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Commonly Used Construction Terms

A 
Abutment-  The part of a structure that an object borders on or supports, the structual member that receives the pressure of an arch or strut.
Access- The path by which an area is approached from another area- the means of physical entrance into an area or upon a property.
Accessability- The relative degree of effort to gain entrance into or upon a property or area.
Acoutiscal Tile- Any tile having the inherent property to absorb sound; usually made from from mineral fibers or insulated metal materials.
Actual Age- The number of years that have elapsed since construction was completed.
Addition- Part of a building that has been added to the original construction.
Air Conditioning- A system designed to control room temperature and humidity through ventilation, air circulation, and air cooling.
Airway- A space between roof insulation and roof sheathing for movement of air.
Alcove- A recessed area connected to a room or hallway.
Alligatoring- Extensive surface cracking in a pattern, which represents the hide of an alligator- usually used in discribing an asphal driveway surface.
Aluminum Wiring- Electrical wire manufactured from aluminum alloy which if imprperly installed can cause a fire.
Ampere- Measurement of electrical current.
Anchorage- The principle of securing one member to another in a manner that does not allow for easy seperation except under extreme conditions.
Apron- A hard-surface entrance to a loading dock or portion of a building; or the inside wood finish of a window underneath the sill.
Arch- A convexly curved vertical span of steel, concrete, stone, or wood; a structual section with end base supports designed to support itself.
Areaway- An open subsurface space around a basement window or doorway- it provides light, ventilation, and access.
Asbestos- A nonflamable, natural mineral fiber currently being investigated for potential health related properties.
Atrium- A central area in a structure with a ceiling of translucent material that admits sunlight.
Attic- Accessable space between roof rafters and ceiling joists.
Attic Access- A provision to gain access to an attic; can be pull down stairs, a ceiling scuttle hole, or walk in.
Attic Ventilators- Openings in a roof or in gables that allow for air circulation.
Automotic Safety Controls- Devices designed and installed to protect systems and components from excessively high and low pressures and temperatures, excessive electric current, loss of water, loss of ignition, fuel leaks, fire, freezing, or other unsafe conditions.
Awning- A roof-like shelter extending over an area; e.g. a doorway, window, a proch, etc.
Awning Window- A type of window having a sash with hinges at the top, which permit the window to open horizontally forming an awning over the window.
B 
Backup- The cheaper material in a masonry wall that is covered up by more expensive, ornamental material- e.g. face brick, stone, etc.
Backwater Valve- An automativ valve set inh the sewer lateral to prevent sewage from backing up during flood periods.
Baffle- A plate for regulating the flow of a liquid or gas; a metal plate used between the cylanders of an air-cooled engine to break up a stream of heated gases.
Balcony- A balustrade or railed platform that projects from the face of a building above the ground level- it has an entrance from the building.
Baluster- A short pillar or post that supports a rail, usually circular and tapered at the top- the uprights supporting the handrail of a staircase.
Balustrade- A row of balusters surmounted by a rail, coping, or cornice.
Baseboard- A piece of finished material placed at the bottom of interior walls to conceal the area where the area where the base of the wall meets the wall.
Baseboard Heating- A system of perimeter heating with radiators, convectors, or air outlets located at the base of the wall where the baseboard would be; my be hot water, forced air, or electric.
Base Flashing- That portion of flashing attached to or resting on the deck to direct the flow of water onto the roof covering.
Basement- Any area of a bulding having it floor subgrade (below ground level) on all sides.
Basemold- A decorative strip of molded material laid among the top of a baseboard.
Base Plate- The horizontal member at the bottom of a column or post which transmits the column loads to its foundation.
Bathrrom- A room containg a toliet, lavatory, and a battub or shower.
Batten- A narrow strip of wood used to cover a joint between boards or to simulate a covered joint for architectual purposes.
Bay- An opening in a wall.
Bay Window- A window that forms a bay in a room and projects outwardly from the wall.  It is supported by its own foundation, as distinguished from an oriel or box bay window, which lacks foundation support.
Beam- A principal load-supporting member of a building- may be made of wood, steel, or concrete.
Bearing Wall- A wall that supports part of a building, usually a floor or roof above it.
Beveled Siding- Clapboard
Bi-Level- A house built on two levels; a split level house.
Black Top (bituminous concrete)- Bituminous or asphalt material used in hard surface paving.
Blind Nail- To drive a nail into a piece of material(such as flooring or paneling) so the nail will be hidden when the next piece is installed.
Blisters- Bubbles that may appear on the surface of asphalt roofing after installation.
Block- A preformed structual component made of concrete and used in construction.
Board and Batten- A type of siding, typically vertical, composed of widw and narrow battens.  The boards are nailed to the sheathing with a half of space between them and the battens nailed over the spaces.
Boiler Heat- A system which circulates either steam or hot water to individual room radiators or convectors.
