Dictionary
NameDetails
A/CAn abbreviation for air conditioner or air conditioning.
A/C CondenserThe outside fan unit of the Air Conditioning system. It removes the heat from the freon gas and “turns” the gas back into a liquid and pumps the liquid back to the coil in the furnace. 
A/C DisconnectThe main electrical ON OFF switch near the A/C Condenser.
AeratorThe round screened screw on tip of a sink spout. It mixes water and air for a smooth flow.
AggregateA 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 specified in the construction contract. For example, selection of tile as a flooring may require an allowance for an underlayment material, or an electrical allowance which sets aside an amount of money to be spent on electrical fixtures. 
Amortization A payment plan by which a loan is reduced through monthly payments of principal and interest. 
Anchor boltsBolts 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 fees, mortgage insurance, and other items. 
AppraisalAn expert valuation of property. 
ApronA 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 architect. One who draws up plans. 
Area wellsCorrugated metal or concrete barrier walls installed around a basement window to hold back the earth 
AssessmentA 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. 
AstragalA molding, attached to one of a pair of swinging double doors, against which the other door strikes. 
Attic accessAn opening that is placed in the drywalled ceiling of a home providing access to the attic. 
Attic VentilatorsIn houses, screened openings provided to ventilate an attic space. 
Back ChargeBillings for work performed or costs incurred by one party that, in accordance with the agreement, should have been performed or incurred by the party to whom billed. Owners bill back charges to general contractors, and general contractors bill back charges to subcontractors. Examples of back charges include charges for cleanup work or to repair something damaged by another subcontractor, such as a tub chip or broken window. 
BackfillThe replacement of excavated earth into a trench around or against a basement /crawl space foundationwall. 
BackingFrame lumber installed between the wall studs to give additional support for drywall or an interior trim related item, such as handrail brackets, cabinets, and towel bars. In this way, items are screwed and mounted into solid wood rather than weak drywall that may allow the item to break loose from the wall. Carpet backing holds the pile fabric in place. 
BackoutWork the framing contractor does after the mechanical subcontractors (Heating Plumbing
BallastA transformer that steps up the voltage in a florescent lamp. 
Balloon framed wallFramed walls (generally over 10′ tall) that run the entire vertical length from the floor sill plate to the roof. This is done to eliminate the need for a gable end truss. 
BalloonA loan that has a series of monthly payments with the remaining balance due in a large lump sum payment at the end. 
BalustersVertical members in a railing used between a top rail and bottom rail or the stair treads. Sometimes referred to as ‘pickets’ or ‘spindles’. 
BalustradeThe rail, posts and vertical balusters along the edge of a stairway or elevated walkway. 
Barge boardA decorative board covering the projecting rafter (fly rafter) of the gable end. At the cornice, this member is a fascia board. 
BargeHorizontal beam rafter that supports shorter rafters. 
Base or baseboardA trim board placed against the wall around the room next to the floor. 
Base shoeMolding used next to the floor on interior base board. Sometimes called a carpet strip. 
Basement window insertsThe window frame and glass unit that is installed in the window buck. 
Bat A half brick.
Batt A section of fiber glass or rock
BattenNarrow strips of wood used to cover joints or as decorative vertical members over plywood or wide boards. 
Bay windowAny window space projecting outward from the walls of a building, either square or polygonal in plan. 
BeamA structural member transversely supporting a load. A structural member carrying building loads (weight) from one support to another. Sometimes called a “girder”. 
Bearing header(a) A beam placed perpendicular to joists and to which joists are nailed in framing for a chimney, stairway, or other opening. (b) A wood lintel. (c) The horizontal structural member over an opening (for example over a door or window). 
Bearing partitionA partition that supports any vertical load in addition to its own weight. 
Bearing pointA point where a bearing or structural weight is concentrated and transferred to the foundation 
Bearing wallA wall that supports any vertical load in addition to its own weight. 
BedrockA subsurface layer of earth that is suitable to support a structure. 
BidA formal offer by a contractor, in accordance with specifications for a project, to do all or a phase of the work at a certain price in accordance with the terms and conditions stated in the offer. 
Bid bondA bond issued by a surety on behalf of a contractor that provides assurance to the recipient of the contractor’s bid that, if the bid is accepted, the contractor will execute a contract and provide a performance bond. Under the bond, the surety is obligated to pay the recipient of the bid the difference between the contractor’s bid and the bid of the next lowest responsible bidder if the bid is accepted and the contractor fails to execute a contract or to provide a performance bond. 
Bid shoppingA practice by which contractors, both before and after their bids are submitted, attempt to obtain prices from potential subcontractors and material suppliers that are lower than the contractors’ original estimates on which their bids are based, or after a contract is awarded, seek to induce subcontractors to reduce the subcontract price included in the bid. 
Bidding requirementsThe procedures and conditions for the submission of bids. The requirements are included ion documents, such as the notice to bidders, advertisements for bids, instructions to bidders, invitations to bid, and sample bid forms. 
Bifold doorDoors that are hinged in the middle for opening in a smaller area than standard swing doors. Often used for closet doors. 
BinderA receipt for a deposit to secure the right to purchase a home at an agreed terms by a buyer and seller. 
Bipass doorsDoors that slide by each other and commonly used as closet doors. 
BlanketsFiber glass or rock
Block outTo install a box or barrier within a foundation wall to prevent the concrete from entering an area. For example, foundation walls are sometimes “blocked” in order for mechanical pipes to pass through the wall, to install a crawl space door, and to depress the concrete at a garage door location. 
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.
BlockingSmall wood pieces to brace framing members or to provide a nailing base for gypsum board or paneling. 
Blow insulationFiber insulation in loose form and used to insulate attics and existing walls where framing members are not exposed. 
Blue print(s)A type of copying method often used for architectural drawings. Usually used to describe the drawing of a structure which is prepared by an architect or designer for the purpose of design and planning, estimating, securing permits and actual construction. 
Blue stakeAnother phrase for Utility Notification. This is when a utility company (telephone, gas, electric, cable TV, sewer and water, etc) comes to the job site and locates and spray paints the ground and/or installs little flags to show where their service is located underground. 
Board footA unit of measure for lumber equal to 1 inch thick by 12 inches wide by 12 inches long. Examples 1\" x 12\" x 16′ = 16 board feet, 2\" x 12\" x 16′ = 32 board feet 
BoomA truck used to hoist heavy material up and into place. To put trusses on a home or to set a heavy beam into place. 
Bottom chordThe lower or bottom horizontal member of a truss. 
Bottom plateThe “2 by 4’s or 6’s” that lay on the subfloor upon which the vertical studs are installed. Also called the ‘sole plate’. 
BraceAn inclined piece of framing lumber applied to wall or floor to strengthen the structure. Often used on walls as temporary bracing until framing has been completed. 
Breaker panelThe electrical box that distributes electric power entering the home to each branch circuit (each plug and switch) and composed of circuit breakers. 
Brick ledgePart of the foundation wall where brick (veneer) will rest. 
Brick lintelThe metal angle iron that brick rests on, especially above a window, door, or other opening. 
Brick moldTrim used around an exterior door jamb that siding butts to. 
Brick tieA small, corrugated metal strip @ 1\" X 6\" 8\" long nailed to wall sheeting or studs. They are inserted into the grout mortar joint of the veneer brick, and holds the veneer wall to the sheeted wall behind it.
Brick veneerA vertical facing of brick laid against and fastened to sheathing of a framed wall or tile wall construction. 
BridgingSmall wood or metal members that are inserted in a diagonal position between the floor joists or rafters at mid span for the purpose of bracing the joists/rafters & spreading the load.
BuckOften used in reference to rough frame opening members. Door bucks used in reference to metal door frame. See Window Bucks 
Builder’s Risk InsuranceInsurance coverage on a construction project during construction, including extended coverage that may be added for the contract for the customer’s protections. 
Building codes Community ordinances governing the manner in which a home may be constructed or modified. 
Building insuranceInsurance covering the structure of the building. 
Building paperA general term for papers, felts, and similar sheet materials used in buildings without reference to their properties or uses. Generally comes in long rolls. 
Builtup roof A roofing composed of three to five layers of asphalt felt laminated with coal tar, pitch, or asphalt. The top is finished with crushed slag or gravel. Generally used on flat or low
Bull nose (drywall)Rounded drywall corners. 
Bundle A package of shingles. Normally, there are 3 bundles per square and 27 shingles per bundle. 
Butt edgeThe 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 jointThe junction where the ends of two timbers meet, and also where sheets of drywall meet on the 4 foot edge. To place materials end to
Buy downA subsidy (usually paid by a builder or developer) to reduce monthly payments on a mortgage. 
By fold doorDoors that are hinged in the middle for opening in a smaller area than standard swing doors. Often used for closet doors. 
By pass doorsDoors that slide by each other and commonly used as closet doors. 
CaissonA 10\" or 12\" diameter hole drilled into the earth and embedded into bedrock 3 – 4 feet. The structural support for a type of foundation wall, porch, patio, monopost, or other structure. Two or more “sticks” of reinforcing bars (rebar) are inserted into and run the full length of the hole and concrete is poured into the caisson hole 
CantileverAn overhang. Where one floor extends beyond and over a foundation wall. For example at a fireplace location or bay window cantilever. Normally, not extending over 2 feet. 
Cantilevered voidFoundation void material used in unusually expansive soils conditions. This void is “trapezoid” shaped and has vertical sides of 6\" and 4\" respectively. 
Cap flashingThe portion of the flashing attached to a vertical surface to prevent water from migrating behind the base flashing. 
CapThe upper member of a column, pilaster, door cornice, molding, or fireplace. 
Capital and interestA repayment loan and the most conventional form of home loan. The borrower pays an amount each month to cover the amount borrowed (or capital or principal) plus the interest charged on capital. 
CapitalThe principal part of a loan, i.e. the original amount borrowed. 
Capped rateThe mortgage interest rate will not exceed a specified value during a certain period of time, but it will fluctuate up and down below that level. 
CasementFrames of wood or metal enclosing part (or all) of a window sash. May be opened by means of hinges affixed to the vertical edges. 
Casement WindowA window with hinges on one of the vertical sides and swings open like a normal door 
CasingWood 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 corners in tub walls. (2) To fill a joint with mastic or asphalt plastic cement to prevent leaks. 
