ABOVE-GRADE - The portion of a building that is above ground level.
A/C CIRCUIT - (Alternating Current) The flow of current through a conductor first in one direction then in reverse. It is used exclusively in residential and commercial wiring because it provides greater flexibility in voltage selection and simplicity of equipment design.
ACCENT LIGHTING - Directional lighting used to accent, emphasize or draw attention to a part of the landscape.
AERATOR - A device used to infuse air into a liquid. An example is the aerator on the tip of a water faucet. This feature may also be found on some dishwasher faucet adaptors.
AERATION (SOIL) - The movement or exchange of air between the soil and the atmosphere.
AFUE - An acronym standing for "Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency". A measure of a gas furnace's efficiency in converting fuel to energy - the higher the rating, the more efficient the unit.
AGITATOR - A device that is used to stir or shake up a mixture. Typically used to move clothing through water containing detergent. Sometimes called a GYRATOR.
AGGREGATE - Crushed stone, slag or water-worn gravel that comes in a wide range of sizes that is used to surface built-up roofs.
AIR DUCT - Ducts, usually made of sheet metal, that carry cooled air to all rooms.
AIR INFILTRATION - The amount of air leaking in and out of a building through cracks in walls, windows and doors.
AIR FILTERS - Adhesive filters made of metal or various fibers that are coated with adhesive liquid to which the particles of lint and dust adhere. These filters will remove as much as 90% of the dirt if they do not become clogged. The more common filters are of the throwaway or disposable type.
AIR GAP - A device mounted at the back of a kitchen sink, connecting to the drain line between a dishwasher and disposer to allow the dishwasher to discharge freely into the disposer while preventing contaminated water from siphoning back into the dishwasher. Can be any unobstructed vertical opening between the lowest opening of a waste line and the flood level of the device into which it empties to relieve pressure and prevent backflow contamination.
ALLIGATORING - A condition of paint or aged asphalt brought about by the loss of volatile oils and the oxidation caused by solar radiation. "Alligatoring" produces a pattern of cracks resembling an alligator hide and is ultimately the result of the limited tolerance of paint or asphalt to thermal expansion or contraction.
AMMETER - Device to measure the current flowing in a circuit
ANCHOR BOLTS - Bolts which fasten columns, girders or other members to concrete or masonry such as bolts used to anchor sills to masonry foundation. Foundation plates or sills shall be bolted to the foundation with not less than 1/2" diameter steel bolts embedded at least 7" into the concrete or reinforced masonry or 15" into unreinforced grouted masonry & spaced not more than & apart.
ANGLE STOP - A shutoff valve between water pipes and a faucet. The inlet connects to the water-supply pipe in a wall, the outlet angles up 90ฐ to the faucet.
ANNUAL PLANT - A plant completing its normal growth cycle in one year or less.
ANODE ROD- Anode rods are found in a glass lined water heater The anode rod is usually aluminum or magnesium rod placed in a gas water heater tank and is used to protect against corrosion of the tank. It is sometimes called a sacrificial anode since it dissolves slowly and sacrifices itself to protect the metal tank. As the anode reacts with substances in the water, it undergoes an electrochemical reaction and draws corrosion to itself rather than the glass lined steel tank.
APRROACH - The area between the sidewalk and the street that leads to a driveway or the transition from the street as you approach a driveway.
ARBOR - An open framework designed to offer shade and a resting place in a garden. Arbors are often made of rustic wood or latticework that also serve as a trellis on which climbing plants can grow.
AREA LIGHTING - The lighting of large landscape areas, usually with floodlights.
ASPHALT - A dark brown to black, highly viscous, hydrocarbon produced from the residue left after the distillation of petroleum. Asphalt is used on roofs and highways as a waterproofing agent.
AUGER - In carpentry, a wood-boring tool used by a carpenter to bore holes
BACKFILL - (1) filling in any previously excavated area. (2) in carpentry, the process of fastening together two pieces of board by gluing blocks of wood in the interior angle.
BACKFLOW- The flow of liquids through irrigation into the pipes of a potable or drinking water supply from any source which is opposite to the intended direction of flow.
BACKFLOW PREVENTER - A device or means to prevent backflow into the potable water supply.
BACKGROUND LIGHTING - Lighting of walls, trees and other vertical elements to form an illuminated background for other lighting techniques.
BACKHOE - Self powered excavation equipment that digs by pulling a boom mounted bucket towards itself. It is used to dig basements and/or footings and to install drainage or sewer systems.
BACK NAILING - The practice of nailing roofing felts to the deck under the overlap, in addition to hot mopping, to prevent slippage of felts.
BAKE/BROIL VALVE - An electrically operated valve, that opens and closes by means of a bimetal, to control the flow of gas to a gas oven burner. Sometimes referred to as a oven safety valve.
BALLOON FRAMING - In carpentry, the lightest and most economical form of construction, in which the studding and corner plates are set up in continuous lengths from the first floor line or sill to the roof plate.
BARREL ROOF - A roof design which in cross section is arched.
BASE PLY - An asphalt-saturated and/or coated felt installed as the first ply with 4 inch laps in a built-up roof system under the following felts which can be installed in a shingle-like fashion.
BATT INSULATION- Strips of insulation - usually fiberglass,that fit between studs or other framing.
BEAD - In glazing, an applied sealant in a joint irrespective of the method of application, such as caulking bead, glazing bead, etc. Also a molding or stop used to hold glass or panels in position.
BEAM - Structural support member (steel, concrete, lumber) that transfers weight from one location to another.
BELOW-GRADE - The portion of a building that is below ground level.
BELVEDERE - Any structure, such as a gazebo or other roofed edifice, that provides a good view of the landscape.
BEVEL - (of a door) is the angle of the front edge of a door usually from 1/8" to 2".
BID BOND - Security posted by a bidder to ensure performance in accordance with a bid.
BIDDING - Getting prices from various contractors and/or subcontractors.
BID DOCUMENTS - Drawings, details, and specifications for a particular project.
BIENNIAL - A plant whose normal growth cycle spans two growing seasons. Many biennials produce roots and a cluster of leaves near the surface of the ground the first year; flower, produce seed and die the second year.
BLEEDING - A migration of a liquid to the surface of a component or into/onto an adjacent material.
BLISTER - An enclosed raised spot evident on the surface of a building. They are mainly caused by the expansion of trapped air, water vapor, moisture or other gases.
BLUE PRINTS- Architectural plans for a building or construction project, which are likely to include floor plans, footing and foundation plans, elevations, plot plans, and various schedules and or details.
BRACING - Ties and rods used for supporting and strengthening various parts of a building used for lateral stability for columns and beams.
BRAKE METAL - Sheet metal that has been bent to the desired configuration.
BREAKER PANEL - See ELECTRICAL PANEL
BROWNCOAT - The coat of plaster directly beneath the finish coat. In three-coat work, the brown is the second coat.
BTU - British Thermal Unit - The amount of heat energy required to raise the temperature of one pound of water through a change of one degree F.
BUBBLING - In glazing, open or closed pockets in a sealant caused by release, production or expansion of gasses.
BUILDING BRICK - Brick for building purposes not especially treated for texture or color, formerly called "common brick." It is stronger than face brick.
BUILDING PERMIT - Written authorization from the city, county or other governing regulatory body giving permission to construct or renovate a building. A building permit is specific to the building project described in the application.
BULLNOSE - A trim tile with a convex radius on one edge. This tile is used for finishing the top of a wainscot or for turning an outside corner.
BULLNOSE CORNER - A type of bullnose trim with a convex radius on two adjacent edges.
BUTTERFLY ROOF - A roof assembly which pitches sharply from either side toward the center.
BUTTERING - In glazing, application of sealant or compound to the flat surface of some member before placing the member in position, such as the buttering of a removable stop before fastening the stop in place.
BUTT GLAZING - The installation of glass products where the vertical glass edges are without structural supporting mullions.
BUTTONBACK TILE - Tile that have projections on the bondable side. Many of these projections are round and therefore the term buttonback.
Candela (CD) - The unit of measurement of luminous intensity of a light source in a given direction.
CANDLEPOWER -Luminous intensity expressed in standard candles (candelas).
CANOPY - An overhanging roof.
CANTILEVER - A projecting beam or other structure supported only at one end.
CANT STRIP - A beveled support used at the intersection of the roof deck with vertical surfaces so that bends in the roofing membrane to form base flashings can be made without breaking the felts.
CAP SHEETS - In roofing, one to four plies of felt bonded and top coated with bitumen that is laid over an existing roof as a treatment for defective roofs.
CARBIDE BIT - Tool used to drill holes in brick or block.
CARBON MONOXIDE (CO) - Carbon Monoxide is a colorless, tasteless, odorless, poisonous gas produced as a by product of incomplete combustion of fossil fuel such as natural gas or propane. Appliances using fossil fuel may include a stove, fireplace, furnace, water heater, dryer, etc. California law requires all homes to have CO Alarms, effective July 1, 2011.
