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THE MY DISCOUNT TOOLS HOME IMPROVEMENT DICTIONARY ©


A B C D E
F G H I J
K L M N O
P Q R S T U
V W X Y Z

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.
Ah Abreviation for Amp Hour
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.
amp-hours A measure of the flow of current (in amperes) over one hour.
anchor irons of special form used to connect timbers or masonry
anchor bolts bolts which fasten columns girders or other members to concrete or masonry
anode The positive pole or electrode of an electrolytic cell, vacuum tube, etc.
apron (1.) a plain or molded finish piece below the stool of a window covers the rough edges of plaster (2.) A paved area, such as the juncture of a driveway with the street or with a garage entrance.
Argon A colorless, odorless inert gas sometimes used in the spaces between the panes in energy efficient windows. This gas is used because it will transfer less heat than air. atrium An interior court to which rooms open.
attic The usually unfinished space above a ceiling and below a roof.
attic fan A fan mounted on an attic wall used to exhaust warm attic air to the outside.
attic vent A passive or mechanical device used to ventilate an attic space, primarily to reduce heat buildup and moisture condensation.
audit (energy) The process of determining energy consumption, by various techniques, of a building or facility.
automatic damper A device that cuts off the flow of hot or cold air to or from a room as controlled by a thermostat.
awning An architectural element for shading windows and wall surfaces placed on the exterior of a building; can be fixed or movable.

B
back fill The gravel or earth replaced in the space around a building wall after foundations are in place
backing the bevel on the top edge of a hip rafter that allows the roofing board to fit the top of the rafter without leaving a triangular space between it and the lower side of the roof covering
balloon frame the lightest and most economical form of construction The studding and corner posts are set up in continuous lengths from the first floor line or sill to the roof plate
baluster a small pillar or column used to support a rail
balustrade a series of balusters connected by a rail generally used for porches balconies and such
band a low flat molding
base the bottom of a column the finish of a room at the junction of the walls and floor
baseboard A board along the floor against walls and partitions to hid gaps.
base molding the molding on the top of a baseboard
bat Insulation in the form of a blanket, rather than loose filling.
batten cleat a narrow strip of board fastening several pieces together
batten door a door made of sheathing and reinforced with strips of board nailed crosswise
batter board a temporary framework for locating the corners when laying a foundation
batter pile a pile driven at an angle to brace a structure against lateral thrust
bd ft board feet
beam (1) One of the principal horizontal wood or steel members of a building.(2) an inclusive term for joists girders rafters and purlins
Bearing Wall A wall that supports a floor or roof of a building.
bedding a filling of mortar putty or other substance in order to secure a firm bearing
bed molding a molding used to cover the joint between the plancier and frieze horizontal decorative band around the wall of a room also used as a base molding on heavy work and
sometimes as a member of a cornice
belt course a horizontal board across or around a building usually made of a flat member and a molding
bent a single vertical framework consisting of horizontal and vertical members supporting the deck of a bridge or pier
bevel board pitch board a board used to lay out bevels in framing a roof or stairway
bleeding the process of drawing air from water pipes or hydraulic lines
bird's mouth a cutout near the bottom of a rafter fits over the rafter plate
blind nailing driving nails so that the holes are concealed
board lumber less than 2 inches thick
board foot the equivalent of a board 1 foot square and 1 inch thick
boarding in the process of nailing boards on the outside studding of a house
bollard a steel or cast iron post to which large ships are tied
BOM bill of materials
braces pieces fitted and firmly fastened to two others at any angle used to strengthen the angle thus treated bracket a projecting support for shelves or other structures
break joints to arrange joints so that they do not come directly under or over the joints of adjoining pieces such as in shingling and siding
brick veneer Brick used as the outer surface of a framed wall.
bridging pieces fitted in pairs from the bottom of one floor joist to the top of adjacent joints and crossed to distribute the floor load it can also be pieces of width equal to the joists and fitted
neatly between them
building paper cheap thick paper used to insulate a building before the siding or roofing is put on sometimes placed between double floors (replaced by synthetic house wrap in contemporary construction)
built up member a single structural component made from several pieces fastened together
built up timber a timber made of several pieces fastened together forming one piece of larger dimension
butt joint a simple joint made by fastening two end pieces together without overlapping
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.
camber the angle cut in a piece of wood such as a joist to match an adjacent member such as a rafter
carriages the supports or the steps and risers of a flight of stairs
casement a window in which the sash opens on hinges
casing the trimming around a door or window opening outside or inside the finished lumber around a post or beam
CB circuit breaker
ceiling narrow matched boards sheathing of the surfaces that enclose the upper side of a room
center hung sash a sash hung on its centers so that it swings on a horizontal axis
Chair Rail Wooden molding on a wall around a room at the level of a chair back.
chamfer a beveled surface cut on the corner of a piece of wood
checks splits or cracks in a board ordinarily caused by seasoning
chock heavy timber fitted between fender piles along the wheel guard of a pier or wharf
chord the principal member of a truss on either the top or bottom
chuckA revolving clamp-like device used for gripping and driving stock or tools. Typically used on Drills, Mills, and Lathes
Circuit Breaker safety device which opens (breaks) an electric circuit automatically when it becomes overloaded
clamp a mechanical device used to hold two or more pieces together
clapboards a special form of outside covering of a house a type of siding
cleats metal arms extending horizontally from a relatively low base used for securing small ships tugs and work boats
cm centimeter s
collar tie usually a 1 x 4 or a 1 x 6 fastened in a horizontal position to secure the upper ends of rafters together placed on every other rafter system
column a square rectangular or cylindrical support for roofs ceilings and so forth
combination frame a combination of the principal features of the full and balloon frames
common rafter a rafter which runs square with the plate and extends to the ridge
cone concrete
concrete an artificial building material made by mixing cement and sand with gravel broken stone or other aggregate plus sufficient water to cause the cement to set and bind the entire
mass
conductors pipes for conducting water from a roof to the ground or to a receptacle or drain downspout
const construction
cornice the molded project that finishes the top of the wall of a building
counterflashings strips of metal used to prevent water from entering the top edge of the vertical side of a roof flashing allows expansion and contraction without danger of breaking the
Crawl Space A shallow, unfinished space beneath the first floor of a house which has no basement, used for visual inspection and access to pipes and ducts. Also, a shallow space in the attic, immediately under the roof.
cripple rafter rafters that cut between valley and hip rafters
cross brace bracing with two intersecting diagonals also refers to the top surface of a piece of wood that has been cut at an angle to match an adjacent member