CCA (Chromated Copper Arsenate)A pesticide that is forced into wood under high pressure to protect it from termites, other wood boring insects, and decay caused by fungus 
Ceiling joistOne of a series of parallel framing members used to support ceiling loads and supported in turn by larger beams, girders or bearing walls. Also called roof joists. 
CelotexBlack fibrous board that is used as exterior sheething. 
CementThe gray powder that is the “glue” in concrete. Portland cement. Also, any adhesive. 
Ceramic tile A man made or machine
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 cubic feet) that can pass through an opening in one minute. 
Chair railInterior trim material installed about 3 4 feet up the wall, horizontally.
Chalk lineA line made by snapping a taut string or cord dusted with chalk. Used for alignment purposes. 
Change orderA written document which modifies the plans and specifications and/or the price of the construction Contract. 
ChaseA framed enclosed space around a flue pipe or a channel in a wall, or through a ceiling for something to lie in or pass through. 
ChinkTo install fiberglass insulation around all exterior door and window frames, wall corners, and small gaps in the exterior wall. 
Chip BoardA manufactured wood panel made out of 1\" 2\" wood chips and glue. Often used as a substitute for plywood in the exterior wall and roof sheathing. Also called OSB (Oriented Strand Board) or wafer board.
Circuit BreakerA device which looks like a switch and is usually located inside the electrical breaker panel or circuit breaker box. It is designed to (1) shut of the power to portions or all of the house and (2) to limit the amount of power flowing through a circuit (measured in amperes). 110 volt household circuits require a fuse or circuit breaker with a rating of 15 or a maximum of 20 amps. 220 volt circuits may be designed for higher amperage loads e.g. a hot water heater may be designed for a 30 amp load and would therefore need a 30 amp fuse or breaker. 
CircuitThe path of electrical flow from a power source through an outlet and back to ground. 
Class “A”Optimum fire rating issued by Underwriter’s Laboratories on roofing. The building codes in some areas require this type of roofing for fire safety. 
Class “C”Minimum fire rating issued by the Underwriters’ Laboratories for roofing materials. 
Clean outAn opening providing access to a drain line. Closed with a threaded plug. 
Clip tiesSharp, cut metal wires that protrude out of a concrete foundation wall (that at one time held the foundation form panels in place). 
COAn abbreviation for “Certificate of Occupancy“. This certificate is issued by the local municipality and is required before anyone can occupy and live within the home. It is issued only after the local municipality has made all inspections and all monies and fees have been paid. 
Cold air returnThe ductwork (and related grills) that carries room air back to the furnace for re heating.
Collar beamNominal 1 or 2
CollarPreformed flange placed over a vent pipe to seal the roofing above the vent pipe opening. Also called a vent sleeve. 
ColumnA vertical structural compression member which supports loads. 
Combustion airThe duct work installed to bring fresh, outside air to the furnace and/or hot water heater. Normally 2 separate supplies of air are brought in One high and One low. 
Combustion chamberThe part of a boiler, furnace or woodstove where the burn occurs; normally lined with firebrick or molded or sprayed insulation. 
Compression webA member of a truss system which connects the bottom and top chords and  which provides downward support. 
CompressorA mechanical device that pressurizes a gas in order to turn it into a liquid, thereby allowing heat to be removed or added. A compressor is the main component of conventional heat pumps and air conditioners. In an air conditioning system, the compressor normally sits outside and has a large fan (to remove heat). 
Concrete blockA 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. 
ConcreteThe mixture of Portland cement, sand, gravel, and water. Used to make garage and basement floors, sidewalks, patios, foundation walls, etc. It is commonly reinforced with steel rods (rebar) or wire screening (mesh). 
CondensationBeads or drops of water (and frequently frost in extremely cold weather) that accumulate on the inside of the exterior covering of a building. Use of louvers or attic ventilators will reduce moisture condensation in attics. A vapor barrier under the gypsum lath or dry wall on exposed walls will reduce condensation. 
Condensing unit The outdoor component of a cooling system. It includes a compressor and condensing coil designed to give off heat. 
ConductionThe direct transfer of heat energy through a material. 
ConductivityThe rate at which heat is transmitted through a material. 
Conduit, electricalA pipe, usually metal, in which wire is installed. 
Construction ContractA legal document which specifies the what, when, where
Construction drywallA type of construction in which the interior wall finish is applied in a dry condition, generally in the form of sheet materials or wood paneling as contrasted to plaster. 
Construction, frameA type of construction in which the structural components are wood or depend upon a wood frame for support. 
Continuity testerA device that tells whether a circuit is capable of carrying electricity. 
ContractorA company licensed to perform certain types of construction activities. In most states, the generals contractor’s license and some specialty contractor’s licenses don’t require of compliance with bonding, workmen’s compensation and similar regulations. Some of the specialty contractor licenses involve extensive training, testing and/or insurance requirements. There are various types of contractors  
Control jointTooled, straight grooves made on concrete floors to “control” where the concrete should crack 
ConvectionCurrents created by heating air, which then rises and pulls cooler air behind it. Also see radiation. 
Cooling loadThe amount of cooling required to keep a building at a specified temperature during the summer, usually 78° F, regardless of outside temperature. 
Coped jointCutting and fitting woodwork to an irregular surface. 
CopedRemoving the top and bottom flange of the end(s) of a metal I beam. This is done to permit it to fit within, and bolted to, the web of another I
CorbelThe triangular, decorative and supporting member that holds a mantel or horizontal shelf. 
Corner beadA strip of formed sheet metal placed on outside corners of drywall before applying drywall ‘mud’. 
Corner boardsUsed as trim for the external corners of a house or other frame structure against which the ends of the siding are finished. 
Corner bracesDiagonal braces at the corners of the framed structure designed to stiffen and strengthen the wall. 
CorniceOverhang of a pitched roof , usually consisting of a fascia board, a soffit and appropriate trim moldings. 
Counter flashingA metal flashing usually used on chimneys at the roofline to cover shingle flashing and used to prevent moisture entry. 
CounterfortA foundation wall section that strengthens (and generally perpendicular to) a long section of foundation wall 
CourseA row of shingles or roll roofing running the length of the roof. Parallel layers of building materials such as bricks, or siding laid up horizontally. 
Cove moldingA molding with a concave face used as trim or to finish interior corners. 
Crawl spaceA shallow space below the living quarters of a house, normally enclosed by the foundation wall and having a dirt floor. 
Credit ratingA report ordered by a lender from a credit agency to determine a borrower’s credit habits. 
CricketA second roof built on top of the primary roof to increase the slope of the roof or valley. A saddle shaped, peaked construction connecting a sloping roof with a chimney. Designed to encourage water drainage away from the chimney joint.
CrippleShort vertical “2 by 4’s or 6’s” frame lumber installed above a window or door. 
Cross bridgingDiagonal bracing between adjacent floor joists, placed near the center of the joist span to prevent joists from twisting. 
Cross TeeShort metal “T” beam used in suspended ceiling systems to bridge the spaces between the main beams. 
Crown moldingA molding used on cornice or wherever an interior angle is to be covered, especially at the roof and wall corner. 
CulvertRound, corrugated drain pipe (normally 15\" or 18\" in diameter) that is installed beneath a driveway and parallel to and near the street. 
CuppingA type of warping that causes boards to curl up at their edges. 
Curb stopNormally a cast iron pipe with a lid (@ 5\" in diameter) that is placed vertically into the ground, situated near the water tap in the yard, and where a water cut off valve to the home is located (underground). A long pole with a special end is inserted into the curb stop to turn off/on the water.
CurbThe short elevation of an exterior wall above the deck of a roof. Normally a 2 by 6 box (on the roof) on which a skylight is attached. 
DadoA groove cut into a board or panel intended to receive the edge of a connecting board or panel. 
DamperA metal “door” placed within the fireplace chimney. Normally closed when the fireplace is not in use. 
DampproofingThe black, tar like waterproofing material applied to the exterior of a foundation wall. 
DaylightThe end of a pipe (the terminal end) that is not attached to anything. 
Dead boltAn exterior security lock installed on exterior entry doors that can be activated only with a key or thumb turn. Unlike a latch, which has a beveled tongue, dead bolts have square ends.
Dead lightThe fixed, non operable window section of a window unit.
Deck, deckedTo install the plywood or wafer board sheeting on the floor joists, rafters, or trusses. 
Dedicated circuitAn electrical circuit that serves only one appliance (ie, dishwasher) or a series of electric heaters or smoke detectors. 
DefaultBreach of a mortgage contract (not making the required payments). 
Dehumidistat A control mechanism used to operate a mechanical ventilation system based upon the relative humidity in the home.
DelaminationSeparation of the plies in a panel due to failure of the adhesive.  Usually caused by excessive moisture. 
DisconnectA large (generally 20 Amp) electrical ON OFF switch.
Discount rateA mortgage interest rate that is lower than the current rate for a certain period of time, e.g. 2.00% below variable rate for 2 years. 
Door operatorAn automatic garage door opener. 
Door stopThe wooden style that the door slab will rest upon when it’s in a closed position. 
Doorjamb, interiorThe surrounding case into which and out of which a door closes and opens. It consists of two upright pieces, called side jambs, and a horizontal head jamb. These 3 jambs have the “door stop” installed on them. 
DormerAn opening in a sloping roof, the framing of which projects out to form a vertical wall suitable for windows or other openings. 
Double glassWindow or door in which two panes of glass are used with a sealed air space between.  Also known as Insulating Glass. 
Double hung windowA window with two vertically sliding sashes, both of which can move up and down. 
Down paymentThe difference between the sales price and the mortgage amount. A downpayment is usually paid at closing. 
DownspoutA pipe, usually of metal, for carrying rainwater down from the roof’s horizontal gutters. 
Drain tileA perforated, corrugated plastic pipe laid at the bottom of the foundation wall and used to drain excess water away from the foundation. It prevents ground water from seeping through the foundation wall. Sometimes called perimeter drain. 
DrawThe amount of progress billings on a contract that is currently available to a contractor under a contract with a fixed payment schedule. 
Drip(a) A member of a cornice or other horizontal exterior finish course that has a projection beyond the other parts for throwing off water.(b) A groove in the underside of a sill or drip cap to cause water to drop off on the outer edge instead of drawing back and running down the face of the building. 
Drip capA molding or metal flashing placed on the exterior topside of a door or window frame to cause water to drip beyond the outside of the frame. 
Dry inTo install the black roofing felt (tar paper) on the roof. 
