George Stoll Construction Inc.
397 Spook Rock Road
Suffern, New York 10901
Phone: (845) 357-3085


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ABUT: Joining the ends of construction members.

ACOUSTICS: The science of sound. In housing, acoustical materials used to keep down noise within a room or to prevent it from passing through walls.

A-FRAME: A structural system utilizing members which when fastened together resemble the letter A.

AGGREGATE: Gravel (course) or sand (fine) used in concrete mixes.

AIR-DRIED LUMBER: Lumber that is left in the open to dry rather than being dried by a kiln.

AIR-DUCT: A pipe, usually made of sheet metal, that conducts air to rooms from a central source.

AIR TRAP: A U-shaped pipe filled with water and located beneath plumbing fixtures to form a seal against the passage of gases and odors.

ALCOVE: A recessed space connected at the side of a larger room.

ALTERATION: A change in, or addition to, an existing building.

AMPERE: The unit used in the measure of the rate of flow of electricity.

ANGLE BOLT: A threaded rod inserted in masonry construction for anchoring the sill plate to the foundation.

ANGLE IRON: A structural piece of rolled steel shaped to form a 90-degree angle.

APRON: Inside window trim placed under the stool and against the wall.

ARCADE: A series of arches supported by a row of columns.

ARCH: A curved structure that will support itself by mutual pressure and the weight above its curved opening.

AREA WALL: A wall surrounding an areaway.

AREAWAY: A recessed area below grade around the foundation to allow light and ventilation into a basement window or doorway.

ASHLAR: A facing of squared stones.

ASHPIT: The area below the hearth of a fireplace which collects the ashes.

ASPHALT: Bituminous sandstones used for paving streets and waterproofing flat roofs.

ASPHALT SHINGLES: Composition roof shingles made from asphalt-impregnated felt covered with mineral granules.

ASTRAGAL MOLD: T-profiled molding usually used between meeting doors or casement windows.

ATRIUM: An open court within a building.

ATTIC: The space between the roof and the ceiling.

AWNING WINDOW: An out-swinging window hinged at the top.

AXIS: Line around which something rotates or is symmetrically arranged.

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BACKFILL: Earth used to fill in areas around foundation walls.

BACKHEARTH: The part of the hearth inside the fireplace.

BAFFLE: A partial blocking against a flow of wind or sound.

BALCONY: A deck projecting from the wall of a building above the ground.

BALLOON FRAMING: The building-frame construction in which each of the studs is one piece from the foundation to the roof of a two-story house.

BALUSTRADE: A series of balusters or post connected by a rail, generally used adjacent to stairs.

BANISTER: A handrailing.

BARGEBOARD: Finish board covering the projecting and sloping portion (end rafter) of a gable roof.

BASE: The finish or a room at the junction of the walls and floors.

BASEBOARD: Finish board covering the interior wall where the wall and floor meet.

BASE COURSE: The lowest part of masonry construction.

BASE LINE: A located line for reference control purposes.

BASEMENT: The lowest story of a building, partially or entirely below ground.

BASE PLATE: A plate, usually of steel, upon which a column rests.

BASE SHOE: A molding used next to the floor in interior baseboards.

BATT: A type of fiberglass insulation designed to be installed between framing members.

BATTEN: Narrow strip of wood nailed over the vertical joints of boards to form board-and-batten siding.

BATTER: A masonry or concrete wall which slopes backward from the perpendicular.

BATTER BOARDS: Horizontal boards at exact elevations nailed to posts just outside the corners of a proposed building. Strings are stretched across the boards to locate the outline of the foundation for workers.

BAY WINDOW: A projection formed by three windows that are joined at obtuse angels.

BEAM: A horizontal structural member that carries a load.

BEAM CEILING: A ceiling in which the ceiling beams are exposed to view.

BEARING PLATE: Metal plate that provides support for a structural member.

BEARING WALL OR PARTITION: A wall supporting any vertical load other than its own weight.

