Glossary of Building Terms:
Air-dried lumber. Lumber that has been piled in
yards or sheds for any length of time.
Airway. A space between roof insulation and roof
boards for movement of air.
Alligatoring. Coarse checking pattern
characterized by a slipping of the new paint coating
over the old coating to the extent that the old
coating can be seen through the fissures.
Anchor bolts. Bolts to secure a wooden sill plate
to concrete , or masonry floor or wall.
Apron. The flat member of the inside trim of a
window placed against the wall immediately beneath
Areaway. An open subsurface space adjacent to a
building used to admit light or air or as a means of
access to a basement.
Asphalt. Most native asphalt is a residue from
evaporated petroleum. It is insoluble in water but
soluble in gave. line when heated. Used widely in
building for waterproofing roof coverings of many
types, exterior wall coverings, flooring tile, and
Astragal. A molding, attached to one of a pair of
swinging doors, against which the other door
Attic ventilators. In houses, screened opening)
provided to ventilate an attic space. They are
located in the soffit area as inlet ventilators and
in the gable end or along the ridge as outlet
ventilators. They can also consist of power-driven
fans used as an exhaust system. (See also Louver.)
Backhand. A simple molding sometimes used around
the outer edge of plain rectangular casing as a
Backfill. The replacement of excavated earth into
a trench around and against a basement foundation.
Balusters. Usually small vertical members in a
railing used between a top rail and the stair treads
or a bottom rail.
Balustrade. A railing made up of balusters, top
rail, and sometimes bottom rail, used on the edge of
stairs, teal conies, and porches.
Barge board. A decorative board covering the
projecting rafter (fly rafter) of the gable end. At
the cornice, this member is a facie board.
Base or baseboard. A board placed against the
wall around a room next to the floor to finish
properly between floor and plaster.
Base molding. Molding used to trim the upper edge
of interior baseboard.
Base shoe. Molding used next to the floor on
interior base board. Sometimes called a carpet
Batten. Narrow strips of wood used to cover
joints or as decorative vertical members over
plywood or wide boards.
Batter board. One of a pair of horizontal boards
nailed to posts set at the corners of an excavation,
used to indicate the desired level, also as a
fastening for stretched strings to indicate outlines
of foundation walls.
Bay window. Any window space projecting outward
from the walls of a building, either square or
polygonal in plan.
Beam. A structural member transversely supporting
Bearing partition. A partition that supports any
vertical load in addition to its own weight.
Bearing wall. A wall that supports any vertical
load in addition to its own weight.
Bed molding. A molding in an angle, as between
the over hanging cornice, or eaves, of a building
and the side walls.
Blind-nailing. Nailing in such a way that the
nail heads are not visible on the face of the work—usually
at the tongue of matched boards.
Blind stop. A rectangular molding, usually ¾ by
1-3/8 inches or more in width, used in the assembly
of a window frame. Serves as a stop for storm and
screen or combination windows and to resist air
Blue stain. A bluish or grayish discoloration of
the sapwood caused the growth of certain mold like
fungi on the surface and in the interior of a piece,
made possible by the same conditions that favor the
growth of other fungi.
Bodied linseed oil. Linseed oil that has been
thickened in viscosity by suitable processing with
heat or chemicals. Bodied oils are obtainable in a
great range in viscosity from a little greater than
that of raw oil to just short of a jellied
Boiled linseed oil. Linseed oil in which enough
lead, manganese or cobalt salts have been
incorporated to make the oil harden more rapidly
when spread in thin coatings.
Bolster. A short horizontal timber or steel beam
on top of a column to support and decrease the span
of beams or girders.
Boston ridge. A method of applying asphalt or
wood shingles at the ridge or at the hips of a roof
as a finish.
Brace. An inclined piece of framing lumber
applied to wall or floor to stifled the structure.
Often used on walls as temporary bracing until
framing has been completed.
Brick veneer. A facing of brick laid against and
fastened to sheathing of a frame wall or tile wall
Bridging. Small wood or metal members that are
inserted in a diagonal position between the floor
joists at mid-span to act both as tension and
compression members for the purpose of bracing the
joists a spreading the action of loads.
Buck. Often used in reference to rough frame
opening members. Door bucks used in reference to
metal door frame.
Built-up roof. A roofing composed of three to
five layers of asphalt felt laminated with coal tar,
pitch, or asphalt. The top is finished with crushed
slag or gravel. Generally used on flat or
Butt joint. The junction where the ends of two
timbers or other members meet in a square-cut joint.
Cant strip. A triangular shaped piece of lumber
used at the junction of a flat deck and a wall to
prevent cracking of the roofing which is applied
Cap. The upper member of a column, pilaster, door
cornice, molding, and the like.