Bottom Plate- The bottom horizontal member of a frame wall.
Bottom Rail- A horizontal member that forms the bottom of a window or panel door.  Also, called bottom stile.
Bowstring Truss- A steel or wooden truss with a top member that resembles a bow or an arch.
Brace- A structual member that reinforces a frame or truss.
Brackett- A horizontal projecting support that bears an overhanging weight, i.e a cornice, eaves.
Breakwaway Walls- Walls which are designed to break away from their structual supports when subjected to wind and/or water loads.
Brick Cavity Walls- A wall with a space between the inner and outer tiers of brick, the space may be filled with insulation.
Brick Ledge- That portion along the exterior of a slab on grade foundation which is reserved for and supports the brick veneer.
Brick Veneer- A non load bearing single tier of brick applied as the facing to a wall of other materials.
Bridging- Cross members inserted between joists to hold the joists in place.
BTU- British Thermal Unit- a standard unit for measuring heat equal to the amount required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Farenheit.
Buck- Wood framework in a door opening in a masonry wall to which jambs and casings are attached.
Building Code- A set of rules specifying requirements in buildings for health, safety, and welfare.
Built-Ins- Items such as cabinets, counters, desks, benches, shelving, equipement, which are permanently attached to the building structure and could not be removed without leaving evidence of removal.
Built-Up Roof- A flat or low-sloped roof consisting of multiple layers of asphalt and ply sheets.
Butt Edge- The lower edge of the shingle tabs.
Butterfly Roof- An inverted gable roof with two sides that slope downward and inward, forming an inverted ridge in the center.  The two gables resemble a butterfly.
Butt Joint- Formed when two members are placed end to end without overlapping.
Cantilever- A structual member which projects beyond it supporting wall or column.
Cap Flashing- That portion of flashing attached to a vertical surface to prevent water from migrating behind the base flashing.
Carport- A roofed auto shelter without walls.
Casement Window- A tye of window with a sash and side hinges.
Caulk- To fill a joint with mastic or asphalt cement to prevent leaks.
Cavity Wall- A wall, usually of masonry that consists of two vertical components with air space between.
Cement- A substance made of powdered lime and clay mixed with water and used to fasten stones and sand together to form concrete.
Cement Blocks- Blocks composed principally of cement and gravel formed into shape under pressure; typically used for walls.
Central Air Conditioning- A system which uses ducts to distribute cooled and/or dehumidified air to more than one room or uses pipes to distribute chilled water to heat exchanges in more than one room, and which is not plugged into an electrical convience outlet.
Cesspool- An underground catch basin for household sewage or other liquid waste.
Check Valve- A plumbing valve that closes automatically, preventing the backflow of water or other liquids.
Chimney- A stack that extends above the surface of the roof and carries the smoke outside.
Chimney Cap- Ornamental stone, concrete, or metal edging at the top of the chimney stack that protects the masonry from the elements and improves the draft of the chimney.
Chimney Flashing- A strip of material, usually metal, placed where the chimney meets the roof to make the joint watertight.
Cinder Block- A concrete block made using cinderrs as the course aggregate to achieve a lighter weight.
Circlehead Window- A small half-oval window used for decorative purposes, usually over a door.  It is shaped like an open fan, the ribs of which are simulated by the sash bars. 
Circuit- Two or more wires that provide a path for electrical current from a source through some device using electric (such as a light) and back to the source.
Circuit Breaker- Autoimatic safety switch installed in a circuit to break the flow of electricity when the current exceeds a predetermined safe amount.
ClapBoard- An exterior wood siding that has one edge thicker than the other and laid so that the thick butt overlaps the thinner edge of the board below.
Cleanout- Opening that provides access to a drain pipe or to a trap under a sink and is sealed with a threaded pipe.
Clock Thermostat- A device designed to reduce energy consumption by regulating the demand on the heating or cooling system in a building.
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 centering.  The valley flashing is not exposed.
Coat- A single layer of paint, plaster, or other material.
Collar- Pre-formed flange placed over a vent pipe to seal the roof around the vent opening.  Also called a vent sleeve or lead boot.
Collar Tie- A device used to tie together the sides of a structure to prevent bowing outward.
Colonial Architecture-  Traditional design, most commonly following the characteristics of New England colonial homes, usually two story houses with balanced openings along the main facade, windows subdivided into small panes, shutters, and dormer windows.
Column- A vertical structure member that supports horizontal members, e.g. beams, girders, designed to transmit a load bearing material at its base.
Combination Door- An outer door frame with an inside removable section into which a screen panel is inserted in warm weather and a glass panel in the winter.
Combustion Chamber- Fireproof compartment in a boiler or furnace that contains the flame of an oil or gas burner.
Compliance- The act or process of conforming to official requirements or to a desire or proposal.
Component- A readily obsevable and accessable aspect of a system, such as a wall or a floor, but not individual pieces such as nails or boards.
