Common Terms H-L
H Clip: Small metal clips formed like an "H" that fits at the joints of two plywood (or wafer board) sheets to stiffen the joint. Normally used on the roof sheeting.
Hardware: Metal accessories such as door knobs, towel bars, toilet paper holders, etc.
Hatch: An opening in a deck, floor or roof. The usual purpose is to provide access from inside the building.
Haunch: An extension, knee-like protrusion of the foundation wall that a concrete porch or patio will rest upon for support.
Hawk: A flat wood or metal tool 10 inches to 14 inches square with a handle used by plasterers to carry plaster mortar or mud.
Hazard Insurance: Insurance for a building while it is under construction.
Header: Framing members over windows, doors, or other openings. A beam placed perpendicular to joists and to which joists are nailed in framing for chimney, stairway, or other opening. Also, a wood lintel.
Hearth: The inner or outer floor of a fireplace, usually made of brick, tile, or stone.
Heartwood: The wood extending from the pith to the sapwood, the cells of which no longer participate in the life processes of the tree.
Heat Meter: An electrical municipal inspection of the electric meter breaker panel box.
Heat Pump: A device which uses compression and decompression of gas to heat and/or cool a house.
Heat Rough: Work performed by the heating contractor after the stairs and interior walls are built. This includes installing all duct work and flue pipes. Sometimes the furnace and fireplaces are installed at this stage of construction.
Heat Strengthened Glass: Flat or bent glass that has been heat-treated to a specific surface and/or edge compression range to meet the requirements of ASTM C 1048, kind HS. Heat-strengthened glass is approximately two times as strong as annealed glass of the same thickness when exposed to uniform static pressure loads. Heat-strengthened glass is not considered safety glass and will not completely dice in the manner fully tempered glass will.
Heat Trim: Work done by the heating contractor to get the home ready for the municipal final heat Inspection. This includes venting the hot water heater, installing all vent grills, registers, air conditioning services, turning on the furnace, installing thermostats, venting ranges and hoods, and all other heat related work.
Heating Load: The amount of heating required to keep a building at a specified temperature during the winter, usually 65° Fahrenheit, regardless of outside temperature.
Heel Bead: Sealant applied at the base of a channel, after setting the light or panel and before the removable stop is installed, one of its purposes being to prevent leakage past the stop.
Heel Cut: A notch cut in the end of a rafter to permit it to fit flat on a wall and on the top, doubled, exterior wall plate.
Hermetic Seal: Vacuum seal between panes of a double-paned window, i.e. insulated glass unit or IGU. Failure of a hermetic seal causes permanent fogging between the panels of the IGU.
High-Early Cement: A portland cement sold as Type III which sets up to its full strength faster than other types.
Highlights: A light spot, area, or streak on a painted surface.
Hinge: A jointed or flexible device that allows the turning or pivoting of a part, such as a door or lid, on a stationary frame.
Hip: The external angle formed by the meeting of two sloping sides of a roof.
Hip Rafter: A rafter that forms the intersection of an external roof angle.
Hip Roof: A roof that rises by inclined planes from all four sides of a building.
Hip Shingles: Shingles used to cover the inclined external angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes.
Hoistway: A shaftway for the travel of one or more elevators.
Home Run (Electrical): The electrical cable that carries power from the main circuit breaker panel to the first electrical box, plug, or switch in the circuit.
Honeycomb: Areas in a foundation wall where the aggregate (gravel) is visible. Honeycombs can be usually be remedied by applying a thin layer of grout or other cement product over the affected area. Also, a method by which concrete is poured and not puddled or vibrated, allowing the edges to have voids or holes after the forms are removed.
Horizontal: Parallel to or in the plane of the horizon.
Hose Bib: An outdoor faucet with hose threads on the spout. Also commonly used to supply washing machines and wash basins.
Hot Wire: The wire that carries electrical energy to a receptacle or other device—in contrast to a neutral, which carries electricity away again. Normally the black wire. Also see Ground.
Hub: In plumbing, the enlarged end of a pipe which is made to provide a connection into which the end of the joining pipe will fit.
