Common Terms T-Z
T Bar: A ribbed "T" shaped bar with a flat metal plate at the bottom that is driven into the earth. Normally used with chain link fence poles, and to mark locations of a water meter pit.
Tab: The exposed portion of strip shingles defined by cutouts.
Tail Beam: A relatively short beam or joist supported in a wall on one end and by a header at the other.
Tailpiece: The tubular part of a lavatory drain that runs from the drain flange to the trap.
Take Off: The material necessary to complete a job.
Taping: Applying joint tape over embedding compound in the process of joint treatment of drywall.
Tear-Off: In roofing, a term used to describe the complete removal of the built up roof membrane and insulation down to and exposing the roof deck.
Teco: Metal straps that are nailed to secure the roof rafters and trusses to the top horizontal wall plate. Sometimes called a Hurricane Clip.
Tee: A T-shaped fitting with three openings.
Tempered: Strengthened. Tempered glass will not shatter nor create shards, but will "pelletize" like an automobile window. Required in tub and shower enclosures, entry door glass, sidelight glass and in windows where the window sill is less than 16" to the floor.
Termite Shield: A shield, usually of non-corrodible metal, placed in or on a foundation wall or other mass of masonry or around pipes to prevent passage of termites.
Termites: Insects that superficially resemble ants in size, general appearance, and habit of living in colonies; hence, they are frequently called "white ants." Subterranean termites establish themselves in buildings not by being carried in with lumber, but by entering from ground nests after the building has been constructed. If unmolested, they eat the woodwork, leaving a shell of sound wood to conceal their activities, and damage may proceed so far as to cause collapse of parts of a structure before discovery. There are about 56 species of termites known in the United States but the two major ones, classified by the manner in which they attack wood, are ground inhabiting or subterranean termites (the most common) and dry wood termites, which are found almost exclusively along the extreme southern border and the Gulf of Mexico in the United States.
Terneplate: Sheet iron or steel coated with an alloy of lead and tin.
Terracotta: A ceramic material molded into masonry units.
Texture Paint: Paint which may be manipulated by brush, trowel or other to give various patterns.
Thermal Insulation: Any material high in resistance to heat transmission that, when placed in the walls, ceiling, or floors of a structure, will reduce the rate of heat flow.
Thermal Movement: The measured amount of dimensional change that a material exhibits as it is warmed or cooled.
Thermal Shock: The stress built up by sudden and appreciable changes in temperature.
Thermopane Window: Compased of a double layer of glass positioned side by side with a thin strip of foam material bonding the two layers of window glass together to form the storm window design.
Thermoplastic Material: Solid material which is softened by increasing temperatures and hardened by decreasing temperatures.
Thermoply™: Exterior laminated sheathing nailed to the exterior side of the exterior walls. Normally ¼" thick, 4x8 or 4x10 sheets with an aluminumized surface.
Thermostat: A device which relegates the temperature of a room or building by switching heating or cooling equipment on or off.
Thermostatic Valve: A mixing valve that automatically maintains the temperature setting by regulating fluctuations in water temperature at the water inlets and immediately adjusting the ratio of hot and cold water that is discharged by the valve.
Three-Dimensional Shingles: See Laminated Shingles.
Three-Phase: In electrical contracting, a wiring system consisting of 4 wires and used in industrial and commercial applications. This system is suitable for installations requiring large motors. It consists of three hot wires and one ground wire. The voltage in each hot wire is out of phase with the others by 1/3 of a cycle, as if produced by 3 different generators.
Threshold: A strip of wood or metal with beveled edges used over the finish floor and the sill of exterior doors.
Thru-Wall Flashing: Flashing extended completely through a masonry wall. Designed and applied in combination with counter-flashings, to prevent water which may enter the wall above from proceeding downward in the wall or into the roof deck or roofing system.
THW: Moisture and heat resistant thermoplastic conductor. It is flame retardant, moisture and heat resistant and can be used in dry or wet locations.
Tie-In: In roofing, a term used to describe the joining of a new roof with the old.
Tilt-Up Wall: Cast concrete units which are preformed which, when cured, are tilted to their vertical position and secured by mechanical fasteners to prior erected structural steel. May be pre-cast.
Timbers: Yard lumber 5 or more inches in least dimension. Includes beams, stringers, posts, caps, sills, girders, and purlins.
Time and Materials Contract: A contract which specifies a price for different elements of the work such as: cost per hour of labor, overhead, profit etc. Such a contract may not have a maximum price or may state a 'price not to exceed.'