Concrete- A hard, stone-like material formed by mixing sand, an aggregate (stone, gravel, and cement), with water and allowing mixture to harden.
Concrete Block- Concret compressed into a block, hardened and used as a structual masonry unit.
Condensation- The change of water from a gaseous state to a liquid one when warm, moisten-laden air comes in contact with a cool surface. 
Condominium- A structure of two or more units, the interior spaces of which are individually owned; the balance of the property (both land and building) is owned in common by the owners of the individual units.
Conduction- Transmission throuh a conductor, in heating, the transfer of heat from one object to another, as distinguished from convection or radiation.
Conduit- An artificial or natural channel for conveyance of water or other fluid, as a pipe, canal, aqueduct, flume.  A pipe or tube used to convey and protect electric wires or cables.
Control Joint- A groove which is formed, sawed, or tooled in a concrete or masonry structure to regulate the location and amount of cracking.
Cornace- Horizontal projection at the top of a wall or under the overhanging portion of the roof.
Cost to Cure- The amount of money needed to correct a defect.
Cottage- A small single-family house.
Coupling- Fitting used to connect two lengths of pipe.
Course- A horizontal row of shingles or roll roofing, shakes, brick, or other masonry units, siding material, ceramic wall tiles, wood, or resilient floor tles.
Crawlspace- An unfinished portion of a structure normally located either beneath the first floor or over the top floor.
Cricket- A peaked saddle construction on the back of a chimney to prevent accumulation of snow and ice and to deflect water around the chimney.
Cupola- A small building-like structure on the roof.
Cupping- An inward curling distortion at the exposed corners of shingles.
Curtain Wall- An exterior wall which encloses but does not support the structural frame of a building.
Cutout- The open portions of a strip shingle between the tabs.
Damper- Flat plate that opens and closes to control the amount of air flowing through a heat duct, exhaust vent, flue, or chimney.
Dampproofing- To coat a surface to prevent the passage of moisture.
Dangerous or Adverse Situations- Situations which pose a threat of injury to the inspector, and those situations which require the use of special protective clothing or safety equipement.
Decking- The surfacing material applied to rafters or floor joists to which roofing or flooring is attached.  Sometimes called sheathing.
Deck Roof- A nearly flat roof constructed without a fire wall.
Dehumidifier- A refrigeration device that removes water vapor from the air.
Distribution Box- A fuse box; ametal box containing fuses and circuit breakers that permits access to connecting branch circuits.  Also, an underground box that receives waste from a septic tank and distributes it to the laterals of a disposal field.
Dormer- A framed window unit projecting through the sloping plane of the roof.
Double Floor- Wood contstruction using a subfloor and a finished floor.
Double Glazing- A double glass pane hermetically sealed with an air space between the two panes to provide insulation.
Double-Hung Window- A window with two movable sashes that slide vertically.
Double Tap- Teo electrical condustors fastened to a single safety device.
Dovetail- An interlocking joint commonly used used in carpentry.
Downdraft- A downward current of air in a chimney, often carrying smoke with it.
Downspout- A pipe for draining water from the gutters.  Also, clled a leader.
Drainage- A system of drains, e.g. tiles, pipes, conduits, designed to remove surface or susurface water or waste water and sewage.
Drain Field- An area containing a system of underground lateral pipes for the purpose of draining septic systems.
Drain Tile- Tubing used in the construction of a building to help drain water away from the structure.
Drip Edge- A non-corrosive, non-staining material used along eaves and rakes to allow water to run off and drip clear of the underlying construction.
Dry Rot- A decay of seasoned wood caused by fungus.
Drywall- Any finished material applied to an interior wall in a dry state- includes gypsum wallboard, plywood, and fiberboard.
Duct- Large channel through which air passes in a heating, cooling, or exhaust system.
Duplex- A house containing two seperate units, side by side or one above the other.
Eaves- The horizontzl, lower edge of a roof which projects beyond the building wall.
Eaves Flashing- Additional layer of roofingmaterial applied at the eaves to help prevent damage from water back up.
Efflorescence- A white powdery substance appearing on masonry wall surfaces.  It is composed of soluble salts which have been brought to the surface by water or moisture movement.
Egress- A way out, an exit or outlet.
Electrical Breaker- An electrical safety device used to prevent circuit overload.  Breakers, it tripped, can be reset.
Electrical Outlet- A point on the wiring system where current can be taken to activat equipement.
Escutcheon- Decorative metal piece that fits over or around a pipe protruding from a wall, or over a faucet body, or around a lockset on the face of a door.
Exterior Finish- The outside finish of a structure that includes roof and wall covering.
Exterior Fixture- An outside item, e.g. areaway, canopy marquee, platform, loading dock, that is permanently attached to and part of the building structure.
Exterior Wall- Any outer wall, except a common wall that serves as a vertical enclosure of a building.
