ABS - A type of black plastic pipe commonly used for waste water lines.
Actual Dimension (lumber) - The exact measurement of lumber after it has been cut, dried and milled.
Aerator - The diverter/screen unit that is screwed onto the end of a faucet to control splashing and to restrict
Adaptor (Plumbing) - A fitting that connects two pipes of different sizes.
Air Chamber - A vertical, air filled pipe that prevents water hammer by absorbing pressure when water is shut off
at a faucet or valve.
Aggregate - Crushed rock used as a top layer in some flat-roof applications.
Algae - Microorganisms that may grow to colonies in damp environments, including certain rooftops. They can discolor
shingles. Often described as "fungus."
Allowable Span - The distance between two supporting points for load bearing lumber such as joist, rafters
or a girder.
Allowance(s) - a sum of money set aside in the construction contract for items which have not been selected and
specified in the construction contract. Best kept to a minimum number and used for items who's choice will not impact earlier
stages of the construction. For example, selection of tile as flooring may require an alternative framing or underlayment
Ampacity - Refers to the how much current a wire can safely carry. For example, a 12 gauge electrical copper
wire can safely carry up to 20 amps
Amperage or AMPS - a unit of electrical current or volume- see voltage. Most homes have an electrical service 'entrance'
package of 125 or 200 amps. Some older homes have 60 or 100 amp 'entrances'. Amperage is based on the number of electron that
pass a certain point each second.
Anchor Bolts - (1)'L' shaped bolts which are set in the concrete foundation and used to attach the framing of the
house to the foundation. (2) Bolts that are attached to a secured source and used to tied in a less secured item.
Angle Iron - Structural steel bent at a 90 degree angle used to fasten or reinforce framing joints.
APA Plywood - (APA=American Plywood Association) Plywood that has been rated by the American Plywood Association.
For example, number one APA rated exterior plywood, contains no voids between laminate layers.
Architect - One who has completed a course of study in building and design, served an internship and passed a test
and is licensed by the state as an architect.
Asbestos - (1)A common form of magnesium silicate which was used in various construction products due to it's stability
and resistance to fire. Asbestos exposure by inhaling loose asbestos fibers is associated with various forms of lung disease.
(2) The name given to certain inorganic minerals when they occur in fibrous form. Though fire-resistant, its extremely fine
fibers are easily inhaled, and exposure to them over a period of years has been linked to cancers of the lung or lung-cavity
lining and to asbestosis, a severe lung impairment.
Asphalt- A bituminous material employed in roofing materials because of its waterproofing ability.
Asphalt plastic cement - An asphalt-based cement used to bond roofing materials. Also
known as flashing cement or mastic.
Backfill - Soil or gravel used to fill in against a wall or foundation.
Backflow - A reverse flow of water or other liquids into the water supply pipes, caused by negative pressure in
Ballcock - A toilet tank water supply valve which is controlled by a float ball.
Baluster - One of a series of supporting elements for a handrail.
Base sheet - Bottom layer of built-up roofing.
Batter Boards - Temporary structures that hold strings used to locate and square the corners of a building
Beam - A horizontal framing member designed to carry a load from a set of joists or a roof and spanning an open
space. Usually 6" x 6" or 4" x 10" or larger.
Bird's-Mouth Cut - A cutout in a rafter where it crosses the top plate of the wall providing a bearing surface for
nailing. Also called a heel cut
Bitumen - Term commonly applied to various mixtures of naturally occurring solid or liquid hydrocarbons, excluding
coal. These substances are described as bituminous. Asphalt is a bitumen.
Blue Print(s) - A type of copying method often used for architectural drawings. Usually used to describe the drawing
of a structure which is prepared by an architect or designer for the purpose of design and planning, estimating, securing
permits and actual construction.
Board and batten - A method of siding in which the joints between vertically placed boards or plywood are covered
by narrow strips of wood.
Board foot - The volume of a piece of wood measuring 12 inches square and in inch thick. A piece of lumber 1/2"
thick and 6 inches wide and 24 inches long is equal to one board foot.
Bonding Strip (Electrical) - A thin strip of metal inside armored or BX cable. This strip is meant to back up the
Box Cornice - A cornice completely closed with trim work.
Branch Circuit (Electrical) - Wiring that runs from a service panel or sub-panel to outlets. Branch circuits are
protected by fuses or breakers at the panel.
Bridging - Wood blocks installed in an X fashion between floor joist to stabilize and position the joist.
Built-up beam (or girder) - Beam (or girder) created by sistering or "scabbing" two or more pieces of lumber together.
Built-up roof - A type of commercial, or "flat" roof finish, produced by applying alternate layers of roofing
felt and hot asphalt or pitch. The top layer is given a hot flood coat of the bitumen; granules of rock, gravel, slag, or
ceramic particles may be embedded while the flood coat is still hot. The roofing system may incorporate rigid insulation.