BENCH MARK: Mark on some permanent object fixed to the ground from which land measurements and elevations are taken.

BENDING MOMENT: A measure of the forces that break a beam by bending.

BENT: A frame consisting of two supporting columns and a girder or truss used in vertical position in framing a structure.

BEVEL SIDING: Shingles or other siding board thicker on one edge than the other. The thick edge overlaps the thin edge of the next board.

BILL OF MATERIAL: A parts list of material accompanying a structural drawing.

BLANKET INSULATION: Insulation in rolled-sheet form, often backed by treated paper that forms a vapor barrier.

BLIND NAILING: Method of nailing which will conceal nails, usually used on strip flooring and wood paneling.

BLOCKING: Small wood framing members that fill in the open space between the floor and ceiling joists to add stiffness to the floors and ceiling.

BLUEPRINT: An architectural type drawing used by workers to build from. The original drawing is transferred to a sensitized paper that turns blue with white lines when printed. Also, prints of blue lines on white paper.

BOARD MEASURE: System of lumber measurement. The unit is 1 bd. ft, which is 1 ft square by approximately 1 in. thick.

BOND BEAM: Continuous, reinforced concrete block course around the top of masonry walls.

BOW WINDOW: A curved projection formed by five or more windows that are joined at obtuse angles.

BRACE: Any stiffening member of a framework.

BRACED FRAMING: Frame construction with posts and braces used for stiffening.

BREEZEWAY: A roofed walkway with open sides. It connects the house and garage.

BRIDGING: Cross bracing or solid blocking between joist to stiffen floor framing.

BUCK: Frame for a door, usually made of metal, into which the finished door fits.

BUILDING CODE: A collection of legal requirements for buildings designed to protect the safety, health, and general welfare of people who work and live them.

BUILDING LINE: Setback restrictions on property, established by zoning ordinances, beyond which a building must be placed.

BUILDING PAPER: A heavy, waterproof paper used over sheathing and subfloors to prevent passage of air and water.

BUILDING PERMIT: A permit issued by a municipal government authorizing the construction of a building or structure.

BUILT-UP ROOF: Roofing for low-slope roofs composed of several layers of felt and hot asphalt or coal tar, usually covered with small aggregate.

BUTT: Type of hinge allowing edge of door to butt into the jamb; a joint which fastens members end to end.

BUTTERFLY ROOF: A roof with two sides sloping down toward the interior of the house.

BUTTRESS: Vertical masonry or concrete support, usually larger at the base, which projects from a wall.

BTU: Abbreviation for british thermal unit; a standard unit for measuring heat gain or loss.

BX CABLE: Armored electric cable wrapped in plastic and protected by a flexible steel covering.


CANOPY: A projection over windows and doors to protect them from the weather.

CANTILEVER: A projecting beam or structural member anchored at only one end.

CANT STRIP: Angular shaped member used to eliminate a sharp, right angle, often used on flat roofs.

CARPORT: An automobile shelter not fully enclosed.

CARRIAGE: The horizontal part of the stringers of a stair that supports the treads.

CASEMENT WINDOW: A hinged window that opens out, usually made of metal.

CASING: Trim around window and door openings.

CATCH BASIN: An underground structure for drainage into which the water from a roof or floor will drain. It is connected with a sewer drain or sump pump.

CAULKING: Soft, elastic material used to seal small openings around doors, windows, etc.

CAVITY WALL: Double masonry wall having an air space between the wyths.

CEDAR SHINGLES: Roofing and siding shingles made from western red cedar.

CEMENT: A masonry adhesive material purchased in the form of pulverized powder.

CENTRAL HEATING: A single source of heat that is distributed by pipes or ducts.

CESSPOOL: A pit or cistern to hold sewage.

CHALK LINE: A string that is heavily chalked, held tight, then plucked to make a straight guideline against boards or other surfaces.

CHAMFER: Beveled edge formed by removing the sharp corner of a material.

CHASE: Vertical space within a building for ducts, pipes, or wires.

