GLOSSARY OF CONSTRUCTION TERMS (N - Z)

NEWEL:
A post supporting the handrail at the top or bottom of a stairway.
NORMAL SIZE:
Size of lumber before dressing, rather than its actual or finished size.
NONBEARING WALL:
A dividing wall that does not support a vertical load.
NONFERROUS METAL:
Metal containing no iron, such as copper, brass, or aluminum.
NOSING:
The rounded edge of a stair tread.
OBSCURE GLASS:
Sheet glass that is made translucent instead of transparent.
ON CENTER:
Method of indicating spacing of framing members by stating the distance from center of one to center of the next.
OUTLET:
Any type of electrical box allowing current to be drawn from the electrical system for lighting or appliances.
ORIENTATION:
The positioning of a house on a lot in relation to the sun, wind, view, and noise.
OVERHANG:
Projecting area of a roof or upper story beyond the wall of the lower part.
PALLADIAN WINDOW:
A window arrangement with a half-round window on top of a wider rectangular window.
PANELBOARD:
The center for controlling electrical circuits.
PARAPET:
Low wall or railing at the edge of a roof; it extends above the roof level.
PARGE COAT:
Thin coat of cement mortar applied to a masonry wall for refinement or dampproofing.
PARQUET FLOORING:
Flooring, usually wood, laid in an alternating or inlaid pattern to form various designs.
PARTICLE BOARD:
Sheets made from compressed wood fiber.
PARTITION:
An interior wall that separates two rooms.
PARTY WALL:
Wall common to adjoining buildings in which both owners share, such as a wall between row houses or condominiums.
PATIO:
An open court.
PEDIMENT:
A triangular space formed in the middle of a gable; also used as a decoration above a door.
PENNY:
Term used to identify nail size.
PERGOLA:
Open, structural framework over an outdoor area, usually covered with climbing vines to form an arbor.
PERIPHERY:
Entire outside edge of an object or surface.
PERSPECTIVE:
A drawing of an object in a three dimensional form on a plane surface. An object drawn as it would appear to the eye.
PIER:
Support, usually in the crawl space, to support the floor framing.
PILASTER:
Rectangular pier attached to a wall for the purpose of strengthening the wall; also a decorative column attached to a wall.
PILES:
Long posts driven into the soil in swampy locations, or whenever it is difficult to secure a firm foundation, upon which the foundation footing is laid.
PILLAR:
A column used for supporting parts of a structure.
PINNACLE:
Projecting or ornamental cap on the high point of a roof.
PLAN:
A horizontal, graphic representational section of a building.
PITCH:
Slope of a roof usually expressed as a ratio.
PLANK:
Lumber 2" thick or more and more than 4" wide, such as joists, flooring, and the like.
PLASTER:
A mortarlike composition used for covering walls and ceilings. Usually made of portland cement mixed with sand and water.
PLASTERBOARD:
A board made of plastering material covered on both sides with heavy paper.
PLASTER GROUND:
A nailer strip included in plaster walls to act as a gage for thickness of plaster and to give a nailing support for finish trim around openings and near the base of the wall.
PLAT:
A map or chart of an area showing boundaries of lots and other parcels of property.
PLATE:
Top or bottom horizontal members of a row of studs in a frame wall; also, the sill member over a foundation wall.
PLATE CUT:
The cut in the rafter that rests upon the plate. It is also called the seat cut or birdmounth.
PLATE GLASS:
A high-quality sheet of glass used in large windows.
PLATFORM:
Framing in which each story is built upon the other.
PLENUM SYSTEM:
A system of heating or air-conditioning in which the air is forced through a chamber connected to distributing ducts.
PLOT:
The land on which a building stands.
PLOW:
To cut a groove running the same direction as the grain of the wood.
PLUMB:
Said of a member when it is in true vertical position as determined by a plumb bob or vertical level.
PLYWOOD:
A piece of wood made of three or more layers of veneer joined with glue and usually laid with the grain of adjoining piles at right angles.
PORCH:
A covered area attached to a house at an entrance.
PORTE COCHERE:
A covered, drive-through structure that extends from the side of a home, providing shelter for people getting in and out of vehicles.
PORTICO:
A roof supported by columns; often used at an entry.
PORTLAND CEMENT:
A hydraulic cement, extremely hard, formed by burning silica, lime, and alumina together and then grinding up the mixture.
POST:
A perpendicular supporting member.
POST & BEAM CONSTRUCTION:
Wall construction consisting of large, widely spaced posts to support horizontal beams.