Tinner: Another name for the heating contractor.
Tinted Glass: Glass with colorants added to the basic glass batch that give the glass color as well as light and heat-reducing capabilities. The color extends throughout the thickness of the glass.
Tip Up: The downspout extension that directs water (from the home's gutter system) away from the home. They typically swing up when mowing the lawn, etc.
Title: Evidence (usually in the form of a certificate or deed) of a person's legal right to ownership of a property.
Title 24: A set of federal laws that mandates the construction industry to conserve energy.
TJI or TJ: 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 may be made of laminated veneer lumber or dimensional lumber, usually formed into a 1½" width. The web 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'' long.
Toe Bead: Sealant applied at the intersection of the outboard glazing stop and the bottom of the glazing channel. It must be sized to provide a seal to the edge of the glass.
Toe-Nailing: To drive a nail at a slant to the initial surface in order to permit it to penetrate into a second member.
Tongue and Groove: A type of flooring where the tongue of one board is joined to the groove of another board.
Tooling: The operation of pressing in and striking a sealant in a joint to press the sealant against the sides of a joint and secure good adhesion; the finishing off of the surface of a sealant in a joint so that it is flush with the surface.
Top Chord: The upper or top member of a truss.
Top Mopping: The finished mopping of hot bitumen on a built-up roof.
Top Mount Faucet: See Centerset.
Top Plate: Top horizontal member of a frame wall.
Torch Down Roof (Single Ply or Modified Bitumen): A newer roofing material mostly used on flat roofs. This material usually comes in rolls and is applied to the roof with an open flame or 'torch.'
Torching: Applying direct flame to a membrane for the purpose of melting, heating or adhering.
Transit: A surveyor’s instrument used by builders to establish points and elevations both vertically and horizontally. It can be used to line up stakes or to plumb walls or to measure the angle of elevation from a horizontal plane.
Transmitter (Garage Door): The small push-button device that causes the garage door to open or close.
Trap: A plumbing fitting that holds water to prevent air, gas, and vermin from backing up into a fixture.
Tread: The horizontal board in a stairway on which the foot is placed.
Treated Lumber: A wood product which has been impregnated with chemicals to reduce damage from wood rot or insects. Often used for the portions of a structure which is likely to be in ongoing contact with soil and water. Wood may also be treated with a fire retardant.
Tremie: A tube with removable sections and a funnel at the top used in concrete application. The bottom is kept beneath the surface of the concrete and raised as the form is filled and is used to pour concrete underwater.
Trim: The finish materials in a building, such as moldings applied around openings (window trim, door trim) or at the floor and ceiling of rooms (baseboard, cornice, and other moldings).
Trim (Exterior): The finish materials on the exterior of a building, such as moldings applied around openings (window trim, door trim), siding, windows, exterior doors, attic vents, crawl space vents, shutters, etc. Also, the physical work of installing these materials.
Trim (Interior): The finish materials in a building, such as moldings applied around openings (window trim, door trim) or at the floor and ceiling of rooms (baseboard, cornice, and other moldings). Also, the physical work of installing interior doors and interior woodwork, to include all handrails, guardrails, stairway balustrades, mantles, light boxes, base, door casings, cabinets, countertops, shelves, window sills and aprons, etc.
Trim (Plumbing, Heating, Electrical): The work that the "mechanical" contractors perform to finish their respective aspects of work when the home is nearing completion and occupancy.
Trim Kit: Refers to the outside decorative parts that conceal a faucet rough-in.
Trimmer: A beam or joist to which a header is nailed in framing for a chimney, stairway, or other opening.
Triple-Glazed Window: The most energy efficient window. Gases are sealed between three panes of glass and Low E coatings are applied on two of the panes. This can bring the energy efficiency up to a value of R10 at the center point of the glass.
Truss: A frame or jointed structure designed to act as a beam of long span, while each member is usually subjected to longitudinal stress only—either tension or compression.
Tub Trap: A curved, "U" shaped section of a bath tub drain pipe that holds a water seal to prevent sewer gasses from entering the home through tubs water drain.
Tube and Knob Wiring: A common form of electrical wiring used before World War II. When in good condition it may still be functional for low amperage use such as smaller light fixture.
Tuck-Pointing: The re-grouting of defective mortar joints in a masonry or brick wall.
Turnkey: A term used when the subcontractor provides all materials (and labor) for a job.
