Construction Lingo

Here is an extensive list of building words and terms, many of which you may see during the building process.

Aggregate: Mixture of sand and stone, and a major component of concrete.

AIA: American Institute of Architects

AIBD: American Institute of Building Design

Air Exchange: Exchange of interior air for exterior or fresh air.

Air Handler:
 Equipment used to condition and circulate air as part of a heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system.

Air Return: The ductwork (and related grills) that carries room air back to the air handler.

Alternate Price: Prearranged price for altering a task or material in the scope of work.

Apron Trim: Board installed beneath a windowsill.

ARB: Architectural Review Boards

Architectural Shingles: Three-dimensional laminated shingles that have added dimensionality because of extra layers, giving them a shake-like appearance.

As-Builts: Plans reflecting the work executed to construct a building and all its systems.

Balustrade: The rail, posts and vertical balusters along the edge of a stairway or elevated walkway.
Barge: Horizontal beam rafter that supports shorter rafters.

Base Bid: Cost of proposed scope of work that is fully determined.

Batt: Section of fiberglass or rock-wool insulation.

Bearing Wall: Wall or partition that supports the weight of a portion of the structure above in addition to its own weight.

Bird Mouth: Notch cut in the end of a rafter to permit it to fit flat on the top of the exterior wall plate.

Board Foot:    Unit of measure for lumber equal to one inch thick by 12 inches wide by 12 inches long.

Brick Mold: Trim used around an exterior door jamb that butts against the siding.

Building Permit: Authorization to build or modify a structure.

Bull Floating: Next-to-last stage in concrete finishing. Involves smoothing off the top of the concrete, and bringing water out of it and to the surface using a float.

Butt Hinge: The most common type of hinge in which one leaf attaches to the door’s edge, and the other to its jamb.

Butt Joint: Connection made from square end to square end.

CAD: Acronym for Computer-Aided Drafting. The use of computer technology to aid in the design and drafting of architecture and engineering drawings.

Cantilever: The overhang in which one floor extends beyond and over a foundation or lower level wall.

Casement Window: Window with hinges on one of the vertical sides, allowing it to swing open like a door.

Ceiling Joist: One of a series of parallel framing members used to support ceiling loads, supported in turn by larger beams, girders or bearing walls.

Certificate of Completion: Letter from the bank appraiser to the lending bank certifying that the project in question was completed in accordance with the plans and specifications.

Certificate of Insurance: Document certifying that a contractor is insured.

Certificate of Occupancy (CO): Issued by the local governing municipality, this certificate is required before anyone can occupy or live within the home.

Charrette: Team meeting conducted early in the design process to achieve cooperation among construction and design professionals.

Circuit: The path of electrical flow from a power source through an outlet and back to ground.

Clean-Out: Opening that provides access to a drain line; closed with a threaded plug.

Collar Beam: Nominal one- or two-inch-thick members connecting opposite roof rafters to stiffen the roof structure.

Combustion Air: The ductwork installed to bring fresh, outside air to the furnace and/or hot water heater. Normally, two separate supplies of air are brought in: low and high.

Compressor: Main component of heat pumps and air conditioning. Mechanical device that pressurizes a gas in order to turn it into a liquid, thereby allowing heat to be removed or added.

Concrete: The mixture of Portland cement, sand, gravel, and water.

Condensation: Beads or drops of water (and frequently frost in extremely cold weather) that accumulate on the inside of the exterior covering of a building.

Condensing Unit: The outdoor component of a cooling system. It includes a compressor, and a condensing coil designed to give off heat.

Conditional Use: Permission to use land or building space under certain stated conditions in a way other than ordinarily permitted by regulation.

Conduction: The direct transfer of heat energy through a material.

Conductivity: The rate at which heat is transmitted through a material.

Contingency Funds: Funds allotted to cover the cost of  unpredictable or unforeseen expenses.

Control Joint: Tooled, straight grooves made on concrete floors to “control” where the concrete should crack.

Convection: Currents created by heating air, which then rises and pulls cooler air behind it.

Coped Joint: Cutting and fitting woodwork to an irregular surface.

Corbel: The triangular, decorative and supporting member that holds a mantel or horizontal shelf.