CAULK - (v) The application of sealant to a joint, crack or crevice. (n) A compound used for sealing that has minimum joint movement capability; sometimes called low performance sealant.
C/D CIRCUIT - A circuit where electricity flows in one direction only, at a constant rate.
CELLULOSE INSULATION - Ground up newspaper that is treated with a fire retardant.
CEMENT MIXTURES - Rich - 1 part cement, 2 parts sand, 3 parts coarse aggregate. Used for concrete roads and waterproof structures. Standard - 1 part cement, 2 parts sand, 4 parts coarse aggregate. Used for reinforced work floors, roofs, columns, arches, tanks, sewers, conduits, etc. Medium - 1 part cement, 2 1/2 parts sand, 5 parts coarse aggregate. Used for foundations, walls, abutments, piers, etc. Lean - 1 part cement, 3 parts sand, 6 parts coarse aggregate. Used for all mass concrete work, large foundations, backing for stone masonry, etc. Mixtures are always listed Cement to Sand to Aggregate
CEMENT TYPES - Type I Normal - is a general purpose cement suitable for practically all uses in residential construction but should not be used where it will be in contact with high sulfate soils or be subject to excessive temperatures during curing. Type II Moderate is used where precaution against moderate sulfate attack is important, as in drainage structures where sulfate concentrations in groundwater's are higher than normal. Type III High Early Strength is used when high strengths are desired at very early periods, usually a week or less. It is used when it is desirable to remove forms as soon as possible or to put the concrete into service quickly. Type IV Low Heat is a special cement for use where the amount and rate of heat generated during curing must be kept to a minimum. The development of strength is slow and is intended in large masses of concrete such as dams. Type V Sulfate Resisting is a special cement intended for use only in construction exposed to severe sulfate action, such as western states having soils of high alkali content.
CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) - The measure of volume of air. When testing systems, find the CFM by multiplying the face velocity times the free area in square feet. The face velocity is the amount of air passing through the face of an outlet or return. Free area is the total area of the openings in the outlet or inlet through which air can pass.
CHAIR RAIL - A molding that runs horizontally along the wall at about 3 feet from the ground. In storefront, window wall, or curtain wall systems, a chair rail is an aluminum extrusion applied horizontally to the inside of the system 3 feet from the floor to create a barrier in floor-to-ceiling glazing applications.
CHANNEL GLAZING - The installation of glass products into U-shaped glazing channels. The channels may have fixed stops; however, at least one glazing stop on one edge must be removable.
CHECKING - A pattern of surface cracks running in irregular lines. When found in the top pour of an asphalt built-up roof, checking is the preliminary stage of alligatoring.
CHEMICAL INJECTION GROUTING - Leak repair technique usually used below grade in cracks and joints in concrete walls and floors that involves injection of sealant (usually urethane) that reacts with water to form a seal.
CHILL-PLATE - An evaporator that is in the refrigerator compartment which defrosts each time the thermostat cycles off.
CHIMNEY - A structure made of masonry or metal, which surrounds and supports the flues that vent products of combustion from gas, oil, or solid fuel appliances or fireplaces.
CHIMNEY CAPS - Protective coverings for chimneys usually made of stainless steel, galvanized or copper. Most chimney caps have a mesh screening that serves the dual purpose of spark arrestor and barrier against animals. Chimney caps also prevent rain from entering the flue of the chimney.
CHIMNEY CAPS, BACKDRAFT - If chimney caps are incorrectly installed they can be the cause of chimneys not breathing properly and lead to backdrafts which occur when smoke comes back down the chimney and enters the home.
CHIMNEY CLEANING - The process of removing soot, creosote, and debris from a chimney. This should be done on a regular basis in order for the chimney to operate as efficiently and safely as possible.
CHIMNEY CLEANING LOG - A log impregnated with chemicals which when burned in a fireplace is said to loosen creosote and soot in the flue and allow them to fall into the firebox. It is generally believed this is not a safe substitute for a physical cleaning of the flue by a chimney professional. Also known as chimney sweep log and chimney sweep fire log.
CHIMNEY CLEANING TOOLS - Devices, such as brushes, scrapers, and rods used for the purpose of cleaning chimneys.
CHIMNEY DAMPER CAPS - Chimney dampers with caps are mounted to the top of the chimney and are a device which replaces traditional throat dampers and have caps to protect them from weather.
CHIMNEY LINER - The inner portion of the chimney that contains the products of combustion. It can be made of clay tiles or of metal. For flues to be serviceable, they must remain in tact, free from perforations, cracks or damage of any kind that could allow the products of combustion to pass into the living spaces of the home, or the heat from the products of combustion to endanger combustible materials near the flue such as framing, walls, ceilings, insulation, or floors. See also: rigid relining pipe, heavy flex, RectangleFlex, OvalFlex, Dial-A-Flex, AL 29-4C, aluminum relining pipe, stainless steel chimney liners
CHIMNEY RELINING - The process of replacing the inner wall of the chimney flue. Typically removing the old damaged liner, whether clay or metal, and installing a new metal liner appropriate for the appliance being served does this. Usually chimneys are relined with stainless steel of an alloy suitable for the fuel being burned.
CHIMNEY REPAIR - The process of restoring broken or damaged chimneys to service. This can involve tuckpointing loose brickwork, rebuilding or resealing the crown, or relining the chimney when the chimney liner is cracked, perforated, or broken.
CHIMNEY SWEEP - The inner portion of the chimney that contains the products of combustion. It can be made of clay tiles or of metal. For flues to be serviceable, they must remain in tact, free from perforations, cracks or damage of any kind that could allow the products of combustion to pass into the living spaces of the home, or the heat from the products of combustion to endanger combustible materials near the flue such as framing, walls, ceilings, insulation, or floors.
CIRCUIT BREAKER - The Circuit Breaker is found in an electrical service panel and is an electrical device used to protect the electrical wiring from an overloaded (overcurrent) condition when exposed to more electrical current than it is designed to handle. Similar in function to an electrical fuse which will blow when overloaded, the circuit breaker will turn off or "trip" when in an overcurrent condition. However, unlike the fuse which is rendered useless when it blows, the circuit breaker is not damaged when it trips, and can be reset.
CLEAN-OUT DOORS - Devices installed in a masonry chimney to allow access to the interior chimney for the purposes of inspection, routine sweeping and creosote removal, or removal of debris. They can be made of steel, cast aluminum, or clay.
CLEAT - A wedge-shaped piece (usually of metal) which serves as a support or check. A strip fastened across something to give strength or hold something in position.
COATING - A layer of any liquid product spread over a surface for protection.
COBBLESTONE - A dimension stone, large enough for use in paving. A term commonly used to describe paving blocks (usually granite), generally cut to rectangular shapes.
COEFFICIENT OF PERFORMANCE - Coefficient of Performance is the efficiency ratio of the amount of heating or cooling provided by a heating or cooling unit to the energy consumed by the system. The higher the Coefficient of Performance, the more efficient the system. Electrical heating for example has a Coefficient of Performance of 1.0
COFFER - One of a series of recessed panels in a ceiling, usually done in plaster.
COHESIVE FAILURE - Internal splitting of a compound resulting from over-stressing of the compound.
COLD APPLIED Products that can be applied without heating. These are in contrast to products which need to be heated to be applied.
COLD PATCH - In roofing, a roof repair done with cold applied material.
COLLAR - In roofing, a conical metal cap flashing used in conjunction with vent pipes or stacks usually located several inches above the plane of the roof, for the purpose of shedding water away from the base of the vent.
COLLAR BEAM - In carpentry, a tie that keeps the roof from spreading. Connects similar rafters on opposite sides of roof.
COBBLESTONE - A dimension stone, large enough for use in paving. A term commonly used to describe paving blocks (usually granite), generally cut to rectangular shapes.
COMPATIBLE - Two or more substances which can be mixed or blended without separating, reacting, or affecting either material adversely.
COMPONENT - Any one part of an assembly associated with construction.
COMPOSITE BOARD - An insulation board which has two different insulation types laminated together in 2 or 3 layers.
COMPOSITION TILE - A hard tile surfacing unit made from a mixture of chemicals. The finished surface can be the mixture of chemicals or can be marble chips to create a terrazzo finish. The unit is made hard by the set of the chemicals and the product is not fired as in the manufacture of ceramic tile.
COMPOST - Rich, nutrient filled soil formed by decaying organic matter. Used as an additive to gardens and beds and when planting trees and shrubs to enrich pre-existing soil.
COMPOUND - A chemical formulation of ingredients used to produce a caulking, elastomeric joint sealant, etc.
COMPRESSION GASKET - A gasket designed to function under compression.