Turpentine: A volatile oil used as a thinner in paints and as a solvent in varnishes. Chemically, it is a mixture of terpenes.
TW: A moisture-resistant thermoplastic conductor that can be used in dry or wet locations, has no outer covering and is not heat-resistant.
Two-Part Sealant: A product composed of a base and curing agent or accelerator, necessarily packaged in two separate containers which are uniformly mixed just prior to use.
U-Value: A measure of air-to-heat transmission (loss or gain) due to the thermal conductance and the difference in indoor and outdoor temperatures. As the U-value decreases, so does the amount of heat that is transferred through the glazing material. The lower the U-value, the more restrictive the fenestration product is to heat transfer. Reciprocal of R-value.
U.L. (Underwriters Laboratories): A private research firm located in the United States that attempts to classify and determine the safety of various materials and products.
Ultraviolet: The invisible rays of the spectrum of light which are at its violet end. Sometimes abbreviated U.V.
Ultraviolet Degradation: A reduction in certain performance limits caused by exposure to ultraviolet light.
Undercoat: A coating applied prior to the finishing or top coats of a paint job. It may be the first of two of three coats. In some usage of the word it may become synonymous with priming coat.
Undercounter: A style of lavatory which is positioned under the cutout of the countertop.
Underground Plumbing: The plumbing drain and waste lines that are installed beneath a basement floor.
Underlayment: A material placed under finish coverings, such as flooring, or shingles, to provide a smooth, even surface for applying the finish.
Union: A plumbing fitting that joins pipes end-to-end so they can be dismantled.
Union Nut: A fitting that joins two sections of pipe.
Uprights: Vertical members supporting the sides of a trench.
Utility Easement: The area of the earth that has electric, gas, or telephone lines. These areas may be owned by the homeowner, but the utility company has the legal right to enter the area as necessary to repair or service the lines.
UV Rays: Ultraviolet rays from the sun.
Vacuum Breaker: An anti-siphon device that prevents waste water from being drawn back into supply lines, potentially contaminating the water supply. A type of backflow preventer.
Valley: The internal angle formed by the junction of two sloping sides of a roof.
Valley Rafter: A rafter that forms the intersection of an internal roof angle. The valley rafter is normally made of double 2-inch-thick members.
Valley Shield: A quality underlayment for added protection in the heavy water flow areas of a roof. This self adhering product has a waterproof asphalt coating which offers excellent elongation and recovery properties for accommodating roof expansion and contraction and structural movement.
Valuation: An inspection carried out for the benefit of the mortgage lender to ascertain if a property is a good security for a loan.
Valuation Fee: The fee paid by the prospective borrower for the lender's inspection of the property. Normally paid upon loan application.
Valve: A device to stop, start or regulate the flow of liquid or gas through or from piping.
Vapor: The gaseous form of any substance.
Vapor Barrier: A membrane which is placed between the insulation and the roof deck to retard water vapor in the building from entering the insulation and condensing into liquid water.
Vapor Retarder: Any substance that prevents the transmission of water vapor.
Variable Rate: An interest rate that will vary over the term of the loan.
Varnish: A thickened preparation of drying oil, or drying oil and resin suitable for spreading on surfaces to form continuous, transparent coatings, or for mixing with pigments to make enamels.
Vehicle: The liquid portion of a finishing material; it consists of the binder (non-volatile) and volatile thinners.
Veining: In roofing, the characteristic lines or "stretch marks" which develop during the aging process of soft bitumens.
Veneer: Thin sheets of wood made by rotary cutting or slicing a log.
Vent: A pipe or duct which allows flow of air as an inlet or outlet.
Vent Pipe: A vertical pipe of relatively small dimensions which protrudes through a roof to provide for the ventilation of gasses.
Vent Stack: A vertical vent pipe installed for the purpose of providing circulation of air to and from any part of a drainage system.
Vent System: In plumbing, a system to provide a flow of air to or from a drainage system or to provide circulation of air within such system to protect traps seals from siphonage and back pressure.
Ventilator: Device installed on the roof for the purpose of ventilating the interior of the building.
Venting: The process of installing roof vents in a roof assembly to relieve vapor pressure. The process of water in the insulation course of the roof assembly evaporating and exiting via the roof vents.
