit device designed to increase the humi
Hurricane Clip: Metal straps that are nailed and secure the roof rafters and trusses to the top horizontal wall plat
I-Beam: A steel beam with a cross section resembling the letter I. It is used for long spans as basement bea
I-Joist: Manufactured structural building component resembling the letter 'I'. Used as floor joists and rafte
Incandescent Lamp: A lamp employing an electrically charged metal filament that glows at white heat. A typical light bu
Index: The interest rate or adjustment standard that determines the changes in monthly payments for an adju
Infiltration: The passage of air from indoors to outdoors and vice versa: term is usually associated with drafts f
Inside Corner: The point at which two walls form an internal angle, as in the corner of a room.
Insulating Glass: Window or door in which two panes of glass are used with a sealed air space between. Also known as
Insulation: Any material high in resistance to heat transmission that, when placed in the walls, ceiling, or flo
Insulation Board, Rigid: A structural building board made of coarse wood or cane fiber in ½ - and 25/32-inch thickness. It c
Interest : The cost paid to a lender for borrowed money.
Interior Finish: Material used to cover the interior framed areas of walls and ceilings
Irrigation: Lawn sprinkler system.
J Channel: Metal edging used on drywall to give the edge a better finished appearance when a wall is not 'wrapp
Jack Post: A type of structural support made of metal, which can be raised or lowered through a series of pins
Jack Rafter: A rafter that spans the distance from the wall plate to a hip, or from a valley to a ridge.
Jamb: The side and head lining of a doorway, window, or other opening. Includes studs as well as the frame
Joint: The location between the touching surfaces of two members or components joined and held together by
Joint Cement Or Joint Compound: A powder that is usually mixed with water and used for joint treatment in gypsum-wallboard finish. O
Joint Tenancy: A form of ownership in which the tenants own a property equally. If one dies, the other automaticall
Joint Trench: When the electric company and telephone company dig one trench and 'drop' both of their service line
Joist: Wooden 2 X 8's, 10's, or 12's that run parallel to one another and support a floor or ceiling, and s
Joist Hanger: A metal 'U' shaped item used to support the end of a floor joist and attached with hardened nails to
Jumpers: Water pipe installed in a water meter pit (before the water meter is installed), or electric wire th
Keeper: The metal latch plate in a door frame into which a doorknob plunger latches.
Keyless: A plastic or porcelain light fixture that operates by a pull string. Generally found in the basement
Keyway: A slot formed and poured on a footer or in a foundation wall when another wall will be installed at
Kilowatt (Kw): One thousand watts. A kilowatt hour is the base unit used in measuring electrical consumption. Also
King Stud: The vertical '2 X's' frame lumber (left and right) of a window or door opening, and runs continuousl
Knot: In lumber, the portion of a branch or limb of a tree that appears on the edge or face of the piece.
Laminated shingles : Shingles that have added dimensionality because of extra layers or tabs, giving a shake-like appeara
Laminating: Bonding together two or more layers of materials.
Landing: A platform between flights of stairs or at the termination of a flight of stairs. Often used when st
Lap: To cover the surface of one shingle or roll with another.
Latch: A beveled metal tongue operated by a spring-loaded knob or lever. The tongue's bevel lets you close
Lateral: The underground trench and related services (i.e., electric, gas, telephone, sewer and water lines)
Lath: A building material of narrow wood, metal, gypsum, or insulating board that is fastened to the frame
Lattice: An open framework of criss-crossed wood or metal strips that form regular, patterned spaces.
Ledger (For A Structural Floor): The wooden perimeter frame lumber member that bolts onto the face of a foundation wall and supports
Ledger Strip: A strip of lumber nailed along the bottom of the side of a girder on which joists rest.
Leech Field: A method used to treat/dispose of sewage in rural areas not accessible to a municipal sewer system.
Let-In Brace: Nominal 1 inch-thick boards applied into notched studs diagonally. Also, an 'L' shaped, long (@ 10')
Level: True horizontal. Also a tool used to determine level.
Level Payment Mortgage: A mortgage with identical monthly payments over the life of the loan.
Lien: An encumbrance that usually makes real or personal property the security for payment of a debt or di
Light: Space in a window sash for a single pane of glass. Also, a pane of glass.
Limit Switch: A safety control that automatically shuts off a furnace if it gets too hot. Most also control blower
Lineal Foot: A unit of measure for lumber equal to 1 inch thick by 12 inches wide by 12 inches long. Examples: 1'
Lintel: A horizontal structural member that supports the load over an opening such as a door or window.
Load Bearing Wall: Includes all exterior walls and any interior wall that is aligned above a support beam or girder. No
Loan: The amount to be borrowed.