Fascade- The principal, extrior face of a structure; usually the front face or front elevation of a building.
Face Brick- A better grade of briick used for the exterior wall of a building, often only on the face of the brick.
Fascia (or Facia)- A horizontal board that is nailed vertically to the ends of roof rafters.
Filter- A device for separating liquids from solids or staining impurities from liquids; any porous material such as filter paper, charcoal, etc.
Firebrick- A brick of fireclay that is capable of resisting high temperatures and used to line heating chambers such as fireplaces.
Fire Doors and Walls- Doors and walls constructed with fire resisent materials to help prevent the spread of fire.
Fireplace Insert- Woodburning stove designed to be installed in a fireplace.  Its purpose is to make the fireplace more efficient.
Fixed Window-  A window that does not open, e.g. a fixed bay window, picture window.
Fixture- Any non-portable lighting device which is more or less permanately attached to the walls and ceilings.  The permanent parts of plumbing systems, such as toliets and bathtubs.
Flange- Projecting rim or collar, such as on a skylight, that aids in attachment or increases stiffness.
Flank- The side of a building or of an arch.
Flashing- Sheet metal or other thin impervious material used around roof and wall junctions to protect the joints from water penetration.
Flat Roof- A roof with just enough slope to allow proper drainage-one where the pitch does not exceed 25 degrees.
Floor Furnace- A metal, box-like, warm-air furnace installed directly under the floor so that its grilled upper surface is flush with the finished floor above.
Floor Joists- Horizontal framing member to which flooring is attached.
Flue- A passageway in a chimney for conveying smoke to the outside air.
Flue Lining- The tile or pipe inside a chimney.
Footing- A masonry section, usually concrete, in a rectangular form wider than the bottom of the foundation wall.
Foundation- That upon which anything is built; that part of a structure upon which the building is erected; usually that part of a bulding which is below the surface of the ground and on which he superstructure rests.
Foyer- An entrance hall in a house.
Frame- The load bearing skeleton in a house.
French Drain- An underground drain tile surrounding the foundation for the purpose of routing water either to daylight or to a sump pump.
Freon- A trade name for a group of nontoxic, nonflammable refrigerants used in air conditioning systems.
Full House Fan- A large fan usually located in the ceiling between the top floor and the attic.  It is used to pull air through a building to cool it.
Functional Drainage- A drain is functional when it empties in a reasonablle amount of time and does not overflow when another fixture is drained simultaneously.
Functional Flow- A reasonable flow at the highest fixture in a house when another fixture is running at the same time.
Fuse- Safety device in an electric circuit designed to blow or open and stop the flow of electricity when the current exceeds a safe amount.
Gable- The upper portion of a sidewall that comes to a triangular point at the rifge of the sloping roof.
Gambrel Roof- A roof type containing two sloping planes of different pitch on each side of the ridge.  The lower plane has a steeper slope than the upper.
Garbage Disposal- An electrical appliance usually installed in the kitchen sink that reduces garbage to small pieces that can disposed of by washing down the drain line.
GFCI- Ground Fault Circuit Interupter- An electrical mechanism usually found on a receptacle or at the breaker.  It measures the voltage differential between the hot and neutral wire- when a differential is detected, the receptacle or breaker shut off.
Girder- The main structual support beam in a wood framed floor.  The girder supports one end of each joists.
Glass Wool Insulation-  Material made of glass fibers, usually in the form of blankets wrapped in heavy asphalt treated or vapor barrier paper.
Glazier's Points- Small metal pieces used to hold a glass pane in a window sash until putty is applied.
Granules- Ceramic, color coated crushed rock that is applied to the exposed surface of asphalt roofing products.
Gray Water- Waste water not containing sewage or fecal matter or food waste.  Waste water from from bathing and laundr is gray water.
Ground- To connect any part of an electrical wiring system to a ground, either a cold water pipe or a long metal rod driven into the soil, to keep metal parts of wiring system at zero volts.
Ground Floor- The floor of a building that is apoximately level with the ground.
Grout- A thin, fluid mortar used to fill small joints and cavaties in masonry work.
Gutter- The trough that channels water from the roof to the downsouts.
Hall- A room at the entrance of a building or a passage that provides acces to various parts of a building.
Hard Finish- The smooth, finish coat of plaster that is applied to the rough plastering.
Hearth- The floor of a fireplace.  The front hearth extends into the room and may be made of brick or stone.  The back hearth is inside the fireplace an usually made of fire brick.
Heat Exchanger- The internal metal jacket in a forced air furnace that can crack or rust through.
Heating System- Any device or system used for heating a building.  Usually a furnace or a boiler.
Heat Pump- A reverse cycle refrigeration unit that can be used fro heating or cooling.
Hip Roof- A roof which slope upward from all four sides of a building.
Hose Bib- Faucet on the sexterior of a house providing water to a hose.