D
d penny
dado a rectangular square based groove cut across the full width of a board and commonly used to form joints a rectangular groove cut Dados are used in sliding doors and window frames
dado joint a joint formed by two intersecting boards meeting at right angles and with the end of one notched into the other for half the second board's thickness
deadening construction intended to prevent the passage of sound
dead load a permanent load on a building or other structure which includes the weight of its structural members and the fixed loads they carry
decking the heavy plank floor of a pier or bridge
df double flow
dn down
diam diameter
diagonal inclined member of a truss or bracing system used for stiffening and for wind bracing
double hung window a window with an upper and a lower sash each with sash cords and weights
dog A device for gripping or holding material or machine components in place.
dovetail joint a joint made by cutting pins the shape of dovetails which fit between dovetails onto another piece
drawboard joint a mortise and tenon joint with holes bored so that when a pin is driven through the joint becomes tighter
drip the projection of a window sill or water table to allow the water to drain clear of the side of the house below it
dry wall A wall surface of plasterboard or material other than plaster.

E
ea each
elev elevation
end lap joint a joint formed at the corner where two boards lap Each board is cut away to half its thickness and they are halved to a distance equal to their width so that they are flush when fitted together
eaves The extension of roof beyond house walls.

F
F Fahrenheit
fascia a flat member of a cornice or other finish generally the board of the cornice to which the gutter is fastened
fender pile the outside row of piles that protects a pier or wharf from damage by ships
feather board An angular board with multiple parallel saw cuts that is used as a side and top hold-down to prevent kickbacks and keep hands away from moving blades and cutters.
fishplates metal plates fastened to each side of a butt splice for support
fished joint an end butt splice strengthened by pieces nailed on the sides
filler a piece used to fill the space between two surfaces
fin finished
flashing the non-corrosive metal used and the process of making watertight the roof intersections and other exposed places on the outside of the house
floor joists Framing pieces which rest on outer foundation walls and interior beams or girders.
flr floor
flue the opening in a chimney through which smoke passes
flush even adjacent structural surfaces or those in the same plane
flush joint a mortar joint formed by cutting extra mortar away from the wall
FM field manual
footing an enlargement at the lower end of a wall pier or column that distributes the load
footing form a wooden or steel structure placed around the footing to hold the concrete to the desired shape and size foundation that part of a building or wall that supports the superstructure
frame the timber skeleton of a building and the surrounding or enclosing woodwork of windows doors and so forth
frame box a window frame with boxes to contain the sash weights
framing the rough timber structure of a building including interior and exterior walls floor ceiling and roof
ft foot feet
furring narrow strips of board nailed upon the walls and ceiling to form a straight surface upon which to lay the laths or other finish

