Outdoor and Garden

Building and Construction Terms Dictionary

ABS -. Mainly in use for waste water lines, ABS is a kind of plastic pipe in black.

Adaptor (Plumbing) – It is a mechanism used to connect pipes in different sizes.

Air Chamber – It is a vertical pine filled with air that absorbs pressure and prevents water hammering when the water flow is stopped through the valve.

Alignment and Depth Control Device – It is a product that places nails in such a way below the floors so as to eliminate squeaking.

Ampacity – It is the current carrying capacity of a wire. For example, 20 amps of current can be borne by a 12 gauge electrical copper wire.

Amperage or AMPS – It is the measuring unit of electrical current.

Anchor Bolts –
1. Bolts are used to attach the framing of the house to its foundation and are “L” shaped.
2. Used to attach two items.

APA Plywood (APA) – It is the kind of Plywood that is approved by the American Plywood Association.

Asbestos – It is an inorganic fibre (magnesium silicate) used in various kinds of constructions. It is resistant to fire and is extremely stable. However, exposure to it for a long duration can cause many lung ailments.

Asphalt – It is a waterproof bituminous material used mainly in roofing.

Asphalt Plastic Cement – It is asphalt based cement that is used for bonding roofing materials. It also goes by names such as flashing cement or mastic.

Awl – It is a tool used for punching holes in wood or leather and has a long, sharp, pointed end.


Backflow – A negative pressure in the pipe can cause a reverse flow of water in the supply pipe, and is called a backflow.

Baseboards – The finish strips between the floor and the wall are called baseboards.

Base sheet – Built-up roofing’s bottom layer is called base sheet.

Beam – It is a structure that is meant to carry loads like a roof, and spans an open space.

Blue Print(s) – It is the drawing of the structure created by a designer or architect to be translated into actual construction.

Board Foot – it is a square block of wood measuring 12 inches and is one inch thick.

Boot – The electric service, plumbing vent pipes, air vents, and exhaust fan flashing have rubber seals around them called boots.

Branch Circuit (Electrical) – It is the circuit wiring running between a service panel to an outlet, protected by fuses and breakers at the panel.

Built-up Beam (or Girder) – Scabbing two or more pieces of lumber creates a girder.

Built-up Roof – The type of roof created by applying layers of roofing felt and asphalt to give a commercial or “flat” finish.


Cantilever – A part of a structure projecting beyond its original support and being balanced on the main body.

Cap Sheet – Built op roofing has a top layer called cap sheet.

Casement Window – A window opening like a normal door with the help of vertical hinges on the side.

Cast-Iron Pipe (Plumbing) – Drain pipes made of cast iron.

Chimney Pots: Decorative flues on top of chimneys are chimney pots.

Chip Brush –  A small paintbrush used for painting in tight spaces is a chip brush.

Circuit – It is a network of wires that transfers electricity to outlets and brings it back to the panel box.
Circuit Breaker – It is device that is used to cut the electrical supply throughout the building/house or limit the amount of power being transferred by the circuit.

Closet Auger – A tool needed to clear waste at the mouth of the waste pipe.

Closet Flange – It is a floor flange that has a toilet mounted directly over it and is secured with anchors or screws.

Cold Process Adhesive – It is an adhesive for securing joints of roofing without torching equipment.

Combination Primer/Sealer: Material for sealing the surface and ensuring the fesh paint has a strong bond.

Complementary Color Scheme: Colours from opposite ends of a colour wheel make a complementary colour scheme.

Concealed Nail Method – The process where nails are covered with cement or other materials, thus concealing them.

Concrete – It is a popular construction material made up of cement, sand, and gravel.

Contractor – A person/company holding a licence for doing constructions.

Coverage – Protection of a structure via roofing that depends on the layers and materials being used in the process.

Curing (Paint) – When paint bonds to a surface, it is called curing.


Deck –  The surface supported by framing members and on which one applies the roofing.

Drip Edge – It is a structure used to create water runoff to clear underlying construction.

Double-hung Windows: It is the most popular style for windows.

Drum Sander: A large machine almost the size of a lawn mower used for sanding floors.

Drywall or Gypsum Wallboard (GWB) or Sheet rock or Plasterboard – Gypsum plaster inside a thin cardboard leading to a well finished panel.


Eaves – The horizontal overhang beyond the vertical wall of the roof’s edge which is non-sloping.

Energy Envelope – A home’s heating and cooling is maintained within a seal called the energy envelope.


Felt – Material used for underlayment created by saturating with asphalt.

Fixture base – The wiring of the ceiling lighting/fan is held in the fixture base which hold the ceiling box and ensures electricity provision to the fixture.

Floatball – It is the ball that cuts of water supply in the toilet tank when the level rises so much that it threatens to overflow.

Footing – It is a base for supporting the foundation or piers created by widening the ground base.

 Forced Air Heating – Heating caused by use of natural gas, propane, electricity, or oil, and distributed through metal plastic ducts.

 Framing – The elements such as metal or wood used to build most homes.

Fuse – A device to prevent electrical line overload.


Gasket (Plumbing) – A device used to prevent leaks by sealing joints.

GFI or GFCI or Ground Fault Current Interrupter – It is an essential device that prevents harm while coming in contact with electrical devices.

Girdle – A girdle helps to support structures at isolated lengths in a house and is a large principle beam made of steel, concrete, wood or their combination.

 Glass-Base – It is a base sheet for roll roofing built on fibreglass.