Casement frames and sash. Frames of wood or metal
enclosing part or all of the sash, which may be
opened by means of hinges affixed to the vertical
Casing. Molding of various widths and thicknesses
used to trim door and window openings at the jambs.
Cement, Keene’s. A white finish plaster that
produces an extremely durable wall. Because of its
density, it excels for use in bathrooms and kitchens
and is also used extensively for the finish coat in
auditoriums, public buildings, and other places
where walls may be subjected to unusually hard wear
Checking. Fissures that appear with age in many
exterior paint coatings, at first superficial, but
which in time may penetrate entirely through the
Checkrails. Meeting rails sufficiently thicker
than a window to fill the opening between the top
and bottom sash made by the parting stop in the
frame of double-hung windows. They are usually
Collar beam. Nominal 1- or 2-inch-thick members
connecting opposite roof rafters. They serve to
stiffen the roof structure.
Column. In architecture: A perpendicular
supporting member, circular or rectangular in
section, usually consisting of a base, shaft, and
capital. In engineering: A vertical structural
compression member which supports loads acting in
the direction of its longitudinal axis.
Combination doors or windows. Combination doors
or windows used over regular openings. They provide
winter insulation and summer protection and often
have self storing or removable glass and screen
inserts. This eliminates the need for handling a
different unit each season.
Concrete plain. Concrete either without
reinforcement, or reinforced only for shrinkage or
Condensation. In a building: Beads or drops of
water (and frequently frost in extremely cold
weather) that accumulate on the inside of the
exterior covering of a building when warm,
moisture-laden air from the interior reaches a point
where the temperature no longer permits the air to
sustain the moisture it holds. Use of louvers or
attic ventilators will reduce moisture condensation
in attics. A vapor barrier under the gypsum lath or
dry wall on exposed walls will reduce condensation
Conduit, electrical. A pipe, usually metal, in
which wire is installed.
Construction, dry-wall. A type of construction in
which the interior wall finish is applied in a dry
condition, generally in the form of sheet materials
or wood paneling as contrasted to plaster.
Construction, frame. A type of construction in
which the structural parts are wood or depend upon a
wood frame for support. In codes, if masonry veneer
is applied to the exterior walls, the classification
of this type of construction is usually unchanged.
Coped joint. See Scribing.
Corbel out. To build out one or more courses of
brick or stone from the face of a wall, to form a
support for timbers.
Corner bead. A strip of formed sheet metal,
sometimes combined with a strip of metal lath,
placed on corners before plastering to reinforce
them. Also, a strip of wood finish
three-quarters-round or angular placed over a
plastered corner for protection.
Corner boards. Used as trim for the external
corners of a house or other frame structure against
which the ends of the siding are finished.
Corner braces. Diagonal braces at the corners of
frame structure to stiffen and strengthen the wall.
Let-in brace. Nominal 1 inch-thick boards applied
into notched studs diagonally.
Cut-in brace. Nominal 2-inch-thick members,
usually 2 by 4’s, cut in between each stud
Cornerite. Metal-mesh lath cut into strips and
bent to a right angle. Used in interior corners of
walls and ceilings on lath to prevent cracks in
Cornice. Overhang of a pitched roof at the cave
line, usually consisting of a facie board, a soffit
for a closed cornice, and appropriate moldings.
Cornice return. That portion of the cornice that
returns on the gable end of a house.
Counter-flashing. A flashing usually used on
chimneys at the roofline to cover shingle flashing
and to prevent moisture entry.
Cove molding. A molding with a concave face used
as trim or to finish interior corners.
Crawl space. A shallow space below the living
quarters of a basement-less house, normally enclosed
by the foundation wall.
Cricket. A small drainage-diverting roof
structure of single or double slope placed at the
junction of larger surfaces that meet at an angle,
such as above a chimney.
Cross-bridging. Diagonal bracing between adjacent
floor joists, placed near the center of the joist
span to prevent joists from twisting.
Crown molding. A molding used on cornice or
wherever an interior angle is to be covered.
d. See Penny.
Dado. A rectangular groove across the width of a
board or plank. In interior decoration, a special
type of wall treatment.
Decay. Disintegration of wood or other substance
through the action of fungi.
Deck paint. An enamel with a high degree of
resistance to mechanical wear, designed for use on
such surfaces as porch floors.
Density. The mass of substance in a unit volume.
When expressed in the metric system, it is
numerically equal to the specific gravity of the
Dewpoint. Temperature at which a vapor begins to
deposit as a liquid. Applies especially to water in
the atmosphere. Dimension. See lumber dimension.
Direct nailing. To nail perpendicular to the
initial surface or to the junction of the pieces
joined. Also termed face nailing.