Corner Bead: Strip of formed sheet metal placed on outside corners of drywall before applying “drywall mud.”

Cornice: Overhang of a pitched roof, usually consisting of a fascia board, a soffit and appropriate trim moldings.

Counter Flashing: Metal flashing usually used on chimneys at the roofline to cover shingle flashing; used to prevent moisture entry.

Cove Molding: Molding with a concave face used as trim or to finish interior corners.

Cricket: Second roof built on top of the primary roof to increase the slope of the roof or valley; used to divert rain from the back of a chimney.

Cripple: Short, vertical “two-by-fours” or “two-by-sixes” (frame lumber) installed above a window or door.

Crown: The upward, arching curvature you see when you look down the narrowest dimensional edge of rough framing lumber.

Cupping: Type of warping that causes boards to curl up at their edges.

Damper: Metal “door” placed within the fireplace chimney. The damper is normally closed when the fireplace is not in use.

Dedicated Circuit: Electrical circuit that serves only one appliance (example: dishwasher); or a series of electric heaters or smoke detectors.

Default: Breach of a mortgage contract (not making the required payments).

De-Humidistat: Control mechanism used to operate a mechanical ventilation system based upon the relative humidity in the home.

Delamination: Separation of the plies in a panel due to failure of the adhesive (usually caused by excessive moisture).

Door Stop: The wooden stile that the door slab will rest upon when it is in a closed position.

Doorjamb (Interior): The surrounding case into which – and out of which – a door closes and opens.

Dormer: Opening in a sloping roof, the framing of which projects out to form a vertical wall suitable for windows or other openings.

Double-Hung Window: Window with two vertically sliding sashes, both of which can move up and down.

Draw: The amount of progress billings on a contract currently available to a builder.

Drip: Member of a cornice or other horizontal exterior finish course containing a projection beyond the other parts for throwing off water.

Drip Cap: Molding or metal flashing placed on the exterior topside of a door or window frame, causing water to drip beyond the outside of the frame.

Drip Line: Line on the ground under the eave of a building, at which water lands from the roof above

Drywall: Wallboard or gypsum; also called “sheet rock.”

Ducts: The heating system; usually round or rectangular metal pipes installed for distributing warm (or cold) air from the furnace to rooms in the home.

DuraRock®: Panel made out of concrete and fiberglass usually used as a ceramic tile backing material; also called “wonder board.”

Easement: Formal contract allowing a party to use another party’s property for a specific purpose.

Eaves: The horizontal exterior roof overhang.

Egress: Means of exiting the home. (An egress window is required in every bedroom and basement.)

Electric Lateral: The trench or area in the yard where the electric service line (from a transformer or pedestal) is located.

Electrical Rough: The electrical wires, outlets, switches, and fixture boxes that are installed prior to the insulation.

Electrical Service: The entry point of the electrical power to the house; also known as the “meter.”

Electrical Trim: The electrician does all work necessary to get the home ready to pass the municipal electrical final inspection.
Elevation: Drawing of a building on a vertical plane showing a view of the building’s front.

Elevation Sheet: The page on the blueprints that depicts the house or room as if a vertical plane were passed through the structure.

Escutcheon: Ornamental plate that fits around a pipe extending through a wall or floor, to hide the cut-out hole.

Estimate: The amount of labor, materials, and other costs a contractor anticipates for a project.

Estimating: The process of calculating the cost of a project. This can be a formal and exact process, or a quick and imprecise process.

Evaporator Coil: The part of a cooling system that absorbs heat from air in your home; also known as the condensing unit.

Expansion Joint: Fibrous material (approx. 1/2″ thick) installed in and around a concrete slab to permit it to move up and down.

Exposed Aggregate Finish: A method of finishing concrete that washes the cement/sand mixture off the top layer, thereby exposing the stones.

Fascia: Horizontal boards attached to rafter/truss ends at the eaves and along gables. Roof drain gutters are attached to the fascia.

Felt: Tar paper; installed under the roof shingles. Normally sold in 15 or 30-pound intervals.

FHA Strap: Metal straps used to repair a bearing wall cut.