G
gable the vertical triangular end of a building from the eaves to the apex of the roof
gal gallon
gauge a tool used by carpenters to strike a line parallel to the edge of a board
gambrel a symmetrical roof with two different pitches or slopes on each side
girder a timber used to support wall beams or joists
girt ribboned the horizontal member of the walls of a full or combination frame house that supports the floor joists or is flush with the top of the joists
GL ground level
glued joint a joint held together with glue
grade the horizontal ground level of a building or structure
Grade Line The point at which the ground rests against the foundation wall.
Green Lumber Lumber which has been not been dried.
groove a long hollow channel cut by a tool into which a piece fits or in which it works Two special types of grooves are the dado and the housing
ground a strip of wood assisting the plasterer in making a straight wall also a place to which the finish of the room may be nailed
guard A barrier that prevents entry of the operator's hands or fingers into the point of operation. Gusset A brace or bracket used to strengthen a structure

H
ha hectare
half lap joint two pieces joined by cutting away half the thickness of each so that they fit flush into each other
halved joint a joint made by cutting half the wood away from each piece to bring the side flush
hanger a vertical tension member supporting a load
header a short joist into which the common joists are framed around or over an opening
head jamb yoke the top horizontal member of a door or window frame
headroom the clear space between floor and ceiling as in a stairway
heel of a rafter the end or foot that rests on the wall plate
hip rafter rafters extending from the outside angle of the plates toward the apex of the roof
hip roof a roof that slopes up toward the center from all sides necessitating a hip rafter at each corner
housed joint a joint in which one piece is grooved to receive the other
housing a groove cut at any angle with the grain and part way across the piece housings are used for framing stair risers and treads in stringers
hypotenuse the length of a rafter

I
in inch es

J
jack rafter a short rafter framing between the wall plates a hip rafter
jamb the side piece or post of an opening sometimes applied to the door frame
joists timbers supporting the floorboards

K
kerf the cut made by a saw
kickback The tendency of blades and cutters to force material being milled or cut to suddenly move up and back towards the operator.
km kilometer s
knee brace a corner brace fastened at an angle from the wall stud to the rafter stiffening a wood or steel frame to prevent angular movement
kraftpaper strong brown paper used for a variety of building needs

L
lap joint a joint of two pieces lapping over each other
laths narrow strips which support plastering
lattice crossed wood iron plate or bars
lb pound s
ledgers the support for the second floor joists of a balloon frame house or for similar uses ribband
level a term describing the position of a line or plane when parallel to the surface of still water a tool used for testing horizontal and vertical surfaces and for determining differences of
elevation
lgth length
lin ft linear feet
lintel cap a horizontal structural member spanning an opening and supporting a wall load
lip molding a molding with a lip which overlaps the piece against which the backing of the molding rests
live load the weight a building must bear due to the combination of furniture other movable objects and the people who occupy the building
lookout the end of a rafter or the construction that extends beyond the sides of a house to support the eaves also the projecting timbers at the gables supporting the verge boards
louver a type of window usually in peaks of gables and the tops of towers provided with horizontal slats which exclude rain and snow and allow ventilation
lumber sawed parts of a log such as boards planks scantling and timber

M
m meter s
matching tongue and groove the method used in cutting the edges of a board to make a tongue on one edge and a groove on the other
max maximum
meeting rail or check rail the bottom rail of the upper sash of a double hung window
member a single piece complete in itself within a structure
mi mile s
min minimum
miter the joint formed by two abutting pieces meeting at an angle
mm millimeter s
mortise the hold generally rectangular for a tenon or any such hole cut into or through a piece by a chisel
mortised joint a joint made by cutting a hole or mortise in one piece and a tenon or piece to fit the hole upon the other
mullion the construction between the openings of a window frame to accommodate two or more windows
muntin the vertical member between two pieces of the same panel work the vertical sash bars separating the different panels of glass

N
N North
NCOIC noncommissioned officer in charge
newel the principal post at the foot of a staircase also the central support of a winding flight of stairs
nmi nautical miles
no number