Humidifier: A device designed to increase the humidity within a room or a house by means of the discharge of water vapor. They may consist of individual room size units or larger units attached to the heating plant to condition the entire house.
Hurricane Clip: Metal straps that are nailed and secure the roof rafters and trusses to the top horizontal wall plate. Sometimes called a Teco Clip.
Hurricane Ties: Metal fasteners used to secure rafters in structures subject to hurricane winds.
HVAC: Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning.
Hydro-Electric Elevator: An elevator where liquid is pumped under pressure directly into the cylinder by a pump driven by an electric motor without an accumulator between the pump and cylinder.
I-Beam: A steel beam with a cross section resembling the letter "I." It is used for long spans as basement beams or over wide wall openings, such as a double garage door, when wall and roof loads are imposed on the opening.
I-Joist: Manufactured structural building component resembling the letter "I." Used as floor joists and rafters. I-joists include two key parts: flanges and webs. The flange of the I joist may be made of laminated veneer lumber or dimensional lumber, usually formed into a 1 ½" width. The web or center of the I-joist is commonly made of plywood or oriented strand board (OSB). Large holes can be cut in the web to accommodate duct work and plumbing waste lines. I-joists are available in lengths up to 60 feet long.
ID (Inside Diameter): The diameter measurement taken from the inside of a pipe. A common method for sizing pipe.
IIC: A new system utilized in the Federal Housing Administration recommended criteria for impact sound insulation.
Incandescent Lamp: A lamp employing an electrically charged metal filament that glows at white heat. A typical light bulb.
Incompatibility: Descriptive of two or more materials which are not suitable to be used together.
Indemnification Clause: Provision in a contract in which one party agrees to be financially responsible for specified types of damages, claims, or losses.
Index: The interest rate or adjustment standard that determines the changes in monthly payments for an adjustable rate loan.
Infiltration: The process by which air leaks into a building. To find the infiltration heating load factor (HLF), the formula to account for the extra BTUs needed to heat the infiltrated air is BTU/HR = building volume x air changes x BTU/cu.ft/hr x TD (temperature difference).
Inlet: An opening providing a means of entrance or intake.
INR (Impact Noise Rating): A single figure rating which provides an estimate of the impact sound insulating performance of a floor-ceiling assembly.
Inside Corner: The point at which two walls form an internal angle, as in the corner of a room.
Inside Drain: In roofing, a drain positioned on a roof at some location other than the perimeter. It drains surface water inside the building through closed pipes to a drainage system.
Insulating Glass: Window or door in which two panes of glass are used with a sealed air space between. Also known as Double Glass.
Insulating Glass Unit: Two or more lights of glass spaced apart and hermetically sealed to form a single-glazed unit with an air space between each light. Commonly called IG units.
Insulation: Generally, any material which slows down or retards the flow or transfer of heat. Building insulation types are classified according to form as loose-fill, flexible, rigid, reflective, and foamed-in-place. All types are rated according to their ability to resist heat flow (R-Value). In electrical contracting, rubber, thermoplastic, or asbestos wire covering. The thickness of insulation varies with wire size and type of material, application or other code limitations.
Insulation Board: A rigid structural building board made of coarse wood or cane fiber in 1/2 and 25/32 inch thickness. It can be obtained in various size sheets, in various densities, and with several treatments.
Insulation Fasteners: Any of several specialized mechanical fasteners designed to hold insulation down to a steel or a nailable deck.
Interest: The cost paid to a lender for borrowed money.
Interior Finish: Material used to cover the interior framed areas, or materials of walls and ceilings.
Interior Glazed: Glazing infills set from the interior of the building.
Interlayer: In glazing, any material used to bond two lights of glass and/or plastic together to form a laminate.
Interlocking Shingles: Individual shingles that mechanically fasten to each other to provide wind resistance.
Interply: Between two layers of roofing felts that have been laminated together.
IPS (Iron Pipe Size): Pipe thread sizing system. Also measurement of the outside diameter of a pipe.