Hot Tub- A large wooden or fiberglass tub in which a group of people may soak.  It is usually equipped with a water heater circulating pump, chloninator, and a filter.
HVAC- Stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning systems. 
I-Beam- A steel beam that resembles the letter I in a cross section.
Ice Dam- Condition formed at the lower roof edge by the thawing and re-freesing of melted snow on the overhang.  It can force water underneath the shingles, causing leaks.
Inspector- Any person who examines any component of a building, through visual means and through normal user controls, without the use of mathematical sciences.
Installed- Attached or connected such that the installed item requires tools for removal.
Insulation- Any material used to reduce the transfer of heat, cold, or sound.
Interior Trim- The finish on the interior of a building; e.g. casing, molding, baseboard.
Interlocking Shingles- Individual shingles that mechanically fasten to each other to provide wind resistence.
Jack Stud-An extra vertical supporting member in a frame wall or partition over a door, window, or archway.
Jamb- The side framing or finish of a doorway or a window.
Joint Compound- Plaster like material used with wallboard tape to fill and finish joints on gypsum board.
Junction Box- A box in an electrical system where main circuits are connected or smaller circuits join the main circuit.
K 
Keystone- A wedge shaped structual piece that forms the center piece at the top of a masonry arch.
Kick Plate- A metal strip placed along the bottom of a door to protect its finish. 
Knee Brace- A diagonal member that is attached from a piling to a main structual beam or girder- it serves to stiffen the foundation.
Knee Wall- A wall that acts as a brace  for the roof rafters.
Knob and Tube Wiring- Old electrical wiring system on ceramic knobs and tubes secured to structual members of the house.
Laminate- To build up using layers of wood that are held together as one unit- plywood and laminated beams.
Laminated Shingles- Strip shingles containing more than one layer of tabs to create extra thickness.  Also called three diminsional shingles.
Lap- To cover the surface of one product with another.
Lap Siding- Siding used to finish the exterior surface of a house or other structure.  Also called ship lap siding.
Lattice- An openwork screen of crossed strips, rods, or bars made of wood or metal.
Lavatory- A place where washing is done, a wash basin.  Also, a room fitted with a wash bowl and toliet facilities.
Leaching Trenches- Trenches that carry waste liquids from sewers, may be constructed in gravelly or sandy soils that allow liquids to percolate into surrounding soils or dug into firm ground and filled with broken stones, tile, gravel, and sand through which liquids leach.
Leach Line- In sewage disposal, a loose tile or preforated pipeline used to distribute sewage effluent throughout the soil.
Lean-to- A small structure with a pitched roof, usually erected aginst the outside wall of a larger structure.
Ledger- A strip attached to framing or structual members which supports joists or other horizontal framing.
Life Expectancy- The number of additonal years that an item can be expected to remain functional based on statistical data.
Lintel- A horizontal structual member that supports the load over an opening such as a window or a door.
Live Load- The total of all moving and varible loads which may be placed upon a structure.
Load Bearing Member- A structual member designed to carry the live an dead loads on a building.
Loft- An attic-like space below the roof of a house or barn.
Loose Cable- An electrrical cable not properly secured to a structual member.
Louver- A slat or fin over an opening that is pitched to keep rain or snow out; a finned sunshade of a building; the diffussion grill on a fluorescent light fixture.
Luminous Ceiling- A suspended ceiling of translucent materials installed below a system of fluorescent tubes, making the entire ceiling a source of light; used to reduce glare and shadows.
Main- A pipe, conduit, or circuit leading to or from the braches of a utility system.
Major Repairs/Minor Repairs- A major repair will be a repair that is estimated to costs more than $500 for material and labor.  A minor repair will be under that amount for material and labor.  The estimated amout of repair to be determined by a qualified technician; i.e. an electrician for an electrical repair.
Mansard Roof- A type of roof containing two sloping panes of different of different pitch on each of the four sides.  The lower plane has a much steeper pitch than the upper, often approaching vertical.  Contains no gables.
Mantel- The decorative facing placed around a fireplace; usually made or ornamental wood and topped with a shelf.
Marcite- Plaster finish applied to inside swimming pool shell.  It is the waterproof layer.
Masonry- Brick, stone, concrete, or concrete block building material used for walls, floors, and pavings.
Masonry Wall- A wall of stone, brick, tile, cement block, concrete, etc.
Mineral Surfaced Roofing- Aspalt shingles and roll roofing that are covered with with granules.
Mobile Homes- A house trailer; a complete livable dwelling equipped with wheels so that it may towed from place to place by truck or automobile, depending upon it size and the highway regulations in the states through which it will travel.
Modular Constructuion- Prefabrication in three dimension.  Entire rooms are built at a factory and shipped to the job site, where very little on site labor is required.