Loan To Value Ratio: The ratio of the loan amount to the property valuation and expressed as a percentage. E.g. If a borr
Lookout: A short wood bracket or cantilever that supports an overhang portion of a roof.
Louver: A vented opening into the home that has a series of horizontal slats and arranged to permit ventilat
Lumens: Unit of measure for total light output. The amount of light falling on a surface of one square foot.
Male: Any part, such as a bolt, designed to fit into another (female) part. External threads are male.
Mantel: The shelf above a fireplace opening. Also used in referring to the decorative trim around a fireplac
Manufactured Wood: A wood product such as a truss, beam, gluelam, microlam or joist which is manufactured out of smalle
Manufacturers Specifications: The written installation and/or maintenance instructions which are developed by the manufacturer of
Masonry: Stone, brick, concrete, hollow-tile, concrete block, or other similar building units or materials. N
Mastic: A pasty material used as a cement (as for setting tile) or a protective coating (as for thermal insu
Mechanics Lien: A lien on real property, created by statue in many years, in favor of persons supplying labor or mat
Metal Lath: Sheets of metal that are slit to form openings within the lath. Used as a plaster base for walls and
Microlam: A manufactured structural wood beam. It is constructed of pressure and adhesive bonded wood strands
Milar (Mylar): Plastic, transparent copies of a blueprint.
Millwork: Generally all building materials made of finished wood and manufactured in millwork plants. Includes
Miter Joint: The joint of two pieces at an angle that bisects the joining angle. For example, the miter joint at
Molding: A wood strip having an engraved, decorative surface.
Monopost: Adjustable metal column used to support a beam or bearing point. Normally 11 gauge or Schedule 40 me
Mortar: A mixture of cement (or lime) with sand and water used in masonry work.
Mortgage: Loan secured by land.
Mortgage broker : A broker who represents numerous lenders and helps consumers find affordable mortgages: the broker c
Mortgage company : A company that borrows money from a bank, lends it to consumers to buy homes, then sells the loans t
Mortgage Deed: Legal document establishing a loan on property.
Mortgage Loan: A contract in which the borrower's property is pledged as collateral. It is repaid in installments.
Mortgage Origination Fee: A charge for work involved in preparing and servicing a mortgage application (usually one percent of
Mortgagee: The lender who makes the mortgage loan.
Mortise: A slot cut into a board, plank, or timber, usually edgewise, to receive the tenon (or tongue) of ano
Mudsill: Bottom horizontal member of an exterior wall frame which rests on top a foundation, sometimes called
Mullion: A vertical divider in the frame between windows, doors, or other openings.
Muntin: A small member which divides the glass or openings of sash or doors.
Muriatic Acid: Commonly used as a brick cleaner after masonry work is completed.
Mushroom: The unacceptable occurrence when the top of a caisson concrete pier spreads out and hardens to becom
Nail Inspection: An inspection made by a municipal building inspector after the drywall material is hung with nails a
Natural Finish: A transparent finish which does not seriously alter the original color or grain of the natural wood.
NEC (National Electrical Code): A set of rules governing safe wiring methods. Local codes—which are backed by law—may differ fro
Neutral Wire: Usually color-coded white, this carries electricity from an outlet back to the service panel. Also s
Newel Post: The large starting post to which the end of a stair guard railing or balustrade is fastened.
Nonbearing Wall: A wall supporting no load other than its own weight.
Nosing: The projecting edge of a molding or drip or the front edge of a stair tread.
Notch: A crosswise groove at the end of a board.
Note: A formal document showing the existence of a debt and stating the terms of repayment.
Nozzle: The part of a heating system that sprays the fuel of fuel-air mixture into the combustion chamber.
Oakum: Loose hemp or jute fiber that's impregnated with tar or pitch and used to caulk large seams or for p
On Center (OC): The measurement of spacing for studs, rafters, and joists in a building from the center of one membe
Open Hole Inspection: When an engineer (or municipal inspector) inspects the open excavation and examines the earth to det
Oriented Strand Board Or OSB: A manufactured 4' X 8' wood panel made out of 1' - 2' wood chips and glue. Often used as a substitut
Outrigger: An extension of a rafter beyond the wall line. Usually a smaller member nailed to a larger rafter to
Outside Corner: The point at which two walls form an external angle, one you usually can walk around.
Overhang: Outward projecting eave-soffit area of a roof: the part of the roof that hangs out or over the outsi
P Trap: Curved, 'U' section of drain pipe that holds a water seal to prevent sewer gasses from entering the
Pad Out, Pack Out: To shim out or add strips of wood to a wall or ceiling in order that the finished ceiling/wall will
Padding: A material installed under carpet to add foot comfort, isolate sound, and to prolong carpet life.