IRMA [Insulated (or Inverted) Roof Membrane Assembly]: In this system the roof membrane is laid directly on the roof deck, covered with extruded foam insulation and ballasted with stone, minimum of 1000 lbs. per square.
Irrigation: Lawn sprinkler system.
J Channel: Metal edging used on drywall to give the edge a better finished appearance when a wall is not "wrapped." Generally, basement stairway walls have drywall only on the stair side. J Channel is used on the vertical edge of the last drywall sheet.
Jack Post: A type of structural support made of metal which can be raised or lowered through a series of pins and a screw to meet the height required. Basically used as a replacement for an old supporting member in a building. See Monopost.
Jack Rafter: A rafter that spans the distance from the wall plate to a hip, or from a valley to a ridge.
Jamb: The side and head lining of a doorway, window, or other opening.
Joint: The space between the adjacent surfaces of two members or components joined and held together by nails, glue, cement, mortar, or other means.
Joint Cement: A powder that is usually mixed with water and used for joint treatment in gypsum-wallboard finish. Often called "spackle."
Joint Compound: A material applied to threaded connections to help prevent leaks in plumbing. Also, in carpentry, a wet gypsum material applied to sheetrock joints.
Joint Tenancy: A form of ownership in which the tenants own a property equally. If one dies, the other automatically inherits the entire property.
Joint Trench: When the electric company and telephone company dig one trench and "drop" both of their service lines in.
Joist Hanger: A metal "U" shaped item used to support the end of a floor joist and attached with hardened nails to another bearing joist or beam.
Jumpers: Water pipe installed in a water meter pit (before the water meter is installed), or electric wire that is installed in the electric house panel meter socket before the meter is installed. This is sometimes illegal.
Keene's Cement: A white finish plaster that produces an extremely durable wall. Because of its density, it excels for use in bathrooms and kitchens and is also used extensively for the finish coat in auditoriums, public buildings, and other places where walls may be subjected to unusually hard wear or abuse.
Keeper: The metal latch plate in a door frame into which a doorknob plunger latches.
Kelvin: Thermometer scale on which a unit of measurement equals the Celsius degree.
Keyless: A plastic or porcelain light fixture that operates by a pull string. Generally found in the basement, crawl space, and attic areas.
Keyway: A slot formed and poured on a footer or in a foundation wall when another wall will be installed at the slot location. This gives additional strength to the joint/meeting point.
Kick Hole: A defect frequently found in perimeter flashings arising from being stepped on or kicked. A small fracture of the base flashing in the area of the cant.
Kiln Dried Lumber: Lumber that has been kiln dried often to a moisture content of 6 to 12 percent. Common varieties of softwood lumber, such as framing lumber are dried to a somewhat higher moisture content.
Kilowatt (KW): One thousand watts. A kilowatt hour is the base unit used in measuring electrical consumption. Also see Watt.
King Stud: The vertical 2x4 frame lumber (left and right) of a window or door opening, and runs continuously from the bottom sole plate to the top plate.
Knife Consistency: Compound formulated in a degree of firmness suitable for application with a putty knife such as used for face glazing and other sealant applications.
Knot: In lumber, the portion of a branch or limb of a tree that appears on the edge or face of the piece.
Kraft: A heavy, water resistant paper.
Kynar Coating: Architectural coating that is UV stable and suitable for exterior use on aluminum and other metal surfaces.
Labor Hour: A standard in which one person's labor is performed in one hour.
Ladder, Fixed: A ladder which is permanently attached to a building.
Laminated Glass: Two or more lights of glass permanently bonded together with one or more inter-layers.
Laminated Shingles: Shingles that have added dimensionality because of extra layers or tabs, giving a shakelike appearance. May also be called "architectural shingles" or "three-dimensional shingles."
Laminating: Bonding together two or more layers of materials.
Landing: A platform between flights of stairs or at the termination of a flight of stairs.
Lap: To extend one material partially over another; also, the distance so extended.
Lap Cement: An asphalt-based cement used to adhere overlapping plies of roll roofing.
Lateral (Electric, Gas, Telephone, Sewer and Water): The underground trench and related services (i.e., electric, gas, telephone, sewer and water lines) that will be buried within the trench.