Doorjamb, interior. The surrounding case into
which and out of which a door closes and opens. It
consists of two upright pieces, called side jambs,
and a horizontal head jamb.
Dormer. An opening in a sloping roof, the framing
of which projects out to form a vertical wall
suitable for windows or other openings.
Downspout. A pipe, usually of metal, for carrying
rainwater from roof gutters.
Dressed and matched (tongued and grooved). Boards
or planks machined in such a matter that there is a
groove on one edge and a corresponding tongue on the
Drier paint. Usually oil-soluble soaps of such
metals as lead manganese, or cobalt, which, in small
proportions, hasten the oxidation and hardening
(drying) of the drying oils in paints.
Drip. (a) A member of a cornice or other
horizontal exterior finish course that has a
projection beyond the other parts for throwing off
water. (b)A groove in the under. side of a sill or
drip cap to cause water to drop off on the outer
edge instead of drawing back and running down the
face of the building.
Drip cap. A molding placed on the exterior top
side of a door or window frame to cause water to
drip beyond the outside of the frame.
Drywall. Interior covering material, such as
gypsum board or plywood, which is applied in large
sheets or panels.
Ducts. In a house, usually round or rectangular
metal pipes for distributing warm air from the
heating plant to rooms, or air from a conditioning
device or as cold air returns. Ducts are also made
of asbestos and composition materials.
Eaves. The margin or lower part of a roof
projecting over the wall.
Expansion joint. A bituminous fiber strip used to
separate blocks or units of concrete to prevent
cracking due to expansion as a result of temperature
changes. Also used on concrete slabs.
Facia or fascia. A flat board, band, or face,
used sometimes by itself but usually in combination
with moldings, often located at the outer face of
Filler (wood). A heavily pigmented preparation
used for fining and leveling off the pores in
Fire-resistive. In the absence of a specific
ruling by the authority having jurisdiction, applies
to materials for construction not combustible in the
temperatures of ordinary fires and that will
withstand such fires without serious impairment of
their usefulness for at least 1 hour.
Fire retardant chemical. A chemical or
preparation of chemicals used to reduce flammability
or to retard spread of flame.
Fire stop. A solid, tight closure of a concealed
space, placed to prevent the spread of fire and
smoke through such a space. In a frame wall, this
will usually consist of 2 by 4 cross blocking
Fishplate. A wood or plywood piece used to fasten
the ends of two members together at a butt joint
with nails or bolts. Sometimes used at the junction
of opposite rafters near the ridge line.
Flagstone (flagging or flags). Flat stones, from
1 to 4 inches thick, used for rustic walks, steps,
floors, and the like.
Flashing. Sheet metal or other material used in
roof and wall construction to protect a building
from water seepage.
Flat paint. An interior paint that contains a
high proportion of pigment and dries to a flat or
Flue. The space or passage in a chimney through
which smoke, gas, or fumes ascend. Each passage is
called a flue, which together with any others and
the surrounding masonry make up the chimney.
Flue lining. Fire clay or terra-cotta pipe, round
or square, usually made in all ordinary flue sizes
and in 2-foot lengths, used for the inner lining of
chimneys with the brick or masonry work around the
outside. Flue lining in chimneys runs from about a
foot below the flue connection to the top of the
Fly rafters. End rafters of the gable overhang
supported by roof sheathing and lookouts.
Footing. A masonry section, usually concrete, in
a rectangular form wider than the bottom of the
foundation wall or pier it supports.
Foundation. The supporting portion of a structure
below the first floor construction, or below grade,
including the footings.
Framing, balloon. A system of framing a building
in which all vertical structural elements of the
bearing walls and partitions consist of single
pieces extending from the top of the foundation sin
plate to the roof-plate and to which all floor
joists are fastened.
Framing, platform. A system of framing a building
in which floor joists of each story rest on the top
plates of the story below or on the foundation sill
for the first story, and the bearing walls and
partitions rest on the sub-floor of each story.
Frieze. In house construction a horizontal member
connecting the top of the siding with the soffit of
Frostline. The depth of frost penetration in
soil. This depth varies in different parts of the
country. Footings should be placed below this depth
to prevent movement.
Furring. Strips of wood or metal applied to a
wall or other surface to even it and normally to
serve as a fastening base for finish material.
Gable. In house construction, the portion of the
roof above the eave line of a double-sloped roof.
Gable end. An end wall having a gable.
Gloss enamel. A finishing material made of
varnish and sufficient pigments to provide opacity
and color, but little or no pigment of low opacity.
Such an enamel forms a hard coating with maximum
smoothness of surface and a high degree of gloss.
Gloss (paint or enamel). A paint or enamel that
contains a relatively low proportion of pigment and
dries to a sheen or luster.