Paint: A combination of pigments with suitable thinners or oils to provide decorative and protective coatin
Pallets: Wooden platforms used for storing and shipping material. Forklifts and hand trucks are used to move
Panel: A thin flat piece of wood, plywood, or similar material, framed by stiles and rails as in a door (or
Paper, Building: A general term for papers, felts, and similar sheet materials used in buildings without reference to
Parapet: A wall placed at the edge of a roof to prevent people from falling off.
Particle Board: Plywood substitute made of course sawdust that is mixed with resin and pressed into sheets. Used for
Parting Stop Or Strip: A small wood piece used in the side and head jambs of double hung windows to separate the upper sash
Partition: A wall that subdivides spaces within any story of a building or room.
Paver, Paving: Materials—commonly masonry—laid down to make a firm, even surface.
Payment Schedule: A pre-agreed upon schedule of payments to a contractor usually based upon the amount of work complet
Pedestal: A metal box installed at various locations along utility easements that contain electrical, telephon
Penalty clause : A provision in a contract that provides for a reduction in the amount otherwise payable under a cont
Penny: As applied to nails, it originally indicated the price per hundred. The term now series as a measure
Percolation Test Or Perc. Test: Tests that a soil engineer performs on earth to determine the feasibility of installing a leech fiel
Performance Bond: An amount of money (usually 10% of the total price of a job) that a contractor must put on deposit
Perimeter Drain: 3' or 4' perforated plastic pipe that goes around the perimeter (either inside or outside) of a foun
Permeability: A measure of the ease with which water penetrates a material.
Permit : A governmental municipal authorization to perform a building process as in: Zoning\Use permit -Autho
Pier: A column of masonry, usually rectangular in horizontal cross section, used to support other structur
Pigment: A powdered solid used in paint or enamel to give it a color.
Pigtails, Electrical: The electric cord that the electrician provides and installs on an appliance such as a garbage dispo
Pilot Hole: A small-diameter, pre-drilled hole that guides a nail or screw.
Pilot Light: A small, continuous flame (in a hot water heater, boiler, or furnace) that ignites gas or oil burner
Pitch: The incline slope of a roof or the ratio of the total rise to the total width of a house, i.e., a 6-
PITI : Principal, interest, taxes and insurance (the four major components of monthly housing payments).
Plan View: Drawing of a structure with the view from overhead, looking down.
Plate: Normally a 2 X 4 or 2 X 6 that lays horizontally within a framed structure, such as: Sill plate
Plenum: The main hot-air supply duct leading from a furnace.
Plot Plan: An overhead view plan that shows the location of the home on the lot. Includes all easements, proper
Plough, Plow: To cut a lengthwise groove in a board or plank. An exterior handrail normally has a ploughed groove
Plumb: Exactly vertical and perpendicular.
Plumb Bob: A lead weight attached to a string. It is the tool used in determining plumb.
Plumbing Boots: Metal saddles used to strengthen a bearing wall/vertical stud(s) where a plumbing drain line has bee
Plumbing Ground: The plumbing drain and waste lines that are installed beneath a basement floor.
Plumbing Jacks: Sleeves that fit around drain and waste vent pipes at, and are nailed to, the roof sheeting.
Plumbing Rough: Work performed by the plumbing contractor after the Rough Heat is installed. This work includes inst
Plumbing Stack: A plumbing vent pipe that penetrates the roof.
Plumbing Trim: Work performed by the plumbing contractor to get the home ready for a final plumbing inspection. Inc
Plumbing Waste Line: Plastic pipe used to collect and drain sewage waste.
Ply: A term to denote the number of layers of roofing felt, veneer in plywood, or layers in built-up mate
Plywood: A panel (normally 4' X 8') of wood made of three or more layers of veneer, compressed and joined wit
Point Load: A point where a bearing/structural weight is concentrated and transferred to the foundation.
Portland Cement: Cement made by heating clay and crushed limestone into a brick and then grinding to a pulverized pow
Post: A vertical framing member usually designed to carry a beam. Often a 4' x 4', a 6' x 6', or a metal p
Post-And-Beam: A basic building method that uses just a few hefty posts and beams to support an entire structure. C
Power Vent: A vent that includes a fan to speed up air flow. Often installed on roofs.
Premium: Amount payable on a loan.
Preservative: Any pesticide substance that, for a reasonable length of time, will prevent the action of wood-dest
Pressure Relief Valve (PRV): A device mounted on a hot water heater or boiler which is designed to release any high steam pressur
Pressure-Treated Wood: Lumber that has been saturated with a preservative.