COMPRESSOR - An electro-mechanical device used to circulate refrigerant through a refrigeration system for the purpose of transferring heat.
CONDENSATION - The appearance of moisture (water vapor) on the surface of an object caused by warm moist air coming into contact with a colder object.
CONDUCTOR - (1) In roofing, a pipe for conveying rain water from the roof gutter to a drain, or from a roof drain to the storm drain; also called a leader, downspout, or downpipe. (2) In electrical contracting, a wire through which a current of electricity flows, better known as an electric wire.
CONDUCTION The flow of heat from one part of a substance to another part. A piece of iron with one end placed in a fire will soon become warm from end to end, from the transfer of heat by the actual collision of the air molecules.
CONDUIT A tube for protecting electric wires.
CONTROL JOINT A control joint controls or accommodates movement in the surface component of a roof.
CONVECTION - A method of transferring heat by the actual movement of heated molecules, usually by a freestanding unit such as a furnace.
COPPER PIPE TYPES - Type K has the heaviest or thickest wall and is generally used underground. It has a green stripe. (Kelly Green). Type L has a medium wall thickness and is most commonly used for water service and for general interior water piping. It has a blue stripe (Lavender Blue). Type M has a thin wall and many codes permit its use in general water piping installation. It has a red stripe. (Mad Red)
CORNICE - A horizontal projecting course on the exterior of a building, usually at the base of the parapet.
CORROSION - The deterioration of metal by chemical or electrochemical reaction resulting from exposure to weathering, moisture, chemicals or other agents or media.
CORRUGATED - Folded or shaped into parallel ridges or furrows so as to form a symmetrically wavy surface.
COST BREAKDOWN - A breakdowns of all the anticipated costs on a construction or renovation project.
COUPLING - In plumbing, a short collar with only inside threads at each end, for receiving the ends of two pipes which are to be fitted and joined together. A right/left coupling is one used to join 2 gas pipes in limited space.
COURSE - A single layer of brick or stone or other building material.
COVENANTS - Rules usually developed by a builder or developer regarding the physical appearance of buildings in a particular geographic area. Typical covenants address building height, appropriate fencing and landscaping, and the type of exterior material (stucco, brick, stone, siding, etc) that may be used.
CPVC OR CPVC (CHLORINATED POLY VINYL CHLORIDE) PIPING Type of plastic piping used for domestic water supply lines. CPVC stands for Chlorinated Poly Vinyl Chloride and is a an inexpensive rigid plastic that is designed to withstand high pressure and temperature. CPVC is used for hot and cold water supply piping.
CRAWL SPACE - An open area between the floor of a building and the ground.
CRAZING - A series of hairline cracks in the surface of weathered materials, having a web-like appearance. Also, hairline cracks in pre-finished metals caused by bending or forming. (see brake metal)
CUPOLA - A small monitor or dome at the peak of a pitched roof.
CURB - A short wall or masonry built above the level of the roof that provides a means of flashing the deck equipment.
CURING In concrete application, the process in which mortar and concrete harden. The length of time is dependent upon the type of cement, mix proportion, required strength, size and shape of the concrete section, weather and future exposure conditions. The period may be 3 weeks or longer for lean concrete mixtures used in structures such as dams or it may be only a few days for richer mixes. Favorable curing temperatures range from 50 to 70 degrees F. Design strength is achieved in 28 days.
CURING AGENT One part of a multi-part sealant which, when added to the base, will cause the base to change its physical state by chemical reaction between the two parts.
CURTAIN WALL A thin wall, supported by the structural steel or concrete frame of the building independent of the wall below. Also a metal (most often aluminum) framing system on the face of a building containing vision glass panels and spandrel panels made of glass, aluminum, or other material.
CUTBACK In roofing, basic asphalt or tar which has been "cut back" with solvents and oils so that the material become fluid.
CUT OFF - A piece of roofing membrane consisting of one or more narrow plies of felt usually moped in hot to seal the edge of insulation at the end of a day's work.
CYCLE-DEFROST REFRIGERATOR - A style of refrigeration appliance where a portion of the evaporator, usually the chill-plate, defrosts whenever the thermostat switches off.
DAMPER - Valve for controlling airflow. When ordering registers, make sure each supply outlet has a damper so the air flow can be adjusted and turned off. Dampers maybe either manually or automatically operated. Automatic dampers are required for exhaust air ducts.
DAMPER CABLE - That part of a top-sealing damper that runs from the damper down the chimney to the firebox. It has a handle on the firebox end for the purpose of opening and closing the damper.
DAMPPROOFING - A process used on concrete, masonry or stone surfaces to repel water, the main purpose of which is to prevent the coated surface from absorbing rain water while still permitting moisture vapor to escape from the structure. (Moisture vapor readily penetrates coatings of this type.) "Damp-proofing" generally applies to surfaces above grade; "waterproofing" generally applies to surfaces below grade.
DARBY - A flat tool used to smooth concrete flatwork immediately after screeding. See Bullfloating
DEAD LOAD - The constant, design-weight (of the roof) and any permanent fixtures attached above or below.
TREES AND SHRUBS - Trees and shrubs that shed their
leaves/foliage in the fall.
DECK - An elevated platform. "Deck" is also commonly used to refer to the above-ground floors in multi-level parking garage.
DECKING - The construction of decks out of wood or composite materials to create a recreational area.
DIELECTRIC CONSTANT - Tools like electronic stud sensors use the property of dielectric constants to measure the relative density of a wall and identify when that density changes, as when the sensor passes over a wood stud. Dielectrics are things that do not conduct electricity well, if at all. Dry air is a great example of a dielectric. A wall is another. Materials have different dielectric constants at room temperature. For example, air is about 1, paper is 3, rubber is 7. The dielectric constant is the ratio of the electrical conductivity of a dielectric material to free space.
DISTORTION Alteration of viewed images caused by variations in glass flatness or inhomogeneous portions within the glass. An inherent characteristic of heat-treated glass.
DOOR SEAL - A resilient or flexible material used between mating surfaces to provide a leak-proof seal. May also be called a DOOR GASKET.
DORMER - The house-like structure which projects from a sloping roof.
DOUBLE-GLAZING In general, any use of two lites of glass, separated by an air space, within an opening, to improve insulation against heat transfer and/or sound transmission. In insulating glass units the air between the glass sheets is thoroughly dried and the space is sealed, eliminating possible condensation and providing superior insulating properties.
DOUBLE PLATE - when two layers of 2 x 4's are placed on top of studs in framing a wall.
DOUBLE STRENGTH In float glass, approximately 1/8" (3 mm.) thick.
DOUBLE TEE - Refers usually to a precast roof deck panel poured with two fins in its underside to impart flexural rigidity.
DOWNSPOUT - The metal pipe used to drain water from a roof.
DRAIN PAN - A pan-shaped panel used to collect condensate from the evaporator during a defrost cycle. It is usually located above a condenser coil or atop the compressor. May also be called CONDENSATE PAN.
DRIP EDGE - A device designed to prevent water from running back or under an overhang.
DRIP IRRIGATION - A low pressure irrigation system in which nozzles are placed at the base of plants and water is applied very slowly (hence "drip" irrigation!). A highly efficient watering system both in terms of water and energy use.
DRIPPAGE - Bitumen material that drips through roof deck joints, or over the edge of a roof deck.
"DROPPING" A STRINGER In carpentry, means cutting short on the bottom of a stairs, to allow for thickness of the first tread.
DRY GLAZING Also called compression glazing, a term used to describe various means of sealing monolithic and insulating glass in the supporting framing system with synthetic rubber and other elastomeric gasket materials.
DRY IN - To make a building waterproof.
DRY SEAL Accomplishment of weather seal between glass and sash by use of strips or gaskets of Neoprene, EPDM, silicone or other flexible material. A dry seal may not be completely watertight.
DRYWALL - Sheetrock (gypsum board) that covers the framing and taping, coating, and finishing to make the interior walls and ceilings of a building. Drywall is also used as a verb to refer to installation process.
DRYWALL NAIL - Nails used for hanging regular drywall that is to be taped and finished later must have adequate holding power and a head design that does not cut the face paper. They must also be of the proper depth to provide exactly 1 inch penetration into the framing member. Nails commonly used are chemically-etched and are designed with a cupped head.
DUCT - A cylindrical or rectangular "tube" used to move air either from exhaust or intake. The installation is referred to as "duct work".
EAVE - The part of a roof which projects out from the side wall, or the lower edge of the part of a roof that overhangs a wall.
EDGE CLEARANCE Nominal spacing between the edge of the glass product and the bottom of the glazing pocket (channel).
EDGE METAL - A term relating to brake or extruded metal around the perimeter of a roof.
EDGING - The use of strong lines of division to accentuate the separation of one area from another in a landscape.
EER - Energy Efficiency Ratio; is figured by dividing BTU hours by watts.
