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  Homeowner's Glossary of Building Terms -Click Here for More Articles-   
 

This list from the U.S. General Services Administration defines some terms used in home construction, repair and maintenance. It is not comprehensive but will provide a quick reference for those who are unfamiliar with building terminology.

A
Acoustical Tile
Special tile for walls and ceilings made of mineral, wood, vegetable fibers, cork, or metal. Its purpose is to control sound volume, while providing cover.

Air Duct
Pipes that carry warm air and cold air to rooms and back to furnace or air conditioning system.

Ampere
The rate of flow of electricity through electric wires.

Apron
A paved area, such as the juncture of a driveway with the street or with a garage entrance.

B
Backfill
The gravel or earth replaced in the space around a building wall after foundations are in place.

Balusters
Upright supports of a balustrade rail.

Balustrade
A row of balusters topped by a rail, edging a balcony or a staircase.

Baseboard
A board along the floor against walls and partitions to hid gaps.

Batt
Insulation in the form of a blanket, rather than loose filling.

Batten
Small thin strips covering joints between wider boards on exterior building surfaces.

Beam
One of the principal horizontal wood or steel members of a building.

Bearing Wall
A wall that supports a floor or roof of a building.

Bib or Bibcock
A water faucet to which a hose may be attached, also called a hose bib or sill cock.

Bleeding
Seeping of resin or gum from lumber. This term is also used in referring to the process of drawing air from water pipes.

Brace
A piece of wood or other material used to form a triangle and stiffen some part of a structure.

Braced Framing
Construction technique using posts and cross-bracing for greater rigidity.

Brick Veneer
Brick used as the outer surface of a framed wall.

Bridging
Small wood or metal pieces placed diagonally between floor joists.

Building Paper
Heavy paper used in walls or roofs to dampproof.

Built-Up Roof
A roofing material applied in sealed, waterproof layers, where there is only a slight slope to the roof.

Butt Joint
Joining point of two pieces of wood or molding.

Bx Cable
Electricity cable wrapped in rubber with a flexible steel outer covering.


C
Cantilever
A projecting beam or joist, not supported at one end, used to support an extension of a structure.

Carriage
The member which supports the steps or treads of a stair.

Casement
A window sash that opens on hinges at the vertical edge.

Casing
Door and window framing.

Cavity Wall
A hollow wall formed by firmly linked masonry walls, providing an insulating air space between.

Chimney Cap
Concrete capping around the top of chimney bricks and around the floors to protect the masonry from the elements.

Chair Rail
Wooden molding on a wall around a room at the level of a chair back.

Chamfered Edge
Molding with pared-off corners.

Chase
A groove in a masonry wall or through a floor to accommodate pipes or ducts.

Chimney Breast
The horizontal projection-usually inside a building-of a chimney from the wall in which it is built.

Circuit Breaker
A safety device which opens (breaks) an electric circuit automatically when it becomes overloaded.

Cis

 
 
   


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