Girder. A large or principal beam of wood or
steel used to support concentrated loads at isolated
points along its length.
Grain. The direction, size, arrangement,
appearance, or quality of the fibers in wood.
Grain, edge (vertical). Edge-grain lumber has
been sawed parallel to the pith of the log and
approximately at right angles to the growth rings;
i.e., the rings form an angle of 45° or more with
the surface of the piece.
Grain, flat. Flat-grain lumber has been sawed
parallel to the pith of the log and approximately
tangent to the growth rings, i.e., the rings form an
angle of less than 45° with the surface of the
Grain, quartersawn. Another term for edge grain.
Grounds. Guides used around openings and at the
floor-line to strike off plaster. They can consist
of narrow strips of wood or of wide sub-jambs at
interior doorways. They provide a level plaster line
for installation of casing and other trim.
Grout. Mortar made of such consistency (by adding
water) that it will just flow into the joints and
cavities of the masonry work and fill them solid.
Gusset. A flat wood, plywood, or similar type
member used to provide a connection at intersection
of wood members. Most commonly used at joints of
wood trusses. They are fastened by nails, screws,
bolts, or adhesives.
Gutter or nave trough. A shallow channel or
conduit of metal or wood set below and along the
eaves of a house to catch and carry off rainwater
from the roof.
Gypsum plaster. Gypsum formulated to be used with
the addition of sand and water for base-coat
Header. (a) A beam placed perpendicular to joists
and to which joists are nailed in framing for
chimney, stairway, or other opening. (b) A wood
Hearth. The inner or outer floor of a fireplace,
usually made of brick, tile, or stone.
Heartwood. The wood extending from the pith to
the sapwood, the cells of which no longer
participate in the life processes of the tree.
Hip. The external angle formed by the meeting of
two sloping sides of a roof.
Hip roof. A roof that rises by inclined planes
from all four sides of a building.
Humidifier. A device designed to increase the
humidity within a room or a house by means of the
discharge of water vapor. They may consist of
individual room size units or larger units attached
to the heating plant to condition the entire house.
I-beam. A steel beam with a cross section
resembling the letter I. It is used for long spans
as basement beams or over wide wall openings, such
as a double garage door, when wall and roof loads
are imposed on the opening.
INR (Impact Noise Rating). A single figure rating
which provides an estimate of the impact sound
insulating performance of a floor-ceiling assembly.
Insulation board, rigid. A structural building
board made of coarse wood or cane fiber in ½- and
25/32-inch thickness It can be obtained in various
size sheets, in various densities, and with several
Insulation, thermal. 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. Material used to cover the
interior framed areas, or materials of walls and
Jack rafter. A rafter that spans the distance
from the wall plate to a hip, or from a valley to a
Jamb. The side and head lining of a doorway,
window, or other opening.
Joint. The space between the adjacent surfaces of
two members or components joined and held together
by nails, glue, cement, mortar, or other means.
Joint cement. A powder that is usually mixed with
water and used for joint treatment in
gypsum-wallboard finish. Often called
Joist. One of a series of parallel beams, usually
2 inches in thickness, used to support floor and
ceiling loads, and supported in turn by larger
beams, girders, or bearing walls.
Kiln dried lumber. Lumber that has been kiln
dried often to a moisture content of 6 to 12
percent. Common varieties of softwood lumber, such
as framing lumber are dried to a somewhat higher
Knot. In lumber, the portion of a branch or limb
of a tree that appears on the edge or face of the
Landing. A platform between flights of stairs or
at the termination of a flight of stairs.
Lath. A building material of wood, metal, gypsum,
or insulating board that is fastened to the frame of
a building to act as a plaster base.
Lattice. A framework of crossed wood or metal
Leader. See Downspout.
Ledger strip. A strip of lumber nailed along the
bottom of the side of a girder on which joists rest.
Light. Space in a window sash for a single pane
of glass. Also, a pane of glass.
Lintel. A horizontal structural member that
supports the load over an opening such as a door or
Lookout. A short wood bracket or cantilever to
support an overhang portion of a roof or the like,
usually concealed from view.
Louver. An opening with a series of horizontal
slats so an ranged as to permit ventilation but to
exclude rain, sun. light, or vision. See also Attic
Lumber. Lumber is the product of the sawmill and
planing mill not further manufactured other than by
sawing, resawing, and passing lengthwise through a
standard planing machine, crosscutting to length,
Lumber, boards. Yard lumber less than 2 inches
thick and 2 or more inches wide.
Lumber, dimension. Yard lumber from 2 inches to,
but not including, 5 inches thick and 2 or more
inches wide. Includes joists, rafters, studs, plank,
and small timbers.