EFFLORESCENCE - The process by which water leeches soluble salts out of concrete or mortar and deposits them on the surface. Also used as the name for these deposits.
EIFS Exterior Insulating Finish System; exterior wall cladding system consisting primarily of polystyrene foam board with a textured acrylic finish that resembles plaster or stucco.
ELECTRICAL FIREPLACES - A non-vented fireplace run on electricity that creates a visual impression similar to a woodburning fireplace. These usually emit little or no heat and are mostly decorative in purpose and design.
ELECTRICAL PANEL The electrical panel is a metal electrical service box that accepts the main power to the home and distributes electrical current to the various circuits within the home. The distribution of power to the various circuits are protected from over-current by the use of circuit breakers or fuses.
ELEVATION A side of a building.
EMT Electrical Metallic Tubing- This electrical pipe, also called thin-wall conduit, may be used for both concealed and exposed areas. It is the most common type of raceway used in single family and low rise residential and commercial buildings.
EMULSION - In roofing, a coating consisting of asphalt and fillers suspended in water.
END DAMS Internal flashing (dam) that prevents water from moving laterally within a curtain wall or window wall system.
ENERGY SAVER SWITCH - REFRIGERATOR-A switch that when activated opens a circuit to an electric cabinet perimeter heater, to turn it off, to save electricity. AIR CONDITIONER-A switch that when activated allows the thermostat to cycle the fan motor on and off at the same time as it cycles the compressor.
ESPALIER - A series of fruit trees trained on a framework of lines and stakes to form a hedge.
EVAPORATOR - That part of the refrigeration system in which the refrigerant evaporates, absorbing heat from the surrounding area. Sometime mistakenly thought to be that point where the drain pan evaporates the condensate water.
EVERGREEN - Plants that remain green throughout the year.
EXCAVATE - Dig the basement and or all areas that will need footings/foundations below ground.
EXPANSION COEFFICIENT - The amount that a specific material will vary in any one dimension with a change of temperature.
EXPANSION JOINT - A device used to permit a structure to expand or contract without breakage.
FAวADE - The front of a building. Frequently, in architectural terms an artificial or decorative effort.
FACE BRICK- Brick made especially for exterior use with special consideration of color, texture and size, and used as a facing on a building.
FACE GLAZING A system having a triangular bead of compound applied with a putty knife, after bedding, setting, and clipping the glazing infill in place on a rabetted sash. .
FASCIA - Any cover board or framed metal assembly at the edge or eaves of a flat, sloping, or overhanging roof which is placed in a vertical position to protect the edge of the roof assembly.
FASTENERS - A general term covering a wide variety of screws and nails which may be used for mechanically securing various components of a building.
FELT - A very general term used to describe composition of roofing ply sheets, consisting of a mat of organic or inorganic fibers unsaturated, impregnated with asphalt or coal tar pitch, or impregnated and coated with asphalt.
FERROUS - Refers to objects made of or partially made of iron, such as ferrous pipe.
FILLET BEAD Caulking or sealant placed in such a manner that it forms an angle between the materials being caulked.
FILTER - A device containing a porous material or a material itself, through which a liquid or gas is passed in order to separate suspended particulate matter. Common filter materials are activated charcoal, polypropylene and HEPA (high efficiency particulate air [filter]).
FILTER DRYER - A device containing screens and absorbent material through which refrigerant gas is passed in order to remove moisture that would be detrimental to other components and the functioning of a refrigeration system.
FINISH In hardware, metal fastenings on cabinets which are usually exposed such as hinges and locks.
FINISH CARPENTRY - The hanging of all interior doors, installation of door molding, base molding, chair rail, built in shelves, etc.
FINISH COAT The last coat applied in plastering intended as a base for further decorating or as a final decorative surface. Finish coat usually consists of calcified gypsum, lime and sometimes an aggregate. Some may require the addition of lime or sand on the job. The three basic methods of applying it are (1) trowel (2) flat and (3) spray.
FINISH GRADE - Any surface which has been cut to or built to the elevation indicated for that point. Surface elevation of lawn, driveway or other improved surfaces after completion of grading operations.
FIREBOX-The location in a fireplace where the fire is built and contained. The firebox is constructed on the inside of a special kind of brick manufactured for its refractory qualities and its ability to withstand high temperatures.
FIREPLACE - A device of either metal or masonry construction open on at least one side, designed to contain a fire. These can be for outdoor use such as cooking and barbeque, or for indoor use for ambiance and some heat.
FIREPLACE DOORS - Glass doors containing combustion air vents usually at the bottom used to seal the opening of a fireplace.
FIREPLACE MANTELS - That part of a hearth setting that protrudes from the surface above the opening of the fireplace and is usually used as a shelf. If made of combustible material, it must be far enough above the fireplace opening to meet NFPA standards.
FIREPLACE OPENING - That portion of the fireplace open to the surrounding area.
FIREPLACE SMOKE CHAMBER - That portion of the fireplace located above the firebox and at the base of the chimney flue where smoke gathers before it is exhausted up and out of the chimney.
FLASHING - Weatherproof material installed between roof sheathing (or wall sheathing) and the finish materials to help keep moisture away from the sheathing.
FLASHING BASE - The upturned edge of the watertight membrane formed at a roof termination point by the extension of the felts vertically over the cant strip and up the wall for a varying distance where they are secured with mechanical fasteners.
FLASHING, COUNTER - The formed metal secured to a wall, curb, or roof top unit to cover and protect the upper edge of a base flashing and its associated fasteners.
FLASHING, STEP - Individual small pieces of metal flashing material used to flash around chimneys, dormers, and such projections along the slope of a roof. The individual pieces are overlapped and stepped up the vertical surface.
FLASH POINT - The critical temperature at which a material will ignite.
FLASHING, THRU-WALL - Flashing extended completely through a masonry wall. Designed and applied in combination with counter-flashings, to prevent water which may enter the wall above from proceeding downward in the wall or into the roof deck or roofing system.
FLAT GLASS A general term that describes float glass, sheet, glass, plate glass, and rolled glass.
FLAT SEAM - A seam at the junction of sheet metal roof components that has been bent at the plane of the roof.
FLOAT GLASS Glass formed on a bath of molten tin. The surface in contact with the tin is known as the tin surface or tin side. The top surface is known as the atmosphere surface or air side.
FLOATING FLOOR A Floating Floor is an engineered floor that is not mechanically or adhesively fastened to the subfloor and can be installed over existing floors such as concrete, vinyl, linoleum, wood and some low pile carpets. Floating floors can be made from wood, cork, linoleum or plastic laminate.
FLUSH GLAZING (Pocket Glazing) The setting of a lite of glass or panel into a four-sided sash or frame opening containing a recessed "U" shaped channel without removable stops on three sides of the sash or frame and one channel with a removable stop along the fourth side.
FOOTINGS - Wide pours of cement reinforced with re-bar (reinforcing bar) that support foundation walls, pillars, or posts. Footings are part of the foundation and are often poured before the foundation walls.
FREON - Trade name for a family of synthetic chemical refrigerants manufactured by DuPont. Sometime mistakenly called FreeZone.
FROST-FREE REFRIGERATOR- A type of appliance that automatically defrosts by means of a timing device.
FROST LINE - The layer of soil that freezes during winter season.
FULLY ADHERED - A completely attached (adhered) roof membrane.
FULLY TEMPERED GLASS Flat or bent glass that has been heat-treated to a high surface and/or edge compression to meet the requirements of ASTM C 1048, kind FT. Fully tempered glass, if broken, will fracture into many small pieces (dice) which are more or less cubical. Fully tempered glass is approximately four times stronger than annealed glass of the same thickness when exposed to uniform static pressure loads.
FURNACE: A Furnace is a piece of equipment used in the home to heat outside air and distribute it through ductwork throughout the home. A furnace may use natural gas, propane, oil or electricity as its fuel source in heating the air. The furnace should be maintained every year. The efficiency of a furnace is measured in a rating called AFUE. The temperature and intervals of operation for the furnace are controlled by a remote thermostat in the home. A furnace may also have a humidifier attached to it that adds water vapor to heated air exiting the furnace.
FUSE The fuse is an overcurrent protection device that has a screw base and a metal conductor strip that is designed to fail by melting and breaking the circuit when the amperage is exceeded in the electrical circuit.
FUSE BOX See ELECTRICAL PANEL
GABLE - The end of a building as distinguished from the front or rear side. The triangular end of an exterior wall from the level of the eaves to the ridge of a double-sloped roof.
GAMBREL ROOF - A type of roof which has its slope broken by an obtuse angle, so that the lower slope is steeper than the upper slope. A double sloped roof having two pitches.
GALVANIZE - To coat a metal with zinc by dipping it in molten zinc after cleaning.