CHECKS: Splits or cracks in a board, ordinarily caused by seasoning.

CHECK VALVE: A valve that permits passage through a pipe in only one direction.

CHIMNEY: A vertical flue for passing smoke and gases outside a building.

CHIMNEY STACK: A group of flues in the same chimney.

CHORD: Top or bottom member of a truss.

CINDER BLOCK: A building block made of cement and cinder.

CIRCUIT: Closed wiring or conductor through which an electric current can pass.

CIRCUIT BREAKER: A safety device used to open and close an electrical circuit.

CISTERN: A tank or other reservoir to store rainwater run off.

CLAPBOARD: A board, thicker on one side than the other, used to overlap an adjacent board.

CLEARANCE: A clear space to allow passage.

CLERESTORY: An outside wall of a room or building that rises above an adjoining roof and contains windows.

CLINCH: To bend over the protruding end of a nail.

CLIP: A small connecting angle used for fastening various members of a structure.

COLLAR BEAM: Horizontal member tying opposing rafters below the roof ridge.

COLUMN: Vertical supporting member.

COMMON WALL: A single wall that serves two dwelling units.

COMPRESSION: A force that tends to make a member fail because of crushing.

CONCRETE: A mixture of cement, sand, gravel, and water.

CONCRETE BLOCK: Precast hollow or solid blocks of concrete.

CONDEMN: To legally declare unfit for use.

CONDENSATION: The formation of frost or drops of water on inside walls when warm vapor inside a room meets a cold wall or window.

CONDUCTOR: In architecture, a drain pipe leading from the roof; in electricity, anything that permits the passage of an electric current.

CONDUCTOR PIPE: A pipe used to lead water from the roof to the sewer.

CONDUIT: A channel built to convey water or other fluids; a drain or sewer. In electrical work, a channel that carries wires for protection and for safety.

CONSTRUCTION LOAN: A mortgage loan to be used to pay for labor and materials going into the house. Money is usually advanced to the builder as construction progresses and is repaid when the house is completed and sold.

CONTINUOUS BEAM: A beam that has no intermediate supports.

CONTRACTOR: The manager of a construction project.

CONTROL JOINT: Continuous, vertical joint in masonry walls to control cracking.

CONVECTOR: A heat-transfer surface that uses convection currents to transfer heat.

COPING: Metal cap or masonry top course of a wall.

CORBEL: Projection of masonry from the face of a wall; a stepped coursing bracket to support weight above.

CORNER BEAD: A metal molding built into plaster corners to prevent the accidental breaking off of the plaster.

CORNICE: Molded projection of the roof overhang at the top of a wall.

COUNTERFLASHING: A flashing used under the regular flashing.

COURSE: A continuous row of stone or brick of uniform height.

COURT: An open space surrounded partly or entirely by a building.

COVE: Concave molding usually used on horizontal inside corners.

CRAWL SPACE: Shallow space below the floor of a building built above ground, generally surrounded with a foundation wall.

CRICKET: Small gable-like roof structure used to divert water and debris from intersection of sloping roof and chimney; also called a saddle.

CRIPPLE: Structural member that is cut less than full length, such as a studding piece above a window or door.

CROSS BRACING: Boards nailed diagonally across studs or other boards to make framework rigid.

CROSS BRIDGING: Bracing between floor joist to add stiffness to the floors.

CROSSHATCH: Lines drawn closely together at an angle to show a section cut.

CROWN MOLDING: Molding used above eye level; usually the upper trim on interior walls.

CULL: Building material rejected as below standard grade.

CULVERT: A passage for water below ground level.

CUPOLA: A small structure built on top of a roof to provide ventilation.

CURB: A very low wall.

CURE: To allow concrete to dry slowly by keeping it moist to allow maximum strength.

CURTAIN WALL: An exterior wall that provides no structural support.

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DADO JOINT: Recessed joint on the face of a board to receive the end of a perpendicular board.