Butt Joint - Lumber pieces joined at the ends.
Bundle - A package of shingles. There are 3, 4 or 5 bundles per square.
Butt edge - The lower edge of the shingle tabs.
BX Cable (Electrical) - (AKA Armored Cable) Metallic sheathed cable containing A/C electrical wiring.
Typically used when wiring would otherwise be exposed.
Cantilever - Any part of a structure that projects beyond its main support and is balanced on it.
Cap flashing - The portion of the flashing attached to a vertical surface to prevent water from migrating
behind the base flashing.
Cap sheet - A top layer in built-up roofing.
Casement Window - A window with hinges on one of the vertical sides and swings open like a normal door.
Cast-Iron Pipe (Plumbing) - Drain and vent lines. Most older Drain-Waste-Venting systems are made
of cast-iron pipes-now increasingly supplanted by ABS and PVC. Pipes were originally joined with molten lead, but most plumbers
now join them with no-hub couplers.
Cat's Paw - A variation of a pry bar used to pry up deep set (counter sunk) nails.
Catch Basin - A drain for a low or wet spot, with pipe exiting the side and a pit at the bottom
to collect sediment.
Caulking - (Carpentry) A flexible material used to seal a gap between two surfaces - e.g. between pieces
of siding or the corners in tub walls. (Roofing) To fill a joint with mastic or asphalt plastic cement to prevent
Cells - (Masonry)The hollow spaces in concrete blocks.
Chalk line - A line made on the roof by snapping a taut string or cord dusted with chalk. Used for alignment
Change Order - A written document which modifies the plans and specifications and/or the price of the
Circuit - A network of wiring that typically commence at a panel box, feeds electricity to outlets
and ultimately returns to the panel box.
Circuit Breaker - A device which looks like a switch and is usually located inside the electrical panel
or circuit breaker box. It is designed to (1) shut of the power to portions or all of the house and (2) to limit the amount
of power flowing through a circuit (measured in amperes).
'110' volt household circuits require a fuse or circuit breaker with a rating of 15 or a maximum of 20 amps.
'220' volt circuits may be designed for higher amperage loads (e.g. a hot water heater may be designed for a 30 amp load and
would therefore need a 30 amp fuse or breaker). Also see GFI.
Class "A" fire resistance - The highest fire-resistance rating for roofing per ASTM E-108. Indicates
that roofing is able to withstand severe exposure to fire originating from sources outside the building.
Class "B" fire resistance - Fire-resistance rating that indicates roofing material is able to withstand
moderate exposure to fire originating from sources outside the building.
Class "C" fire resistance - Fire-resistance rating that indicates roofing material is able to withstand
light exposure to fire originating from sources outside the building.
Cleanout (Plumbing) - A drain fitting, usually a wye or a tee, with a removable plug to permit
inspection and access for an auger or snake.
Cleat - A small piece of lumber attached to another piece of lumber to strengthen or support it.
Closed cut valley - A method of valley treatment in which shingles from one side of the valley
extend across the valley, while shingles from the other side are trimmed 2 inches from the valley centerline. The valley flashing
is not exposed.
Closet Auger - A plumbing tool used for clearing obstructions from toilet traps to the mouth of the waste
pipe. The closet auger has a large head sized for toilet traps. The rubber sleeve at the end of the long handle protects
the toilet from marring.
Closet bend - A curved drain pipe that is located beneath the base of the toilet and attached to a closet
flange. A slotted closet flange, or floor flange, holds the bend to the subfloor.
Closet Bolts - Bolts whose head is fitted to a closet flange and that protrudes up through
a toilet base. A nut is tightened around it on the toilet base. Two (or four) bolts serve one toilet.
Closet flange - A floor flange that's held to the floor with screws or anchors where a toilet mounts
directly above it attached with closet bolts and the closet bend attaches below it.
Coal tar - A viscous liquid mixture of hydrocarbon compounds, derived, along with coke, from the destructive
distillation of coal.
Coating - A layer of viscous asphalt applied to the base material into which granules or other surfacing
Code - Rules set forth by various government and private sector bodies to determine minimum trade practices.
Cold Process Adhesive - Mastic prepared with SBS modifiers to adhere laps, flashing and joints of built-up
or low-slope roofing without hot-mopping or torching equipment.
Cold-Method and Lap Cement - Special multipurpose adhesive for low-sloped, cold-applied roof construction.
Bonds 19" selvedge, mineral surface and cap sheets to the underlayment. Doubles as an adhesive on 2" selvedge lap of mineral-,
granule- or smooth-surfaced roofing. Available in both summer and winter grades.
Collar - Preformed flange placed over a vent pipe to seal the roofing above the vent pipe opening. Also
called a vent sleeve.
Collar tie - A horizontal board attached perpendicular to rafters.
Common Rafter - Rafter that extends from the top plate to the ridge. Generally set 12, 16, or 24 inches
Compression Fitting - Used to join or connect pipes and conduit by causing a ring to compress against
the connecting tube when tightening with a wrench.