GARBABE DISPOSAL - The workhorse of the modern kitchen, the Garbage Disposal is a kitchen appliance used to grind and virtually liquefy waste food before allowing the food to flow through the waste drains into the sewage system. The disposal unit is located under the sink and is connected to the waste line and may also be connected to the dishwasher.
GAS FIREPLACE LOGS - Artificial logs made of ceramic or fiber used in conjunction with a burner fueled by natural or liquid propane gas to simulate woodburning. These can be either vented or vent free.
GAS STOVES - Heating or cooking appliances that use natural gas or liquid propane as their fuel.
GASKETS pre-formed shapes, such as strips, grommets, etc., of rubber or rubber-like composition, used to fill and seal a joint or opening either alone or in conjunction with a supplemental application of a sealant.
GAUGE - The thickness of sheet metal and wire, etc.
GENERAL CONTRACTOR - A contractor responsible for all facets of construction of a building or renovation.
GFI or GFCI - Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters - Special devices capable of opening a circuit when even a small amount of current is flowing through the grounding system.
GIRDER - A main beam upon which floor joists rest, usually made of steel or wood.
GLASS A hard, brittle substance, usually transparent, made by fusing silicates under high temperatures with soda, lime, etc.
GLAZE COAT In roofing, a light, uniform mopping of bitumen on exposed felts to protect them from the weather, pending completion of the job.
GLAZING (n) A generic term used to describe an infill material such as glass, panels, etc. (v) the process of installing an infill material into a prepared opening in windows, door panels, partitions, etc.
GLAZING BEAD In glazing, a strip surrounding the edge of the glass in a window or door which holds the glass in place.
GLAZING CHANNEL In glazing, a three-sided, U-shaped sash detail into which a glass product is installed and retained.
GPM Acronym standing for "Gallons Per Minute" typically used to measure fluid flow (such as water) or pump capacity.
GRADE MW - Moderate Weather grade of brick for moderate resistance to freezing used, for example, in planters.
GRADE NW - No Weather brick intended for use as a back-up or interior masonry.
GRADE SW - Severe Weather grade of brick intended for use where high resistance to freezing is desired.
GRANULES - The mineral particles of a graded size which are embedded in the asphalt coating of shingles and roofing.
GRAVEL - Loose fragments of rock used for surfacing built-up roofs, in sizes varying from 1/8" to 1 3/4".
GROUND COVER - Ground covers are plants that grow horizontal to the ground. Ground cover is often the best solution for shady and high traffic areas.
GROUND SYSTEM - The connection of current-carrying neutral wire to the grounding terminal in the main switch which in turn is connected to a water pipe. The neutral wire is called the ground wire.
GROUNDING ROD - Rod used to ground an electrical panel.
GROUT OR GROUTING - A cement mortar mixture commonly used to fill joints and cavities of masonry.
GUTTER - Metal trough at the eaves of a roof to carry rain water from the roof to the downspout.
GUTTER STRAP - Metal bands used to support the gutter.
GUY WIRE - A strong steel wire or cable strung from an anchor on the roof to any tall slender projection for the purpose of support.
GYPSUM - See Drywall
HARDWARE - Metal accessories such as door knobs, towel bars, toilet paper holders, etc.
HARDSCAPE - Sidewalks, patios and walkways.
HATCH - An opening in a deck; floor or roof. The usual purpose is to provide access from inside the building.
HAWK - A flat wood or metal tool 10 inches to 14 inches square with a handle used by plasterers to carry plaster mortar or mud.
HEADER - Framing members over windows, doors, or other openings.
HEARTH -The area directly in front of the opening of the fireplace usually constructed of masonry or other heat resistant material for the purpose of shielding the floor from excessive heat.
HEAT STRENGTHENED GLASS Flat or bent glass that has been heat-treated to a specific surface and/or edge compression range to meet the requirements of ASTM C 1048, kind HS. Heat-strengthened glass is approximately two times as strong as annealed glass of the same thickness when exposed to uniform static pressure loads. Heat-strengthened glass is not considered safety glass and will not completely dice as will fully tempered glass.
HEAVY FLEX - Interlocked flexible stainless steel relining pipe constructed from stainless steel of at least .007" thickness. Its weight and thick outer walls make it more impervious to damage and therefore easier to clean and easier to install in most masonry chimneys.
HERBACEOUS - Plants that have soft rather than woody tissue.
HERMETIC SEAL Vacuum seal (between panes of a double-paned window i.e. insulated glass unit or IGU). Failure of a hermetic seal causes permanent fogging between the panels of the IGU.
HIGH EARLY CEMENT - A portland cement sold as Type III sets up to its full strength faster than other types.
HIGH-EFFICIENCY FURNACE - A heating device that returns to the heating environment more than 90% of the heat it generates. Such a device has, therefore, relatively low flue gas temperatures. The lower flue gas temperatures result in more moisture that condenses on the interior flue walls. This situation significantly increases the opportunity for corrosion within the flue.
HIP ROOF - A roof which rises by inclining planes from all four sides of a building.
HONEYCOMB (1) Areas in a foundation wall where the aggregate (gravel) is visible. Honeycombs can be usually be remedied by applying a thin layer of grout or other cement product over the affected area. (2) Method by which concrete is poured and not puddled or vibrated, allowing the edges to have voids or holes after the forms are removed.
HUB In plumbing, the enlarged end of a pipe which is made to provide a connection into which the end of the joining pipe will fit.
HUMIDIFIER A Humidifier is a piece of HVAC equipment (usually fixed to the furnace) that adds water vapor to heated air exiting the furnace. It is used primarily in the winter heating season when humidity levels are low in a house. Newer tightly constructed homes do not have as much a need for a humidifier as humidity levels are more easily maintained in newer homes having less air infiltration. Humidifiers may also be stand alone units for single rooms.
HVAC - Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning.
ICE DAM - Ice dams form when melting snow on a roof runs off and refreezes at the edge of a roof. This condition occurs when the snow is melted by a warm roof, creating water running between the snow and the warm roof surface, then freezing and turning to ice when it gets past the exterior wall and hits a cold unheated roof edge or gutter. As the bottom of the snow pack continues to melt, water continues to flow down the roof surface until it hits the ice, thereby creating a larger and larger ice dam. If this situation continues, the ice can work its way back up the roof edge, get under shingles, melt and leak into the exterior wall, home or attic. Damage from ice dams may not be readily apparent. As the ice melts and possibly drips into the wall or attic, insulation can be become wet and lose its ability to perform. In some cases if the right temperature and humidity exist, mold may begin to grow in the attic. Often paint will peel or blister weeks or months after the ice dam has melted as moisture from the leak in the wall or ceiling cavities tries to leave and pushes outward.
IGNITOR - A solid state semiconductor, usually made of Carborundum that produces heat when a current is applied. Typically used to ignite natural gas or propane in heating appliances such as ranges, dryers and water heaters.
INFILTRATION- The process by which air leaks into a building. In either case, heat loss results.
INFINITE HEAT SWITCH - A switch that controls the amount of heat generated by an electric range surface burner. It accomplishes this by quickly cycling the voltage on and off to achieve an intermediate range (e.g. at medium it may supply 100% voltage for only 50% of the time it is switched on). It does not act like a rheostat and reduce the voltage, to lessen the heat generated, as sometime mistakenly thought.
INSIDE DRAIN In roofing, a drain positioned on a roof at some location other than the perimeter. It drains surface water inside the building through closed pipes to a drainage system.
INSULATING GLASS UNIT Two or more lites of glass spaced apart and hermetically sealed to form a single-glazed unit with an air space between each lite. (Commonly called IG units.)
INSULATION (1) Generally, any material which slows down or retards the flow or transfer of heat. Building insulation types are classified according to form as loose fill, flexible, rigid, reflective, and foamed-in-place. All types are rated according to their ability to resist heat flow (R-Value). (2) In electrical contracting, rubber, thermoplastic, or asbestos wire covering. The thickness of insulation varies with wire size and type of material, application or other code limitations.
INSULATION FASTENERS - Any of several specialized mechanical fasteners designed to hold insulation down to a steel or a nailable deck.
INTERIOR GLAZED Glazing infills set from the interior of the building.
INTERLAYER In glazing, any material used to bond two lites of glass and/or plastic together to form a laminate.
INTERPLY - Between two layers of roofing felts that have been laminated together.
IRMA - Insulated (or Inverted) Roof Membrane Assembly. In this system the roof membrane is laid directly on the roof deck, covered with extruded foam insulation and ballasted with stone, minimum of 1000 lbs. per square.
JAMB - The frame in which a door or window sits.
JOINT The space or opening between two or more adjoining surfaces.
JOIST - The horizontal framing members that support the floors.
JUNCTION BOX - A junction box is an electrical box used to run multiple conductors in two or more directions to bring power to various electrical devices and is installed so it is always accessible. Because square electrical boxes maximize cubic inch volume, most junction boxes are square.