Field Measure: Taking measurements (cabinets, countertops, stairs, shower doors, etc.) in the home itself instead of using the blueprints.

Finger Joint: Manufacturing process of interlocking two shorter pieces of wood end-to-end, to create a longer piece of dimensional lumber or molding.

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 resists high temperatures; used in a fireplace.

Fire Stop: Solid, tight closure of a concealed space, placed to prevent the spread of fire and smoke through such a space.

Fishplate: Wood or plywood piece used to fasten the ends of two members together at a butt joint with nails or bolts; also called a gang nail plate.

Fixed Price Contract: Contract with a set price for the work. See Time and Materials Contract.

Flashing: Sheet metal or other material used in roof and wall construction, to protect a building from water seepage.

Flat Mold: Thin wood strips installed over the butt seam of cabinet skins.

Flatwork: Common word for concrete floors, driveways, basements, and sidewalks.

Flue: Large pipe through which fumes escape from a gas water heater, furnace, or fireplace.

Flue Collar: Round metal ring that fits around the heat flue pipe after the pipe passes out of the roof.

Flue Damper: An automatic door located in the flue that closes off the flue when the burner turns off. Its purpose is to reduce heat loss up the flue from the furnace.

Flue Lining: Two-foot lengths, fire clay or terracotta pipe (round or square) made for the inner lining of a chimney.

Footprint: Perimeter outline of a building.

Footer (Footing): Continuous 8″ or 10″ thick concrete pad that supports the foundation wall or monopost; installed prior to the foundation wall.

Form: Mold designed to receive poured concrete.

Foundation: The supporting portion of a structure below the first-floor construction; or below grade, including the footings.

Foundation Ties:
 Metal wires that hold the foundation wall panels and rebar in place during the concrete pour.

Frame Inspection: The act of inspecting the home’s structural integrity and its compliance to local municipal codes.

Framer: The carpenter contractor who installs the lumber and erects the frame.

Framing: Lumber used for the structural members of a building, such as studs, joists, and rafters.

Frieze: A horizontal member connecting the top of the siding with the soffit of the cornice.
Furring strips: Strips of wood, often 1×2, used to shim out (and provide a level fastening surface for) a wall or ceiling.

Gable: The end, upper, triangular area of a home, beneath the roof.

General Conditions: Expenses incurred to run a construction project.

General Contractor: Builder who works under contract, and hires and supervises subcontractors.

G F I: Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. Used primarily in the exterior of homes or in bathrooms for safety purposes.

Girder: Principal beam of wood or steel used to support concentrated loads at isolated points along its length.

Glazing: The process of installing glass, which commonly is secured with glazier’s points and glazing compound.

Glued Laminated Beam (Glulam): Structural beam composed of wood laminations, or lams. The lams are pressure bonded with adhesives.

Guaranteed Maximum Price or Fixed Fee.

Grade: (1) Ground level, or the elevation at any given point. (2) The work of leveling dirt. (3) The designated quality of a manufactured piece of wood.

Ground: Refers to electricity’s habit of seeking the shortest route to earth.

Ground Fault: Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI, GFI).

Grout: Wet mixture of cement, sand and water that flows into masonry or ceramic crevices to seal the cracks between the different pieces.

Gyp Board: Drywall. Also known as Wallboard or Gypsum.

HVAC: Abbreviation for Heat, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning.

Header: (1) Horizontal structural support over a door or window. (2) A beam placed perpendicular to joists, to which joists are nailed.

Hearth: The fireproof area directly in front of a fireplace. Can also refer to the inner or outer floor of a fireplace; usually made of brick, tile, or stone.

Heat Pump: Mechanical device using compression and decompression of gas to heat and/or cool a house.

Heating Load: The amount of heating required to keep a building at a specified temperature during the winter, usually 65°F, regardless of outside temperature.

Hip Roof: 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 Combs: The appearance concrete makes when rocks in the concrete are visible and there are void areas in the foundation wall.

Hose Bib: Exterior water faucet. See also sill cock.

Hurricane Clip: Metal, nailed straps that secure the roof rafters and trusses to the top horizontal wall plate; sometimes called a Teco® Clip.

Infiltration: The passage of air from indoors to outdoors and vice versa; term is usually associated with drafts from cracks, seams or holes in buildings.