Moisture Barrier- The insulation material placed in a wall, floor, or other parts of a structure to form a barrier against the passage of vapor or moisture in order to prevent condensation within such walls or floors.
Moisture Content- The weight of the water in wood expressed as a percentage of the weight of the wood.
Molding- Milled piece of lumber used to hide a joint or add a finished look.
Monolithic- A term used for concrete construction poured and cast in one unit without joints.
Mortar- Mixture of concrete, sand, water, and sometimes lime used as an adhesive for laying brick, stone, ceramic tile, and concrete block.
Mortise- Recess made in a piece of wood to receive a lockset, hinge, or other piece of hardware.
Mosaic- A decoration made of small pieces of glass, stone, ceramic, or other material laid in mortar or mastic to form a design.
Mullion- A thin, vertical bar of wood, lead, or stone that divides multiple windows, panes of glass, wall panels, screens, etc.
Muntin- A lender horizontal bar of wood or metal that divides the panes of a window or panels in a door.
Newell Post- A vertical post that supports the handrail at the top and bottom of a stairway or at a landing turn.
Non- Load Bearing Wall- A wall which suppoert no load other than its own weight.
Normal- Conforming with an accepted standard or model, corresponding to the median or average for type, appearance, or function.
Normal Operating Controls-  Homeowner operated devices such as a thermostat, wall switch, or safety switch.
Nosing- The rounded edge of a stair tread that projects over the riser.
Not Inspected- Not inspected due to conditions or circumstances existing at the time of inspection.
Oil Tank- A tank used to supply oil to an oil burning appliance such as a furnace or boiler.  Oil tanks are frequently buried underground.
Open Valley- Method of valley construction in which shingles on both sides are trimmed along a chalk line snapped on each side of the valley. Shingles do not extend across the valley, and the valley flashing is exposed.
Oriel Window- A window that projects from the outer face of a wall, especially from the upper story, and is supported by brackets or a cantilever.
Overhang- That portion of the roof that extends beyond the exterior walls of a building. 
Oversize Fuse- A fuse which does not provide adequate protection for an electrical circuit.
Parapet- A low wall or railing along the edge of a roof, balcony, bridge, or terrace.  It is constructed for safety, to control water, or to insulate against the sun's rays.
Parapet Wall- That part of the wall which extends above the roof line.
Parquet Floor- A floor that is laid in rectangular or square patterns, not in long strips.  It is often prefinished, thin, fabricated wood blocks.
Partition- An interior wall that divides a building; e.g., a permanent, inside wall that divides a house into various rooms.
Party Wall- A common wall erected along the boundary between adjorning properties; the respective owners have common right of use.
Patio- A courtyard; an open paved area used for outdoor living and which may or may not be partially or entirely surrounded by rooms or other parts of the house.
Pentrating Oil- An oil used to loosen joints- paricularly rusted ones- between metal part.
Penthouse- A building on a roof of a structure that contains elevator machinery, ventilating equipement, etc.
Percolation Rate- Period of time it takes water to be absorbed into the soil.
Perimeter- The total length of the periphery of a given area; e.g., the distance around the outside of a building.
Perpendicular- Being at righ angles (90 degrees) to a given line, plane, or surface.
Picture Window- A large window, usually a fixed pane of plate or insulating glass, sometimes divided into smaller panes.
Pier- Amasonry column, usually rectangular in horizontal cross-section, used to support other structual members- usually found in crawl spaces.
Pilaster- A pier-type projection of the foundation wall that is used to support a floor girder or stiffen the wall.
Piling- Beams driven vertically to support a building or a bridge.
Pilot Flame- Small gas flame or electric spark that ignites a gas burner in a range, water heater, dryer, furnace, or boiler.
Pilot Orifice- Small hole in a pilot through which gas passes before igniting.
Pitch- The degree of roof incline expressed as the ratio of the rise, in feet, to the span, in feet.
Plaster- A mixture of lime, sand, and water that is used to finish walls and ceilings.
Plenum- A chamber or large duct above a furnace that serves as a distribution area.
Plumb- To determine if a vertical surface is exactly perpendicular (90 degrees) to a horizontal plane.
Pointing or Repointing- The filing of open motar joints- the removal of deteriorated mortar from the masoinry joints and replacing with new mortar.
Poor- In below average condition given its age and function- will need substantial repair or replacement in the near future.
Portico- A roof structure supported by columns- it can either be a part of a building or standing alone.
Prime- The act of applying an undercoat of paint or sealer  to seal the wood and it make ready for finish coats. 
Pressure Release Valve- erves as a safety device for watewr heaters or boilers.
Pressure Treated Lumber- Lumber that is treated and resistent to water and insects.
Pyramid Roof- A roof with four sides and four ridges that resembled a pyramid; usually comes to a point in the center.
PVC- Polyvinyl chloride (plastic)- used for waste line piping,
Quarry Tile- A hard burned, unglazed ceramic tile.