Concealed nail method - Application of roll roofing in which all nails are driven into the underlying
course of roofing and covered by a cemented, overlapping course. Nails are not exposed to the weather.
Concrete Grout - A mixture of 3/8-inch pea gravel, sand, cement and water that you pour into
the cells of concrete-block walls to reinforce them.
Condensation - The change of water from vapor to liquid when warm, moisture-laden air comes in
contact with a cold surface.
Conductor (Electrical) - Anything that conducts or carries electricity.
Conduit (Electrical) Tubing used to protect wiring.
Construction Adhesive - Thick-bodied adhesive, suited to a wide range of repair and construction
tasks. Packaged in convenient cartridges for caulking guns.
Continuity Tester - An electrical tool used to identify and diagnose a circuit as either open or closed.
Coping joint - The intersection of a roof slope and an exterior vertical wall.
Counter flashing - See cap flashing.
Course - A row of shingles or roll roofing running the length of the roof.
Convection - Air naturally circulated by differences in temperature. Colder, denser air falls
and displaces the lighter, warm air.
Copper Pipe - Used to carry water to fixtures and appliances. Use Type M for most residential work. Type L is required
if the pipe is buried.
Covenants - Restrictions on how you can use or modify your property, intended to preserve the
character of the community.
Coverage - Amount of weather protection provided by the roofing material. Depends on number of
layers of material between the exposed surface of the roofing and the deck; i.e. single coverage, double coverage, etc.
Crawlspace - The interior area between the 1st floor subfloor and the ground surrounded by a poured
or block foundation. Most crawlspaces should be at least 18 inches high.
Cricket - A saddle-shaped, peaked construction connecting a sloping roof plane with a chimney.
Designed to encourage water drainage away from the chimney joint.
Cripple Stud - Short stud used as support in wall openings that replaces a normal 93 inch or 96 inch
Cripple Walls - In a wood-frame house, the section of wall under the house between the concrete
foundation and the floor joists. Also called crawl space walls.
Curb (roofing) -The short elevation of an exterior wall above the deck of a commercial flat roof.
Curb roof - A roof with an upper and lower set of rafters on each side, the under set being less
inclined to the horizon than the upper; a mansard roof.
Cutout (Roofing) -The open portions of a strip shingle between the tabs.
Concrete - A common construction material often used for foundations, ground level floors, and sidewalks.
Most concrete is made out of (1) Portland cement, (2) sand, and (3) gravel or aggregate. It is commonly reinforced with steel
rods (rebar) or wire screening (mesh).
Concrete Block - A hollow concrete 'brick' often 8" x 8" x 16" in size. Often used in low rise commercial
and some residential construction. The original design and use is attributed to the architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
Concrete Board or Wonderboard (TM) - A panel made out of concrete and fiberglass usually used as a tile
Contractor - A company licensed to perform certain types of construction activities. In most states,
the generals contractor's license and some specialty contractor's licenses don't require of compliance with bonding, workmen's
compensation and similar regulations. Some of the specialty contractor licenses involve extensive training, testing and/or
insurance requirements. There are various types of contractors:
General contractor - responsible for the execution, supervision and overall coordination of a project and may
also perform some of the individual construction tasks. Most general contractors are not licensed to perform all specialty
trades and must hire specialty contractors for such tasks, e.g. electrical, plumbing.
Remodeling contractor - a general contractor who specializes in remodeling work.
Specialty contractor - licensed to perform a specialty task e.g. electrical, side sewer, asbestos abatement.
Sub contractor - a general or specialty contractor who works for another general contractor.
Construction Contract - A legal document which specifies the what-when-where-how-how much and by whom
in a construction project. A good construction contract will include:
The contractors registration number.
A statement of work quality such as 'Standard Practices of the Trades' or 'according to Manufacturers Specifications'.
A set of Blue Prints or Plans
A set of Specifications
A construction timetable including starting and completion dates.
A Fixed Price for the work , or a Time and Materials formula.
A Payment Schedule.
A written Warrantee
A clause which outlines how any disputes will be resolved.
Deck - The surface, installed over the supporting framing members, to which the roofing is applied.
De-humidistat - A control mechanism used to operate a mechanical ventilation system based upon the relative
humidity in the home.
Designer - One who designs houses, interiors, landscaping or other objects. When used it the context
of residential construction it usually suggests that a designer is not a licensed architect. Most jurisdictions don't require
an architectural license for most single family construction.
Diverter Valve - A device that changes the direction of water flow from one faucet to another.
Dormer - A box like projection from the sloping plane of a roof that frames a window.
Double Hung Window - A window with two vertically sliding sashes. This is a very common older window
design, was usually made out of wood and tends to require frequent repairs.
Double coverage - Application of asphalt roofing so that the lapped portion is at least 2 inches wider
than the exposed portion, resulting in two layers of roofing material over the deck.