Inside Corner: The point at which two walls form an internal angle, as in the corner of a room.

Insulating Glass: Window or door in which two panes of glass are used with a sealed air space between; also known as Double Glass.

Insulation: Any material high in resistance to heat transmission that, when placed in the walls, ceiling, or floors of a structure, will reduce the rate of heat flow.

Interior Finish: The finish materials in a building, such as moldings applied around openings; or at the floor and ceiling of rooms.

Jack: The vertical stud that supports a header at a door, window, or other opening.

Jack Rafter: Rafter that spans the distance from the wall plate to a hip; or from a valley to a ridge.

Jamb: Vertical side post used in the framing of a doorway or window, Includes studs, as well as the frame and trim.

Joint: The location between the touching surfaces of two members or components joined and held together by nails, glue, cement, mortar, or other means.

Joint Cement (Joint Compound): Powder usually mixed with water and used for joint treatment in gypsum.

Joist: Wooden 2x8s, 2x10s or 2x12s that run parallel to one another and support a floor or ceiling; and are supported in turn by larger beams, girders, or bearing walls.

Joist Hanger: Metal U-shaped item used to support the end of a floor joist, and attached with hardened nails to another bearing joist or beam.

Keeper: The metal latch plate in a door frame into which a doorknob plunger latches.

Keyway: Slot formed and poured on a footer or in a foundation wall when another wall will be installed at the slot location.

King Stud: The vertical “2x” frame lumber (left and right) of a window or door opening, running continuously from the bottom sole plate to the top plate.

Landing: Platform between flights of stairs or at the termination of a flight of stairs. Often used when stairs change direction.

The underground trench and related services (i.e., electric, gas, telephone, sewer and water lines) that will be buried within the trench.

Lattice: Open framework of crisscrossed 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 Strip: Strip of lumber nailed along the bottom of the side of a girder upon which joists rest.

Lien: Encumbrance that usually makes real or personal property the security for payment of a debt, or discharge of an obligation.

Lien Waiver: Document signed by the recipient of a payment waiving the right to place a lien on a property.

Light: Space in a window sash for a single pane of glass. This term can also refer to a pane of glass.

Lineal Foot: Unit of measurement referring to the number of feet in a straight line of material.

Lintel: Short beam that spans a door or window opening and supports the wall above it.

Load Bearing Wall: Includes all exterior walls and any interior wall that is aligned above a support beam or girder.

Lookout: Short wood bracket or cantilever that supports an overhang portion of a roof.

Lot Coverage: Amount of land area covered by a building or other site improvements.

Louver: Vented opening into the home that has a series of horizontal slats, arranged to permit ventilation.

Low-E: Reflective insulation.

Lumens: (1) Unit of measure for total light output. (2) The amount of light falling on a surface of one square foot.

Mantel: The shelf above a fireplace opening. Can also refer to the decorative trim around a fireplace opening.

Mark-Up: Charge for services associated with handling a material or coordinating a service.

Mastic: Pasty material used as a cement (as for setting tile), or a protective coating (as for thermal insulation or waterproofing).

Metal Lath: Base for stucco and plaster fabrication. Sheets of metal that are slit to form openings within the lath.

Microlam: Manufactured structural wood beam. It is constructed of pressure and adhesive bonded strands of wood. They have a high strength rating.

Wood strip with an engraved, decorative surface.

Mortar: Mixture of cement (or lime) with sand and water used in masonry work.

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.

Mud: Drywall compound.

Mudsill: Bottom horizontal member of an exterior wall frame resting on top of a foundation; sometimes called a Sill Plate.

Mullion: Vertical divider in the frame between windows, doors, or other openings.

Muntin: Molding dividing or applied to the glass of windows or doors.

Nail Inspection: Inspection made by a municipal building inspector after the drywall material is hung with nails and screws (before taping).

Neutral Wire: Usually color-coded white, this carries electricity from an outlet back to the service panel.

Newel Post:  The large starting post to which the end of a stair guard railing or balustrade is fastened.

Non-Bearing Wall: Wall supporting no load other than its own weight.

Non-Permeable: Cannot be penetrated by water.

