Welcome to our online construction dictionary. The dictionary
is in a continual evolution. Since this site is about residential
construction the dictionary will reflect this. If you can't find
a certain term email us and we will add it to our list.
- the process
of applying a water-resistant substance to concrete or masonry
to stop the infiltration of moisture. Basement foundations are
a good example of where dampproofing is used.
- the force
that is placed on a structure and structural members due to the
weight of the materials used. Shingles are an example of a dead
load. The heavier the materials; the greater the load.
covering that goes over floors and roofs and studs. Plywood, OSB
and wafer board are common deck sheathing materials.
lumber that ranges in thickness from 2-5 inches and from a width
greater than 2". Studs, joist, beams, and posts are usually
made form dimensional lumber.
- a projection
through the roof which raises the ceiling and allows a vertical
surface to install a window. Shed and gable dormers are the most
a vertically opening window where both the top and bottom sashes
move on separate tracks. This allows the top and bottom sashes
to be open at the same time.
two horizontal plates on top of the wall that hold the wall stud
in place and tie walls together.
clay or synthetic pipe used to carry water away from areas that
need to remain dry, such as foundations. Also called perimeter
- a angle
piece of sheet metal that is placed over the edge of the roof
to help the water drip directly to the ground and not run under
the fascia and soffit.
- a fungus that
thrives under damp moist conditions which turns wood into powder.
It occurs in areas where ventilation is poor, such as crawlspaces,
a gypsum mineral board formed into panels that are 4' wide and
8'-16' long. The 1/2" or 5/8" thick panels are used
to finish interior walls.
- round or rectangular
pipes used in forced air heating systems to supply warm or cool
air throughout the house.
- a house or
separate living unit.
- drain waste and
vent. Pipes that are designed to safely remove waste water from
- the legal
right of a party to cross or to use others property in a limited
way. Access to landlocked property is often a way in which an
easement would be afforded.
- the lower part
of the roof that projects past the exterior walls or the wall
that supports it.
- see rain
a concrete finishing tool that is used along the edge of concrete
slabs to create a rounded edge.
an elevation drawing which shows the views of a house from a vertical
plane. In simpler terms it is a view of each side of the house.
Elevation drawings are part of the total blueprint set.
delay that is beyond the control negligence or fault of the contractor.
An example of an excusable delay would might be a natural disaster.
space or gap that is built into a structure (most notably concrete)
which allow the structure to expand without causing damage.
- a board
that is nailed to the rafter tails at the end of the eaves. In
modern residential construction the fascia board is covered with
a finish fascia material such as painted aluminum, vinyl or finish
based paper sheathing used as a moisture barrier under shingles,
siding and masonry. 15lb and 30 lb are common weights of felt
last inspection to take place before an occupancy permit is issued
by building officials. All life and safety code issues must be
resolved before a occupancy permit is issued.
placed in an enclosed area to prevent the spread of fire.
blocking placed between joists and studs to prevent the vertical
travel of fire between walls and floors.
- a wall designed
to contain the spread of fire between rooms or between residences.
Fire walls are rated by the number of hours that they can contain
a fire from 1-4. Non-combustible materials such as gypsum, concrete,
clay brick are best at resisting fire spread.
- sheet metal
used in wall and roof systems to prevent the water infiltration.
- a view
of the layout of the floor structure from an overhead perspective.
The floor plan contains information such as location and size
of windows and doors, room size, location of exterior and partition
walls, location of electrical fixtures, outlets and switches and
plumbing fixture location etc. Each floor has it's own floor plan.
electrical switch that is used to control a fixture from three
or more locations.
a ratio of the total square footage of the house over the square
footage of the property on which it is built. Maximum and minimum
FAR's may be established by city ordinance or building covenants.
- part of
the construction plans which show the layout of rooms, hallways
and stairway etc. It may also show window door and electrical
rectangular concrete base which supports the entire building structure.
- a temporary structure
used to create a mold for concrete poured on site.
- the part
of the structure which is below grade that support the above grade
- the depth
that the ground typically freezes. The frostline varies depending
on climate and geographical area.
- the portion
at the end of a building between the eaves and the peak of the
roof. The shape of the gable is determined by the type of roof.
A typical gable roof forms a triangular shaped gable.
- a roof
that has two different slopes. The lower slope being steeper than
the upper slope portion of the roof.
- a large beam
that is used to support secondary structural members at points
along the beam
- a wood
beam made by gluing thinner pieces together in a stack.
- the contour
of the land around a structure. The grade is usually designed
to control the flow of storm water.
- mortar which
fills the spaces between tiles. Used extensively in floor and
wall tiles. (2) A small aggregate concrete mixture used to fill
the open cells in cement blocks.
- see drywall.
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