Primer: The first, base coat of paint when a paint job consists of two or more coats. A first coating formul
Principal: The original amount of the loan, the capital.
Property Survey: A survey to determine the boundaries of your property. The cost depends on the complexity of the sur
Pump Mix: Special concrete that will be used in a concrete pump. Generally, the mix has smaller rock aggregate
Punch List: A list of discrepancies that need to be corrected by the contractor.
Punch Out: To inspect and make a discrepancy list.
Putty: A type of dough used in sealing glass in the sash, filling small holes and crevices in wood, and for
PVC or CPVC : Poly Vinyl Chloride-A type of white or light gray plastic pipe sometimes used for water supply lines
Quarry Tile: A man-made or machine-made clay tile used to finish a floor or wall. Generally 6' X 6' X 1/4' thic
Quarter Round: A small trim molding that has the cross section of a quarter circle.
R Factor Or Value: A measure of a materials resistance to the passage of heat. New homewalls are usually insulated with
R Value: A measure of insulation. A measure of a materials resistance to the passage of heat. The higher the
Rabbet: A rectangular longitudinal groove cut in the corner edge of a board or plank.
Radiant Heating: A method of heating, usually consisting of a forced hot water system with pipes placed in the floor,
Radiation: Energy transmitted from a heat source to the air around it. Radiators actually depend more on convec
Radon: A naturally-occurring, heavier than air, radioactive gas common in many parts of the country. Radon
Radon System: A ventilation system beneath the floor of a basement and/or structural wood floor and designed to fa
Rafter: Lumber used to support the roof sheeting and roof loads. Generally, 2 X 10's and 2 X 12's are used.
Rafter, Hip: A rafter that forms the intersection of an external roof angle.
Rafter, Valley: A rafter that forms the intersection of an internal roof angle. The valley rafter is normally made o
Rail: Cross members of panel doors or of a sash. Also, a wall or open balustrade placed at the edge of a s
Railroad Tie: Black, tar and preservative impregnated, 6' X 8' and 6'-8' long wooden timber that was used to hold
Rake: Slope or slanted.
Rake Fascia: The vertical face of the sloping end of a roof eave.
Rake Siding: The practice of installing lap siding diagonally
Ranch: A single story, one level home.
Ready Mixed Concrete: Concrete mixed at a plant or in trucks en route to a job and delivered ready for placement.
Rebar: Reinforcing bar-Ribbed steel bars installed in foundation concrete walls, footers, and poured in pla
Receptacle: An electrical outlet. A typical household will have many 120 volt receptacles for plugging in lams
Recording fee : A charge for recording the transfer of a property, paid to a city, county, or other appropriate bran
Redline, Red Lined Prints: Blueprints that reflect changes and that are marked with red pencil.
Reducer: A fitting with different size openings at either end and used to go from a larger to a smaller pipe.
Reflective Insulation: Sheet material with one or both faces covered with aluminum foil.
Refrigerant: A substance that remains a gas at low temperatures and pressure and can be used to transfer heat. Fr
Register: A grill placed over a heating duct or cold air return.
Reglaze: To replace a broken window.
Relief Valve: A device designed to open if it detects excess temperature or pressure.
Remote: Remote electrical, gas, or water meter digital readouts that are installed near the front of the hom
Retaining Wall: A structure that holds back a slope and prevents erosion.
Retentions: Amounts withheld from progress billings until final and satisfactory project completion.
Ribbon (Girt): Normally a 1 X 4 board let into the studs horizontally to support the ceiling or second-floor joists
Ridge: The horizontal line at the junction of the top edges of two sloping roof surfaces.
Ridge Board: The board placed on the ridge of the roof onto which the upper ends of other rafters are fastened.
Ridge Shingles: Shingles used to cover the ridge board.
Rim Joist: A joist that runs around the perimeter of the floor joists and home.
Rise: The vertical distance from the eaves line to the ridge. Also the vertical distance from stair tread
Riser: Each of the vertical boards closing the spaces between the treads of stairways.
Riser And Panel: The exterior vertical pipe (riser) and metal electric box (panel) the electrician provides and insta
Road Base: A aggregate mixture of sand and stone.
Rock 1, 2, 3: When referring to drywall, this means to install drywall to the walls and ceilings (with nails and s
Roll Roofing: Asphalt roofing products manufactured in roll form. 36-inch wide rolls with and 108 square feet of m
Roll, Rolling: To install the floor joists or trusses in their correct place. (To 'roll the floor' means to install
Romex: A name brand of nonmetallic sheathed electrical cable that is used for indoor wiring.