Drywall Wall board or gypsum A manufactured panel made out of gypsum plaster and encased in a thin cardboard. Usually 1/2\" thick and 4′ x 8′ or 4′ x 12′ in size. The panels are nailed or screwed onto the framing and the joints are taped and covered with a ‘joint compound’. ‘Green board’ type drywall has a greater resistance to moisture than regular (white) plasterboard and is used in bathrooms and other “wet areas”.
DuctsThe heating system. Usually round or rectangular metal pipes installed for distributing warm (or cold) air from the furnace to rooms in the home.  Also a tunnel made of galvanized metal or rigid fiberglass, which carries air from the heater or ventilation opening to the rooms in a building. 
Dueon sale
Dura board, dura rockA panel made out of concrete and fiberglass usually used as a ceramic tile backing material. Commonly used on bathtub decks. Sometimes called Wonder board 
DWV (drainwaste vent)
Earnest MoneyA sum paid to the seller to show that a potential purchaser is serious about buying. 
Earthquake StrapA metal strap used to secure gas hot water heaters to the framing or foundation of a house. Intended to reduce the chances of having the water heater fall over in an earthquake and causing a gas leak. 
EasementA formal contract which allows a party to use another party’s property for a specific purpose. e.g. A sewer easement might allow one party to run a sewer line through a neighbors property. 
Eaves The horizontal exterior roof overhang. 
EgressA means of exiting the home. An egress window is required in every bedroom and basement. Normally a 4′ X 4′ window is the minimum size required 
Elbow (ell) A plumbing or electrical fitting that lets you change directions in runs of pipe or conduit. 
Electric lateralThe trench or area in the yard where the electric service line (from a transformer or pedestal) is located, or the work of installing the electric service to a home. 
Electric resistance coilsMetal wires that heat up when electric current passes through them and are used in baseboard heaters and electric water heaters. 
Electrical entrance packageThe entry point of the electrical power including (1) the ‘strike’ or location where the overhead or underground electrical lines connect to the house, (2) The meter which measures how much power is used and (3) The ‘panel’ or ‘circuit breaker box ‘ (or ‘fuse box’) where the power can be shut off and where overload devices such a fuses or circuit breakers and located. 
Electrical RoughWork performed by the Electrical Contractor after the plumber and heating contractor are complete with their phase of work. Normally all electrical wires, and outlet, switch, and fixture boxes are installed (before insulation). 
Electrical TrimWork performed by the electrical contractor when the house is nearing completion. The electrician installs all plugs, switches, light fixtures, smoke detectors, appliance “pig tails”, bath ventilation fans, wires the furnace, and “makes up” the electric house panel. The electrician does all work necessary to get the home ready for and to pass the municipal electrical final inspection 
Elevation sheetThe page on the blue prints that depicts the house or room as if a vertical plane were passed through the structure. 
EquityThe “valuation” that you own in your home, i.e. the property value less the mortgage loan outstanding. 
EscrowThe handling of funds or documents by a third party on behalf of the buyer and/or seller. 
EscutcheonAn ornamental plate that fits around a pipe extending through a wall or floor to hide the cut out hole 
EstimateThe amount of labor, materials, and other costs that a contractor anticipates for a project as summarized in the contractor’s bid proposal for the project. 
EstimatingThe process of calculating the cost of a project. This can be a formal and exact process or a quick and imprecise process. 
Evaporator coilThe part of a cooling system that absorbs heat from air in your home. Also see condensing unit. 
Expansion jointFibrous material (@1/2\" thick) installed in and around a concrete slab to permit it to move up and down (seasonally) along the non moving foundation wall.
Expansive soilsEarth that swells and contracts depending on the amount of water that is present. (“Betonite” is an expansive soil). 
Exposed aggregate finishA method of finishing concrete which washes the cement/sand mixture off the top layer of the aggregate – usually gravel. Often used in driveways, patios and other exterior surfaces. 
ExtrasAdditional work requested of a contractor, not included in the original plan, which will be billed separately and will not alter the original contract amount, but increase the cost of building the home. 
Face nailTo install nails into the vertical face of a bearing header or beam. 
Faced concreteTo finish the front and all vertical sides of a concrete porch, step(s), or patio. Normally the “face” is broom finished. 
Facing brickThe brick used and exposed on the outside of a wall. Usually these have a finished texture. 
FasciaHorizontal boards attached to rafter/truss ends at the eaves and along gables. Roof drain gutters are attached to the fascia. 
FeltTar paper. Installed under the roof shingles. Normally 15 lb. or 30 lb. 
FemaleAny part, such as a nut or fitting, into which another (male) part can be inserted. Internal threads are female. 
FerruleMetal tubes used to keep roof gutters “open”. Long nails (ferrule spikes) are driven through these tubes and hold the gutters in place along the fascia of the home. 
FHA strapMetal straps that are used to repair a bearing wall “cut out”, and to “tie together” wall corners, splices, and bearing headers. Also, they are used to hang stairs and landings to bearing headers.
Field measureTo take measurements (cabinets, countertops, stairs, shower doors, etc.) in the home itself instead of using the blueprints. 
Finger jointA manufacturing process of interlocking two shorter pieces of wood end to end to create a longer piece of dimensional lumber or molding. Often used in jambs and casings and are normally painted (instead of stained). 
Fire block Short horizontal members sometimes nailed between studs, usually about halfway up a wall. See also ‘Fire stop’. 
Fire brick Brick made of refractory ceramic material which will resist high temperatures. Used in a fireplace and boiler. 
Fire retardant chemicalA chemical or preparation of chemicals used to reduce the flammability of a material or to retard the spread of flame. 
Fire stopA solid, tight closure of a concealed space, placed to prevent the spread of fire and smoke through such a space. In a frame wall, this will usually consist of 2 by 4 cross blocking between studs. Work performed to slow the spread of fire and smoke in the walls and ceiling (behind the drywall). Includes stuffing wire holes in the top and bottom plates with insulation, and installing blocks of wood between the wall studs at the drop soffit line. This is integral to passing a Rough Frame inspection.  See also ‘Fire block’. 
Fireplace chase flashing panA large sheet of metal that is installed around and perpendicular to the fireplace flue pipe. It’s purpose is to confine and limit the spread of fire and smoke to a small area. 
Fireresistive or Fire rated Applies to materials that are not combustible in the temperatures of ordinary fires and will withstand such fires for at least 1 hour. Drywall used in the garage and party walls are to be fire rated, 5/8\", Type X.
Fish tapeA 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 or bolts. Sometimes used at the junction of opposite rafters near the ridge line. Sometimes called a gang nail plate. 
Fixed price contractA contract with a set price for the work. See Time and Materials Contract. 
Fixed rateA loan where the initial payments are based on a certain interest rate for a stated period .  The rate payable will not change during this period regardless of changes in the lender’s standard variable rate. 
Fixed Rate MortgageA 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 brick). 
FlakeboardA manufactured wood panel made out of 1\" 2\" wood chips and glue. Often used as a substitute for plywood in the exterior wall and roof sheathing. Also called OSB or wafer board.
Flame retention burnerAn oil burner, designed to hold the flame near the nozzle surface. Generally the most efficient type for residential use. 
FlashingSheet metal or other material used in roof and wall construction to protect a building from water seepage. 
Flat moldThin wood strips installed over the butt seam of cabinet skins. 
Flat paintAn interior paint that contains a high proportion of pigment and dries to a flat or lusterless finish. 
FlatworkCommon word for concrete floors, driveways, basements, and sidewalks. 
FloatingThe next to
Floating wallA non bearing wall built on a concrete floor. It is constructed so that the bottom two horizontal plates can compress or pull apart if the concrete floor moves up or down. Normally built on basements and garage slabs.
Flue collarRound metal ring which fits around the heat flue pipe after the pipe passes out of the roof. 
Flue damperAn automatic door located in the flue that closes it off when the burner turns off; purpose is to reduce heat loss up the flue from the still warm furnace or boiler.
FlueLarge pipe through which fumes escape from a gas water heater, furnace, or fireplace. Normally these flue pipes are double walled, galvanized sheet metal pipe and sometimes referred to as a “B Vent”. Fireplace flue pipes are normally triple walled. In addition, nothing combustible shall be within one inch from the flue pipe. 
Flue lining2 foot lengths, fire clay or terra
Fluorescent lightingA fluorescent lamp is a gas filled glass tube with a phosphur coating on the inside.  Gas inside the tube is ionized by electricity which causes the phosphur coating to glow.  Normally with two pins that extend from each end.
Fly raftersEnd rafters of the gable overhang supported by roof sheathing and lookouts. 
Footer, footingContinuous 8\" or 10\" thick concrete pad installed before and supports the foundation wall or monopost. 
Forced air heating A common form of heating with natural gas, propane, oil or electricity as a fuel. Air is heated in the furnace and distributed through a set of metal ducts to various areas of the house. 
FormTemporary structure erected to contain concrete during placing and initial hardening. 
FoundationThe supporting portion of a structure below the first floor construction, or below grade, including the footings. 
Foundation tiesMetal wires that hold the foundation wall panels and rebar in place during the concrete pour. 
Foundation waterproofingHigh quality below
Frame InspectionThe act of inspecting the home’s structural integrity and it’s complianceto local municipal codes. 
FramerThe carpenter contractor that installs the lumber and erects the frame, flooring system, interior walls, backing, trusses, rafters, decking, installs all beams, stairs, soffits and all work related to the wood structure of the home. The framer builds the home according to the blueprints and must comply with local building codes and regulations. 
FramingLumber used for the structural members of a building, such as studs, joists, and rafters. 
FriezeIn house construction a horizontal member connecting the top of the siding with the soffit of the cornice. 
Frost lidRound metal lid that is installed on a water meter pit. 
Frost lineThe depth of frost penetration in soil and/or the depth at which the earth will freeze and swell. This depth varies in different parts of the country. 
Furring stripsStrips of wood, often 1 X 2 and used to shim out and provide a level fastening surface for a wall or ceiling. 
FuseA device often found in older homes designed to prevent overloads in electrical lines. This protects against fire. See also ‘circuit breakers’. 
GableThe end, upper, triangular area of a home, beneath the roof. 
Gang nail plateA steel plate attached to both sides at each joint of a truss. Sometimes called a fishplate or gussett. 
Gas lateralThe trench or area in the yard where the gas line service is located, or the work of installing the gas service to a home. 
Gate valveA valve that lets you completely stop—but not modulate—the flow within a pipe. 