Vermiculite: An aggregate somewhat similar to perlite that is used as an aggregate in lightweight roof decks and deck fills. It is formed from mica, a hydrous silicate with the ability of expanding on heating to form lightweight material with insulation quality. Used as bulk insulation and also as aggregate in insulating and acoustical plaster and in insulating concrete.
Vertical: Being or situated at right angles to the horizon; upright.
Veterans Administration (VA): A federal agency that insures mortgage loans with very liberal down payment requirements for honorably discharged veterans and their surviving spouses.
Viscosity: The internal frictional resistance offered by a fluid to change of shape or to the relative motion or flow of its parts.
Visible Light Transmittance: The percentage of visible light (390 to 770 nanometers) within the solar spectrum that is transmitted through glass.
Visqueen: A 4 mil or 6 mil plastic sheeting.
Visual Mock-Up: Small scale demonstration of a finished construction product.
Vitreous China: A non-porous ceramic that is coated with a ceramic glaze to form toilets and lavatories.
Void: A cardboard rectangular box that is installed between the earth (between caissons) and the concrete foundation wall. Used when expansive soils are present.
Volatile Thinner: A liquid that evaporates readily and is used to thin or reduce the consistency of finishes without altering the relative volumes of pigment and non-volatile vehicles.
Voltage: The driving force behind the flow of electricity somewhat like pressure is in a water pipe. Most homes are wired with '110' and '220' volt lines. The '110' volt power is used for lighting and most of the other circuits. The '220' volt power is usually used for the kitchen stove, water heater and dryer. (The terms '110' and '220' volts are a short hand, e.g. a '110' volt line is usually rated at 117 volts plus or minus 10%).
Voltmeter: Measures the voltage flowing through a circuit.
Wafer Board: See Oriented Strand Board.
Walk-Through: A final inspection of a home before "closing" to look for and document problems that need to be corrected.
Walkways: Designated areas for foot traffic.
Wall Out: When a painter spray paints the interior of a home.
Wane: Bark, or lack of wood from any cause, on edge or corner of a piece of wood.
Warping: Any distortion in a material.
Warrantee: In construction there are two general types of warrantees. One is provided by the manufacturer of a product such as roofing material or an appliance. The second is a warrantee for the labor. For example, a roofing contract may include a 30 year material warrantee and a 5 year labor warrantee. Many (but not all ) new homes come with a one year warrantee. Any major issues found during the first year should be communicated the builder at once. Small items can be saved up and presented to the builder in a letter on the 11 month anniversary of the closing. This gives the builder one month to make the necessary corrections.
Waste and Overflow: A bathtub drain assembly that has an outlet at the top to remove overflow water when filling the tub and an outlet at the bottom to remove waste water when the tub is drained.
Waste Pipe and Vent: Plastic plumbing pipe that carries waste water to the municipal sewage system.
Water Board: Water resistant drywall to be used in tub and shower locations. Normally green or blue colored.
Water Closet: Toilet.
Water Meter Pit (or Vault): The box, cast iron bonnet and concrete rings that contain the water meter.
Water Repellant Coating: Transparent coating or sealer applied to the surface of concrete and masonry surfaces to repel water.
Water Repellent Preservative: A liquid designed to penetrate into wood and impart water repellency and a moderate preservative protection. It is used for millwork, such as sashes and frames, and is usually applied by dipping.
Water Table: The location of the underground water, and the vertical distance from the surface of the earth to this underground water.
Water Tap: The connection point where the home water line connects to the main municipal water system.
Water Vapor: Moisture existing as a gas in air.
Water-Cement Ratio: The strength of a concrete mixture depends on the water cement ratio. The water and cement form a paste. If the paste is made with more water, the concrete becomes weaker. Traditionally, concrete mixes have been identified in terms of the ratio of cement to fine aggregate to coarse aggregate. For example, the ratio 1:2:4 refers to a mix which consists of 1 cu. ft. of cement, 2 cu. ft. of sand and 4 cu. ft. of gravel. Cement and water are the two chemically active elements in concrete and when combined, form a paste or glue which coats and surrounds the particles of aggregate and upon hardening binds the entire mass together.
Waterproofing: The process where a building component is made totally resistant to the passage of water and/or water vapor.
Wattage: The electrical unit of power. A kilowatt is 1000 watts and electric customers are billed on how many kilowatts of power they have used.
Wax Ring Job: Removing a toilet from the floor so that a blockage can be manually removed or to replace a degraded wax ring. Replacing a new wax ring on the bottom of the toilet to create a seal.