Romex: A name brand of nonmetallic sheathed electrical cable that is used for indoor wiring.
Roof Jack: Sleeves that fit around the black plumbing waste vent pipes at, and are nailed to, the roof sheeting
Roof Joist: The rafters of a flat roof. Lumber used to support the roof sheeting and roof loads. Generally, 2 X
Roof Sheathing Or Sheeting: The wood panels or sheet material fastened to the roof rafters or trusses on which the shingle or ot
Roof Valley: The 'V' created where two sloping roofs meet.
Rough Opening: The horizontal and vertical measurement of a window or door opening before drywall or siding is inst
Rough Sill: The framing member at the bottom of a rough opening for a window. It is attached to the cripple stud
Roughing-In: The initial stage of a plumbing, electrical, heating, carpentry, and/or other project, when all comp
Run, roof : The horizontal distance from the eaves to a point directly under the ridge. One half the span.
Run, Stair: The horizontal distance of a stair tread from the nose to the riser.
Sack Mix: The amount of Portland cement in a cubic yard of concrete mix. Generally, 5 or 6 sack is required in
Saddle: A small second roof built behind the back side of a fireplace chimney to divert water around the chi
Sales contract : A contract between a buyer and seller which should explain: (1) What the purchase includes, (2) What
Sand Float Finish: Lime that is mixed with sand, resulting in a textured finish on a wall.
Sanitary Sewer: A sewer system designed for the collection of waste water from the bathroom, kitchen and laundry dra
Sash: A single light frame containing one or more lights of glass. The frame that holds the glass in a win
Sash Balance: A device, usually operated by a spring and designed to hold a single hung window vent up and in plac
Saturated Felt: A felt which is impregnated with tar or asphalt.
Schedule (Window, Door, Mirror): A table on the blueprints that list the sizes, quantities and locations of the windows, doors and mi
Scrap Out: The removal of all drywall material and debris after the home is 'hung out' (installed) with drywall
Scratch Coat: The first coat of plaster, which is scratched to form a bond for a second coat.
Screed, Concrete: To level off concrete to the correct elevation during a concrete pour.
Screed, Plaster: A small strip of wood, usually the thickness of the plaster coat, used as a guide for plastering.
Scribing: Cutting and fitting woodwork to an irregular surface.
Scupper: (1) An opening for drainage in a wall, curb or parapet. (2) The drain in a downspout or flat roof, u
Sealer: A finishing material, either clear or pigmented, that is usually applied directly over raw wood for
Seasoning: Drying and removing moisture from green wood in order to improve its usability.
Self-Sealing Shingles: Shingles containing factory-applied strips or spots of self-sealing adhesive.
Semigloss Paint Or Enamel: A paint or enamel made so that its coating, when dry, has some luster but is not very glossy. Bathro
Septic System: An on site waste water treatment system. It usually has a septic tank which promotes the biological
Service Entrance Panel: Main power cabinet where electricity enters a home wiring system.
Service Equipment: Main control gear at the service entrance, such as circuit breakers, switches, and fuses.
Service Lateral: Underground power supply line.
Setback Thermostat: A thermostat with a clock which can be programmed to come on or go off at various temperatures and a
Settlement: Shifts in a structure, usually caused by freeze-thaw cycles underground.
Sewage Ejector: A pump used to 'lift' waste water to a gravity sanitary sewer line. Usually used in basements and ot
Sewer Lateral: The portion of the sanitary sewer which connects the interior waste water lines to the main sewer li
Sewer Stub: The junction at the municipal sewer system where the home's sewer line is connected.
Sewer Tap: The physical connection point where the home's sewer line connects to the main municipal sewer line.
Shake: A wood roofing material, normally cedar or redwood. Produced by splitting a block of the wood along
Shear Block: Plywood that is face nailed to short (2 X 4's or 2 X 6's) wall studs (above a door or window, for ex
Sheathing, Sheeting: The structural wood panel covering, usually OSB or plywood, used over studs, floor joists or rafters
Shed Roof: A roof containing only one sloping plane.
Sheet Metal Duct Work: The heating system. Usually round or rectangular metal pipes and sheet metal (for Return Air) and in
Sheet Metal Work: All components of a house employing sheet metal, such as flashing, gutters, and downspouts.
Sheet Rock: Drywall-Wall board or gypsum. A manufactured panel made out of gypsum plaster and encased in a thin
Shim: A small piece of scrap lumber or shingle, usually wedge shaped, which when forced behind a furring s
Shingles: Roof covering of asphalt. Asbestos, wood, tile, slate, or other material cut to stock lengths, width
Shingles, Siding: Various kinds of shingles, used over sheathing for exterior wall covering of a structure.