General ContractorA contractor who enters into a contract with the owner of a project for the construction of the project and who takes full responsibility for its completion, although the contractor may enter into subcontracts with others for the performance of specific parts or phases of the project. 
GF C I, or G F IGround Fault Circuit Interrupter an ultra sensitive plug designed to shut off all electric current. Used in bathrooms, kitchens, exterior waterproof outlets, garage outlets, and “wet areas”. Has a small reset button on the plug.
GirderA large or principal beam of wood or steel used to support concentrated loads at isolated points along its length. 
GlazingThe process of installing glass, which commonly is secured with glazier’s points and glazing compound. 
Globe valveA valve that lets you adjust the flow of water to any rate between fully on and fully off. Also see gate valve. 
Gloss enamelA finishing paint material. Forms a hard coating with maximum smoothness of surface and dries to a sheen or luster (gloss) 
Glued Laminated Beam (Glulam)A structural beam composed of wood laminations or lams. The lams are pressure bonded with adhesives to attain a typical thickness of 1 ½” . (It looks like 5 or more 2 X 4’s are glued together). 
Grade beamA foundation wall that is poured @ level with or just below the grade of theearth. An example is the area where the 8′ or 16′ overhead garage door “block out” is located, or a lower (walk out basement) foundation wall is poured 
GradeGround level, or the elevation at any given point. Also the work of leveling dirt. Also the designated quality of a manufactured piece of wood. 
Graduated Payment Mortgage (GPM) A fixed rate, fixed schedule loan. It starts with lower payments than a level payment loan; payments rise annually, with the entire increase being used to reduce the outstanding balance. The increase in payments may enable the borrower to pay off a 30
GrainThe direction, size, arrangement, appearance, or quality of the fibers in wood. 
GridThe completed assembly of main and cross tees in a suspended ceiling system before the ceiling panels are installed. Also the decorative slats (munton) installed between glass panels. 
Ground faultGround Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI, GFI) an ultra sensitive plug designed to shut off all electric current. Used in bathrooms, kitchens, exterior waterproof outlets, garage outlets, and “wet areas”. Has a small reset button on the plug.
Ground ironThe plumbing drain and waste lines that are installed beneath the basement floor. Cast iron was once used, but black plastic pipe (ABS) is now widely used. 
Ground Refers to electricity’s habit of seeking the shortest route to earth. Neutral wires carry it there in all circuits. An additional grounding wire or the sheathing of the metal clad cable or conduit—protects against shock if the neutral leg is interrupted.
GroundwaterWater from an aquifer or subsurface water source. 
GroutA wet mixture of cement, sand and water that flows into masonry or ceramic crevices to seal the cracks between the different pieces. Mortar made of such consistency (by adding water) that it will flow into the joints and cavities of the masonry work and fill them solid. 
GussetA flat wood, plywood, or similar type member used to provide a connection at the intersection of wood members. Most commonly used at joints of wood trusses. They are fastened by nails, screws, bolts, or adhesives. 
GutterA shallow channel or conduit of metal or wood set below and along the (fascia) eaves of a house to catch and carry off rainwater from the roof. 
Gyp boardDrywall. Wall board or gypsum A panel (normally 4′ X 8′, 10′, 12′, or 16′)made with a core of Gypsum (chalk
Gypsum plasterGypsum formulated to be used with the addition of sand and water for base coat plaster.
H ClipSmall metal clips formed like an “H” that fits at the joints of two plywood (or wafer board) sheets to stiffen the joint. Normally used on the roof sheeting. 
H V A CAn abbreviation for Heat, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning 
HardwareAll of the “metal” fittings that go into the home when it is near completion. For example, door knobs, towel bars, handrail brackets, closet rods, house numbers, door closers, etc. The Interior Trim Carpenter installs the “hardware”. 
HaunchAn extension, knee like protrusion of the foundation wall that a concrete porch or patio will rest upon for support. 
Hazard insurance Protection against damage caused by fire, windstorms, or other common hazards. Many lenders require borrowers to carry it in an amount at least equal to the mortgage. 
Header(a) A beam placed perpendicular to joists and to which joists are nailed inframing for a chimney, stairway, or other opening. (b) A wood lintel. (c) The horizontal structural member over an opening (for example over a door or window). 
HearthThe fireproof area directly in front of a fireplace. The inner or outer floor of a fireplace, usually made of brick, tile, or stone. 
Heat meterAn electrical municipal inspection of the electric meter breaker panel box. 
Heat pumpA mechanical device which uses compression and decompression of gas to heat and/or cool a house. 
Heat RoughWork performed by the Heating Contractor after the stairs and interior walls are built. This includes installing all duct work and flue pipes. Sometimes, the furnace and fireplaces are installed at this stage of construction. 
Heat TrimWork done by the Heating Contractor to get the home ready for the municipal Final Heat Inspection. This includes venting the hot water heater, installing all vent grills, registers, air conditioning services, turning on the furnace, installing thermostats, venting ranges and hoods, and all other heat related work. 
Heating loadThe amount of heating required to keep a building at a specified temperature during the winter, usually 65° F, regardless of outside temperature. 
Heel cutA notch cut in the end of a rafter to permit it to fit flat on a wall and on the top, doubled, exterior wall plate. 
HighlightsA light spot, area, or streak on a painted surface. 
HipA roof with four sloping sides. The external angle formed by the meeting of two sloping sides of a roof. 
Hip roofA 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 box, plug, or switch in the circuit. 
Honey combsThe appearance concrete makes when rocks in the concrete are visible and where there are void areas in the foundation wall, especially around concrete foundation windows. 
Hose bibAn exterior water faucet (sill cock). 
Hot wireThe wire that carries electrical energy to a receptacle or other device—in contrast to a neutral, which carries electricity away again. Normally the black wire. Also see ground. 
HumidifierAn appliance normally attached to the furnace, or portable unit device designed to increase the humidity within a room or a house by means of the discharge of water vapor. 
Hurricane clipMetal straps that are nailed and secure the roof rafters and trusses to the top horizontal wall plate. Sometimes called a Teco clip. 
Ibeam A steel beam with a cross section resembling the letter I. It is used for long spans as basement beams or over wide wall openings, such as a double garage door, when wall and roof loads bear down on the opening.
Ijoist Manufactured structural building component resembling the letter “I”. Used as floor joists and rafters. I
Incandescent lampA lamp employing an electrically charged metal filament that glows at white heat. A typical light bulb. 
IndexThe interest rate or adjustment standard that determines the changes in monthly payments for an adjustable rate loan. 
InfiltrationThe passage of air from indoors to outdoors and vice versa; term is usually associated with drafts from cracks, seams or holes in buildings. 
Inside cornerThe point at which two walls form an internal angle, as in the corner of a room. 
Insulating glassWindow or door in which two panes of glass are used with a sealed air space between.  Also known as Double glass. 
InsulationAny material high in resistance to heat transmission that, when placed in the walls, ceiling, or floors of a structure, and will reduce the rate of heat flow. 
Insulation board, rigidA structural building board made of coarse wood or cane fiber in ½ and 25/32
Interest The cost paid to a lender for borrowed money. 
Interior finishMaterial used to cover the interior framed areas of walls and ceilings 
IrrigationLawn sprinkler system 
J ChannelMetal edging used on drywall to give the edge a better finished appearance when a wall is not “wrapped” Generally, basement stairway walls have drywall only on the stair side. J Channel is used on the vertical edge of the last drywall sheet 
Jack postA type of structural support made of metal, which can be raised or lowered through a series of pins and a screw to meet the height required. Basically used as a replacement for an old supporting member in a building. See Monopost. 
Jack rafterA rafter that spans the distance from the wall plate to a hip, or from a valley to a ridge. 
JambThe side and head lining of a doorway, window, or other opening. Includes studs as well as the frame and trim. 
Joint cement or Joint compoundA powder that is usually mixed with water and used for joint treatment in gypsum wallboard finish. Often called “spackle” or drywall mud.
Joint tenancyA form of ownership in which the tenants own a property equally. If one dies, the other automatically inherits the entire property. 
JointThe location between the touching surfaces of two members or components joined and held together by nails, glue, cement, mortar, or other means. 
Joint trenchWhen the electric company and telephone company dig one trench and “drop” both of their service lines in. 
Joist hangerA metal “U” shaped item used to support the end of a floor joist and attached with hardened nails to another bearing joist or beam. 
JoistWooden 2 X 8’s, 10’s, or 12’s that run parallel to one another and support a floor or ceiling, and supported in turn by larger beams, girders, or bearing walls. 
JumpersWater pipe installed in a water meter pit (before the water meter is installed), or electric wire that is installed in the electric house panel meter socket before the meter is installed. This is sometimes illegal. 
KeeperThe metal latch plate in a door frame into which a doorknob plunger latches. 
KeylessA plastic or porcelain light fixture that operates by a pull string. Generally found in the basement, crawl space , and attic areas. 
KeywayA slot formed and poured on a footer or in a foundation wall when another wall will be installed at the slot location. This gives additional strength to the joint/meeting point. 
Kilowatt (kw)One thousand watts. A kilowatt hour is the base unit used in measuring electrical consumption. Also see watt. 
King studThe vertical “2 X’s” frame lumber (left and right) of a window or door opening, and runs continuously from the bottom sole plate to the top plate. 
KnotIn lumber, the portion of a branch or limb of a tree that appears on the edge or face of the piece. 
Laminated shinglesShingles that have added dimensionality because of extra layers or tabs, giving a shake like appearance. May also be called “architectural shingles” or “three dimensional shingles.”
LaminatingBonding together two or more layers of materials. 
LandingA platform between flights of stairs or at the termination of a flight of stairs. Often used when stairs change direction. Normally no less than 3 ft. X 3 ft. square. 
LapTo cover the surface of one shingle or roll with another. 
LatchA beveled metal tongue operated by a spring loaded knob or lever. The tongue’s bevel lets you close the door and engage the locking mechanism, if any, without using a key. Contrasts with dead bolt.
LathA building material of narrow wood, metal, gypsum, or insulating board that is fastened to the frame of a building to act as a base for plaster, shingles, or tiles. 
LatticeAn 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 the wood structural floor. 
Ledger stripA strip of lumber nailed along the bottom of the side of a girder on which joists rest. 
Leech fieldA method used to treat/dispose of sewage in rural areas not accessible to a municipal sewer system.  Sewage is permitted to be filtered and eventually discharged into a section of the lot called a leech field. 