Lumber, dressed size. The dimension of lumber
after shrinking from green dimension and after
machining to size or pattern.
Lumber, matched. Lumber that is dressed and
shaped on one edge in a grooved pattern and on the
other in a tongued pattern.
Lumber, shiplap. Lumber that is edge-dressed to
make a close rabbeted or lapped joint.
Lumber, timbers. Yard lumber 5 or more inches in
least dimension. Includes beams, stringers, posts,
caps, sills, girders, and purlins.
Lumber, yard. Lumber of those grades, sizes, and
patterns which are generally intended for ordinary
construction, such as framework and rough coverage
Mantel. The shelf above a fireplace. Also used in
referring to the decorative trim around a fireplace
Masonry. Stone, brick, concrete, hollow-tile,
concrete block, gypsum block, or other similar
building units or materials or a combination of the
same, bonded together with mortar to form a wall,
pier, buttress, or similar mass.
Mastic. A pasty material used as a cement (as for
setting tile) or a protective coating. (as for
thermal insulation or waterproofing)
Metal lath. Sheets of metal that are slit and
drawn out to form openings. Used as a plaster base
for walls and ceilings and as reinforcing over other
forms of plaster base.
Millwork. Generally all building materials made
of finished wood and manufactured in millwork plants
and planing mills are included under the term
"millwork." It includes such items as
inside and outside doors, window and doorframes,
blinds, porch-work, mantels, panelwork, stairways,
moldings, and interior trim. It normally does not
include flooring, ceiling, or siding.
Miter joint. The joint of two pieces at an angle
that bisects the joining angle. For example, the
miter joint at the side and head casing at a door
opening is made at a 45° angle.
Moisture content of wood. Weight of the water
contained in the wood, usually expressed as a
percentage of the weight of the kiln-dried wood.
Molding. A wood strip having a coned or
projecting surface used for decorative purposes.
Mortise. A slot cut into a board, plank, or
timber, usually edgewise, to receive tenon of
another board, plank, or timber to form a joint.
Mullion. A vertical bar or divider in the frame
between windows, doors, or other openings.
Muntin. A small member which divides the glass or
openings of sash or doors.
Natural finish. A transparent finish which does
not seriously alter the original color or grain of
the natural wood. Natural finishes are usually
provided by sealers, oils, varnishes,
water-repellent preservatives, and other similar
Newel, A post to which the end of a stair railing
or balustrade is fastened. Also, any post to which a
railing or balustrade is fastened.
Nonbearing wall. A wall supporting no load other
than its own weight.
Nosing. The projecting edge of a molding or drip.
Usually applied to the projecting molding on the
edge of a stair tread.
Notch. A crosswise rabbet at the end of a board.
O. C., on center. The measurement of spacing for
studs, rafters, joists, and the like in a building
from the center of one member to the center of the
O. G., or ogee. A molding with a profile in the
form of a letter S; having the outline of a reversed
Outrigger. An extension of a rafter beyond the
wall line. Usually a smaller member nailed to a
larger rafter to form a cornice or roof overhang.
Paint. A combination of pigments with suitable
thinners or oils to provide decorative and
Panel In house construction, a thin flat piece of
wood, ply. wood, or similar material, framed by
stiles and rails as in a door or fitted into grooves
of thicker material with molded edges for decorative
Paper, building. A general term for papers,
felts, and similar sheet materials used in buildings
without reference to their properties or uses.
Paper, sheathing. A building material, generally
paper or felt, used in wall and roof construction as
a protection against the passage of air and
Parting stop or strip. A small wood piece used in
the side and head jambs of double-hung windows to
separate upper and lower sash.
Partition. A wall that subdivides spaces within
any story of a building.
Penny. As applied to nails, it originally
indicated the price per hundred. The term now series
as a measure of nail length and is abbreviated by
the letter d.
Perm. A measure of water vapor movement through a
material. (grains per square foot per hour per inch
of mercury difference in vapor pressure)
Pier. A column of masonry, usually rectangular in
horizontal cross section, used to support other
Pigment. A powdered solid in suitable degree of
subdivision for use in paint or enamel.
Pitch. The incline slope of a roof or the ratio
of the total rise to the total width of a house,
i.e., an 8-foot rise and 24-foot width is a
one-third pitch roof. Roof slope is expressed in the
inches of rise per foot of run.
Pitch pocket. An opening extending parallel to
the annual rings of growth, that usually contains,
or has contained, either solid or liquid pitch.
Plaster grounds. Strips of wood used as guides or
strike off edges around window and door openings and
at base of walls.