DAMP COURSE: A layer of waterproof material.

DAMPER: A movable plate that regulates the draft of a stove, fireplace, or furnace.

DATUM: A reference point of starting elevations used in mapping and surveying.

DEADENING: Construction intended to prevent the passage of sound.

DEAD LOAD: All the weight in a structure made up of unmovable materials.

DECAY: The disintegration of wood through the action of fungi.

DEHUMIDIFY: To reduce the moisture content in the air.

DENSITY: The number of people living in a calculated area of land such as s square mile or square kilometer.

DENTIL: One of a series of small projecting rectangular blocks forming a molding under an overhang, most common in Colonial-style homes.

DETAIL: Information added to a drawing to provide specific instruction with a drawing, dimensions, notes, or specifications.

DIMENSION LINE: A line with arrowheads at each end to show the distance between two points.

DIMENSION LUMBER: Framing lumber that is nominal thickness.

DOME: A hemispherical roof form.

DOORSTOP: Projecting strip around the inside of door frame against which the door closes.

DORMER: Top-floor projection of a room built out from a sloping roof to allow light and ventilation.

DOUBLE GLAZING: A pane made of two pieces of glass with air space between and sealed to provide insulation.

DOUBLE HEADER: Two or more timbers joined for strength.

DOUBLE HUNG: A window having top and bottom sashes each capable of movement up and down.

DOWNSPOUT: Pipe for carrying rainwater from the roof to the ground or storm drainage system; also called a leader.

DRAIN: A pipe for carrying waste water.

DRESSED LUMBER: Lumber machined and smoothed at the mill. Usually 1/2 inch less than nominal (rough) size.

DRIP: Projecting construction or groove below an exterior member to throw off rainwater.

DRY ROT: A term applied to many types of decay, especially and advanced stage when the wood can be easily crushed to a dry powder.

DRY-WALL CONSTRUCTION: Interior wall covering other than plaster, usually referred to as “gypsum board” or “wallboard.”

DRY WELL: A pit located in porous ground and lined with rock that allows water to seep through the pit. Used for the disposal of rain water of the effluent from a septic tank.

DUCTS: Sheet metal conductors for warm and cold air distribution.

DUPLEX OUTLET: Electrical wall outlet having two plug receptacles.


EASEMENT: The right to use land owned by another, such as a utility company’s right-of-way.

EAVE: Lower portion of the roof that overhangs the exterior walls.

EFFLORESCENCE: Whitish powder that forms on the surface of bricks or stone walls due to evaporation of moisture containing slots.

EFFLUENT: The liquid discharge from a septic tank after bacterial treatment.

ELASTIC LIMIT: The limit to which a material can be bent or pulled out of shape and still return to its former shape and dimensions.

ELBOW: An L-shaped pipe fitting.

ELEVATION: The drawings of the front, sides, or rear face of a building.

ELL: Extension or wing of a building at right angles to the main section.

EMBELLISH: To add decoration.

EMINENT DOMAIN: The right of the local government to condemn for public use.

ENAMEL: Paint with a considerable amount of varnish. It produces a hard, glossy surface.

ENTABLATURE: In architecture, the entablature is that part of a structure which is immediately above the column; also the distinguishing feature of the Greek styles. There are five distinct orders of entablature – Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian and Composite. The entablature is composed of three parts – the architrave, a stone or marble slab, the prototype of which was the square timber beam of the primitive structure; the frieze or middle member, subdivided into its minor parts; and the cornice, which, with its mouldings and ornaments, is the superior projection of the structure.

ERGONOMICS: The study of human space and movement needs.

ESCUTCHEON: The hardware on a door to accommodate the knob and keyhole.

EXCAVATION: Cavity or pit produced by digging the earth in preparation for construction.

EXPANSION JOINT: Flexible joint used to prevent cracking or breaking due to thermal expansion and contraction.

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FABRICATION: Work done on parts of a structure at the factory before delivery to the building site.

FACADE: Face or front elevation of a building.