KICK HOLE - A defect frequently found in perimeter flashings arising from being stepped on or kicked. A small fracture of the base flashing in the area of the cant.
KNIFE CONSISTENCY Compound formulated in a degree of firmness suitable for application with a putty knife such as used for face glazing and other sealant applications.
KRAFT - A heavy, water resistant paper.
KYNAR COATING Architectural coating that is UV stable and suitable for exterior use on aluminum and other metal surfaces.
KWH - KWH is an acronym for Kilowatt Hour. It is a unit of measure equal to 1,000 watts of power expended for one hour. Your home electrical bill is measured in Kilowatt Hours. One expended KWH is equal to 3,412 BTU's.
LAMINATED GLASS Two or more lites of glass permanently bonded together with one or more inter-layers.
LAP - To extend one material partially over another; the distance so extended.
LEAN-TO-ROOF - the sloping roof of a building addition having its rafters or supports pitched against and supported by the adjoining wall of a building.
LEVELING ROD - A rod with graduated marks for measuring heights or vertical distances between given points and the line of sight of a leveling instrument. They are longer than a yardstick and are held by a surveyor in a vertical position.
LINTEL - or header - A horizontal piece of wood or steel over an opening such as a window or door. to support the walls immediately above the opening. Lintels can also be steel or stone.
LIQUID-APPLIED MEMBRANE - Generally applied to cast-in-place concrete surfaces in one or more coats to provide fully-adhered waterproof membranes which conform to all contours.
LIQUIDATED DAMAGES A monetary amount agreed upon by two parties to a contract prior to performance under the contract that specifies what a either party owes the other if that party defaults under the contract.
LITE Another term for a pane of glass. Sometimes spelled "light" in industry literature but spelled "lite" in this text to avoid confusion with light as in "visible light."
LIVE LOAD Loads produced by use and occupancy of the building or other structure and do not include construction or environmental loads such as wind load, snow load, ice load, rain load, seismic load, or dead load.
LOOSE LAID In roofing, a membrane "laid loosely", i.e., not adhered, over a roof deck or Burm.
LOW E - Low-Emissivity (low-e) coating is a special glass coating microscopically thin and essentially invisible to the naked eye. The coating is made of metal or metallic oxide layers deposited on a window glazing surface to reduce the U-factor and reduce solar heat gain.
LOW FLOW SHOWERHEAD - A low flow shower head is a water saving shower head typically rated at 2.5 gallons per minute (GPM) or less. There are two types of low flow shower heads. The most common is the aerating shower head which mixes air with the water. The other is a non-aerating shower head which does not introduce air into the water stream. Shower usage accounts for almost 25% of American water usage by individuals. Low flow shower heads provide a quality shower with good water pressure while reducing water consumption.
LUMEN - The unit of measurement for the amount of light emitted by a lamp. One lumen per square foot is one footcandle.
MANSARD ROOF - A roof which rises by inclined planes from all four sides of a building. The sloping roofs on all four sides have two pitches, the lower pitch usually very steep and the upper pitch less steep.
MEMBRANE - A generic term relating to a variety of sheet goods used for certain built-up roofing repairs and application.
METAL EDGE - Brake metal or metal extrusions which are secured at the perimeter of the roof to form a weather-tight seal.
MEXICAN PAVER TILE - Terra cotta-like tile, used mainly for floors, and handmade. These tiles vary in color, texture and appearance, from tile to tile and within each tile. They are available in squares up to 12 inches, and in various shapes. These tiles are coated with various types of sealers because of their soft adsorptive characteristics. The coatings provide a wearing surface on the pavers which would otherwise powder away under wear.
MICROWAVE - A high-frequency electromagnetic radio wave, in the spectrum between infrared light and short-wave radio wavelengths.
MICROWAVE OVEN - An appliance that uses microwaves (radio waves in the microwave spectrum) to create friction at the molecular level, to generate heat in food.
MIGRATION Spreading or creeping of a constituent of a compound onto/into adjacent surfaces. See bleeding..
MOLDING Finish wood such as door and window trim.
MORTAR TYPES - Type M is suitable for general use and is recommended specifically for masonry below grade and in contact with earth, such as foundations, retaining walls and walks. Type M is the strongest type. Type S is suitable for general use and is recommended where high resistance to lateral forces is required. Type N is suitable for general use in exposed masonry above grade and is recommended specifically for exterior walls subject to severe exposures. Type 0 is recommended for load-bearing walls of solid units where the compressive stresses do not exceed 100 lbs. per square inch and the masonry wall not be subjected to freezing and thawing in the presence of excessive moisture.
MULCH - Mulch is a layer of either in-organic or organic material used to control weeds and increase water retention.
MULLION A horizontal or vertical member that supports and holds such items as panels, glass, sash, or sections of a curtain wall
MULLION HEATER - An electric heater mounted inside the mullion to prevent moisture from forming in humid weather..
MULTI-FLUE CHIMNEY CAPS - A chimney cap designed to attach to the crown of a chimney and cover more than one flue on the same chimney.
MUNTINS Horizontal or vertical bars that divide the sash frame into smaller lites of glass. Muntins are smaller in dimensions and weight than mullions.
NAILER - A piece of lumber secured to non-nailable decks and walls by bolts or other means, which provides a suitable backing onto which roof components may be mechanically fastened.
NOZZLE The tubular tip of a caulking gun through which the compound is extruded.
O.C. - On Center. A measurement term meaning a certain distance between like materials. Studs placed at 16" O.C. will be laid out so that there is 16" from the center of one stud to the center of the next.
OEM - An abbreviation for Original Equipment Manufacturer. Usually used to differentiate replacement parts supplied by the appliance manufacturer and those of after market or universal replacement parts (e.g. FSPฎ is used to denote genuine Whirlpool OEM replacement parts).
OFFSET- That portion of a chimney located between two completely vertical portions that bends away from vertical for architectural reasons. This bend can be as much 45 degrees. Offsets in chimney are often difficult to negotiate when relining a chimney with stainless steel relining pipe. That's why flexible relining pipe is so often used in the relining process.
OHMMETER In electrical contracting, a device to measure the resistance across a load. They are never used on a live circuit. It is used to track down broken wires.
OVERCURRENT - Overcurrent is a condition in an electrical circuit when the current (amperage) in the circuit exceeds the rated amperage capacity of that circuit or of the connected equipment on that circuit. Overcurrent may be caused by a short circuit, loose connection, ground fault or surge power draw when a motor starts up.
OVERHANG - That part of the roof structure which extends horizontally beyond the vertical plane of the exterior walls of a building.
OVERLOAD PROTECTOR - An electric switch that senses temperature or current (amperage) to stop operation of a unit if a dangerous condition arises.
PARAPET WALL - A low wall around the perimeter of a roof deck.
PARGE COAT - A thin application of plaster for coating a wall.
PARTERRE - A flower garden with beds and paths designed to form a pattern, the outdoor and botanical equivalent to an indoor Persian carpet; literally "on the ground" in French.
PATTERNED GLASS On type of rolled glass having a pattern impressed on one or both sides. Used extensively for light control, bath enclosures and decorative glazing. Sometimes call "rolled," "figured," or "obscure" glass.
PAVER STONES - Usually pre-cast concrete slabs used to create a traffic surface.
PERENNIAL - Any flowering plant that returns year after year, as opposed to annuals which die after one season.
PEX - PEX is a type of domestic water supply and hydronic (hot water) piping used in radiant heat applications. PEX is made of cross-linked HDPE (high density polyethylene) polymer and has been in use since the 1970s. PEX is strong and flexible, withstanding temperatures from below 32 degrees to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. PEX is corrosion resistant and unlike copper pipe, will not develop pinholes. Because PEX uses fewer connections and fittings it is easier and faster to install. The reduced number of required fittings in a PEX system also reduces the possibility of leaks. PEX piping is colored, typically blue (cold water) or red (hot water) or white flexible plastic pipe. It is cut and fit with specialized fittings and tools.
PLATE LINE - The top horizontal line of a building wall upon which the roof rests.
PLOT PLAN - A birds eye view showing how a building sits on the building lot, typically showing setbacks (how far the building must sit from the road), easements, rights of way, and drainage.
PLYWOOD -Wooden panels formed by gluing thin sheets of wood together, with the grain of adjacent layers arranged at right angles.
POCKET (CHANNEL) A three-sided, U-shaped opening in a sash or frame to receive glazing infill. Contrasted to a rabbet, which is a two-sided, L-shaped sections as with face glazed window sash.
POINTING - The process where joints between masonry units, brick, etc., are filled with mortar.
PONDING - A condition where water stands on a roof for prolonged periods due to poor drainage and/or deflection of the deck.
POP OUT - See stucco popout
POROSITY - The density of substance and its capacity to pass liquids.
PORTLAND CEMENT - A mixture of certain minerals which when mixed with water form a gray colored paste and cure into a very hard mass.