Nosing: (1) The projecting edge of a molding. (2) The drip or the front edge of a stair tread.

OC: On Center

Oriented Strand Board (OSB): 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.

Outrigger: Extension of a rafter beyond the wall line.

Overhang: Outward projecting eave.

P-Trap: Curved, u-shaped section of drain pipe that holds a water seal to prevent sewer gasses from entering the home through a fixture’s water drain.

Parapet: Wall placed at the edge of a roof to prevent people from falling off.

Particle Board: Plywood substitute made of coarse sawdust that is mixed with resin and pressed into sheets.

Paver: Stone or bricks installed in-ground for a road.

Penny: As applied to nails, it originally indicated the price per hundred. The term now serves as a measure of nail length, and is abbreviated by the letter “d.”

Permeability: Measure of the ease with which water penetrates a material.

Permit: Governmental municipal authorization to perform a building process.

Pier: Column of masonry (usually rectangular) in horizontal cross section, used to support other structural members. Also see Caisson.

Pitch: The incline slope of a roof based on the ratio of the total rise to the total width of a house. Example: If you have a six-twelve pitch, for every 12 inches of house width, the pitch goes up six inches.

Plate: Normally a 2×4 or 2×6 that lays horizontally within a framed structure.

Plenum: The main air supply duct leading from an air handler.

Plot Plan: Plan that shows the location of the home on the lot. Includes all easements, property lines, setbacks, and legal descriptions of the home.

Plumb: Vertically straight.

Plumb Bob:  Lead weight attached to a string. It is the tool used in determining plumb (straightness).

Plumbing Rough: Work performed by the plumbing contractor. This work includes installing drain and waste lines, water lines, bath tubs, shower pans, and gas piping.

Plumbing Trim: Work performed by the plumbing contractor to get the home ready for a final plumbing inspection.

Plywood: Panel of wood (normally 4′ x 8′) made of three or more layers of veneer, compressed and joined with glue.

Pressure Relief Valve (PRV): Device mounted on a hot water heater designed to release any high steam pressure in the tank to prevent tank explosions.

Pressure Treated Wood: Lumber saturated with a preservative.

Primer: The first, base coat of paint when a paint job consists of two or more coats.

Property Survey: Survey to determine the boundaries of your property. The cost depends on the complexity of the survey.

Pump Mix: Special concrete that will be used in a concrete pump. Generally, the mix has smaller rock aggregate than regular mix.

Punch List: List of discrepancies that need to be corrected by the contractor.

Punch Out: To inspect and make a discrepancy list.

PVC (or CPVC): Poly Vinyl Chloride

Quarter Round: Small trim molding that has the cross section of a quarter-circle.

R Value: Measurement of a material’s ability to insulate.

Radiation: Energy transmitted from a heat source to the air around it. Radiators actually depend more on convection than radiation.

Rafter: Lumber used to support the roof sheeting and roof loads.

Rake: Slope or slant.

Rake Fascia: The vertical face of the sloping end of a roof eave.

Ready-Mixed Concrete: Concrete mixed at a plant or in trucks en route to a job and delivered ready for placement.

Rebar (Reinforcing Bar): Ribbed steel bars installed in foundation concrete walls, footers, and poured in place concrete structures, designed to strengthen concrete.

Redline (Red Lined Prints): Blueprints that reflect changes and that are marked with red pencil.

Reflective Insulation:
 Sheet material with one or both faces covered with aluminum foil.

Reflective Value: Measure of light that bounces off a surface.

Register: Grill placed over a heating duct or cold air return.

Reglaze: Replacing a broken window.

Retainage: Money earned but held from payment until the completion of a construction project.
Retentions: Amounts withheld from progress billings until final and satisfactory project completion.

Ridge: The horizontal line at the junction of the top edges of two sloping roof surfaces.

Ridge Shingles: Shingles used to cover the ridge board.

Rim Joist: Joist that runs around the perimeter of the floor joists and home.

Rise: (1) The vertical distance from the eaves line to the ridge. (2) The vertical distance from stair tread to stair tread (not to exceed 7½”).

Riser: Each of the vertical boards closing the spaces between the treads of stairways.