Letin brace Nominal 1 inch
Level Payment MortgageA mortgage with identical monthly payments over the life of the loan. 
Level True horizontal. Also a tool used to determine level. 
LienAn encumbrance that usually makes real or personal property the security for payment of a debt or discharge of an obligation. 
LightSpace in a window sash for a single pane of glass. Also, a pane of glass. 
Limit switchA safety control that automatically shuts off a furnace if it gets too hot. Most also control blower cycles. 
Lineal footA unit of measure for lumber equal to 1 inch thick by 12 inches wide by 12 inches long. Examples 1\" x 12\" x 16′ = 16 board feet, 2\" x 12\" x 16′ = 32 board feet. 
LintelA horizontal structural member that supports the load over an opening such as a door or window. 
Load bearing wallIncludes all exterior walls and any interior wall that is aligned above a support beam or girder. Normally, any wall that has a double horizontal top plate. 
LoanThe amount to be borrowed. 
Loan to value ratioThe ratio of the loan amount to the property valuation and expressed as a percentage. E.g. if a borrower is seeking a loan of $200,000 on a property worth $400,000 it has a 50% loan to value rate. If the loan were $300,000, the LTV would be 75%. The higher the loan to value, the greater the lender’s perceived risk. Loans above normal lending LTV ratios may require additional security. 
LookoutA short wood bracket or cantilever that supports an overhang portion of a roof. 
LouverA vented opening into the home that has a series of horizontal slats and arranged to permit ventilation but to exclude rain, snow, light, insects, or other living creatures. 
LumensUnit of measure for total light output. The amount of light falling on a surface of one square foot. 
MaleAny part, such as a bolt, designed to fit into another (female) part. External threads are male. 
MantelThe shelf above a fireplace opening. Also used in referring to the decorative trim around a fireplace opening. 
Manufactured wood A wood product such as a truss, beam, gluelam, microlam or joist which is manufactured out of smaller wood pieces and glued or mechanically fastened to form a larger piece. Often used to create a stronger member which may use less wood. See also Oriented Strand Board. 
Manufacturer’s specificationsThe written installation and/or maintenance instructions which are developed by the manufacturer of a product and which may have to be followed in order to maintain the product warrantee. 
MasonryStone, brick, concrete, hollow tile, concrete block, or other similar building units or materials. Normally bonded together with mortar to form a wall.
MasticA pasty material used as a cement (as for setting tile) or a protective coating (as for thermal insulation or waterproofing) 
Mechanics lienA lien on real property, created by statue in many years, in favor of persons supplying labor or materials for a building or structure, for the value of labor or materials supplied by them. In some jurisdictions, a mechanics lien also exists for the value of professional services. Clear title to the property cannot be obtained until the claim for the labor, materials, or professional services is settled. Timely filing is essential to support the encumbrance, and prescribed filing dates vary by jurisdiction. 
Metal lathSheets of metal that are slit to form openings within the lath. Used as a plaster base for walls and ceilings and as reinforcing over other forms of plaster base. 
MicrolamA manufactured structural wood beam. It is constructed of pressure and adhesive bonded wood strands of wood. They have a higher strength rating than solid sawn lumber. Normally comes in l ½” thickness’ and 9 ½”, 11 ½” and 14\" widths 
Milar (mylar)Plastic, transparent copies of a blueprint. 
MillworkGenerally all building materials made of finished wood and manufactured in millwork plants. Includes all doors, window and door frames, blinds, mantels, panelwork, stairway components (ballusters, rail, etc.), moldings, and interior trim. Does not include flooring, ceiling, or siding. 
Miter jointThe joint of two pieces at an angle that bisects the joining angle. For example, the miter joint at the side and head casing at a door opening is made at a 45° angle. 
MoldingA wood strip having an engraved, decorative surface. 
MonopostAdjustable metal column used to support a beam or bearing point. Normally 11 gauge or Schedule 40 metal, and determined by the structural engineer 
MortarA mixture of cement (or lime) with sand and water used in masonry work. 
Mortgage brokerA broker who represents numerous lenders and helps consumers find affordable mortgages; the broker charges a fee only if the consumer finds a loan. 
Mortgage companyA company that borrows money from a bank, lends it to consumers to buy homes, then sells the loans to investors. 
Mortgage deedLegal document establishing a loan on property. 
MortgageLoan secured by land. 
Mortgage loan A contract in which the borrower’s property is pledged as collateral. It is repaid in installments. The mortgagor (buyer) promises to repay principal and interest, keep the home insured, pay all taxes and keep the property in good condition. 
Mortgage Origination FeeA charge for work involved in preparing and servicing a mortgage application (usually one percent of the loan amount). 
MortgageeThe lender who makes the mortgage loan. 
MortiseA slot cut into a board, plank, or timber, usually edgewise, to receive the tenon (or tongue) of another board, plank, or timber to form a joint. 
MudsillBottom horizontal member of an exterior wall frame which rests on top a foundation, sometimes called sill plate. Also sole plate, bottom member of interior wall frame. 
MullionA vertical divider in the frame between windows, doors, or other openings. 
MuntinA small member which divides the glass or openings of sash or doors. 
Muriatic acidCommonly used as a brick cleaner after masonry work is completed. 
MushroomThe unacceptable occurrence when the top of a caisson concrete pier spreads out and hardens to become wider than the foundation wall thickness. 
Nail inspectionAn inspection made by a municipal building inspector after the drywall material is hung with nails and screws (and before taping). 
Natural finishA transparent finish which does not seriously alter the original color or grain of the natural wood. Natural finishes are usually provided by sealers, oils, varnishes, water repellent preservatives, and other similar materials. 
NEC (National Electrical Code)A set of rules governing safe wiring methods. Local codes—which are backed by law—may differ from the NEC in some ways. 
Neutral wireUsually color coded white, this carries electricity from an outlet back to the service panel. Also see hot wire and ground.
Newel postThe large starting post to which the end of a stair guard railing or balustrade is fastened. 
Nonbearing wallA wall supporting no load other than its own weight. 
NosingThe projecting edge of a molding or drip or the front edge of a stair tread. 
NotchA crosswise groove at the end of a board. 
NoteA formal document showing the existence of a debt and stating the terms of repayment. 
NozzleThe part of a heating system that sprays the fuel of fuel air mixture into the combustion chamber.
O COn Center The measurement of spacing for studs, rafters, and joists in a building from the center of one member to the center of the next.
OakumLoose hemp or jute fiber that’s impregnated with tar or pitch and used to caulk large seams or for packing plumbing pipe joints 
Open hole inspectionWhen an engineer (or municipal inspector) inspects the open excavation and examines the earth to determine the type of foundation (caisson, footer, wall on ground, etc.) that should be installed in the hole. 
Oriented Strand Board or OSBA manufactured 4′ X 8′ wood panel made out of 1\" 2\" wood chips and glue. Often used as a substitute for plywood.
OutriggerAn extension of a rafter beyond the wall line. Usually a smaller member nailed to a larger rafter to form a cornice or roof overhang. 
Outside cornerThe point at which two walls form an external angle, one you usually can walk around. 
OverhangOutward projecting eave soffit area of a roof; the part of the roof that hangs out or over the outside wall. See also Cornice.
P trapCurved, “U” section of drain pipe that holds a water seal to prevent sewer gasses from entering the home through a fixtures water drain. 
Pad out, pack outTo shim out or add strips of wood to a wall or ceiling in order that the finished ceiling/wall will appear correct. 
PaddingA material installed under carpet to add foot comfort, isolate sound, and to prolong carpet life. 
PaintA combination of pigments with suitable thinners or oils to provide decorative and protective coatings. Can be oil based or latex water based. 
PalletsWooden platforms used for storing and shipping material. Forklifts and hand trucks are used to move these wooden platforms around. 
PanelA thin flat piece of wood, plywood, or similar material, framed by stiles and rails as in a door (or cabinet door), or fitted into grooves of thicker material with molded edges for decorative wall treatment. 
Paper, buildingA general term for papers, felts, and similar sheet materials used in buildings without reference to their properties or uses. Generally comes in long rolls. 
ParapetA wall placed at the edge of a roof to prevent people from falling off. 
Particle boardPlywood substitute made of course sawdust that is mixed with resin and pressed into sheets. Used for closet shelving, floor underlayment, stair treads, etc. 
Parting stop or stripA small wood piece used in the side and head jambs of double hung windows to separate the upper sash from the lower sash. 
PartitionA wall that subdivides spaces within any story of a building or room. 
Paver, pavingMaterials—commonly masonry—laid down to make a firm, even surface. 
Payment scheduleA pre agreed upon schedule of payments to a contractor usually based upon the amount of work completed. Such a schedule may include a deposit prior to the start of work. There may also be a temporary ‘retainer’ (5
PedestalA metal box installed at various locations along utility easements that contain electrical, telephone, or cable television switches and connections. 
Penalty clauseA provision in a contract that provides for a reduction in the amount otherwise payable under a contract to a contractor as a penalty for failure to meet deadlines or for failure of the project to meet contract specifications. 
PennyAs applied to nails, it originally indicated the price per hundred. The term now series as a measure of nail length and is abbreviated by the letter “d“. Normally, 16d (16 “penny”) nails are used for framing 
Percolation test or perc. testTests that a soil engineer performs on earth to determine the feasibility of installing a leech field type sewer system on a lot. A test to determine if the soil on a proposed building lot is capable of absorbing the liquid affluent from a septic system. 
Performance bondAn amount of money (usually 10% of the total price of a job)  that a contractor must put on deposit with a governmental agency as an insurance policy that guarantees the contractors’ proper and timely completion of a project or job. 
Perimeter drain3\" or 4\" perforated plastic pipe that goes around the perimeter (either inside or outside) of a foundation wall (before backfill) and collects and diverts ground water away from the foundation. Generally, it is “daylighted” into a sump pit inside the home, and a sump pump is sometimes inserted into the pit to discharge any accumulation of water. 
PermeabilityA measure of the ease with which water penetrates a material. 
PierA column of masonry, usually rectangular in horizontal cross section, used to support other structural members. Also see Caisson. 
PigmentA powdered solid used in paint or enamel to give it a color. 
Pigtails, electricalThe electric cord that the electrician provides and installs on an appliance such as a garbage disposal, dishwasher, or range hood. 
Pilot holeA small diameter, pre
Pilot lightA small, continuous flame (in a hot water heater, boiler, or furnace) that ignites gas or oil burners when needed. 