Short Circuit: A situation that occurs when hot and neutral wires come in contact with each other. Fuses and circui
Shutter: Usually lightweight louvered decorative frames in the form of doors located on the sides of a window
Side Sewer: The portion of the sanitary sewer which connects the interior waste water lines to the main sewer li
Siding: The finished exterior covering of the outside walls of a frame building.
Siding, (Lap Siding): Slightly wedge-shaped boards used as horizontal siding in a lapped pattern over the exterior sheathi
Sill: (1) The 2 X 4 or 2 X 6 wood plate framing member that lays flat against and bolted to the foundation
Sill Cock: An exterior water faucet (hose bib).
Sill Plate (Mudsill): Bottom horizontal member of an exterior wall frame which rests on top a foundation, sometimes called
Sill Seal: Fiberglass or foam insulation installed between the foundation wall and sill (wood) plate. Designed
Single Hung Window: A window with one vertically sliding sash or window vent.
Skylight: A more or less horizontal window located on the roof of a building.
Slab On Grade: A type of foundation with a concrete floor which is placed directly on the soil. The edge of the sla
Slab, Concrete: Concrete pavement, i.e. Driveways, garages, and basement floors.
Slab, Door: A rectangular door without hinges or frame.
Slag: Concrete cement that sometimes covers the vertical face of the foundation void material.
Sleeper: Usually, a wood member embedded in concrete, as in a floor, that serves to support and to fasten the
Sleeve(S): Pipe installed under the concrete driveway or sidewalk, and that will be used later to run sprinkler
Slope: The incline angle of a roof surface, given as a ratio of the rise (in inches) to the run (in feet).
Slump: The 'wetness' of concrete. A 3 inch slump is dryer and stiffer than a 5 inch slump.
Soffit: The area below the eaves and overhangs. The underside where the roof overhangs the walls. Usually th
Soil Pipe: A large pipe that carries liquid and solid wastes to a sewer or septic tank.
Soil Stack: A plumbing vent pipe that penetrates the roof.
Sole Plate: The bottom, horizontal framing member of a wall that's attached to the floor sheeting and vertical w
Solid Bridging: A solid member placed between adjacent floor joists near the center of the span to prevent joists or
Sonotube: Round, large cardboard tubes designed to hold wet concrete in place until it hardens.
Sound Attenuation: Sound proofing a wall or subfloor, generally with fiberglass insulation.
Space Heat: Heat supplied to the living space, for example, to a room or the living area of a building.
Spacing: The distance between individual members or shingles in building construction.
Span: The clear distance that a framing member carries a load without support between structural supports.
Spec Home: A house built before it is sold. The builder speculates that he can sell it at a profit.
Specifications Or Specs: A narrative list of materials, methods, model numbers, colors, allowances, and other details which s
Splash Block: Portable concrete (or vinyl) channel generally placed beneath an exterior sill cock (water faucet) o
Square: A unit of measure-100 square feet-usually applied to roofing and siding material. Also, a situation
Square-Tab Shingles: Shingles on which tabs are all the same size and exposure.
Squeegie: Fine pea gravel used to grade a floor (normally before concrete is placed).
Stack (Trusses): To position trusses on the walls in their correct location.
Stair Carriage Or Stringer: Supporting member for stair treads. Usually a 2 X 12 inch plank notched to receive the treads: somet
Stair Landing: A platform between flights of stairs or at the termination of a flight of stairs. Often used when st
Stair Rise: The vertical distance from stair tread to stair tread (and not to exceed 7 ½').
Standard Practices Of The Trade(S): One of the more common basic and minimum construction standards. This is another way of saying that
Starter Strip: Asphalt roofing applied at the eaves that provides protection by filling in the spaces under the cut
Static Vent: A vent that does not include a fan.
STC (Sound Transmission Class): The measure of sound stopping of ordinary noise.
Steel Inspection: A municipal and/or engineers inspection of the concrete foundation wall, conducted before concrete i
Step Flashing: Flashing application method used where a vertical surface meets a sloping roof plane. 6' X 6' galvan
Stick Built: A house built without prefabricated parts. Also called conventional building.
Stile: An upright framing member in a panel door.