Romex®: Name brand of nonmetallic sheathed electrical cable that is used for indoor wiring.

Roof Jack: Sleeves that fit around the black plumbing waste vent pipes at (and are nailed to) the roof sheeting.

Roof Joist: (1)Rafters of a flat roof. (2) Lumber used to support the roof sheeting and roof loads. Generally, 2x10s and 2x12s are used.

Roof Sheathing or Sheeting: Wood panels or sheet material fastened to the roof rafters or trusses on which the shingle or other roof covering is laid.

Roof Valley: The “V” created where two sloping roofs meet.

Rough Carpentry: Structural Building.

Rough Opening: Horizontal and vertical measurement of a window or door opening before drywall or siding is installed.

Rough Sill: Framing member at the bottom of a rough opening for a window. It is attached to the cripple studs below the rough opening.

Rough-In: Installing plumbing or electrical materials in a framed space.

Saddle: The plate at the bottom of some (usually exterior) door openings; sometimes called a threshold.

Sanitary Sewer: Sewer system designed for the collection of waste water from the bathroom, kitchen and laundry drains.

Sash: Frame holding the glass of a window or door.

Schedule (Window, Door, Mirror): Table on the blueprints that lists the sizes, quantities and locations of the windows, doors and mirrors.

Scope of Services: Summary of work to be performed by an architect, contractor, subcontractor or other service provider.

Scope of Work: Work that is done to execute a plan.

Scratch Coat: The first coat of plaster, which is scratched to form a bond for a second coat.

Screed (Concrete): To level off concrete to the correct elevation during a concrete pour.

Service Entrance Panel: Main power cabinet where electricity enters a home wiring system.

Service Lateral: Underground power supply line.

Setback: Distance from property line at which a building or site improvement can be located.

Setback Thermostat: Thermostat with a clock that can be programmed to come on or go off at various temperatures and at different times of the day/week.

Sewer Lateral: Portion of the sanitary sewer connecting the interior waste water lines to the main sewer lines.

Sewer Tap: The physical connection point where the home’s sewer line connects to the main municipal sewer line.

Shear Block: Plywood that is face nailed to short (2x4s or 2x6s) wall studs. This is done to prevent the wall from sliding and collapsing.

Sheathing (Sheeting): The structural wood panel covering (usually OSB or plywood) used over studs, floor joists or rafters/trusses of a structure.

Sheet Rock: Another term for Drywall.

Shingles: Roof covering of asphalt, asbestos, wood, tile, slate, or other material cut to stock lengths, widths, and thicknesses.

Shopping the Project:
 Revealing one contractor’s cost estimate to obtain lower pricing from another.

Shut-Off Valve:
 Device installed in a water supply line, usually near a fixture.

Shutter: Usually lightweight louvered decorative frames in the form of doors located on the sides of a window.

Sill Cock: Exterior water faucet (hose bib).

Sill Plate: Horizontal member anchored to a concrete or masonry wall.

Sill Seal: Fiberglass or foam insulation installed between the foundation wall and sill (wood) plate. Designed to seal any cracks or gaps.

Site Plan: Drawing or blueprint of property and site improvements.

Slab: Horizontal concrete surface.

Slab on Grade: Type of foundation with a concrete floor, placed directly on the soil. The edge of the slab is usually thicker and acts as the footing for the walls.

Sleeper: Usually refers to a wood member embedded in concrete (as in a floor) that serves to support and to fasten the subfloor or flooring.

Pipe installed under the concrete driveway or sidewalk, that will be used later to run sprinkler pipe or low voltage wire.

 The “wetness” of concrete. (Example: A three-inch inch slump is dryer and stiffer than a five-inch slump.)

Soffit: The area below the eaves and overhangs. The underside where the roof overhangs the walls; the underside of the cornice.

Sole Plate: Bottom horizontal member of a frame wall.

Spec Home: 
House built before it is sold, because the builder speculates that he can sell it at a profit.

 Detailed instructions regarding methods and materials of a construction project.

Specifications/Bid Package: Information necessary for a contractor to produce a bid, including plans.

Stack (Trusses): To position trusses on the walls in their correct location.

Stair Landing: 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’x3’ square.