PitchThe incline slope of a roof or the ratio of the total rise to the total width of a house, i.e., a 6 foot rise and 24
PITI Principal, interest, taxes and insurance (the four major components of monthly housing payments). 
Plan viewDrawing of a structure with the view from overhead, looking down. 
PlenumThe main hot air supply duct leading from a furnace.
Plot planAn overhead view plan that shows the location of the home on the lot. Includes all easements, property lines, set backs, and legal descriptions of the home. Provided by the surveyor. 
Plough, plowTo cut a lengthwise groove in a board or plank. An exterior handrail normally has a ploughed groove for hand gripping purposes 
Plumb bobA lead weight attached to a string. It is the tool used in determining plumb. 
PlumbExactly vertical and perpendicular. 
Plumbing bootsMetal saddles used to strengthen a bearing wall/vertical stud(s) where a plumbing drain line has been cut through and installed. 
Plumbing groundThe plumbing drain and waste lines that are installed beneath a basement floor. 
Plumbing jacksSleeves that fit around drain and waste vent pipes at, and are nailed to, the roof sheeting. 
Plumbing roughWork performed by the plumbing contractor after the Rough Heat is installed. This work includes installing all plastic ABS drain and waste lines, copper water lines, bath tubs, shower pans, and gas piping to furnaces and fireplaces. Lead solder should not be used on copper piping. 
Plumbing stackA plumbing vent pipe that penetrates the roof. 
Plumbing trimWork performed by the plumbing contractor to get the home ready for a final plumbing inspection. Includes installing all toilets (water closets), hot water heaters, sinks, connecting all gas pipe to appliances, disposal, dishwasher, and all plumbing items. 
Plumbing waste linePlastic pipe used to collect and drain sewage waste. 
PlyA term to denote the number of layers of roofing felt, veneer in plywood, or layers in built up materials, in any finished piece of such material.
PlywoodA panel (normally 4′ X 8′) of wood made of three or more layers of veneer, compressed and joined with glue, and usually laid with the grain of adjoining plies at right angles to give the sheet strength. 
Point loadA point where a bearing/structural weight is concentrated and transferred to the foundation. 
Portland cementCement made by heating clay and crushed limestone into a brick and then grinding to a pulverized powder state. 
PostA vertical framing member usually designed to carry a beam. Often a 4\" x 4\", a 6\" x 6\", or a metal pipe with a flat plate on top and bottom. 
Postand beam
Power ventA vent that includes a fan to speed up air flow.  Often installed on roofs. 
PremiumAmount payable on a loan. 
Preservative. Any pesticide substance that, for a reasonable length of time, will prevent the action of wood destroying fungi, insect borers, and similar destructive agents when the wood has been properly coated or impregnated with it. Normally an arsenic derivative. Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) is an example.
Pressure Relief Valve (PRV)A device mounted on a hot water heater or boiler which is designed to release any high steam pressure in the tank to prevent tank explosions. 
Pressuretreated wood Lumber that has been saturated with a preservative.
PrimerThe first, base coat of paint when a paint job consists of two or more coats. A first coating formulated to seal raw surfaces and holding succeeding finish coats. 
PrincipalThe original amount of the loan, the capital. 
Property surveyA survey to determine the boundaries of your property. The cost depends on the complexity of the survey. 
Pump mixSpecial concrete that will be used in a concrete pump. Generally, the mix has smaller rock aggregate than regular mix. 
Punch listA list of discrepancies that need to be corrected by the contractor. 
Punch outTo inspect and make a discrepancy list. 
PuttyA type of dough used in sealing glass in the sash, filling small holes and crevices in wood, and for similar purposes. 
PVC or CPVC – Poly Vinyl ChlorideA type of white or light gray plastic pipe sometimes used for water supply lines and waste pipe. 
Quarry tileA man made or machine
Quarry tileA man made or machine
Quarter roundA small trim molding that has the cross section of a quarter circle. 
Quarter roundA small trim molding that has the cross section of a quarter circle. 
R factor or valueA measure of a materials resistance to the passage of heat. New homewalls are usually insulated with 4\" of batt insulation with an R value of R 13, and a ceiling insulation of R
R ValueA measure of insulation. A measure of a materials resistance to the passage of heat. The higher the R value, the more insulating “power” it has. For example, typical new home’s walls are usually insulated with 4\" of batt insulation with an R value of R 13, and a ceiling insulation of R
Rabbet A rectangular longitudinal groove cut in the corner edge of a board or plank. 
Radiant heatingA method of heating, usually consisting of a forced hot water system with pipes placed in the floor, wall, or ceiling. Also electrically heated panels. 
RadiationEnergy transmitted from a heat source to the air around it. Radiators actually depend more on convection than radiation. 
RadonA naturally occurring, heavier than air, radioactive gas common in many parts of the country.  Radon gas exposure is associated with lung cancer. Mitigation measures may involve crawl space and basement venting and various forms of vapor barriers.
Radon systemA ventilation system beneath the floor of a basement and/or structural wood floor and designed to fan exhaust radon gas to the outside of the home 
RafterLumber used to support the roof sheeting and roof loads. Generally, 2 X 10’s and 2 X 12’s are used. The rafters of a flat roof are sometimes called roof joists. 
Rafter, hipA rafter that forms the intersection of an external roof angle. 
Rafter, valleyA rafter that forms the intersection of an internal roof angle. The valley rafter is normally made of double 2 inch
RailCross members of panel doors or of a sash. Also, a wall or open balustrade placed at the edge of a staircase, walkway bridge, or elevated surface to prevent people from falling off.  Any relatively lightweight horizontal element, especially those found in fences (split rail). 
Railroad tieBlack, tar and preservative impregnated, 6\" X 8\" and 6′ 8′ long wooden timber that was used to hold railroad track in place. Normally used as a member of a retaining wall.
Rake fasciaThe vertical face of the sloping end of a roof eave. 
Rake sidingThe practice of installing lap siding diagonally 
RakeSlope or slanted. 
RanchA single story, one level home. 
Ready mixed concreteConcrete mixed at a plant or in trucks en route to a job and delivered ready for placement. 
Rebar, reinforcing barRibbed steel bars installed in foundation concrete walls, footers, and poured in place concrete structures designed to strengthen concrete. Comes in various thickness’ and strength grade. 
ReceptacleAn electrical outlet.  A typical household will have many 120 volt receptacles for plugging in lams and appliances and 240 volt receptacles for the range, clothes dryer, air conditioners, etc. 
Recording feeA charge for recording the transfer of a property, paid to a city, county, or other appropriate branch of government. 
Redline, red lined printsBlueprints that reflect changes and that are marked with red pencil. 
ReducerA fitting with different size openings at either end and used to go from a larger to a smaller pipe. 
Reflective insulationSheet material with one or both faces covered with aluminum foil. 
RefrigerantA substance that remains a gas at low temperatures and pressure and can be used to transfer heat. Freon is an example and is used in air conditioning systems. 
RegisterA grill placed over a heating duct or cold air return. 
ReglazeTo replace a broken window. 
Relief valveA 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 home in order for utility companies to easily read the home owners usage of the service. 
Retaining wallA structure that holds back a slope and prevents erosion. 
RetentionsAmounts 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 boardThe board placed on the ridge of the roof onto which the upper ends of other rafters are fastened. 
Ridge shinglesShingles used to cover the ridge board. 
RidgeThe horizontal line at the junction of the top edges of two sloping roof surfaces. 
Rim joistA joist that runs around the perimeter of the floor joists and home. 
RiseThe vertical distance from the eaves line to the ridge. Also the vertical distance from stair tread to stair tread (and not to exceed 7 ½”). 
Riser and panelThe exterior vertical pipe (riser) and metal electric box (panel) the electrician provides and installs at the “Rough Electric” stage. 
RiserEach of the vertical boards closing the spaces between the treads of stairways. 
Road baseA aggregate mixture of sand and stone. 
Rock 1, 2, 3When referring to drywall, this means to install drywall to the walls and ceilings (with nails and screws), and before taping is performed. 
Roll roofingAsphalt roofing products manufactured in roll form. 36 inch wide rolls with and 108 square feet of material. Weights are generally 45 to 90 pounds per roll.
Roll, rollingTo install the floor joists or trusses in their correct place. (To “roll the floor” means to install the floor joists). 
RomexA name brand of nonmetallic sheathed electrical cable that is used for indoor wiring. 
RomexA name brand of nonmetallic sheathed electrical cable that is used for indoor wiring. 
Roof jackSleeves that fit around the black plumbing waste vent pipes at, and are nailed to, the roof sheeting. 
Roof joistThe rafters of a flat roof. Lumber used to support the roof sheeting and roof loads. Generally, 2 X 10’s and 2 X 12’s are used. 
Roof sheathing or sheetingThe wood panels or sheet material fastened to the roof rafters or trusses on which the shingle or other roof covering is laid. 
Roof valleyThe “V” created where two sloping roofs meet. 
Rough openingThe horizontal and vertical measurement of a window or door opening before drywall or siding is installed. 
Rough sillThe framing member at the bottom of a rough opening for a window. It is attached to the cripple studs below the rough opening. 
Roughingin The initial stage of a plumbing, electrical, heating, carpentry, and/or other project, when all components that won’t be seen after the second finishing phase are assembled. See also Heat Rough, Plumbing Rough, and Electrical Rough.
Run, roofThe horizontal distance from the eaves to a point directly under the ridge. One half the span. 
Run, stairthe horizontal distance of a stair tread from the nose to the riser. 
Sack mixThe amount of Portland cement in a cubic yard of concrete mix. Generally, 5 or 6 sack is required in a foundation wall. 
SaddleA small second roof built behind the back side of a fireplace chimney to divert water around the chimney. Also, the plate at the bottom of some—usually exterior—door openings. Sometimes called a threshold. 
Sales contract A contract between a buyer and seller which should explain (1) What the purchase includes, (2) What guarantees there are, (3) When the buyer can move in, (4) What the closing costs are, and (5) What recourse the parties have if the contract is not fulfilled or if the buyer cannot get a mortgage commitment at the agreed upon time. 
Sand float finishLime that is mixed with sand, resulting in a textured finish on a wall. 
Sanitary sewerA sewer system designed for the collection of waste water from the bathroom, kitchen and laundry drains, and is usually not designed to handle storm water. 
SashA single light frame containing one or more lights of glass. The frame that holds the glass in a window, often the movable part of the window. 