 Glass-Seal – Fibreglass singles form a 3-tab sealing with a layer of weathering grade asphalt for waterproof protection.

 Gutter – Water is channelled from the eaves to the downspouts through the trough named gutter.


Hip Roof – A roof with no gables and sloping on all sides is called a hip roof.

Hacksaw – It is a saw used to cut trough metal.

Hole Saw – It is a saw used to create holes.

 Joists – Joists are 2” x 10” pieces of lumber used for structural framing.


Labour Hour – The measurement of a person’s labour input in an hour.

 Lap – The covering of one roll surface with another is called a lap.

Latchbolt – It is a locking system through which a part of the latch goes in through the edge of the door.

 Ledger – Joist or rafter ends are supported by wood or metal pieces attached to the bean.

Level – Any horizontal surface with same elevation is called level.

Linoleum – It is a flooring material which is made from natural products and is very durable.

 Load Bearing Wall – The wall that supports not only its own weight but also other elements like the roof or ceiling is a load bearing wall.


Main Vent (or Stack) – It is the principal vent. Branch vents are connected to it.

Manufactured Wood – Smaller wood pieces are used to manufacture a special wood product used in structures.

 Manufacturers Specifications – The manufacturer issues instructions that need to be followed for product maintenance.

Mobile Home Aluminum Roof Coating – It is particular type of roofing through which the mole home’s life is prolonged and which provides a decorative surface. It also reduces energy costs and reflects sun’s rays.

Molding – Producing large and decorative finish strips is called molding.

Mortar – Cement, bricks and stone when mixed together produces mortar.


National Electric Code (NEC) – NEC is the code that determines use of electricity and appliances so as to ensure maximum safety.

 National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA): NFPA issues guidelines and rules so that fire breakouts can be prevented.

Nesting – It is a process of reroofing with new asphalt.

Non-Slip Silicate – It is a coating used on floors to prevent the slippery feel caused by a smooth finish.



Pallets – These are platforms made of wood used to store and ship shingle bundles.

 Parapet – The wall at the end of the roof that prevents mishaps.

Payment Schedule – The contractual agreement on payment to the contractor based on the amount of work completed.

Permanent Furnace Filter – It is a filter that blocks debris from entering the furnace and is washable.

PEX (cross-linked polyethylene): It is a pipe used in residential use.

 Permit – The approval by Government to do construction work of any kind.

Plunger – It is a plumbing device that loosens and dislodges clogs by the use of suction.

Ply – Roofing has a number of layers like one ply, two ply and so on.
 Ply Sheet – It is a layer in built up roofing.

Post – A beam is carried by a vertical framing member called the post.

 Pressure Relief Valve – A mounted device that releases pressure in a heater/boiler thus preventing explosions.

PVC (Polyvinyl Choride) or CPVC –  Water supply lines sometimes use PVC or CPVC which is a white plastic pipe.


Quick-setting cement – Asphalt based cement used for adhering in two cases: tabs of stripped shingles to the course below, and roofling laps in the concealed nail method.

 Quote or Quotation – Rate provided by contractor or sub-contractor for materials or for doing the job.


Rafter – Roof sheathing is supported by the framing member called the rafter.

Rebar – It is a rod of steel placed in concrete.

Reciprocating Saw – With the use of the proper blade moving in an upright piston-like manner, a reciprocating saw can cut almost any material.

Resilient Flooring – A flooring which is so durable that it can resume its original shape is called resilient flooring.

 Release Tape – Self Sealing Shingles are prevented from sticking together with the help of a plastic or paper strip called the release tape.

Ridge – The angle formed at the intersection of two ridge planes.

Roofing Membrane – Waterproof layers covering the roof deck is called roofing membrane.

Rough Flooring – Floor Sheathing and materials used to build it.

R Value – It is a measuring unit to gauge the resistance of the insulation to heat flow.


Sash – The glass of the window is held in its place by the structure called sash.

Security Light: It is a kind of light that senses presence of others using infrared or microwave sensors.

Selvage (Selvedge) – An overlapped portion of the roof used to obtain double coverage.

Setback Thermostat – A thermostat that can be adjusted to varied temperatures using the in-built clock.

Sheathing –
1. Grade boards used in the exteriors.
2. The studs and the siding in a structure have panels laid in between called sheaths.

Shingle – It is a product created with machine sawn wood.

Soffit – The finished eaves’ underside.

Soil Stack
 – The roof is penetrated by a vent pipe called the soil stack.

Standard Practices of the Trade(s) – The commonly followed constructional standards.


 Tab – Defined by cut outs, Tab is the exposed part of the strip shingle.

 Tongue and Grove – It is a kind of lumber machine.

Treated Lumber – Lumber treated with chemicals to reduce future damage.

Truss – It is a kind of manufactured wood used to form ceiling joints or rafters.


U.L. – Underwriters Laboratories is a private research organisation in the U.S. that classifies and determines  safety of various products and materials.

Ultraviolet Degradation – Exposure to UV light can cause reductions in the performance of materials or products, commonly called as Ultraviolet degradation.


Valley – Intersecting sloping roof planes form an inward angle called the valley.

Vent – A pipe or stack used as an outlet for air.


Watt – The electricity requirement by a product is called watt.

Wet- or Dry-Surface Plastic Roof Cement – It is a kind of cement used for superior performance.


Zoning – Limiting the use of property via governmental measures is called zoning.


We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Login/Register access is temporary disabled