PRECAST:
Concrete shapes made separately before being used in a structure.
PREFABRICATED BUILDINGS:
Buildings that are built in sections or component parts in a factory, and then assembled at the site.
PRIME COAT:
First coat of paint applied to wood or metal to prime the surface for succeeding coats.
PURLIN:
Horizontal roof members laid over trusses to support roof decking.
QUAD:
An enclosed court.
QUARRY TILE:
Unglazed, machine-made tile used for floors.
QUARTER ROUND:
Small molding with a quarter-circle profile.
QUARTER SAWED:
Lumber, usually flooring, that has been sawed so that the medulary rays showing on end grain are nearly perpendicular to the face of the lumber.
QUOIN:
A large, square stone or brick veneer set into the corners of masonry buildings for architectural style.
RABBET:
Groove cut along the edge or end of a board to receive another board.
RADIANT HEATING:
A system using heating elements in the floors, ceilings, or walls to radiate heat into the room.
RAFTER:
Inclined structural members used to frame a roof.
RAGLIN:
The open joint in masonry to receive flashing.
RAKE:
Inclined edge of a roof that overhangs the gable end.
RANDOM RUBBLE:
Stonework having irregular shaped units and no indication of systematic course work.
REBAR:
Steel reinforcing bar.
REGISTER:
The open end of a duct in a room for warm or cool air.
REINFORCED CONCRETE:
Concrete in which steel bars or webbing has been embedded for strength.
RENDERING:
The art of shading or coloring a drawing.
RESTORATION:
Rebuilding s structure so it will appear in its original form.
RESTRICTIONS:
Limitations on the use of real estate building materials, size, or design styles.
RETAINING WALL:
A wall to hold back an earth embankment.
REVEAL:
Side of an opening of a window or door.
RHEOSTAT:
An instrument for regulating electric current.
RIBBON:
Wood strip let into the studs to provide a bearing for joists.
RIDGEBOARD:
Horizontal wood framing member to which the top of rafters are attached.
RIDGE CAP:
A wood or metal cap used over roofing at the ridge.
RIPRAP:
Stones placed on a slope to prevent erosion. Also broken stone used for foundation fill.
RISE:
The vertical height of a roof.
RISER:
The vertical board in a stairway between two treads.
ROCK WOOL:
An insulating material that looks like wool but is composed of such substances as granite or silica.
RODDING:
Stirring freshly poured concrete with a vibrator to remove air pockets.
ROLL ROOFING:
Roofing material of fiber and asphalt manufactured in rolls.
ROUGH FLOOR:
The subfloor on which the finished floor is laid.
ROUGH HARDWARE:
All the concealed fasteners in a building, such as nails, bolts, and hangers.
ROUGH-IN:
Putting up the skeleton of the building.
ROUGH LUMBER:
Lumber as it comes from the saw.
ROUGH OPENING:
Any unfinished opening in the framing of a building.
ROWLOCK:
Brickwork with exposed ends setting vertically.
RUN:
Horizontal distance of a flight of stairs, or the horizontal distance from the outside wall to the ridge of a roof.
SADDLE:
Small gable-like roof structure used to divert water and debris from intersection of sloping roof and chimney; also called a cricket.
SAFETY FACTOR:
The ultimate strength of the material divided by the allowable working load. the element of safety needed to make certain that there will be no structural failures.
SAND FINISH:
A final plaster coat; a skim coat.
SAP:
All the fluids in a tree.
SASH:
Individual frame into which glass is set; the movable part of a double-hung window.
SCAB:
A small wood member, used to join other members, which is fastened on the outside face.
SCARF JOINT:
Joint made with diagonal ends.
SCHEDULE:
Listing of finishes, doors, windows, etc.
SCRATCH COAT:
The first coat of plaster. It is scratched to provide a good bond for the next coat.
SCREED:
A guide for the correct thickness of plaster or concrete being placed on surfaces.
SCUTTLE:
Small opening in a ceiling to provide access to an attic or roof.
SEASONING:
Drying out of green lumber, either in an over or kiln or by exposing it to air.
SECTION:
The drawing of an object that is cut to show the interior. Also, a panel construction used in walls, floors, ceilings, or roofs.
SEEPAGE PIT:
A pit in which sewage drains from a septic tank, and which is so constructed that the liquid waste seeps through the sides of the pit into the ground.
SEPTIC TANK:
A concrete or steel tank where sewage is reduced to liquid and gases by bacterial action. About half the sewage solids become gases that escape back through the vent stack in the house. The liquids flow from the tank into the ground through a leaching field tile bed.