FACE BRICK: Brick of better quality used on the face of a wall.

FACING: A surface finish material used to cover another surface.

FASCIA: Outside horizontal face of member on the edge of a roof or cornice.

FATIGUE: A weakening of structural members.

FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION (FHA): A government agency that insures loans made by regular lending institutions.

FELT PAPER: Papers, sometimes tar-impregnated, used on roofs and sidewalls to give protection against dampness and leaks.

FENESTRATION: Arrangement and sizing of doors and windows in a building.

FIBERBOARD: A building board made with fibrous material used as an insulating board.

FILLED INSULATION: A loose insulating material poured from bags or blown by machines into walls.

FINISH LUMBER: Dressed wood used for building trim and cabinet work.

FIREBRICK: A brick that is especially hard and heat-resistant. Used in fireplaces.

FIRECLAY: A grade of clay that can withstand large quantity of heat. Used for firebrick.

FIRE CUT: Angular cut at the ends of joists framing into a masonry wall.

FIRE DOOR: A door that will resist fire.

FIRE PARTITION: A partition designed to restrict the spread of fire.

FIRE-STOP: Tight closure material or blocking to prevent the spread of flame or hot gases within framing.

FISHED: A splice strengthened by metal pieces on the sides.

FIXTURE: A piece of electric or plumbing equipment that is part of the structure.

FLAGGING: Cut stone, slate, or marble used on floors.

FLAGSTONE: Flat stone used for floors, terraces, steps, and walks.

FLASHING: Sheet-metal work used in roof or wall construction to prevent water from seeping into the building.

FLAT ROOF: A roof with minimum pitch for drainage.

FLITCH BEAM: Built-up beam formed by a steel plate sandwiched between two wood members and bolted together for additional strength.

FLOATING: Spreading plaster, stucco, or cement on walls or floors with use of a tool called a float.

FLOOR PLAN: The top view of a building at a specified floor level. A floor plan includes all vertical details at or above windowsill levels.

FLOOR PLUG: An electrical outlet flush with the floor.

FLUE: The opening in a chimney through which smoke passes.

FLUE LINING: Terra-cotta pipe used for the inner lining of chimneys.

FLUSH SURFACE: A continuous surface without an angle.

FOOTING: Poured concrete base upon which foundation walls, columns, or chimneys rest; usually has steel reinforcing bars.

FOOTING FORM: A wooden or steel form used to hold concrete to the desired shape and size until it hardens.

FOOTPRINT: The outline of a home’s foundation; this means the home’s outermost points and is used for site planning.

FRAMING: Wood skeleton of a building constructed one level on top of another.

FRIEZE BOARD: Trim member below the cornice that is fastened against the wall.

FROST LINE: Depth of frost penetration in the ground; bottom of footings should always be below this line.

FURRING STRIPS: Thin strips fastened to walls or ceilings for leveling and for attaching finish surface material.

FUSE: A strip of soft metal inserted in an electric circuit and designed to melt and open the circuit should the current exceed a predetermined value.


GABLE: The vertical triangular end of a building or part of a building, from the eaves to the ridge.

GALVANIZE: A lead and zinc bath treatment to prevent rusting.

GAMBREL ROOF: A roof with 2 slopes on each side, the lower slope steeper than the upper.

GARRET: An attic.

GIRDER: A horizontal beam supporting the floor joists.

GLAZING: Installation of glass in windows and doors.

GRADE: (1) Finished surface of ground around a building. (2) Refers to classification of the quality of lumber or plywood.

GRADIENT: Inclination of a road, piping, or the ground, expressed in percent.

GRAVEL STOP: Strip of metal with a vertical lip used to retain the gravel around a built-up roof.

GREEN LUMBER: Lumber that still contains moisture or sap.

GROUND-FAULT CIRCUIT INTERRUPTER (GFCI): An electrical device that breaks an electric circuit when an excessive leakage current is detected. Intended to eliminate shock hazards to people.