Plate. Sill plate: a horizontal member anchored
to a masonry wall. Sole plate: bottom horizontal
member of a frame wall. Top plate: top horizontal
member of a frame wall supporting ceiling joists,
rafters, or other members.
Plough. To cut a lengthwise groove in a board or
Plumb. Exactly perpendicular; vertical.
Ply A term to denote the number of thicknesses or
layers of roofing felt, veneer in plywood, or layers
in built-up materials, in any finished piece of such
Plywood. A piece of wood made of three or more
layers of veneer joined with glue, and usually laid
with the grain of adjoining plies at right angles.
Almost always an odd number of plies are used to
provide balanced construction.
Pores. Wood cells of comparatively large diameter
that have open ends and are set one above the other
to form continuous tubes. The openings of the
vessels on the surface of a piece of wood are
referred to as pores.
Preservative. Any substance that, for a
reasonable length of time, will prevent the action
of wood-destroying fungi, borers of various kinds,
and similar destructive agents when the wood has
been properly coated or impregnated with it.
Primer. The first coat of paint in a paint job
that consists of two or more coats; also the paint
used for such a first coat.
Putty. A type of cement usually made of whiting
and boiled linseed oil, beaten or kneaded to the
consistency of dough, and used in sealing glass in
sash, filling small holes and crevices in wood, and
for similar purposes.
Quarter round. A small molding that has the cross
section of a quarter circle.
Rabbet. A rectangular longitudinal groove cut in
the corner edge of a board or plank.
Radiant heating. A method of heating, usually
consisting of a forced hot water system with pipes
placed in the floor, wall, or ceiling; or with
electrically heated panels.
Rafter. One of a series of structural members of
a roof designed to support roof loads. The rafters
of a flat roof are sometimes called roof joists.
Rafter, hip. A rafter that forms the intersection
of an external roof angle.
Rafter, valley. A rafter that forms the
intersection of an internal roof angle. The valley
rafter is normally made of double 2-inch-thick
Rail. Cross members of panel doors or of a sash.
Also the upper and lower members of a balustrade or
staircase extending from one vertical support, such
as a post, to another.
Rake. Trim members that run parallel to the roof
slope and form the finish between the wall and a
gable roof extension.
Raw linseed oil. The crude product processed from
flaxseed and usually without much subsequent
Reflective insulation. Sheet material with one or
both sun faces of comparatively low heat emissivity,
such as aluminum foil. When used in building
construction the surfaces face air spaces, reducing
the radiation across the air space.
Reinforcing. Steel rods or metal fabric placed in
concrete slabs, beams, or columns to increase their
Relative humidity. The amount of water vapor in
the atmosphere, expressed as a percentage of the
maximum quantity that could be present at a given
temperature. (The actual amount of water vapor that
can be held in space increases with the
Resorcinol Glue. A glue that is high in both wet
and dry strength and resistant to high temperatures.
It is used for gluing lumber or assembly joints that
must withstand severe service conditions.
Ribbon (Girt). Normally a 1- by 4-inch board let
into the studs horizontally to support ceiling or
Ridge. The horizontal line at the junction of the
top edges of two sloping roof surfaces.
Ridge board. The board placed on edge at the
ridge of the roof into which the upper ends of the
rafters are fastened.
Rise. In stairs, the vertical height of a step or
flight of stairs.
Riser. Each of the vertical boards closing the
spaces between the treads of stairways.
Rolled roofing. Roofing material, composed of
fiber and satin rated with asphalt, that is supplied
in 36-inch wide rolls with 108 square feet of
material. Weights are generally 45 to 90 pounds per
Roof sheathing. The boards or sheet material
fastened to the roof rafters on which the shingle or
other roof covering is laid.
Rubber-emulsion paint. Paint, the vehicle of
which consists of rubber or synthetic rubber
dispersed in fine droplets in water.
Run. In stairs, the net width of a step or the
horizontal distance covered by a flight of stairs.
Saddle. Two sloping surfaces meeting in a
horizontal ridge, used between the back side of a
chimney, or other vertical surface, and a sloping
Sand float finish. Lime mixed with sand,
resulting in a textured finish.
Sapwood. The outer zone of wood, next to the
bark. In the living tree it contains some living
cells (the heartwood contains none), as well as dead
and dying cells. In most species, it is lighter
colored than the heartwood. In all species, it is
lacking in decay resistance.
Sash. A single light frame containing one or more
lights of glass.
Sash balance. A device, usually operated by a
spring or tensioned weather-stripping designed to
counterbalance double-hung window sash.
Saturated felt. A felt which is impregnated with
tar or asphalt.
Scratch coat. The first coat of plaster, which is
scratched to form a bond for the second coat.