Sash balanceA device, usually operated by a spring and designed to hold a single hung window vent up and in place 
Saturated feltA 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 mirrors. 
Scrap outThe removal of all drywall material and debris after the home is “hung out” (installed) with drywall. 
Scratch coatThe first coat of plaster, which is scratched to form a bond for a second coat. 
Screed, concreteTo level off concrete to the correct elevation during a concrete pour. 
Screed, plasterA small strip of wood, usually the thickness of the plaster coat, used as a guide for plastering. 
ScribingCutting 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, usually connected to the downspout. 
SealerA finishing material, either clear or pigmented, that is usually applied directly over raw wood for the purpose of sealing the wood surface. 
SeasoningDrying and removing moisture from green wood in order to improve its usability. 
Selfsealing shingles Shingles containing factory
Semigloss paint or enamelA paint or enamel made so that its coating, when dry, has some luster but is not very glossy. Bathrooms and kitchens are normally painted semi gloss
Septic systemAn on site waste water treatment system. It usually has a septic tank which promotes the biological digestion of the waste, and a drain field which is designed to let the left over liquid soak into the ground. Septic systems and permits are usually sized by the number of bedrooms in a house. 
Service entrance panelMain power cabinet where electricity enters a home wiring system. 
Service equipmentMain control gear at the service entrance, such as circuit breakers, switches, and fuses. 
Service lateralUnderground power supply line. 
Setback ThermostatA thermostat with a clock which can be programmed to come on or go off at various temperatures and at different times of the day/week. Usually used as the heating or cooling system thermostat. 
SettlementShifts in a structure, usually caused by freeze thaw cycles underground.
Sewage ejectorA pump used to ‘lift’ waste water to a gravity sanitary sewer line. Usually used in basements and other locations which are situated bellow the level of the side sewer. 
Sewer lateralThe portion of the sanitary sewer which connects the interior waste water lines to the main sewer lines. The side sewer is usually buried in several feet of soil and runs from the house to the sewer line. It is usually ‘owned’ by the sewer utility, must be maintained by the owner and may only be serviced by utility approved contractors. Sometimes called side sewer. 
Sewer stubThe junction at the municipal sewer system where the home’s sewer line is connected. 
Sewer tapThe physical connection point where the home’s sewer line connects to the main municipal sewer line. 
ShakeA wood roofing material, normally cedar or redwood. Produced by splitting a block of the wood along the grain line. Modern shakes are sometimes machine sawn on one side. See shingle. 
Shear blockPlywood that is face nailed to short (2 X 4’s or 2 X 6’s) wall studs (above a door or window, for example). This is done to prevent the wall from sliding and collapsing. 
Sheathing, sheetingThe structural wood panel covering, usually OSB or plywood, used over studs, floor joists or rafters/trusses of a structure. 
Shed roofA roof containing only one sloping plane. 
Sheet metal duct workThe heating system. Usually round or rectangular metal pipes and sheet metal (for Return Air) and installed for distributing warm (or cold) air from the furnace to rooms in the home. 
Sheet metal workAll components of a house employing sheet metal, such as flashing, gutters, and downspouts. 
Sheet rockDrywall Wall board or gypsum
ShimA small piece of scrap lumber or shingle, usually wedge shaped, which when forced behind a furring strip or framing member forces it into position. Also used when installing doors and placed between the door jamb legs and 2 X 4 door trimmers. Metal shims are wafer  1 1/2\" X 2\" sheet metal of various thickness’ used to fill gaps in wood framing members, especially at bearing point locations. 
ShinglesRoof covering of asphalt. asbestos, wood, tile, slate, or other material cut to stock lengths, widths, and thickness’. 
Shingles, sidingVarious kinds of shingles, used over sheathing for exterior wall covering of a structure. 
Short circuitA situation that occurs when hot and neutral wires come in contact with each other. Fuses and circuit breakers protect against fire that could result from a short. 
ShutterUsually lightweight louvered decorative frames in the form of doors located on the sides of a window. Some shutters are made to close over the window for protection. 
Side sewerThe portion of the sanitary sewer which connects the interior waste water lines to the main sewer lines. The side sewer is usually buried in several feet of soil and runs from the house to the sewer line. It is usually ‘owned’ by the sewer utility, must be maintained by the owner and may only be serviced by utility approved contractors. Sometimes called sewer lateral. 
SidingThe 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 sheathing. Varies in butt thickness from ½ to ¾ inch and in widths up to 12\".
Sill(1) The 2 X 4 or 2 X 6 wood plate framing member that lays flat against and bolted to the foundation wall (with anchor bolts) and upon which the floor joists are installed. Normally the sill plate is treated lumber. (2) The member forming the lower side of an opening, as a door sill or window sill. 
Sill cockAn exterior water faucet (hose bib). 
Sill plate (mudsill)Bottom horizontal member of an exterior wall frame which rests on top a foundation, sometimes called mudsill. Also sole plate, bottom member of an interior wall frame. 
Sill sealFiberglass or foam insulation installed between the foundation wall and sill (wood) plate. Designed to seal any cracks or gaps. 
Single hung windowA window with one vertically sliding sash or window vent. 
SkylightA more or less horizontal window located on the roof of a building. 
Slab on gradeA type of foundation with a concrete floor which is placed directly on the soil. The edge of the slab is usually thicker and acts as the footing for the walls. 
Slab, concreteConcrete pavement, i.e. driveways, garages, and basement floors. 
Slab, doorA rectangular door without hinges or frame. 
SlagConcrete cement that sometimes covers the vertical face of the foundation void material. 
SleeperUsually, a wood member embedded in concrete, as in a floor, that serves to support and to fasten the subfloor or flooring. 
Sleeve(s)Pipe installed under the concrete driveway or sidewalk, and that will be used later to run sprinkler pipe or low voltage wire. 
SlopeThe incline angle of a roof surface, given as a ratio of the rise (in inches) to the run (in feet). See also pitch. 
SlumpThe “wetness” of concrete. A 3 inch slump is dryer and stiffer than a 5 inch slump. 
SoffitThe area below the eaves and overhangs. The underside where the roof overhangs the walls. Usually the underside of an overhanging cornice. 
Soil pipeA large pipe that carries liquid and solid wastes to a sewer or septic tank. 
Soil stackA plumbing vent pipe that penetrates the roof. 
Sole plateThe bottom, horizontal framing member of a wall that’s attached to the floor sheeting and vertical wall studs. 
Solid bridgingA solid member placed between adjacent floor joists near the center of the span to prevent joists or rafters from twisting. 
SonotubeRound, large cardboard tubes designed to hold wet concrete in place until it hardens. 
Sound attenuationSound proofing a wall or subfloor, generally with fiberglass insulation. 
Space heatHeat supplied to the living space, for example, to a room or the living area of a building. 
SpacingThe 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. The horizontal distance from eaves to eaves. 
Spec homeA house built before it is sold. The builder speculates that he can sell it at a profit. 
Specifications or SpecsA narrative list of materials, methods, model numbers, colors, allowances, and other details which supplement the information contained in the blue prints. Written elaboration in specific detail about construction materials and methods. Written to supplement working drawings. 
Splash blockPortable concrete (or vinyl) channel generally placed beneath an exterior sill cock (water faucet) or downspout in order to receive roof drainage from downspouts and to divert it away from the building. 
SquareA unit of measure 100 square feet
Squaretab shingles Shingles on which tabs are all the same size and exposure.
SqueegieFine 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 stringerSupporting member for stair treads. Usually a 2 X 12 inch plank notched to receive the treads; sometimes called a “rough horse.” 
Stair landingA platform between flights of stairs or at the termination of a flight of stairs. Often used when stairs change direction. Normally no less than 3 ft. X 3 ft. square. 
Stair riseThe 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 the work should be done in the way it is normally done by the average professional in the field. 
Starter stripAsphalt roofing applied at the eaves that provides protection by filling in the spaces under the cutouts and joints of the first course of shingles. 
Static ventA vent that does not include a fan. 
STC (Sound Transmission Class)The measure of sound stopping of ordinary noise. 
Steel inspectionA municipal and/or engineers inspection of the concrete foundation wall, conducted before concrete is poured into the foundation panels. Done to insure that the rebar (reinforcing bar), rebar nets, void material, beam pocket plates, and basement window bucks are installed and wrapped with rebar and complies with the foundation plan. 
Step flashingFlashing application method used where a vertical surface meets a sloping roof plane. 6\" X 6\" galvanized metal bent at a 90 degree angle, and installed beneath siding and over the top of shingles. Each piece overlaps the one beneath it the entire length of the sloping roof (step by step). 
Stick builtA house built without prefabricated parts. Also called conventional building. 
StileAn upright framing member in a panel door. 
StoolThe flat molding fitted over the window sill between jambs and contacting the bottom rail of the lower sash.  Also another name for toilet. 
Stop boxNormally a cast iron pipe with a lid (@ 5\" in diameter) that is placed vertically into the ground, situated near the water tap in the yard, and where a water cut off valve to the home is located (underground). A long pole with a special end is inserted into the curb stop to turn off/on the water.
Stop OrderA formal, written notification to a contractor to discontinue some or all work on a project for reasons such as safety violations, defective materials or workmanship, or cancellation of the contract. 
Stop valveA device installed in a water supply line, usually near a fixture, that permits an individual to shut off the water supply to one fixture without interrupting service to the rest of the system. 
StopsMoldings along the inner edges of a door or window frame. Also valves used to shut off water to a fixture. 
Storm sash or storm window. An extra window usually placed outside of an existing one, as additional protection against cold weather. 
Storm sewerA sewer system designed to collect storm water and is separated from the waste water system. 
StoryThat part of a building between any floor or between the floor and roof. 
StrikeThe plate on a door frame that engages a latch or dead bolt. 
String, stringerA timber or other support for cross members in floors or ceilings. In stairs, the supporting member for stair treads. Usually a 2 X 12 inch plank notched to receive the treads 
Strip flooringWood flooring consisting of narrow, matched strips. 
Structural floorA framed lumber floor that is installed as a basement floor instead of concrete. This is done on very expansive soils. 
Stub, stubbedTo push through. 
StuccoRefers to an outside plaster finish made with Portland cement as its base. 
StudA vertical wood framing member, also referred to as a wall stud, attached to the horizontal sole plate below and the top plate above. Normally 2 X 4’s or 2 X 6’s, 8′ long (sometimes 92 5/8\"). One of a series of wood or metal vertical structural members placed as supporting elements in walls and partitions. 