O
O C on center

P
p pile
pad eyes metal rings vertically mounted on a plate used for tying small vessels
parapet In an exterior wall, the part entirely above the roof.
parging A rough coat of mortar applied over a masonry wall as protection or finish; may also serve as a base for an asphaltic waterproofing compound below grade.
parting bead the strip or bead that separates the upper and lower sashes of a window also called a parting strip
partition a permanent interior wall that divides a building into rooms
partition nonbearing a dividing wall that separates areas of a structure but does not provide support for the room overhead partitions or floor joists
pc pieces
picture molding a molding shaped to form a support for picture hooks often placed on the wall at some distance from the ceiling to form the lower edge of the frieze
pier timber concrete or masonry supports for girders posts or arches intermediate supports for adjacent ends of two bridge spans or a structure extending outward from the shore into the
water used as a dock for ships
piers masonry supports set independent of the main foundation
pilaster a portion of a square column usually set within or against a wall
piles long posts driven into swampy soil or wherever it is difficult to secure a firm foundation upon which to lay the footing course of masonry or other timbers
piling large timbers or poles driven into the ground or the bed of a stream to make a firm foundation
pitch inclination or slope as for roofs or stairs the rise divided by the span
pitch board a board sawed to the exact shape formed by the stair tread riser and slope of the stairs and used to lay out the carriage and stringers
plan a horizontal geometrical drawing of a building showing the walls doors windows stairs chimneys columns and other structural components
plank a wide piece of sawed timber usually 1 1 2 to 4 1 2 inches thick and 6 inches or more wide
plaster a mixture of lime hair and sand or of lime cement and sand used to cover outside and inside wall surfaces
plate the top horizontal piece of the walls of a frame building upon which the roof rests
plate or seat cut the cut at the bottom end of a rafter that rests upon the top of the plate
plot plan site plan a drawing showing all necessary property lines contours building lines building locations existing or new buildings and utility easements
plow to cut a groove running in the same direction as the grain of the wood
plumb cut any cut made in a vertical plane the vertical cut at the top end of a rafter
ply a term used to denote a layer or thickness of building or roofing paper such as two ply or three ply
porch A covered platform, usually having a separate roof, at an entrance to a building.
portico A monumental projecting porch with a roof supported by columns, often placed at the entrance of a building
post-and-beam construction Wall construction in which beams are supported by heavy posts rather than many smaller studs.
post a timber set on end to support a wall girder or other members of the structure pr pair
prefab prefabricated
pulley stile the member of a window frame that contains the pulleys and between which the edges of the sash slide
purlin a timber supporting several rafters at one or more points or the roof sheeting directly
push stick A strip of wood or block with a notch cut into one end that is used to push short or narrow lengths of material through saws

Q
qty quantity

R
R riser
rabbet a corner cut out of an edge of a piece of wood
rabbet joint two pieces of timber rabbeted and fit together
rafters beams that slope from the ridge of a roof to the eaves making the main body of the roof's framework
rail the horizontal members of a balustrade or panel work
rake the trim of a building extending in an oblique line as rake dado or molding
rake molding the cornice on the gable edge of a pitched roof the members of which are made to fit those of the molding of the horizontal eaves
return the continuation of a molding or finish of any kind in a different direction
ridge the top edge or corner formed by two intersecting roof surfaces
rise the vertical distance through which anything rises as the rise of a roof or stair
riser the vertical board between two treads of a flight of stairs
RL random length
rm room
roof decking the layer of wood or plywood applied directly to the rafters under the shingles
roofing the material put on a roof to make it weatherproof
roof ridge The top horizontal member of a sloping roof, against which the upper ends of the rafters are fixed (the line at which the rafters meet at the apex of the roof).
rub joint a glued joint made by carefully fitting the edges together spreading glue between them and rubbing the pieces back and forth until they adhere
rubble roughly broken quarry stone
rubble masonry uncut stone used for such things as rough work foundations and backing run the horizontal length of a piece such as a rafter when it is in position