Downspout - A pipe for draining water from roof gutters. Also called a leader.
Drip edge - A non-corrosive, non-staining material used along the eaves and rakes to allow water runoff
to drip clear of underlying construction.
Drywall or Gypsum Wallboard (GWB) or Sheet rock or Plasterboard - A wall finish consisting of a manufactured
panel made out of gypsum plaster and encased in a thin cardboard. Usually 1/2" thick and 4' x 8' or 4' x 12' in size. The
panels are nailed or screwed onto the framing and the joints are taped and covered with a 'joint compound'. 'Green board'
type drywall has a greater resistance to moisture than regular (white) plasterboard.
Easement - A formal contract which allows a party to use another party's property for a specific purpose.
e.g. A sewer easement might allow one party to run a sewer line through a neighbors property.
Eaves - The horizontal overhang of the non-sloping edge of a roof beyond a vertical wall.
Eaves flashing - Additional layer of roofing material applied at the eaves to help prevent damage
from water backup.
Edging strips - Boards nailed along eaves and rakes to provide secure edges for reroofing with asphalt
shingle after cutting back existing wood shingles.
Electrical entrance package - The entry point of the electrical power including: (1) the 'strike' or
location where the overhead electrical lines connect to the house, (2) The meter which measures how much power is used and
(3) The 'panel', 'circuit breaker box 'or 'fuse box' where the power can be shut off and overload devices such a fuses or
circuit breakers and located.
Estimate - The anticipated cost of materials, labor, and associated cost for a proposed construction,
repair, or remodeling project.
Estimating - The process of calculating the cost of a project. This can be a formal and exact process
or a quick and imprecise process.
Expansion joint - A joint that allows for expansion and contraction during temperature changes.
Exposed Aggregate - A method of finishing concrete which washes the cement/sand mixture of the top layer
of the aggregate - usually gravel. Often used in driveways, patios and other exterior surfaces.
Exposed nail method - Application of roll roofing in which all nails are driven into the cemented,
overlapping course of roofing. Nails are exposed to the weather.
Exposure - The portion of the roofing exposed to the weather after installation.
Exposure I grade plywood - Type of plywood approved by the American Plywood Association for exterior
Fascia - a vertical wood member, such as a cedar 1" x 6", which is nailed to the ends of the rafters
and is often the backing of the gutter. Also known as the wood trim attached to the end of the rafters.
Feathering strips - Tapered wood filler strips placed along the butt edges of old wood shingles to create
a level surface when re-roofing over existing wood shingle roofs. Also called "horsefeathers."
Felt - Fibrous material saturated with asphalt and used as an underlayment or sheathing paper.
Fibered Aluminum Roof Coating - High-performance metallic reflective barrier for prepared roofing, metal
surfaces and exterior masonry. Reflects sun's harmful rays, reduces energy costs in summer and winter while prolonging surface
Fibered Roof and Foundation Coating - Combined application for this special medium-viscosity-grade
fibered material. Use as a roof or foundation coating.
Fibered Roof Coating - Optimal protection for low-sloped roofs. This thick, high-quality coating seals
fine cracks and openings. Renews and rejuvenates old composition roofing and prolongs roof life. Also performs well on metal
or concrete surfaces.
Fiberglass mat - An asphalt roofing base material manufactured from glass fibers.
Fixed Price Contract - A contract with a set price for the work. See Time and Materials Contract.
Flapper Valve (plumbing) - A valve that replaces a tank stopper in a toilet. Creates a seal between the
tank and the bowl.
Flashing - (1) Sheet metal or roll roofing pieces fitted to the joint of any roof intersection, penetration
or projection (chimneys, copings, dormers, valleys, vent pipes, etc.) in order to prevent water leakage.
(2) The building component used to connect portions of a roof, deck, or siding material to another surface such as a chimney,
wall, or vent pipe. Often made out of various metals, rubber or tar and is mostly intended to prevent water entry.
Flashing cement - See asphalt plastic cement.
Flux - A material applied to the surface of copper pipes and fittings to assist in the cleaning and bonding
Foundation Coating - High-quality below-grade moisture protection. Used for below-grade exterior
concrete and masonry wall damp-proofing to seal out moisture and prevent corrosion.
Free-tab shingles - Shingles that do not contain factory-applied strips or spots of self-sealing adhesive.
See also self-sealing shingles.
Footing. A widened below ground base of a foundation wall or a concrete poured, below ground, base used
to support foundations or piers.
Forced Air Heating - a common form of heating with natural gas, propane, oil or electricity as a fuel.
Air is heated in the furnace and distributed through a set of metal plastic ducts to various areas of the house.
Framing - The structural wood and/or metal elements of most homes. The floor and ceiling framing is called
the joist work. Wall framing is usually made out of 2" x 4" or 2" x 6" studs. See - rafters, posts, and beams.