POST & BEAM CONSTRUCTION - Most common type of wall framing, using posts which carry horizontal beams on which joists are supported. It allows for fewer bearing partitions, & less material.
POWER - The energy rate, usually measured in watts. Power equals voltage times amps. or W = E x 1. The heavier the flow of amps at a given supply, the higher the rate at which energy is being supplied and used.
PRESSURE TREATED LUMBER - Lumber that is treated in such a way that the sealer is forced into the pores of the wood.
PRIMER - A material of relatively thin consistency applied to a surface for the purpose of creating a more secure bonding surface and to form a barrier to prevent migration of components.
PRIMING Sealing of a porous surface so that compounds will not stain, lose elasticity, shrink excessively, etc. because of loss of oil or vehicle into the surround.
PROJECTION In roofing, any object or equipment which pierces the roof membrane.
PRUNING - The process of controlling the growth of a plant or tree to give it a pleasing shape, to maintain its health, encourage growth and optimize space.
PURLINS - A horizontal structural member spanning between beams or trusses to support a roof deck. In slope glazing, purlins are the horizontal framing members.
PVC - PVC stands Poly Vinyl Chloride and is a white rigid plastic used in sanitary waste lines, vent pipes and drain traps for residential and commercial applications. It is a strong, chemical resistant rigid pipe that is heat resistant and easily cut and fit and is often used to repair sections of broken cast iron waste pipe. PVC pipe is easily cut with a hacksaw or tubing cutter. The sections are joined together mechanically using plastic pressure fittings for later removal or permanently joined using special chemical solvent. PVC piping looks similar but is different than CPVC piping (Chlorinated Poly Vinyl Chloride) which is used for water supply.
RADIATION - Any heated surface loses heat to cooler surrounding space or surfaces through radiation. The earth receives its heat from the sun by radiation. The heat rays are turned into heat as they strike an object which will absorb some or all of the heat transmitted.
RADIATOR - A heating unit which is supplied heat through a hot water system.
RAFTER A sloping roof member that supports the roof covering which extends from the ridge or the hip of the roof to the eaves. A common rafter is one which runs square with the plate and extends to the ridge. A hip rafter extends from the outside angle of the plate towards the apex of the roof. They are 2" deeper or wider than common rafters. A valley rafter extends from an inside angle of the plates toward the ridge of the house.
RAGGLE BLOCK - A specially designed masonry block having a slot or opening into which the top edge of the roof flashing is inserted and anchored.
RAIL- The top and bottom frame members of a door or window (not the jamb).
RAKE - The angle of slope of a roof rafter, or the inclined portion of a cornice.
RE-BAR - Reinforcing bar used to increase the tensile strength of concrete.
REFLECTIVE GLASS Glass with a metallic coating to reduce solar heat gain.
REGISTER - A fixture through which conditioned air flows. In a gravity heating system, it is located near the baseboard. In an air conditioning system, it is located close to the thermostat.
RETURN In heating and cooling systems, a vent that returns cold air to be warmed. In a hot air furnace system, it is located near an inside wall.
RIGID METAL CONDUIT - This conduit resembles plumbing pipe, protecting wires from damage.
ROOF SYSTEM - General term referring to the waterproof covering, roof insulation, vapor barrier, if used and roof deck as an entity.
ROUGH In hardware, metal fastenings on cabinets which are usually concealed, like staples
ROUGH OPENING The opening in a wall into which a door or window is to be installed.
ROUGH PLUMBING - All plumbing that should be done before the finish trades (sheetrock, painting, etc), including all waste lines and supply water lines that are in the walls or framing of the building. See also: Plumbing, Sub Rough, and Finish Plumbing.
RPM - Revolutions per Minute.
RUN - The horizontal distance between the eaves and the ridge of the roof, being half the span for a symmetrical gable roof.
R-VALUE The thermal resistance of a glazing system. The R-value is the reciprocal of the U-value. The higher the R value, the less heat is transmitted throughout the glazing material.
SADDLE - A ridge in the roof deck, whose top divides two sloping parts of the roof so that water will be diverted to the roof drains.
SASH The window frame, including muntin bars if used, to receive the glazing infill.
SCALE - The relationship between actual measurements on a page of plans or blue prints and the actual measurements of the building represented by the plans or blue prints.
SCRATCH COAT - The first coat of plaster derives its name from cross-raking which is performed on the wet surface to improve bond with the following brown coat. It is considered a base coat plaster.
SCREEDING - The wood or metal straightedge used to strike off or level newly placed concrete when doing cement work. Screeds can be the leveling device used or the form work used to level or establish the level of the concrete. Screeds can be hand used or mechanical.
SCRIM - A woven or mat-type fabric that is used as a membrane sandwich between other material to provide reinforcement and stretch resistance.
SCUPPER - An outlet in the wall of a building or a parapet wall for drainage of water from a flat roof.
SCUTCH - A bricklayers cutting tool used for dressing and trimming brick to a special shape. It resembles a small pick
SEALANT An elastomeric material with adhesive qualities applied between components of a similar or dissimilar nature to provide an effective barrier against the passage of the elements.
SEER - SEER is an acronym for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating which is an efficiency rating of an air conditioning system. It is a ratio of the annual BTU's of cooling provided divided by the electric energy input used, and is measured over a range of temperatures. As of January, 2006 central air conditioner systems must be manufactured to a minimum 13 SEER although you may still buy older units having a lower SEER (lower efficiency) rating. SEER ratings go as high as 21. The higher the SEER rating the larger the physical size of the outside air conditioner condensing unit.
SELF-HEALING - A term used to describe a material which melts with the heat from the sun's rays, and seals over cracks that were earlier formed from other causes. Some waterproof membranes are self-healing.
SELVAGE - The un-surfaced strip along a sheet of roll roofing which forms the under portion at the lap in the application of the roof covering.
SERVICE PANEL-See ELECTRICAL PANEL
SHED ROOF - A roof having only one slope or pitch, with only one set of rafters which fall from a higher to a lower wall.
SHEATHING - Plywood, gypsum or wood fiber encasing walls, ceilings, floors and roofs of framed buildings. It is the first layer of outer wall covering nailed to the studs or rafters.
SHEETROCK - Panels made primarily from gypsum installed over the framing to form the interior walls and ceilings. Sheetrock is often called gypsum board.
SHINGLES - Small units of material which are laid in a series of overlapping rows as a roof covering on pitched roofs.
SIGHT LINE The line along the perimeter of glazing infills corresponding to the top edge of stationary and removable stops. The line to which sealants contacting the glazing infill are sometimes finished off.
SILL PLATE - The framing member anchored to the foundation wall upon which studs and other framing members will be attached. It is the bottom plate of your exterior walls.
SILL SEALER - A material placed between the top of the foundation wall and the sill plate. Usually a foam strip, the sill sealer helps make a better fit and eliminate water problems.
SILL STEP - The first step coming directly off a building at the door openings.
SINGLE PLY - A descriptive term signifying a roof membrane composed of only one layer of material such as EPDM, Hypalon or PVC.
SKY DOME - A type of skylite exhibiting a characteristic translucent plastic domed top.
SKYLIGHT - A structure on a roof that is designed to admit light and is somewhat above the plane of the roof surface.
SLATE - A dark gray stratified stone cut relatively thin and installed on pitched roofs in a shingle like fashion.
SLOPE - Incline or pitch of roof surface.
SLOPED GLAZING Any installation of glass that is at a slope of 15 degrees or more from vertical.
SOFFIT - The underside of a part or member of a building extending out from the plane of the building walls.
SOLE PLATE - bottom horizontal member of a frame wall.
SPACERS (Shims) Small blocks of neoprene, EPDM, silicone or other suitable material placed on each side of the glass product to provide glass centering, maintain uniform width of sealant bead and prevent excessive sealant distortion.
SPALLING - The chipping or flaking of concrete, bricks, or other masonry where improper drainage or venting and freeze/thaw cycling exists.
SPAN - The horizontal distance between supporting structures such as beams, trusses or columns.
SPANDREL The panels of a wall located between vision areas of windows which conceal structural columns, floors, and shear walls.
SPLITTING - The formation of long cracks completely through a membrane. Splits are frequently associated with lack of allowance for expansion stresses. They can also be a result of deck deflection or change in deck direction.
STAINLESS STEEL CHIMNEY LINERS - Stainless steel pipe, either rigid or flexible, made for relining flues of masonry chimneys when the original clay liner has cracked or broken. May also be used to create a lining in a masonry chimney that was made without a clay liner.
STC (Sound Transmission Class) A single number rating derived from individual transmission losses at specified test frequencies. It is used for interior walls, ceilings and floors.
STL (Sound Transmission Loss) The reduction of the amount of sound energy passing through a wall, floor, roof, etc. It is related to the specific frequency at which it is measured and it is expressed in decibels. Also called "Transmission Loss."