Stud framingA building method that distributes structural loads to each of a series of relatively lightweight studs. Contrasts with post and
Stud shoeA metal, structural bracket that reinforces a vertical stud. Used on an outside bearing wall where holes are drilled to accommodate a plumbing waste line. 
SubfloorThe framing components of a floor to include the sill plate, floor joists, and deck sheeting over which a finish floor is to be laid. 
SumpPit or large plastic bucket/barrel inside the home designed to collect ground water from a perimeter drain system. 
Sump pumpA submersible pump in a sump pit that pumps any excess ground water to the outside of the home. 
Suspended ceilingA ceiling system supported by hanging it from the overhead structural framing. 
Sway braceMetal straps or wood blocks installed diagonally on the inside of a wall from bottom to top plate, to prevent the wall from twisting, racking, or falling over “domino” fashion. 
SwitchA device that completes or disconnects an electrical circuit. 
T and G, tongue and grooveA joint made by a tongue (a rib on one edge of a board) that fits into a corresponding groove in the edge of another board to make a tight flush joint. Typically, the subfloor plywood is T & G. 
T barRibbed, “T” shaped bars with a flat metal plate at the bottom that are driven into the earth. Normally used chain link fence poles, and to mark locations of a water meter pit. 
TabThe exposed portion of strip shingles defined by cutouts. 
Tail beamA relatively short beam or joist supported in a wall on one end and by a header at the other. 
Take offThe material necessary to complete a job. 
TapingThe process of covering drywall joints with paper tape and joint compound. 
TecoMetal straps that are nailed and secure the roof rafters and trusses to the top horizontal wall plate. Sometimes called a hurricane clip. 
TeeA “T” shaped plumbing fitting. 
TemperedStrengthened. Tempered glass will not shatter nor create shards, but will “pelletize” like an automobile window. Required in tub and shower enclosures and locations, entry door glass and sidelight glass, and in a windows when the window sill is less than 16\" to the floor. 
Termite shieldA shield, usually of galvanized metal, placed in or on a foundation wall or around pipes to prevent the passage of termites. 
TermitesWood eating insects that superficially resemble ants in size and general appearance, and live in colonies. 
Terra cottaA ceramic material molded into masonry units. 
ThermoplyExterior laminated sheathing nailed to the exterior side of the exterior walls. Normally ¼ ” thick, 4 X 8 or 4 x 10 sheets with an aluminumized surface. 
ThermostatA device which relegates the temperature of a room or building by switching heating or cooling equipment on or off. 
Threedimensional shingles Laminated shingles. Shingles that have added dimensionality because of extra layers or tabs, giving a shake
ThresholdThe bottom metal or wood plate of an exterior door frame. Generally they are adjustable to keep a tight fit with the door slab. 
Time and materials contractA construction contract which specifies a price for different elements of the work such as cost per hour of labor, overhead, profit, etc. A contract which may not have a maximum price, or may state a ‘price not to exceed’. 
TinnerAnother name for the heating contractor. 
Tip upThe downspout extension that directs water (from the home’s gutter system) away from the home. They typically swing up when mowing the lawn, etc. 
TitleEvidence (usually in the form of a certificate or deed) of a person’s legal right to ownership of a property. 
TJI or TJManufactured structural building component resembling the letter “I“. Used as floor joists and rafters. I joists include two key parts  flanges and webs. The flange or from of the I joist may be made of laminated veneer lumber or dimensional lumber, usually formed into a 1 ½” width. The web or center of the I
ToenailingTo drive a nail in at a slant. Method used to secure floor joists to the plate. 
Top chordThe upper or top member of a truss. 
Top plateTop 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. 
TrapA plumbing fitting that holds water to prevent air, gas, and vermin from backing up into a fixture. 
TreadThe walking surface board in a stairway on which the foot is placed. 
Treated lumberA wood product which has been impregnated with chemical pesticides such as CCA (Chromated Copper Arsenate) to reduce damage from wood rot or insects. Often used for the portions of a structure which are likely to be in contact with soil and water. Wood may also be treated with a fire retardant. 
Trim (plumbing, heating, electrical)The work that the “mechanical” contractors perform to finish their respective aspects of work, and when the home is nearing completion and occupancy. 
TrimInterior The finish materials in a building, such as moldings applied around openings (window trim, door trim) or at the floor and ceiling of rooms (baseboard, cornice, and other moldings). Also, the physical work of installing interior doors and interior woodwork, to include all handrails, guardrails, stair way balustrades, mantles, light boxes, base, door casings, cabinets, countertops, shelves, window sills and aprons, etc. Exterior
TrimmerThe vertical stud that supports a header at a door, window, or other opening. 
TrussAn engineered and manufactured roof support member with “zig zag” framing members. Does the same job as a rafter but is designed to have a longer span than a rafter.
Tub trapCurved, “U” shaped section of a bath tub drain pipe that holds a water seal to prevent sewer gasses from entering the home through tubs water drain. 
TurnkeyA term used when the subcontractor provides all materials (and labor) for a job. 
TurpentineA 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 safety hazards. 
UndercoatA coating applied prior to the finishing or top coats of a paint job. It may be the first of two or the second of three coats. Sometimes called the Prime coat. 
Underground plumbingThe 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 flooring, to provide a smooth, even surface. Also a secondary roofing layer that is waterproof or water resistant, installed on the roof deck and beneath shingles or other roof
UnionA plumbing fitting that joins pipes end to
Utility easementThe area of the earth that has electric, gas, or telephone lines. These areas may be owned by the homeowner, but the utility company has the legal right to enter the area as necessary to repair or service the lines. 
Valley flashingSheet metal that lays in the “V” area of a roof valley. 
ValleyThe “V” shaped area of a roof where two sloping roofs meet. Water drains off the roof at the valleys. 
ValuationAn inspection carried out for the benefit of the mortgage lender to ascertain if a property is a good security for a loan. 
Valuation feeTh fee paid by the prospective borrower for the lender’s inspection of the property. Normally paid upon loan application. 
Vapor barrierA building product installed on exterior walls and ceilings under the drywall and on the warm side of the insulation. It is used to retard the movement of water vapor into walls and prevent condensation within them. Normally, polyethylene plastic sheeting is used. 
Variable rateAn interest rate that will vary over the term of the loan. 
VeneerExtremely thin sheets of wood. Also a thin slice of wood or brick or stone covering a framed wall. 
VentA pipe or duct which allows the flow of air and gasses to the outside. Also, another word for the moving glass part of a window sash, i.e. window vent. 
VermiculiteA mineral used as bulk insulation and also as aggregate in insulating and acoustical plaster and in insulating concrete floors. 
Veterans Administration (VA)A federal agency that insures mortgage loans with very liberal down payment requirements for honorably discharged veterans and their surviving spouses. 
VisqueenA 4 mil or 6 mil plastic sheeting. 
VoidCardboard rectangular boxes that are installed between the earth (between caissons) and the concrete foundation wall. Used when expansive soils are present. 
VoltageA measure of electrical potential. Most homes are wired with 110 and 220 volt lines. The 110 volt power is used for lighting and most of the other circuits. The 220 volt power is usually used for the kitchen range, hot water heater and dryer. 
W CAn 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 plywood in the exterior wall and roof sheathing.
WalkThrough A final inspection of a home before “Closing” to look for and document problems that need to be corrected.
Wall outWhen a painter pray paints the interior of a home. 
WarpingAny distortion in a material. 
WarrantyIn construction there are two general types of warranties. One is provided by the manufacturer of a product such as roofing material or an appliance. The second is a warranty for the labor. For example, a roofing contract may include a 20 year material warranty and a 5 year labor warranty. Many new homebuilders provide a one year warranty. Any major issue found during the first year should be communicated to the builder immediately. Small items can be saved up and presented to the builder for correction periodically through the first year after closing. 
Waste pipe and ventPlumbing plastic pipe that carries waste water to the municipal sewage system. 
Water boardWater resistant drywall to be used in tub and shower locations. Normally green or blue colored 
Water closetAnother name for toilet. 
Water meter pit (or vault)The box /cast iron bonnet and concrete rings that contains the water meter. 
Water tableThe location of the underground water, and the vertical distance from the surface of the earth to this underground water. 
Water tapThe connection point where the home water line connects to the main municipal water system. 
Waterrepellent preservative A liquid applied to wood to give the wood water repellant properties
WeatherizationWork on a building exterior in order to reduce energy consumption for heating or cooling.  Work involving adding insulation, installing storm windows and doors, caulking cracks and putting on weather stripping.
WeatherstripNarrow sections of thin metal or other material installed to prevent the infiltration of air and moisture around windows and doors. 
Weep holesSmall holes in storm window frames that allow moisture to escape. 
Whole house fanA fan designed to move air through and out of a home and normally installed in the ceiling. 
Wind bracingMetal straps or wood blocks installed diagonally on the inside of a wall from bottom to top plate, to prevent the wall from twisting, racking, or falling over “domino” fashion. 
Window buckSquare or rectangular box that is installed within a concrete foundation or block wall. A window will eventually be installed in this “buck” during the siding stage of construction 
Window frameThe stationary part of a window unit; window sash fits into the window frame. 
Window sashThe operating or movable part of a window; the sash is made of window panes and their  border. 
Wire nutA plastic device used to connect bare wires together. 
WonderboardA panel made out of concrete and fiberglass usually used as a ceramic tile backing material. Commonly used on bathtub decks. 
Wrapped drywallAreas that get complete drywall covering, as in the doorway openings of bifold and bipass closet doors. 
YA “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 will pour 80 square feet of 3 ½” sidewalk or basement/garage floor. 
YokeThe location where a home’s water meter is sometimes installed between two copper pipes, and located in the water meter pit in the yard. 
Zbar flashing Bent, galvanized metal flashing that’s installed above a horizontal trim board of an exterior window, door, or brick run. It prevents water from getting behind the trim/brick and into the home.
ZoneThe section of a building that is served by one heating or cooling loop because it has noticeably distinct heating or cooling needs. Also, the section of property that will be watered from a lawn sprinkler system. 
Zone valveA device, usually placed near the heater or cooler, which controls the flow of water or steam to parts of the building; it is controlled by a zone thermostat. 
ZoningA governmental process and specification which limits the use of a property e.g. single family use, high rise residential use, industrial use, etc. Zoning laws may limit where you can locate a structure. Also see building codes.