Fungal Wood Rot- A common wood destroying organism which develops when wood containing material is exposed to moisture and poor air circulation
for a long (6 month +) period of time. Often and incorrectly referred to as dry rot.
Fuse - A device often found in older homes designed to prevent overloads in electrical lines - see 'circuit
Gable - A sidewall that comes to a point at its intersection with the ridge of two sloping roof
planes set at the same length and angle.
Gable roof - A type of roof with sloping planes of the same pitch on each side of the ridge. Has
a gable at each end.
Gasket - (plumbing) A device used to seal joints against leaks.
GFI or GFCI or Ground Fault Current Interrupter - A electrical device used to prevent injury from contact with electrical
appliances. Required in new homes in: bathrooms, kitchen, garage, out of doors and in other locations where one might be in
contact with a grounded surface and an electrical appliance. Most GFIs are located in the receptacle itself and can be identified
by the presence of a 'test' and a 'reset' button.
Girdle - A large principal beam or steel, reinforced concrete, wood, or combination of these, used to
support other structural members at isolated points along its length.
Glass-Base - Roll roofing product built on a fiberglass base sheet constructed with a heavyweight
TAMKO fiberglass mat, coated with weathering-grade asphalt. Used as a base sheet in select TAMKO modified asphalt and fiberglass
roofing systems and as an alternate for TAMKO Type 43 Coated Base Sheet in any TAMKO specification. Hot-asphalt applied or
Glass-Seal - 3-tab self-sealing fiberglass shingles with a traditional square-tab design. A thick layer
of weathering-grade asphalt gives them extra waterproofing protection. They are U.L. Class A fire rated and backed by a 20-year
limited warranty. Algae-resistant granules optional.
Granules - Crushed rock coated with ceramic material, applied to the exposed surface of asphalt
roofing products to add color and reduce ultraviolet degradation. Copper compounds added to these help make them algae resistant.
Grout - 1) An hydrous mortar whose consistency allows it to be placed or pumped into small joints or
cavities, as between pieces of ceramic clay, slate, or tile. 2) Various mortar mixes used in foundation work to fell voids
in soils, usually injected through drilled holes.
Gutter - The trough that channels water from the eaves to the downspouts.
Jack Stud - A partial stud nailed next to full studs to support the header at door (and some window)
Jamb - An exposed upright member on each side of a window frame, door frame or door lining.
Joint Compound - (Plumbing) A material applied to threaded connections to help prevent leaks Joint Compound - (Carpentry) A wet gypsum material applied to sheetrock joints
Joists - A structural framing member, such as a 2" x 10" piece of lumber, which is usually spaced every
16" to 24" apart. Floor joist supports the sub-floor and flooring. Ceiling joist holds the ceiling sheetrock or wallboard.
The joist runs perpendicular to beams.
Labor Hour - A standard in which one person's labor is performed in one hour.
Laminated shingles - Shingles that have added dimensionality because of extra layers or tabs, giving
a shakelike appearance. May also be called "architectural shingles" or "three-dimensional shingles."
Lap - To cover the surface of one shingle or roll with another.
Lap cement - An asphalt-based cement used to adhere overlapping plies of roll roofing.
Lath and Plaster - The most common wall finish prior to the introduction of drywall. Thin wood strips
(lath) were nailed onto the framing as a base for the sand/lime plaster.
Ledger - The wood or metal members attached to a beam, studding, or wall used to support joist or rafter
Level - Term use to describe any horizontal surface whereby all sides are at the same elavation.
Level (Carpenter's level) - A tool used to check for level.
Lintel - A horizontal supporting member, installed above an opening such as a door or window, that serves
to carry the weight of the wall above it.
Low-slope application - Method of installing asphalt shingles on roof slopes between 2 and 4 inches per
Load Bearing Wall - A wall which is supporting its own weight and some other structural elements of the
house such as the roof and ceiling structures.
Main vent (or stack) - Principal vent ot which branch vents may be connected. (see stack)
Mansard roof - A roof with two sloping planes of different pitch on each of its four sides. The lower
plane is steeper than the upper, and may be almost vertical. See also gambrel roof.
Manufactured Wood - A wood product such as a truss, beam, Glue Lam TM
or joist which is manufactured out of smaller wood pieces and glued or mechanically fastened to form a larger piece. Often
used to create a stronger member which may use less wood. See also Oriented Strand Board.
Manufacturers Specifications - The written installation and/or maintenance instructions which are developed
by the manufacturer of a product and which may have to be followed in order to maintain the product warrantee.
Masonry primer - An asphalt-based primer used to prepare masonry surfaces for bonding with other
Mastic - See asphalt plastic cement.
Mineral stabilizers - Finely ground limestone, slate, traprock or other inert materials added to asphalt
coatings for durability and increased resistance to fire and weathering.
Mineral-surfaced roofing - Asphalt shingles and roll roofing that are covered with granules.