Stool: The flat molding fitted over the window sill between jambs and contacting the bottom rail of the low
Stop Box: Normally a cast iron pipe with a lid (@ 5' in diameter) that is placed vertically into the ground, s
Stop Order: A formal, written notification to a contractor to discontinue some or all work on a project for reas
Stop Valve: A device installed in a water supply line, usually near a fixture, that permits an individual to shu
Stops: Moldings along the inner edges of a door or window frame. Also valves used to shut off water to a fi
Storm Sash Or Storm Window: An extra window usually placed outside of an existing one, as additional protection against cold wea
Storm Sewer: A sewer system designed to collect storm water and is separated from the waste water system.
Story: That part of a building between any floor or between the floor and roof.
Strike: The plate on a door frame that engages a latch or dead bolt.
String, Stringer: A timber or other support for cross members in floors or ceilings. In stairs, the supporting member
Strip Flooring: Wood flooring consisting of narrow, matched strips.
Structural Floor: A framed lumber floor that is installed as a basement floor instead of concrete. This is done on ver
Stub, Stubbed: To push through.
Stucco: Refers to an outside plaster finish made with Portland cement as its base.
Stud: A vertical wood framing member, also referred to as a wall stud, attached to the horizontal sole pla
Stud Framing: A building method that distributes structural loads to each of a series of relatively lightweight st
Stud Shoe: A metal, structural bracket that reinforces a vertical stud. Used on an outside bearing wall where h
Subfloor: The framing components of a floor to include the sill plate, floor joists, and deck sheeting over wh
Sump: Pit or large plastic bucket/barrel inside the home designed to collect ground water from a perimeter
Sump Pump: A submersible pump in a sump pit that pumps any excess ground water to the outside of the home.
Suspended Ceiling: A ceiling system supported by hanging it from the overhead structural framing.
Sway Brace: Metal straps or wood blocks installed diagonally on the inside of a wall from bottom to top plate, t
Switch: A device that completes or disconnects an electrical circuit.
T and G, Tongue And Groove: A joint made by a tongue (a rib on one edge of a board) that fits into a corresponding groove in the
T Bar: Ribbed, 'T' shaped bars with a flat metal plate at the bottom that are driven into the earth. Normal
Tab : The exposed portion of strip shingles defined by cutouts.
Tail Beam: A relatively short beam or joist supported in a wall on one end and by a header at the other.
Take Off: The material necessary to complete a job.
Taping: The process of covering drywall joints with paper tape and joint compound.
Teco: Metal straps that are nailed and secure the roof rafters and trusses to the top horizontal wall plat
Tee: A 'T' shaped plumbing fitting.
Tempered: Strengthened. Tempered glass will not shatter nor create shards, but will 'pelletize' like an automo
Termite Shield: A shield, usually of galvanized metal, placed in or on a foundation wall or around pipes to prevent
Termites: Wood eating insects that superficially resemble ants in size and general appearance, and live in col
Terra Cotta: A ceramic material molded into masonry units.
Thermoply: Exterior laminated sheathing nailed to the exterior side of the exterior walls. Normally ¼ ' thick,
Thermostat: A device which relegates the temperature of a room or building by switching heating or cooling equip
Three-Dimensional Shingles: Laminated shingles. Shingles that have added dimensionality because of extra layers or tabs, giving
Threshold: The bottom metal or wood plate of an exterior door frame. Generally they are adjustable to keep a ti
Time And Materials Contract: A construction contract which specifies a price for different elements of the work such as cost per
Tinner: Another name for the heating contractor.
Tip Up: The downspout extension that directs water (from the home's gutter system) away from the home. They
Title: Evidence (usually in the form of a certificate or deed) of a person's legal right to ownership of a
TJI Or TJ: Manufactured structural building component resembling the letter 'I'. Used as floor joists and rafte
Toenailing: To drive a nail in at a slant. Method used to secure floor joists to the plate.
Top Chord: The upper or top member of a truss.
Top Plate: Top horizontal member of a frame wall supporting ceiling joists, rafters, or other members.
Transmitter (Garage Door): The small, push button device that causes the garage door to open or close.
Trap: A plumbing fitting that holds water to prevent air, gas, and vermin from backing up into a fixture.
Tread: The walking surface board in a stairway on which the foot is placed.
Treated Lumber: A wood product which has been impregnated with chemical pesticides such as CCA (Chromated Copper Ars
Trim (Plumbing, Heating, Electrical): The work that the 'mechanical' contractors perform to finish their respective aspects of work, and w
Trim-Exterior: The finish materials on the exterior a building, such as moldings applied around openings (window tr
Trim-Interior: The finish materials in a building, such as moldings applied around openings (window trim, door trim
Trimmer: The vertical stud that supports a header at a door, window, or other opening.
Truss: An engineered and manufactured roof support member with 'zig-zag' framing members. Does the same job
Tub Trap: Curved, 'U' shaped section of a bath tub drain pipe that holds a water seal to prevent sewer gasses
Turnkey: A term used when the subcontractor provides all materials (and labor) for a job.