WC: An abbreviation for water closet (toilet).
Weatherization: Work on a building exterior in order to reduce energy consumption for heating or cooling. Work involving adding insulation, installing storm windows and doors, caulking cracks and putting on weather-stripping.
Weatherstrip: Jamb-width or narrower sections of thin metal or other material to prevent infiltration of air and moisture around windows and doors. Compression weather stripping prevents air infiltration, provides tension, and acts as a counter balance.
Weep Hole: A hole which allows for drainage of entrapped water from masonry or glazing structures.
Weep Screed: Tool used to drain moisture from concrete.
Weld: The joining of components together by fusing. In thermoplastics, refers to bonding together of the membrane using heat or solvents.
Well Casing: A steel or plastc pipe which serves as the lining of a well, preventing it from caving in and protecting ground water from contamination by surface water.
Well Casing Head: A heavy, flanged steel fitting connected to the first string of casing.
Well House: A structure that encloses a well Commonly found in the Midwest and Western States.
Wet or Dry Surface Plastic Roof Cement: Superior performance in cold and wet applications. Performs as a general-purpose exterior repair and maintenance material on damp or dry surfaces. Stops roof and other leaks fast.
Wet Seal: Application of an elastomeric sealant between the glass and sash to form a weather tight seal.
Whole House Fan: A fan designed to move air through and out of a home and normally installed in the ceiling.
Widespread: A style of lavatory faucet where the spout and handles are separate. Flex hoses are used between the spout and handles to allow adjustable centers, although this style of faucet is typically used on 8" or 12" centers.
Wind Bracing: Metal straps or wood blocks installed diagonally on the inside of a wall from bottom to top plate, to prevent the wall from twisting, racking, or falling over in a "domino" fashion.
Wind Uplift: The upward force exerted by wind traveling across a roof.
Window Buck: Square or rectangular box that is installed within a concrete foundation or block wall. A window will eventually be installed in this "buck" during the siding stage of construction.
Window Frame: The stationary part of a window unit; the window sash fits into the window frame.
Window Sash: The operating or movable part of a window; the sash is made of window panes and their border.
Wire Nut: A plastic device used to connect bare wires together.
Wire Size: Conductors for building wiring are available in AWG (American Wire Gauge) sizes ranging from No. 14 to 4/0. The larger the number size, the smaller the diameter. For example, 10 is smaller than 8. The larger the diameter of a wire, the lesser the resistance.
Wonderboard™: A panel made out of concrete and fiberglass usually used as a ceramic tile backing material. Commonly used on bathtub decks.
Wood Filler: A heavily pigmented preparation used for fining and leveling off the pores in open-pored woods.
Wood Rays: Strips of cells extending radially within a tree and varying in height from a few cells in some species to 4 inches or more in oak. The rays serve primarily to store food and to transport it horizontally in the tree.
Wood-Fiber Plaster: Consists of calcified gypsum integrally mixed with selected coarse cellulose fibers which provide bulk and greater coverage. It is formulated to produce high-strength base coats for use in highly fire-resistant ceiling assemblies.
Work-Life: The time during which a curing sealant remains suitable for use after being mixed with a catalyst.
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.
Wrapped Drywall: Areas that get complete drywall covering, as in the doorway openings of bifold and bipass closet doors.
Y: A "Y" shaped plumbing fitting.
Yard Lumber: Lumber of those grades, sizes, and patterns which are generally intended for ordinary construction, such as framework and rough coverage of houses.
Yard of Concrete: One cubic yard of concrete is 3'x3'x3' in volume, or 27 cubic feet. One cubic yard of concrete will pour 80 square feet of 3 ½" sidewalk or basement/garage floor.
Yoke: The location where a home's water meter is installed between two copper pipes, and located in the water meter pit in the yard.
Z-bar Flashing: Bent, galvanized metal flashing that's installed above a horizontal trim board of an exterior window, door, or brick run. It prevents water from getting behind the trim/brick and into the home.
Zone: The section of a building that is served by one heating or cooling loop because it has noticeably distinct heating or cooling needs. Also, the section of property that will be watered from a lawn sprinkler system.
Zone Valve: A device, usually placed near the heater or cooler, which controls the flow of water or steam to parts of the building; it is controlled by a zone thermostat.
Zoning: A governmental process and specification which limits the use of a property, e.g. single family use, high rise residential use, industrial use, etc. Zoning laws may limit where you can locate a structure. Also see Building Codes.