Mobile Home Aluminum Roof Coating - Durable one-coat application prolongs the life of mobile home roofs
while reflecting sun's rays and providing a decorative surface. Reduces energy costs.
Modified bitumen roof - A roof covering that is typically composed of a factory-fabricated composite
sheet consisting of a copolymer-modified bitumen, often reinforced with polyester and/or fiberglass, and installed in one
or more plies. The membrane is commonly surfaced with field-applied coatings, factory-applied granules or metal foil. The
roofing system may incorporate rigid insulation.
Modified Bitumen Roof - see Torch Down Roof
Mudsill - A wood foundation member, usually a pressure treated 2 x 4 or 2 x 6, bolted to the foundation
and on which other farming members can be attached.
Nesting - A method of reroofing with new asphalt shingles over old shingles in which the top edge of
the new shingles is butted against the bottom edge of the existing shingle tab.
No-cutout shingles - Shingles consisting of a single, solid tab with no cutouts.
Non-fibered Aluminum Roof Coating - Thin but efficient reflective barrier to reflect sun's harmful rays
and prolong surface life. Also works on metal surfaces.
Nonfibered Roof and Foundation Coating - Dual purposed, this thin-viscosity material doubles as
a nonfibered roof or foundation coating.
Nonfibered Roof Coating - Easily applied, this thin coating will give low-sloped roofs, as well
as metal and masonry surfaces, added protection. Steel or wooden fences and underground pipe may also be treated.
Nonveneer panel - Any wood-based panel that does not contain veneer and carries an APA span rating, such
as wafer board or oriented strand board.
Normal slope application - Method of installing asphalt shingles on roof slopes between 4 inches and
21 inches per foot.
Open valley - Method of valley construction in which shingles on both sides of the valley are trimmed
along a chalk line snapped on each side of the valley. Shingles do not extend across the valley. Valley flashing is exposed.
Oriented Strand Board or OSB or Chip Board or Wafer Board - A manufactured wood panel made out of 1"-
2" wood chips and glue. Often used as a substitute for plywood in the exterior wall and roof sheathing.
Organic felt - An asphalt roofing base material manufactured from cellulose fibers.
Overhang - The portion of the roof structure that extends beyond the exterior walls of a building.
Pallets - Wooden platforms used for storing and shipping bundles of shingles.
Parapet - A wall placed at the edge of a roof, especially a flat roof, to prevent people from falling
Payment Schedule - A pre agreed upon schedule of payments to a contractor usually based upon the amount
of work completed. Such a schedule may include a deposit prior to the start of work. Payments are often scheduled for the
beginning of the month and allow the contractor to subcontractors and suppliers by the 10th of the month. There may also be
a temporary 'holdout' at the end of the contract for any small items which have not been completed.
Permit - A governmental authorization to perform a building process as in:
Zoning\Use permit - authorization to use a property for a specific use e.g. a factory, a single family residence
Grading permit - authorization to change the contour of the land.
Septic permit - a health dept. authorization to build or modify a septic system.
Building permit - authorization to build or modify a structure.
Electrical permit - a separate permit required for most electrical work.
Plumbing permit - a separate permit required for new plumbing and larger modifications of existing plumbing
Pier Block - A concrete block used to support foundation members such as posts, beams, girders and joist.
Pitch - The degree of roof incline expressed as the ratio of the rise, in feet, to the span, in feet.
See also slope. Also, a thick, oily substance commonly obtained from tar, used to seal out water at joints and seams. Pitch
is produced from distilling coal tar, wood tar, or petroleum.
Pitch pan or Pitch pocket - A container, usually formed of sheet metal, around supporting connections
with roof-mounted machinery. Filling the container with pitch, or better yet, plastic roof cement, helps seal out water even
when vibration is present.
Plans - See Blue Prints
Plastic Roof Cement - Ultimate protection for those tough jobs is found in this specially formulated
heavy-bodied material. Used as a waterproofing medium in new construction and as a general-purpose exterior repair and maintenance
material. Stops roof and other leaks fast. Available in both summer and winter grades.
Ply - The number of layers of roofing; i.e. one-ply, two-ply.
Ply sheet - A layer in built-up roofing.
Post - a vertical framing member usually designed to carry a beam. Often a 4" x 4", a 6" x 6", or a metal
pipe with a flat plate on top and bottom (see diagram).
Pressure Relief Valve - A device mounted on a hot water heater or boiler which is designed to release
any high steam pressure in the tank and thus prevent tank explosions.
PVC or CPVC - (Polyvinyl choride=PVC) A type of white plastic pipe sometimes used for water supply
Quick-setting cement - An asphalt-based cement used to adhere tabs of strip shingles to the course
below. Also used to adhere roll roofing laps applied by the concealed nail method.
Quote or Quotation - A price provide by a contractor, sub-contractor, or vendor to funish materials,
labor and/or both. Quotes differ from estimates in that an estimate is a best guess of the cost involved.