Lath: A building material of wood, metal, gypsum, or insulating board that is fastened to the frame of a building to act as a plaster base.
Lath and Plaster: The most common wall finish prior to the introduction of drywall. Thin wood strips (lath) were nailed onto the framing as a base for the sand/lime plaster.
Lattice: A framework of crossed wood or metal strips.
Lavatory: Bathroom or washroom sink.
Leach field: A method used to treat/dispose of sewage in rural areas not accessible to a municipal sewer system. Sewage is permitted to be filtered and eventually discharged into a section of the lot called a leech field.
Lead: A malleable metal once extensively used for flashings.
Lead Based Paint: Lead is a highly toxic metal that was used for many years in products found in and around our homes. Lead may cause a range of health effects, from behavioral problems and learning disabilities, to seizures and death. Children 6 years old and under are most at risk, because their bodies are growing quickly.
Leader: See Downspout.
Lean-To Roof: The sloping roof of a building addition, having its rafters or supports pitched against and supported by the adjoining wall of a building.
Ledger Strip: A strip of lumber nailed along the bottom of the side of a girder on which joists rest.
Let-In Brace: Nominal 1 inch-thick boards applied into notched studs diagonally.
Level: Term use to describe any horizontal surface whereby all sides are at the same elevation.
Level (Carpenter's Level): A tool used to check for level.
Level Payment Mortgage: A mortgage with identical monthly payments over the life of the loan.
Leveling Rod: A rod with graduated marks for measuring heights or vertical distances between given points and the line of sight of a leveling instrument. They are longer than a yardstick and are held by a surveyor in a vertical position.
Lien: An encumbrance that usually makes real or personal property the security for payment of a debt or discharge of an obligation.
Light: Space in a window sash for a single pane of glass. Also, a pane of glass.
Limit Switch: A safety control that automatically shuts off a furnace if it gets too hot. Most also control blower cycles.
Lineal Foot: A unit of measure for lumber equal to 1 inch thick by 12 inches wide by 12 inches long. Examples: 1" x 12" x 16' = 16 board feet, 2" x 12" x 16' = 32 board feet.
Lintel: A horizontal structural member that supports the load over an opening such as a door or window.
Liquated Damages: A monetary amount agreed upon by two parties to a contract prior to performance under the contract that specifies what a either party owes the other if that party defaults under the contract.
Liquid-Applied Membrane: Generally applied to cast-in-place concrete surfaces in one or more coats to provide fully-adhered waterproof membranes which conform to all contours.
Lite: (Not the beer!) Another term for a pane of glass. Also spelled "light" in industry literature.
Live Load: Loads produced by use and occupancy of the building or other structure and do not include construction or environmental loads such as wind load, snow load, ice load, rain load, seismic load, or dead load.
Load Bearing Wall: A wall which is supporting its own weight and some other structural elements of the house such as the roof and ceiling structures.
Loan: The amount to be borrowed.
Loan to Value Ratio: The ratio of the loan amount to the property valuation and expressed as a percentage; e.g. if a borrower is seeking a loan of $200,000 on a property worth $400,000 it has a 50% loan to value rate. If the loan were $300,000, the LTV would be 75%. The higher the loan to value, the greater the lender's perceived risk. Loans above normal lending LTV ratios may require additional security.
Lookout: A short wood bracket or cantilever to support an overhang portion of a roof or the like, usually concealed from view.
Loose Laid: In roofing, a membrane "laid loosely," i.e. not adhered, over a roof deck or Burm.
Lot: A parcel of ground with boundaries determined by the county.
Louver: An opening with a series of horizontal slats arranged so as to permit ventilation but to exclude rain, sun. light, or vision. See also Attic Ventilators.
Low-Slope Application: Method of installing asphalt shingles on roof slopes between 2 and 4 inches per foot.
Lumber: The product of the sawmill and planing mill not further manufactured other than by sawing, re-sawing, and passing lengthwise through a standard planing machine, crosscutting to length, and matching.
Lumens: Unit of measure for total light output. The amount of light falling on a surface of one square foot.