SERVICE CONNECTION:
The electric wires to the building from the outside power lines.
SET:
The hardening of cement or plaster.
SETBACK:
Distance from the property lines, front, side, and rear, to the face of building; established by zoning ordinances.
SETTLEMENT:
Compression of the soil or the members in a structure.
SHAKES:
Thick hand-cut wood shingles.
SHEATHING:
Rough covering over the framing of a building, either roof or wall, which is not exposed when finish material is applied.
SHED ROOF:
A roof slanting in one direction.
SHIM:
A piece of material used to fill in the space between two surfaces.
SHINGLES:
Thin pieces of wood or materials that overlap each other in covering a roof. The number and kind needed depend on the steepness of the roof and slope.
SHIPLAP:
Boards with lapped joints along their edges.
SHOE MOLD:
Small rounded molding covering the joint between the flooring and the baseboard.
SHORING:
Lumber placed in a slanted position to support the structure of a building temporarily.
SIDING:
The outside boards of an exterior wall.
SIDELIGHT:
A vertical window beside a door or another window.
SILL:
Horizontal exterior member below a window or door opening. In frame construction, the lowest structural member that rests on the foundation.
SILL-COCK:
Water faucet made for the threaded attachment of a hose; also called a hose bibb.
SKYLIGHT:
An opening in the roof for admitting light.
SLAB CONSTRUCTION:
A reinforced concrete floor and foundation system.
SLEEPERS:
Wood strips placed over or in a concrete slab to receive a finished wood floor.
SMOKE CHAMBER:
The portion of a chimney flue located directly over the fireplace.
SOFFIT:
Underside of an overhang such as the eave, a second floor, or stairs.
SOFTWOOD:
Wood from trees having needles rather than broad leaves. The term does not necessarily refer to the softness of the wood.
SOIL STACK:
Vertical plumbing pipe that carries sewage.
SOLAR HEAT:
Heat from the sun.
SOLE PLATE:
The horizontal framing member directly under the studs.
SPACING:
The distance between two structural members.
SPACKLE:
To cover wallboard joints with plaster.
SPAN:
Horizontal distance between supports for joists, beams, or trusses.
SPECIFICATIONS:
The written or printed direction regarding the details of a building or other construction not included in the set of working drawings.
SPIKE:
A large, heavy nail.
SPLICE:
Joining of two similar members in a straight line.
SQUARE:
In roofing, 100 sq ft of roofing.
STACK:
A vertical pipe.
STAKEOUT:
Marking the foundation layout with stakes.
STEEL FRAMING:
Skeleton framing with structural steel members.
STEENING:
Brickwork without mortar.
STILE:
Vertical framing member of a panel door.
STIRRUP:
A metal U-shaped strap used to support framing members and pipes.
STOOL:
Horizontal interior member of the frame below a window.
STOP:
A small strip to hold a door or window sash in place.
STORM SEWER:
A sewer that is designed to carry away water from storms, but not sewage.
STORY:
Space between two floors of a building.
STRESS:
Any force acting upon a part or member.
STRESS COVER CONSTRUCTION:
Construction consisting of panels or sections with wood frameworks to which plywood or other sheet material is bonded with glue so that the covering carries a large part of the loads.
STRETCHER COURSE:
A row of masonry in a wall with the long side of the units exposed to the exterior.
STRINGER:
One of the sides of a flight of stairs. The supporting member cut to receive the treads and risers.
STRIPPING:
Removal of concrete forms from the hardened concrete.
STUCCO:
Any of various plasters used for covering walls, especially an exterior wall covering in which cement is used.
STUDS:
Vertical framing members in a wall spaced at 16" or 24" o.c.
SUBFLOOR:
Material fastened directly to floor joist below the finish floor.
SUMP:
A pit in a basement floor to collect water, into which a sump pump is placed to remove water.
SURFACE LUMBER:
Lumber that is dressed by running it through a planer.
SURVEYOR:
A person skilled in land measurement.
SUSPENDED CEILING:
Finish ceiling hung below the underside of the building structure, either floor or roof.
SWALE:
A drainage channel formed where two slopes meet.
TAIL JOISTS:
Relatively shorter joists that join against a header or trimmer in floor framing.
TAMP:
To ram or compact the soil.
TAR:
A dark heavy oil used in roofing and roof surfacing.
TEMPERED:
Thoroughly mixed cement or mortar.
TENSILE STRENGTH:
The greatest longitudinal stress a structural member can resist without adverse affects (breaking or cracking).