Rafter - (1) The framing member which directly supports the roof sheathing. A rafter usually follows
the angle of the roof, and may be a part of a roof truss. (2) The supporting framing member immediately beneath the deck,
sloping from the ridge to the wall plate.
Rafter Tail - The portion of a rafter that extends past the building to form the eaves
Rake edge - The overhang of an inclined roof plane beyond the vertical wall below it.
Random-tab shingles - Shingles on which tabs vary in size and exposure.
Rebar - When concrete cracks it will separate or become uneven, rebar is a rod of steel placed into the
concrete, usually in square feet one or two.
Resilient Flooring - A durable floor cover that has the ability to resume its original shape.
Release tape - A plastic or paper strip that is applied to the back of self-sealing shingles. This strip
prevents the shingles from sticking together in the bundles, and need not be removed for application.
Relative Humidity - The amount of moisture in a volume of air as a percentage of the maximum amount of
moisture which can be held in that air at a certain temperature - cold air can't hold as much moisture as warmer air.
Ridge - The intersection of two roof planes, or the angle formed by them.
Ridgeboards - Horizontal support at the ridge of a roof to which opposing rafters are attached.
Ridge Cut - The end cut on a rafter that fits to the ridgeboard.
Ridge shingles - Shingles used to cover the horizontal external angle formed by the intersection
of two sloping roof planes.
Rise - The vertical distance from the eaves line to the ridge.
Rise and run - The angle of inclination or slope of a member or structure, expressed as the ration of
the vertical rise to the horizontal run.
Riser - A vertical member between two stair treads.
Roll roofing - Asphalt roofing products manufactured in roll form.
Roof deck - See deck.
Roofing membrane - The layer or layers of waterproofing products that cover the roof deck.
Roofing tape - An asphalt-saturated tape used with asphalt cements for flashing and patching asphalt
Rough Flooring - Materials used to form an unfinished floor. Floor sheathing.
Rough Opening (R.O.) - Any framed, but unfinished opening.
Run - The horizontal distance from the eaves to a point directly under the ridge. One half the span.
R Value - A measure of insulation's resistance to heat flow. The higher the R Value the more effective
the insulation. For example, typical new home's walls are usually insulated with 6" of bat insulation with an R value
of R-19, and a ceiling insulation of R-28.
Sash - The frame that holds the glass in a window, often the movable part of the window. see.. double
hung windows, and casement windows.
Saturant - Asphalt used to impregnate a felt-base material.
Saturated Felt - An underlayment, or water-resistant layer, put down beneath shingles and made of felt
impregnated with asphalt.
SBS-modified - Asphalt that has been combined with SBS (styrene-butadiene-styrene) polymers to increase
Scupper - (1 )An opening for drainage in a wall, curb or parapet.
Scupper - (2) The drain in a downspout or flat roof, usually connected to the downspout.
Self-sealing shingles - Shingles containing factory-applied strips or spots of self-sealing adhesive.
Selvage (selvedge - The portion of roll roofing overlapped by the succeeding course to obtain double
Setback Thermostat - A thermostat with a clock which can be programmed to various temperatures at different
times of the day/week. Usually used as the heating or cooling system thermostat.
Shading - Slight differences in shingle color that may occur as a result of normal manufacturing operations.
Shake - A wood, usually cedar, roofing product which is produced by splitting a block of the wood along
the grain line. Modern shakes are sometimes machine sawn on one side. See shingle.
Sheathing - 1) Exterior-grade boards used as roof deck material. 2) Panels that lie between the studs
and the siding of a structure.
Shed roof - A roof containing only one sloping plane. Has no hips, ridges, valleys or gables. Also called
a flat roof.
Shim - A tapered piece of wood used to level and secure a structure.
Shingle - A machine sawn wood, usually cedar, roofing and siding product. see shake.
Single ply Roof - see Torch Down Roof
Skip Sheathing - The normal base for shake, shingle and some tile roofs. 1" x 4" or similar sized boards
are nailed at 90 to the rafters leaving a space of about 4" between each row and allowing for better ventilation.
Single coverage - Asphalt roofing that provides one layer of roofing material over the deck.
Slab on Grade - A type of foundation with a concrete floor which is placed directly on the soil. The
edge of the slab is usually thicker and acts as the footing for the walls. Common in California and 1940s and 50s concrete
block home (see diagram).
Slope - The incline angle of a roof surface, given as a ratio of the rise (in inches) to the run (in
feet). See also pitch.
Smooth-surfaced roofing - Roll roofing that is covered with ground talc or mica instead of granules.
Soffit - (1)The finished underside of the eaves. (2) A small ceiling like space, often out of doors,
such as the underside of a roof overhang.
Specifications or Specs - A narrative list of materials, methods, model numbers, colors, allowances,
and other details which supplement the information contained in the blue prints.