Screed. A small strip of wood, usually the
thickness of the plaster coat, used as a guide for
Scribing. Fitting woodwork to an irregular
surface. In moldings, cutting the end of one piece
to fit the molded face of the other at an interior
angle to replace a miter joint.
Sealer. A finishing material, either clear or
pigmented, that is usually applied directly over
uncoated wood for the purpose of sealing the
Seasoning. Removing moisture from green wood in
order to improve its serviceability.
Semi-gloss paint or enamel. A paint or enamel
made with a slight insufficiency of nonvolatile
vehicle so that its coating, when dry, has some
luster but is not very glossy.
Shake. A thick hand-split shingle, re-sawed to
form two shakes; usually edge-grained.
Sheathing. The structural covering, usually wood
boards or plywood, used over studs or rafters of a
structure. Structural building board is normally wed
only as wall sheathing.
Sheathing paper. See Paper, sheathing.
Sheet metal work. All components of a house
employing sheet metal, such as flashing, gutters,
Shellac. A transparent coating made by dissolving
lac, a resinous secretion of the lac bug (a scale
insect that thrives in tropical countries,
especially India), in alcohol.
Shingles. Roof covering of asphalt. asbestos,
wood, tile, slate, or other material cut to stock
lengths, widths, and thicknesses.
Shingles, siding. Various kinds of shingles, such
as wood shingles or shakes and non-wood shingles,
that are used over sheathing for exterior sidewall
covering of a structure.
Shiplap. See Lumber, shiplap.
Shutter. Usually lightweight louvered or flush
wood or non-wood frames in the form of doors located
at each side of a window. Some are made to close
over the window for protection; others are fastened
to the wall as a decorative device.
Siding. The finish covering of the outside wall
of a frame building, whether made of horizontal
weatherboards, vertical boards with battens,
shingles, or other material.
Siding, bevel (lap siding). Wedge-shaped boards
used as horizontal siding in a lapped pattern. This
siding varies in butt thickness from ½ to ¾ inch
and in widths up to 12 inches. Normally used over
some type of sheathing.
Siding, Dolly Varden. Beveled wood siding which
is rabbeted on the bottom edge.
Siding, drop. Usually ¾ inch thick and 6 and 8
inches wide with tongued-and-grooved or shiplap
edges. Often used as siding without sheathing in
Sill. The lowest member of the frame of a
structure, resting on the foundation and supporting
the floor joists or the uprights of the wall. The
member forming the lower side of an opening, as a
door sill. window sill. etc.
Sleeper. Usually, a wood member embedded in
concrete, as in a floor, that serves to support and
to fasten sub-floor or flooring.
Soffit. Usually the underside of an overhanging
Soil cover (ground cover). A light covering of
plastic film, roll roofing, or similar material used
over the soil in crawl spaces of buildings to
minimize moisture permeation of the area.
Soil stack. A general term for the vertical main
of a system of soil, waste, or vent piping.
Sole or sole plate. See Plate.
Solid bridging. A solid member placed between
adjacent floor joists near the center of the span to
prevent joists from twisting.
Span. The distance between structural supports
such as walls, columns, piers, beams, girders, and
Splash block. A small masonry block laid with the
top close to the ground surface to receive roof
drainage from downspouts and to carry it away from
Square. A unit of measure—100 square feet—usually
applied to roofing material. Sidewall coverings are
sometimes packed to cover 100 square feet and are
sold on that basis.
Stain, shingle. A form of oil paint, very thin in
consistency, intended for coloring wood with rough
surfaces, such as shingles, without forming a
coating of significant thickness or gloss.
Stair carriage. Supporting member for stair
treads. Usually a 2-inch plank notched to receive
the treads; sometimes called a "rough
Stair landing. See Landing.
Stair rise. See Rise.
Stile. An upright framing member in a panel door.
Stool. A flat molding fitted over the window sill
between jambs and contacting the bottom rail of the
Storm sash or storm window. An extra window
usually placed outside of an existing one, as
additional protection against cold weather.
Story. That part of a building between any floor
and the floor or roof next above.
Strip flooring. Wood flooring consisting of
narrow, matched strips.
String, stringer. A timber or other support for
cross members in floors or ceilings. In stairs, the
support on which the stair treads rest; also
Stucco. Most commonly refers to an outside
plaster made with Portland cement as its base.
Stud. One of a series of slender wood or metal
vertical structural members placed as supporting
elements in walls and partitions. (Plural: studs or
Sub-floor. Boards or plywood laid on joists over
which a finish floor is to be laid.
Suspended ceiling. A ceiling system supported by
hanging it from the overhead structural framing.