Stair Rise: The vertical distance from stair tread to stair tread (not to exceed 7½”).

Stamped Drawings: Blueprints created and marked with the seal of a licensed architect or engineer.

Static Vent: Vent that does not include a fan.

Step Flashing: Overlapping rectangular or square pieces of flashing used at the junction of a shingled roof and walls.

Stool: (1) Flat molding fitted over the window sill between jambs and contacting the bottom rail of the lower sash.  (2) Another name for toilet.

Stops: (1) Moldings along the inner edges of a door or window frame. (2) Valves used to shut off water to a fixture.

Strike: The plate on a door frame that engages a latch or deadbolt.

String (Stringer): (1) Timber or other support for cross members in floors or ceilings. (2) In stairs, the supporting member for stair treads.

Stucco: Refers to an outside plaster finish made with Portland cement as its base.

Stud: Vertical wood framing member attached to the horizontal sole plate below and the top plate above; also referred to as a wall stud.

Subfloor: The framing components of a floor to include the sill plate, floor joists, and deck sheeting over which a finish floor is to be laid.

T&G (Tongue and Groove):
 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.

Take-Off: Calculation of labor and material needs based on information in plans and specifications.

Taping: The process of covering drywall joints with paper tape and joint compound.

Tempered: Strengthened. Tempered glass will not shatter or create shards, but will instead “pelletize” like an automobile window.

Termite Shield: Shield (usually made of galvanized metal) placed in or on a foundation wall or around pipes to prevent the passage of termites.

Thermoply ™: Exterior laminated sheathing nailed to the exterior side of the exterior walls. Normally ¼-inch thick, 4×8 or 4×10 sheets with an “aluminumized” surface.

Threshold: The 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 Contract: Construction contract specifying a price for different elements of the work such as cost per hour of labor, overhead, profit, etc.

TJI: Manufactured structural building component resembling the letter “I.” Used as floor joists and rafters.

To Scale: Proportionately accurate.

Toe Kick: Vertical face of the recessed space under lower kitchen cabinets.

Top Plate: Top horizontal member of a frame wall supporting ceiling joists, rafters, or other members.

Trade Price: The discounted price that contractors and subcontractors pay for materials.

Trap: Plumbing fitting that holds water to prevent air, gas, and vermin from backing up into a fixture.

Tread: The walking surface board in a stairway on which the foot is placed.

Treated Lumber: Wood product which has been impregnated with chemical pesticides such as CCA (Chromated Copper Arsenate) to reduce damage from wood rot or insects.

True Divided Lights: Individual panes of glass separated by muntins (wood or metal that hold panes of glass in a window).

Truss: Engineered and manufactured roof support member with a “zigzag.”

Underlayment: Material placed over the subfloor plywood sheeting and under finish coverings (example: vinyl flooring), to provide a smooth, even surface.

Utility Easement: The area of the home site that has electric, gas, or telephone lines. While it is owned by the homeowner, the utility company has the legal right to enter the area as necessary.

Valley: The “V-shaped” area of a roof where two sloping roofs meet. Water drains off the roof at the valleys.

Valley Flashing: Sheet metal placed in the “V” area of a roof valley.

Value Engineering: Cost containment; cost savings as a result of creative design.

Vapor Barrier: Building product installed on exterior walls and ceilings under the drywall and on the warm side of the insulation.

Veneer: (1) Extremely thin sheets of wood. (2) A thin slice of wood, brick or stone covering a framed wall.

Visqueen: 4 mil or 6 mil (thickness ratings) plastic sheeting.

Walk-Through: Final inspection of a home before “closing” to look for and document problems that needs to be addressed and corrected.

Water Closet: Another name for a toilet.

Weatherstrip: Narrow sections of thin metal or other material installed to prevent the infiltration of air and moisture around windows and doors.

Window Sash: The operating or movable part of a window; the sash is made of window panes and their border.

Wonderboard ™:
 Panel made of concrete and fiberglass; usually used as a ceramic tile backing material. Commonly used on bathtub decks.

Zones: Division of controls of a heating and cooling system by area.

Zoning: Restriction of the types of construction and use of property by designated areas within a municipality.