Racking- Roofing application method in which shingle courses are applied vertically up the roof rather than across and up- it is not a recommended instalation method.
Radiant Heating- a type of steam, electric, or hot water heat that uses pipes concealed in the floors, ceilins, or walls.
Radiator- An exposed fixture that heats with a combination of radiation and convection.
Rafter- One of a series of inclined structual roof members spanning from an exterior wall to a center ridge beam or ridge board,
Rake Edge- The edge of a gable roof system which runs parallel to the roof slope, from eave to the ridge.
Rail- The horizontal piece in a door, window sash or panel.
Rake- The inclined edge of a sloped roof over a wall.
Readily Openable Access Panel- A panel provided for homeowner inspection and maintenance which has removable or operable fasteners or latch devices in order to be lifted off, swung open, or otherwise removed and its edges and fasteners are not painted in place.
Receptacle- Device in electric wiring system to which a lamp, appliance, or extension cord is connected by means of a plug on the end of the cord.
Refrigerant- Substance used in a refrigerator or air conditioner that absorbs and releases heat.
Register- Grill at the end of a supply or return duct in a forced warm air heating system or refrigerated air conditioning system through which air enters and leaves a room.
Reinforced Concrete- Concrete that has been stregthened by embedding iron or steel bars, rods, or mesh in it.
Relay- An electromechanical switch.  A device in which changes in current flow in one circuit are used to open or close electrical contacts in a second circuit.
Repairs- Current expenditures for general upkeep to preserve a property's condition.
Representative Number- For multiple identical components such as windows and electrical outlets- one such component per room.  For multiple identical exterior components- one per side.
Reverse Polarity- Electrical outlets which have the hot and neutral wires attached to the wrong terminals. 
Ridge Shingles- Shingles used to cover the horizontal external angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roof panes.
Riser- The vertical height of a stair step.
Roof- The top of the house.  Used broadly to include roofing, flashing, sheeting, subsructure, gutters, and roof attachments.
Roofing- The covering of the roof- the shingles.
Roofing Felt- Thick, fibrous paper impregnated with asphalt used between the roof deck and some roofing materials.
Room- An interior subsection of a structure.
Safety Glazing- Tempered glass, laminated glass or rigid plastic.
Sash- Part of a window that holds the glass and is supported by the frame.
Scab- A piece of wood or metal which is fastened or attached to another member and serves at add additional length or width.
Scuttle- A framed opening in a ceiling or roof that is fitted with a lid or cover.
Septic System- A private sewer system that usually consists of a septic tank, a distribution box, a septic field and connecting pipes and lateral.
Septic Tank- A tank in which sewage is held until the organic matter decomposes by natural bacterial action.
Shading- Slight diiference in shingle color that may occur as a result of normal manufacting operations.
Shake- A hand-split shingle that is usually edge grained.
Sheathing- Exterior grade plywood or tongue and groove boards used as a roof deck.  Usually goes over the rafters or trusses.
Shed Roof- A roof containing only one sloping pane.  It has no hips, gables, valleys, or ridges.
Shutoff Valve- Device that controls the flow of water or gas to an individual appliance or to the entire system.
Side Jamb- A piece of finish material that is laid vertically on the interior sides of a door or window to shape the opening.
Siding- The finish covering on the outside wall of the building.
Sill-  The lowest piece on which a window or exterior door rests; usually slanted downward slightly to provide for water run off.
Sill Plate- The lowest member of the house framing resting on top of the foundation wall.  Also called a mud sill.
Skylight- A window located in the ceiling/roof.
Slab Floor- Floor constructed on grade; normally concrete.
Sludge- Slimy matter precipitated from sewage in a sedimentation tank.
Soffitt- The visible underside of a roof underhang or eave.
Soil Stack- Large drain-waste and vent pipe that connects toliet and branch drains to the main house drain and extends out the roof.
Spa- A whirlpool bath used privately in a residence.
Span- The horizontal distance from eaves to eaves.
Splice- To join wires by twisting and soldering or with solderless connectos such as wire nuts.
Split-Level House- A house with living area on two or more levels of less that single story height.
Square- A unit of roof measure covering 100 square feet.
Stack- A vertical waste or vent pipe.
Stair Landing- A platform between flights of stairs.
Stairs- A flight of steps from one level to another level.
Standard Full Inspection- A comprehensice inspection of all systems of the property including heating, air conditioning, electrical, plumbing, structual, windows, doors, etc.
Stool- The wooden base or support at the bottom of the window.
Structual Component- A component which supports non-variable forces or weights (dead loads) and variable forces or weights (live loads).
Structual Inspection- A special inspection of load bearing members in a building.
Stucco- A cement plaster that is used as a finish for exterior wall surfaces.
Studs- Vertical pieces of lumber usually placed on 16 or 24 inch centers and attached to the top and sole plates, forming the structual core of interior and exterior walls.