Tail beam. A relatively short beam or joist
supported in a wall on one end and by a header at
Termites. Insects that superficially resemble
ants in size, general appearance, and habit of
living in colonies; hence, they are frequently
called "white ants." Subterranean termites
establish themselves in buildings not by being
carried in with lumber, but by entering from ground
nests after the building has been constructed. If
unmolested, they eat out the woodwork, leaving a
shell of sound wood to conceal their activities, and
damage may proceed so far as to cause collapse of
parts of a structure before discovery.
Termite shield. A shield, usually of
non-corrosive metal, placed in or on a foundation
wall or other mass of masonry or around pipes to
prevent passage of termites.
Terneplate. Sheet iron or steel coated with an
alloy of lead and tin.
Thinner. Chemical liquid used to thin, clean and
Threshold. A strip of wood or metal with beveled
edges used over the finish floor and the sill of
Toe-nailing. To drive a nail at a slant with the
initial surface in order to permit it to penetrate
into a second member.
Tongued and grooved. See Dressed and matched.
Tread. The horizontal board in a stairway on
which the foot is placed.
Trim. The finish materials in a building, such as
moldings applied around openings (window trim, door
trim) or at the floor and ceiling of rooms.
(baseboard, cornice, and other moldings)
Trimmer. A beam or joist to which a header is
Truss. A frame or jointed structure designed to
act as a beam of long span, while each member is
usually subjected to longitudinal stress only,
either tension or compression.
Turpentine. A volatile oil used as a thinner in
paints and as a solvent in varnishes.
Undercoat. A coating applied prior to the
finishing or top coats of a paint job. It may be the
first of two or the second of three coats. In some
usage of the word it may, become synonymous with
Underlayment. A material placed under finish
coverings, such as flooring, or shingles, to provide
a smooth, even surface for applying the finish.
Valley. The internal angle formed by the junction
of two sloping sides of a roof.
Vapor barrier. Material used to retard the
movement of water vapor into walls and prevent
condensation in them. Usually considered as having a
perm value of less than 1.0. Applied separately over
the warm side of exposed walls or as a part of batt
or blanket insulation.
Varnish. A thickened preparation of drying oil or
drying oil and resin suitable for spreading on
surfaces to form continuous, transparent coatings,
or for mixing with pigments to make enamels.
Vehicle. The liquid portion of a finishing
material; it consists of the binder (nonvolatile)
and volatile thinners.
Veneer. Thin sheets of wood made by rotary
cutting or slicing of a log.
Vent. A pipe or duct which allows flow of air as
an inlet or outlet.
Vermiculite. A mineral closely related to mica,
with the faculty of expanding on heating to form
lightweight material with insulation quality. Used
as bulk insulation and also as aggregate in
insulating and acoustical plaster and in insulating
Volatile thinner. A liquid that evaporates
readily and is used to thin or reduce the
consistency of finishes without altering the
relative volumes of pigment and nonvolatile
Wane. Bark, or lack of wood from any cause, on
edge or corner of a piece of wood.
Water-repellent preservative. A liquid designed
to penetrate into wood and impart water repellency
and a moderate preservative protection. It is used
for millwork, such as sash and frames, and is
usually applied by dipping.
Weather-strip. Narrower or jamb-width sections of
thin metal or other material to prevent infiltration
of air and moisture around windows and doors.
Compression weather stripping prevents air
infiltration, provides tension, and acts as a
Wood rays. Strips of cells extending radially
within a tree and varying in height from a few cells
in some species to 4 inches or more in oak. The rays
serve primarily to store food and to transport it
horizontally in the tree.
Yard of concrete. One cubic yard of concrete is
3' X 3' X 3' in volume, or 27 cubic feet. One cubic
yard of concrete will pour 80 square feet of 3
½" sidewalk or basement/garage floor.
Yoke. The location where a home's water meter is
sometimes installed between two copper pipes, and
located in the water meter pit in the yard.
Z-bar flashing. Bent, galvanized metal flashing
that's installed above a horizontal trim board of an
exterior window, door, or brick run. It prevents
water from getting behind the trim/brick and into
Zone. The section of a building that is served by
one heating or cooling loop because it has
noticeably distinct heating or cooling needs. Also,
the section of property that will be watered from a
lawn sprinkler system.
Zone valve. A device, usually placed near the
heater or cooler, which controls the flow of water
or steam to parts of the building; it is controlled
by a zone thermostat.
Zoning. A governmental process and specification
which limits the use of a property e.g. single
family use, commercial, industrial use, etc. Zoning
laws may limit where you can locate a structure.
We are located on Southern Vancouver Island where we regularly build houses in the Duncan, Maple Bay, Cowichan Bay, Mill
Bay, Shawnigan, Cobble Hill, Lake Cowichan, Youbou, Chemainus, and Ladysmith areas.
to contact K2 Construction.