TERMITE SHIELD:
Sheet metal used to block the passage of termites.
TERRAZZO:
Wear-resistant flooring made of marble chips or small stones embedded in cement matrix that has been polished smooth.
THERMAL CONDUCTOR:
Material capable of transmitting heat.
THERMOSTAT:
A device for automatically controlling the supply of heat and air.
THRESHOLD:
Wood, metal, or stone member placed directly below a door.
THROAT:
A passage located directly above the fireplace opening where a damper is set.
TIE:
A structural member used to bind others together.
TIMBER:
Lumber with a cross section larger than 4"x6", for posts, sills, and girders.
TOENAIL:
Nailing diagonally through a member.
TOLERANCE:
The acceptable variance of dimensions from s standard size.
TONGUE:
A projection on the edge of wood that joins with a similarly shaped groove.
T-POST:
Post built up of studs and blocking to form the intersection framing for perpendicular walls.
TRANSOM WINDOW:
A narrow horizontal window above a window or door, named for the cross bar on which it rests.
TRAP:
U-shaped pipe below plumbing fixtures which provides a water seal to prevent sewer odors and gases from entering habitable areas.
TRAY CEILING:
A recessed ceiling resembling an upside-down tray; also referred to as a stepped ceiling.
TREAD:
The step or horizontal member of a stair.
TRIMMER:
The longer floor or ceiling-framing member around a rectangular opening into which headers are joined; both headers and trimmers are doubled.
TRUSS:
Structural unit of members fastened in triangular arrangements to form a rigid framework for support over long spans.
TRUSS RAFTER:
Truss spaced close enough (usually 24" o.c.) to eliminate the need for purlins.
TURRET:
A small tower usually on the corner of a building, most common in Victorian-style homes.
UNDERPINNING:
A foundation replacement or reinforcement for temporary braced supports.
UNDRESSED LUMBER:
Lumber that is not squared or finished smooth.
VALLEY:
The internal angle formed by two slopes of a roof.
VALLEY JACKS:
Rafters that run from a ridgeboard to a valley rafter.
VALLEY RAFTER:
Diagonal rafter at the intersection of two intersecting sloping roofs.
VALVE:
A device that regulates the flow of material in a pipe.
VAPOR BARRIER:
Watertight material used to prevent the passage of moisture or water vapor into and through walls and under concrete slabs.
VAULTED CEILING:
A ceiling that slopes up to a peak.
VENEER CONSTRUCTION:
Type of wall construction in which frame or masonry walls are faced with other exterior surfacing materials.
VENT:
A screened opening for ventilation.
VENTILATION:
The process of supplying and removing air by natural or mechanical means to or from any space.
VENT PIPES:
Small ventilating pipes extending from each fixture of a plumbing system to the vent stack.
VENT STACK:
Vertical soil pipe connected to the drainage system to allow ventilation and pressure equalization.
VERGEBOARD:
The board that serves as the eaves finish on the gable end of a building.
VESTIBULE:
A small lobby or entrance room.
VITREOUS:
Pertaining to a composition of materials that resemble glass.
VOLUME CEILING:
Any ceiling higher than the standard 8 feet.
WAINSCOT:
Surfacing on the lower part of an interior wall when finished differently from the remainder of the wall.
WALLBOARD:
Wood pulp, gypsum, or similar materials made into large rigid sheets that may be fastened to the frame of a building to provide a surface finish.
WALL TIE:
Small metal strip or steel wire used to bind courses of masonry to wood frame in veneer construction.
WARP:
Any change from a true or plane surface. Warping includes bow, crook, cup, and twist.
WASH:
The slant upon a sill, capping, etc., to allow the water to run off.
WASTE STACK:
A vertical pipe in a plumbing system that carries the discharge from any fixture.
WATERPROOFING:
Material or construction that prevents the passage of water.
WATER TABLE:
Horizontal member extending from the surface of an exterior wall to throw rainwater away from the wall; also, the level of subsurface water.
WEATHER STRIPPING:
Strips of fabric or metal fastened around the edges of windows and doors to prevent air infiltration.
WEEP HOLE:
Small holes in masonry cavity walls to release moisture accumulation to the exterior.
WELL OPENING:
A floor opening for a stairway.
WINDER:
Stair tread that is wider at one end than the other, allowing the stairs to change direction.
WYTHE:
Pertaining to s single-width masonry wall.
ZONING:
Building restrictions as to size, location, and type of structures to be built in specific areas.

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