STILE - The side frame members of a door or window (not the jamb).
STORM DOOR A panel or sash door placed on the outside of an existing door to provide additional protection from the elements.
STORM WINDOW A glazed panel or sash placed on the inside or outside of an existing sash or window as additional protection against the elements.
STUCCO - A type of exterior finish.
STUD - The evenly spaced, vertical framing members of a wall. See also: Wood grades.
SUB CONTRACTOR - A contractor who specializes in a particular trade such as waterproofing.
SUB-FLOOR - Material (such as particleboard) installed before finish flooring materials.
SUMP PUMP - A sump pump is a special electrically operated water pump usually installed in a home's basement. Sump pumps come in pedestal and submersible models with submersible types being the most common. The sump pump removes water that has collected in a sump pit either from leakage into the home, high water table or from flooding. Once a certain level of water is attained, the sump pump turns on and discharges the water away from the house, either into the back yard or into the municipal storm water system (not the sewer system).
T & P RELIEF VALVE - T&P stands for "Temperature and Pressure" and the T&P relief valve is a safety valve found on a water heater. The T&P pressure relief valve is most often connected to a discharge pipe. The T&P relief valve operates like the radiator cap on your car. The purpose of this valve is to relieve excessive temperature or pressure build up inside the tank if it approaches the limits of the tank's safe design range. This valve is located on top of the tank and often is threaded directly into the tank top itself. To test the valve lift up on the handle slightly and hot water should discharge out of the overflow pipe.
TAPING - Applying joint tape over embedding compound in the process of joint treatment of drywall.
TEAR OFF In roofing, a term used to describe the complete removal of the built up roof membrane and insulation down to and exposing the roof deck.
TEFLON TAPE - Teflon Tape is a common, inexpensive and effective thin white tape used to seal pipe threads being joined together for plumbing purposes. It is used to seal water, air, gas from leaking through threaded connections. Technically known as PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) it is silky in texture and breaks in a stringy manner (strong in tension). Teflon tape is sold in small rolls.
TERRACING - The process of building walls to hold the soil in place on a sloped landscape.
TERRA COTTA - Hard baked clayware, including tile, of variable color, averaging reddish red-yellow in hue and of high saturation.
TEXTURE PAINT - One which may be manipulated by brush, trowel or other to give various patterns.
THROAT DAMPERS - Metal plates installed just above the firebox of a masonry chimney that are used for sealing the flue shut when the fireplace is not in use. Since they seal metal to metal, the seal is quite leaky even when the plates are new. Over time, the plates rust and deteriorate as they are exposed to heat and moisture. When this happens they lose almost their entire flue sealing capacity.
TIE-IN In roofing, a term used to describe the joining of a new roof with the old.
TILE CUTTER - The tile cutter is one of the most efficient and economic tools in the tile setting trade. A popular model is the hand-drawn tile cutting board that is adjustable.
TINTED GLASS Glass with colorants added to the basic glass batch that give the glass color as well as light and heat-reducing capabilities. The color extends throughout the thickness of the glass.
TONGUE AND GROOVE - A type of flooring where the tongue of one board is joined to the groove of another board
TONSURE - The shaping of evergreens by clipping.
TOPIARY - A garden or shrubbery trimmed and shaped into geometric or animal forms.
TOP PLATE - Top horizontal member of a frame wall.
TOP-SEALING DAMPERS - A device installed at the top of a chimney for the purpose of sealing the flue shut when the fireplace is not in use. They are often used as replacements for throat dampers that are installed just above the firebox when a masonry chimney is built. Lyemance and Lock-Top top-sealing dampers are as much as 90% more efficient than throat dampers because they provide a silicone rubber gasket seal rather than metal to metal.
TRIAC - TRIAC is an acronym standing for "TRIode for Alternating Current" and is the primary electronic device used in an electronic dimmer. The TRIAC is technically known as a bidirectional triode thyristor. A TRIAC is a solid state electronic switch or relay that quickly turns the power to a lamp on and off up to 120 times per second. The longer the power is turned off the dimmer the light output. The on and off sequencing occurs so fast it is not perceptible to the naked eye. Since the TRIAC is only turning power on and off it allows the lamp to be dimmed but generates very little heat.
TRIPPED BREAKER - If you had a fuses instead of circuit breakers, your fuse would "blow" when overloaded. Well a circuit breaker "trips", or shuts off and stops the flow of electricity through an electrical circuit when it senses more current flowing through it than it's supposed to have. By tripping, the circuit breaker protects the circuit and its wiring from overheating and causing damage including fire. When a breaker trips you need to determine why the circuit breaker tripped and then reset the circuit breaker, turning it back on.
TRUSS - A major supporting structure usually made of timber.
TUCK POINTING - The process of repairing a mortar joint in a brick wall is traditionally called "tuck pointing." The term comes from the process of tucking mortar into the damaged mortar joint with the point of a trowel called a "pointing trowel." Tuck pointing is a critical maintenance task and keeps water from entering the brick wall cavity. If water is allowed to get past the mortar and into the wall, brick failure may occur such as cracking or spalling (popping off of the brick face).
U-FACTOR - The U-Factor is a measure of heat flow through a material. It is the inverse of the R-Value (1/R Value).
VALVE - A device to stop, start or regulate the flow of liquid or gas through or from piping.
VAPOR RETARDER (BARRIER) - A membrane which is placed between the insulation and the roof deck to retard water vapor in the building from entering the insulation and condensing into liquid water.
VENT PIPE - A vertical pipe of relatively small dimensions which protrudes through a roof to provide for the ventilation of gasses.
VENTILATOR - Device installed on the roof for the purpose of ventilating the interior of the building.
VENTING - The process of installing roof vents in a roof assembly to relieve vapor evaporating and exiting via the roof vents.
VENTLESS FIREPLACE - Fireplaces that do not need to vent products of combustion to the outside environment. All electric and some gas fireplaces fall into this category.
VENT SYSTEM In plumbing, a system to provide a flow of air to or from a drainage system or to provide circulation of air within such system to protect traps seals from siphonage and back pressure.
VOC - Volatile Organic Compounds are the organic solvents used in standard paint formulations which serve as the carrier for paint pigment. When paint dries, the odor smelled is from the evaporation of VOC's used in the solvent vehicle and the tinting pigments. Some of the more common VOC's used in paint as solvents and preservatives include formaldehyde and benzene. Pigment chemicals can include lead, cadmium and chromium. The "fresh paint" smell we often experience are VOC emissions from volatile chemicals like diethyl phthalate and dibutyl. Oil based paint has the highest level of VOC's. Exposure to VOC's can trigger asthma attacks, create throat and eye irritation, nausea and headaches among other health problems. Long term exposure can lead to cancer and diseases of the kidney and liver. Because of the negative health effects of VOC's, alternative interior paints are now available that contain extremely low-VOC or no-VOC formulations.
VOLTAGE - The driving force behind the flow of electricity somewhat like pressure is in a water pipe.
VOLTMETER - measures the voltage flowing through a circuit. The circuit must be closed to allow the voltage to flow.
WALKWAYS - Designated areas for foot traffic.
WATER-CEMENT RATIO - The strength of a concrete mixture depends on the water cement ratio. The water and cement form a paste. If the paste is made with more water, the concrete becomes weaker. Traditionally, concrete mixes have been identified in terms of the ratio of cement to fine aggregate to coarse aggregate. For example, the ratio 1:2:4 refers to a mix which consists of 1 cu. ft. of cement, 2 cu. ft. of sand and 4 cu. ft. of gravel. Cement and water are the two chemically active elements in concrete and when combined, form a paste or glue which coats and surrounds the particles of aggregate and upon hardening binds the entire mass together.
WATERPROOFING Type of work done by PROOFROCK WATERPROOFING SYSTEMS; also the process where a building component is made totally resistant to the passage of water and/or water vapor.
WATER REPELLANT COATING Transparent coating or sealer applied to the surface of concrete and masonry surfaces to repel water.
WATER VAPOR - Moisture existing as a gas in air.
WATTAGE - The electrical unit of power. KILOWATTS is 1000 watts and electric customers are billed on how many kilowatts of power they have used.
WEEP HOLE - A hole which allows for drainage of entrapped water from masonry or glazing structures.
WELD - The joining of components together by fusing. In thermoplastics, refers to bonding together of the membrane using heat or solvents.
WET SEAL Application of an elastomeric sealant between the glass and sash to form a weather tight seal.
WIND UPLIFT - The upward force exerted by wind traveling across a roof.
WOODSTOVES - Enclosed appliances, most commonly constructed of steel or cast-iron, used for burning wood for the purpose of heating an indoor space.
XERISCAPE - Landscaping that is designed specifically for areas that are susceptible to drought, or for areas where water conservation is practiced.