Splash Block - A pad which is placed under the lower end of a downspout and diverts the water from the
downspout away from the house. Usually made out of concrete or fiberglass.
Standard Practices of the Trade(s) - One of the more common basic and minimum construction standards.
This is another way of saying that the work should be done in the way it is normally done by the average professional in the
Soil stack - A vent pipe that penetrates the roof.
Span - The horizontal distance from eaves to eaves.
Specialty eaves flashing membrane - A self-adhering waterproofing shingle underlayment designed to protect
against water infiltration due to ice damage or wind-driven rain.
Square - A unit of roof measure covering 100 square feet.
Square foot - Coverage measured by multiplying width by length. An area 5 foot long and 7 foot wide is
equal to 35 square foot.
Square-tab shingles - Shingles on which tabs are all the same size and exposure.
Starter strip - Asphalt roofing applied at the eaves that provides protection by filling in the spaces
under the cutouts and joints of the first course of shingles.
Steep-slope application - Method of installing asphalt shingles on roof slopes greater than 21 inches
Step flashing - Flashing application method used where a vertical surface meets a sloping roof plane.
Strip shingles - Asphalt shingles that are approximately three times as long as they are wide.
Stud - Vertical member of a frame wall usually placed between a bottom plate and a top plate, spaced
every 16 inches or 24 inches apart. Provides structural support for drywall and sheathing.
Tab - The exposed portion of strip shingles defined by cutouts.
Three-dimensional shingles - See laminated shingles.
Time and Materials Contract - A contract which specifies a price for different elements of the work such as: cost per
hour of labor, overhead, profit etc. Such a contract may not have a maximum price or may state a 'price not to exceed...'.
Torch Down Roof or Single Ply or Modified Bitumen - A newer roofing material mostly used on flat roofs.
This material usually comes in rolls and is applied to the roof with an open flame or 'torch'.
Tongue and Grove - Lumber machined to have a groove on one side and and a protruding tongue on the other
side so that pieces fit snugly together, with the tongue of one fitting into the groove of the other.
Truss - A manufactured wood member often in the form of a large triangle which is used to form the ceiling
joists and rafters on the top floor of a home. Primary frame of a roof system, generally built by a truss builder and delivered
to the job site in modular components for final assembly.
Treated Lumber - A wood product which has been impregnated with chemicals to reduce damage from wood
rot or insects. Often used for the portions of a structure which is likely to be in ongoing contact with soil and water. Wood
may also be treated with a fire retardant.
Tube and Knob Wiring - A common form of electrical wiring used before W.W.II. When in good condition
it may still be functional for low amperage use such as smaller light fixture.
Valley - The inward angle formed by two intersecting, sloping roof planes. Since it naturally becomes
a water channel, additional attention to waterproofing it is desirable.
VALLEY SHIELDTM - A quality underlayment for added protection in the heavy water flow areas
of your roof. This self adhering product has a waterproof asphalt coating which offers excellent elongation and recovery properties
for accommodating roof expansion and contraction and structural movement.
Vapor retarder, Vapor Barrier - Any substance that prevents the transmission of water vapor.
Vent - Any outlet for air that protrudes through the roof deck, such as a pipe or stack. Any device installed
on the roof, gable or soffit for the purpose of ventilating the underside of the roof deck.
Vent sleeve - See Collar.
Voltage - A measure of electrical potential.
Most homes are wired with '110' and '220' volt lines. The '110' volt power is used for lighting and most of
the other circuits. The '220' volt power is usually used for the kitchen stove. water heater and dryer. (The terms '110' and
'220' volts are a short hand, e.g. a '110' volt line is usually rated at 117 volts plus or minus 10%).
Warrantee - In construction there are two general types of warrantees. One is provided by the manufacturer
of a product such as roofing material or an appliance. The second is a warrantee for the labor. For example, a roofing contract
may include a 30 year material warrantee a and a 5 year labor warrantee.
Many (but not all ) new homes come with a one year warrantee. Any major issues found during the first year
should be communicated the builder at once. Small items can be saved up and presented to the builder in a letter on the 11
month anniversary of the closing. This gives the builder one month to make the necessary corrections.
Watt - A measure of the electrical requirement of an appliance calculated by multiplying voltage x amperage.
For example: a 1600 watt hair dryer which uses '110' volt power needs about 15 amps.
Wax Ring Job - Removing a toilet from the floor so that a blockage can be manually removed or to replace
a degraded wax ring. Replacing a new wax ring on the bottom of the toilet to create a seal.
Wet- or Dry-Surface Plastic Roof Cement - Superior performance in cold and wet applications. Performs
as a general-purpose exterior repair and maintenance material on damp or dry surfaces. Stops roof and other leaks fast.
Woven valley - Method of valley construction in which shingles from both sides of the valley extend across
the valley and are woven together by overlapping alternate courses as they are applied. The valley flashing is not exposed.