Subfloor- Boards, planks, or plywood mailed to the loor joists to provide structual  rigidity and a base for finish flooring.
Sump Pump- An automatic electric pump installed in a basement or crawl space to empty out the sump- a pit serving as a drain.
Suspended Ceiling- A ceiling system supported from by overhead, structual framing.
Swale- A shallow depression in the ground to form a channel to help divert rainwater away from the building.
System- A combination of interacting and independent components, assembled to carry out one or more functions.
Tab- The exposed portion of a strip shingle as defined by the cutouts.
Technically Exhaustive- An inspection is technically echaustive when it involces the extensive use of measurements, instruments, testing, calculations and other means to develop scientific or engineering findings, conclussions, and recommendations.
Terrace- A finished, but unroofed, outdoor area adjacent to, and acessable from, a house- it is usually at grade or slightly elevated.
Terrazzo- A floor made from small pieces of colored stone or marble that are embedded in cement and polished to a high glazed.
Thermal- Of or pertaining to heat or temperature.  
Thermocouple- A device consisting of two junctions of different metals- when the two junctions are at different temperatures, a voltage is generated.  It is used in controlling gas valves.
Thermostat- A device that is electrically operated and actuated by thermal conduction or convection and automatically acts to establish and maintain a desired temperature- it is used to control the heating and air conditioning systems.
Threshold- A strip of metal, wood, or stone that is placed beneath a door.
Temperature, Pressure, Relief Valve- A safety valve found on modern water heaters that will relieve hot water pressure when the temperature or pressure reaches 210 Faahrenheit or 150 PSI, respectively.
Transformer- An electrical device that raises or lowers voltage in a circuit.
Trap- A branch drain that holds water, forming a seal to prevent sewer gases from entering through a fixture drain- found underneath a sink.
Traverse Window- A type of window containing two movable sashes set in seperate tracks, allowing the windows to slide by each other.
Tread- The horizontal board on a step- it is the piece you put your foot on.
Truss- A structual member utilizing trianglular shapes to gain strength with a minimal amount of material.
U 
Underfloor Crawl Space- The area within the confines of the foundation and between the ground and the underside of the house.
Valley- The internal angle formed by the intersection of twoslopping roof planes.
Valve- A device in a heating or plumbing system that controls the flow of a liquid or gas.
Vapor Barrier- Any material used to prevent the passage of water vapor- usually the plastic in a crawl space.
Vent Pipe- A small vent pipe that extends from plumbing fixtures to a vent stack in the roof- it allows sewer gases to escape.
Vent Stack- Pipe that rids plumbing system of sewer gas and prevents pressure buildup in pipes.
Vestibule- A small entrance hall to a building or room.
Vinyl- A man-made plastic material.
Volt-Unit of measurement denoting electrical pressure or potential.
Wainscoat- A facing or panel that is applied to the walls of a room.
Wall- Avertical structure of stone, brick, wood, or other material that encloses, divides, supports, and protects.
Wall Furnace- A small, gas fired hot air furnace that fits between the studs of a wall and has no ducts.
Water Main- Pipe supply water from source to point of use- the main water line coming from the meter to the house.
Water Pressure- The force to water enabling it to flow through a restricted water line.  Pressure is measured in Pounds per Square Inch (PSI).  Average water pressure is considered between 30-60 PSI.
Waterproofing- To make a surface impervious to water or dampness.
Watt- A measure of electricity equal to the power created by a current of one ampere flowing at one volt pressure.
Water Closet- A room containing a toliet and wash basin.
Weatherstripping- A thin strip of metal, rubber, wood, felt, etc. that is used to cover the joint between a door or window sash and the jamb, casing, or sill; keeps out air, dust, rain, etc.
Weep Hole- A small opening at the bottom of a retaining wall or the lower section of a masonry veneer wall facing on a wood framed exterior wall, which permits water to drain.
Well- A hole drilled into the earth, generally by boring, to obtain water.
Whirlpool Bath- A bat in which the water continuously circulates in a circular motion and in which the twmperature can be set at varying degrees.
Window- A glassed opening in a wall or ceiling that providesnatural light and ventilation- different types of windows include awning, casement, circlehead or fan, clerestory, double hung, fixed, and traverse or sliding.
Window Sill- The lower or base framing of a window opening.
Window Wells- A device installed outside of a window in a foundation to allow grading and not cover the window with earth. 
Wing- A building section or addition projecting out from the main structure.
Wood Destroying Insects- Any insect or organism capable of causing damage to wooden members.
Wood Framed Construction- Construction in which walls and partitions are formed by the wood framing of studs supporting a wooden roof and floor decks.
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.
Wrought Iron- A comparatively pure form of iron with practically no carbon, that is easily welded, forged.  Steel that has been molded and worked into ornamental shapes and patterns, used for railings, gates, furniture, etc.

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