Turpentine: A petroleum, volatile oil used as a thinner in paints and as a solvent in varnishes
UL (Underwriters Laboratories): An independent testing agency that checks electrical devices and other components for possible safet
Undercoat: A coating applied prior to the finishing or top coats of a paint job. It may be the first of two or
Underground Plumbing: The plumbing drain and waste lines that are installed beneath a basement floor.
Underlayment: A ¼' material placed over the subfloor plywood sheeting and under finish coverings, such as vinyl f
Union: A plumbing fitting that joins pipes end-to-end so they can be dismantled.
Utility Easement: The area of the earth that has electric, gas, or telephone lines. These areas may be owned by the ho
Valley: The 'V' shaped area of a roof where two sloping roofs meet. Water drains off the roof at the valleys
Valley Flashing: Sheet metal that lays in the 'V' area of a roof valley.
Valuation: An inspection carried out for the benefit of the mortgage lender to ascertain if a property is a goo
Valuation Fee: Th fee paid by the prospective borrower for the lender's inspection of the property. Normally paid u
Vapor Barrier: A building product installed on exterior walls and ceilings under the drywall and on the warm side o
Variable Rate: An interest rate that will vary over the term of the loan.
Veneer: Extremely thin sheets of wood. Also a thin slice of wood or brick or stone covering a framed wall.
Vent: A pipe or duct which allows the flow of air and gasses to the outside. Also, another word for the mo
Vermiculite: A mineral used as bulk insulation and also as aggregate in insulating and acoustical plaster and in
Veterans Administration (VA): A federal agency that insures mortgage loans with very liberal down payment requirements for honorab
Visqueen: A 4 mil or 6 mil plastic sheeting.
Void: Cardboard rectangular boxes that are installed between the earth (between caissons) and the concrete
Voltage: A measure of electrical potential. Most homes are wired with 110 and 220 volt lines. The 110 volt po
W C: An abbreviation for water closet (toilet).
Wafer board : A manufactured wood panel made out of 1' - 2' wood chips and glue. Often used as a substitute for pl
Walk-Through: A final inspection of a home before 'Closing' to look for and document problems that need to be corr
Wall Out: When a painter pray paints the interior of a home.
Warping: Any distortion in a material.
Warranty: In construction there are two general types of warranties. One is provided by the manufacturer of a
Waste Pipe And Vent: Plumbing plastic pipe that carries waste water to the municipal sewage system.
Water Board: Water resistant drywall to be used in tub and shower locations. Normally green or blue colored
Water Closet: Another name for toilet.
Water Meter Pit (Or Vault): The box /cast iron bonnet and concrete rings that contains the water meter.
Water Table: The location of the underground water, and the vertical distance from the surface of the earth to th
Water Tap: The connection point where the home water line connects to the main municipal water system.
Water-Repellent Preservative: A liquid applied to wood to give the wood water repellant properties
Weatherization: Work on a building exterior in order to reduce energy consumption for heating or cooling. Work invo
Weatherstrip: Narrow sections of thin metal or other material installed to prevent the infiltration of air and moi
Weep Holes: Small holes in storm window frames that allow moisture to escape.
Whole House Fan: A fan designed to move air through and out of a home and normally installed in the ceiling.
Wind Bracing: Metal straps or wood blocks installed diagonally on the inside of a wall from bottom to top plate, t
Window Buck: Square or rectangular box that is installed within a concrete foundation or block wall. A window wil
Window Frame: The stationary part of a window unit: window sash fits into the window frame.
Window Sash: The operating or movable part of a window: the sash is made of window panes and their border.
Wire Nut: A plastic device used to connect bare wires together.
Wonderboard: A panel made out of concrete and fiberglass usually used as a ceramic tile backing material. Commonl
Wrapped Drywall: Areas that get complete drywall covering, as in the doorway openings of bifold and bipass closet doo
Y: A 'Y' shaped plumbing fitting.
Yard Of Concrete: One cubic yard of concrete is 3' X 3' X 3' in volume, or 27 cubic feet. One cubic yard of concrete
Yoke: The location where a home's water meter is sometimes installed between two copper pipes, and located
Z-Bar Flashing: Bent, galvanized metal flashing that's installed above a horizontal trim board of an exterior window
Zone: The section of a building that is served by one heating or cooling loop because it has noticeably di
Zone Valve: A device, usually placed near the heater or cooler, which controls the flow of water or steam to par
Zoning: A governmental process and specification which limits the use of a property e.g. single family use,

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