S
S switch
saddle board the finish of the ridge of a pitched roof house sometimes called comb board
sash the framework that holds the glass in a window
sash lift a metal hook bar or plate attached to a sash to enable lifting and lowering of the window
sawing plain lumber sawed regardless of the grain the log simply squared and sawed to the desired thickness
scab a short piece of lumber used to splice or prevent movement of two other pieces
scaffolding or staging a temporary structure or platform enabling workmen to reach high places
scale a short measurement used as a proportionate part of a larger dimension the scale of a drawing is frequently expressed as 1 4 inch 1 foot
scantling lumber with a cross section ranging from 2 by 4 inches to 4 by 4 inches
scarfed joint a timber spliced by cutting various shapes of shoulders or jogs which fit each other
scarfing a joint between two pieces of wood allowing them to be spliced lengthwise
scotia a hollow molding used as part of a cornice and often under the nosing of a stair tread
scribing marking a piece of wood to provide for fitting one of its surfaces to the irregular surface of another
section a drawing showing the type arrangement and proportions of the various parts of a structure It is assumed that the structure is cut by a plane and the section is the view gained
by looking in one direction
shakes imperfections in timber caused by high winds or imperfect growth conditions
sheathing wallboards or roofing boards generally applied to narrow boards laid with a space between them according to the length of a shingle exposed to the weather
sheathing paper building paper the paper used under siding or shingles to insulate the house
shim Thin tapered piece of wood used for leveling or tightening a stair or other building element.
shingles thin oblong pieces of wood or other material thinner at one end used for covering roofs or walls
shiplap Boards with rabbeted edges overlapping
siding the outside finish between the casings
sills the horizontal timbers of a house which either rest upon the masonry foundation or in the absence of such form the foundation sizing working material to the desired size a coating of glue shellac or other substance applied to a surface to prepare it for painting or other finishing
slab concrete floor placed directly on earth or a gravel base and usually about four inches thick.
sleeper a timber laid on the ground to support a floor joist
sole the horizontal member on which the studs bear
soffit The visible underwide of structural members such as staircases, cornices, beams, a roof overhang or eave
softwood Easily worked wood or wood from a conebearing tree (pine, for example).
spac spacing
span the distance between the bearings of a timber or arch
specifications written or printed directions regarding the details of a building or other construction
spirit level an instrument for measuring the exactness of the horizontal or vertical position of a building or structure member
splice joining of two similar members in a straight line
sq cm square centimeter s
sq ft square foot feet
sq in square inch es
sq km square kilometer s
sq m square meter s
sq mi square mile s
sq yd square yard s
square a tool used by carpenters to obtain accuracy a term applied to a surface area of 100 square feet
stairs box those built between walls usually having no support except the walls
standing finish term applied to the finish of the openings and the base and all other interior finish work
stringer a long horizontal timber in a structure supporting a floor
stucco a fine plaster used for interior decoration and fine work also used for rough outside wall coverings
stud an upright beam in a building framework
studding the framework of a partition or the wall of a house usually referred to as 2 x 4s
subfloor a wood floor laid over the floor joists on which the finished floor is laid
swale A wide shallow depression in the ground to form a channel for storm water drainage.

T
threshold the beveled piece over which the door swings sometimes called a carpet strip
tie beam collar beam a beam so situated that it ties the principal rafters of a roof together and prevents them from thrusting the plate out of line
timber lumber with a cross section more than 4 by 6 inches such as posts sills and girders
tin shingle a small piece of tin used for flashing and repairing a shingle roof
toenailing driving a nail spike or brad at an angle into the end of one piece of wood to fasten it to a second piece avoids having the nails show above the surface
top plate a piece of lumber supporting the ends of rafters
to the weather a term applied to the projection of shingles or siding beyond the course above
tread the horizontal part of a step
trim a term sometimes applied to exterior or interior finished woodwork and the finish around openings
trimmer the beam or floor joist to which a header is framed
trimming putting the inside and outside finish hardware on a building
truss structural framework of triangular units used in place of rafters for supporting loads over long spans
turretsmall corner tower often with windows. Turrets rise out of the second floor or roof of a building.

U

V
valley rafter rafters extending from an inside angle of the plates toward the ridge or centerline of the house
valleys the internal angle formed by the two slopes of a roof
verge boards the boards that serve as the eaves finish on the gable end of a building
vestibule an entrance to a house usually enclosed

W
W watts
WH wall hung
wainscoting matched boarding or panel work covering the lower portion of a wall
wale a horizontal beam
wash the slant on a sill capping and so forth to allow water to run off easily
water table the finish at the bottom of a house that carries water away from the foundation
wharf a structure that provides berthing space for vessels to facilitate loading and discharge of cargo
wind a term used to describe the surface of a board when twisted winding or when resting upon two diagonally opposite corners if laid upon a perfectly flat surface
wooden brick a piece of seasoned wood made the size of a brick and laid where necessary to provide a nailing hold in masonry walls

X

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