GROUNDS: Wood strips fastened to walls before plastering which serve as edges for the plaster and nailing base for wood trim.

GROUT: Thin cement mortar used for leveling and filling masonry cavities.

GUSSET: Plywood or metal plate used to strengthen joints of a truss.

GUTTER: Metal or wood trough for carrying rainwater to downspouts.

GYP BOARD: Gypsum sheets covered with paper which are fastened to walls and ceilings with nails or screws.


HALF TIMBER: Exterior wall construction having wood frame members exposed and the spaces between filled with stucco or masonry.

HANGER: Metal strap used to support the ends of joists or piping.

HARDPAN: A compacted layer of soils.

HEAD: The upper frame on a door or window.

HEADER: In framing, the continuous joist placed across the ends of floor joists, the double joists at each end of floor or ceiling openings attached to the trimmers, and the structural member above window or door openings. In masonry, exposed ends of masonry units laid horizontally.

HEADROOM: Vertical clearance in a passageway or above a stairway, measured from the edge of the nosing.

HEARTH: That part of the foor directly in front of the fireplace, and the floor inside the fireplace on which the fire is built. It is made of fire-resistant masonry.

HEARTWOOD: Central portion of a tree, which is stronger and more decay-resistant than the surrounding sapwood.

HEEL PLATE: A plate at the ends of truss.

HIP RAFTER: Diagonal rafter that extends from the plate to the ridge to form the hip.

HIP ROOF: A roof with sloping ends and sloping sides that meet at a ridge.

HOSE BIBB: Water faucet made for the threaded attachment of a hose; also called a sill-cock.

HOUSE DRAIN: Horizontal sewer piping within a building that receives wastes from the soil stacks.

HOUSE SEWER: Watertight soil pipe extending from the exterior of the foundation wall to the sewer main.

HUMIDIFIER: A mechanical device that controls the amount of water vapor to be added to the atmosphere.

HUMIDISTAT: An instrument used for r measuring and controlling moisture in the air.


I BEAM: A steel beam with an I-shaped cross section.

INCANDESCENT LAMP: Lamp in which a filament gives off light.

INDIRECT LIGHTING: Artificial light that is reflected from a surface before reaching source.

INSULATING BOARD: Any board suitable for insulating purposes, usually manufactured board made from vegetable fibers, such as fiberboard.

INSULATION: Materials for obstructing the passage of sound, heat, or cold from one surface to another.

INTERIOR TRIM: General term for all the finish molding, casing, baseboard, etc., applied within the building by finish carpenters.


JACK RAFTER: Rafter shorter than a common rafter; especially used in hip-roof framing.

JALOUSIE: A type of window consisting of a number of long, thin, hinged panels.

JAMB: Vertical members of a finished door or window opening.

JOINTURE: General woodworking term used for better-quality wood-joint construction.

JOIST: Structural member which directly supports floors or ceilings and is supported by bearing walls, beams, or girders.

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KEYSTONE: A wedge-shaped detail at the crown of an arch.

KILN: A heating chamber for drying lumber.

KILN-DRIED LUMBER: Lumber that has been properly dried and cured (to 15 percent moisture content) resulting in a higher grade lumber than air dried.

KING POST: In a roof truss, the central upright piece.

KNEE BRACE: A corner brace, fastened at an angle from wall stud to rafter, stiffening a wood or steel frame to prevent angular movement.

KNEE WALL: Low wall in upper story resulting from 1 1/2 story construction.

KNOB AND TUBE: Electric wiring through walls where insulated wires are supported with porcelain knobs and tubes when passing through wood construction members.

KNOCKED DOWN: Unassembled; refers to construction units requiring assembly after being delivered to the job.


LALLY COLUMN: A steel column used as a support for girders and beams.

LAMINATED BEAM: Beam made of superimposed layers of similar materiel (usually wood) by uniting them with glue under pressure.

LANAI: A verandah or porch.

LANDING: A platform in a flight of stairs.

LAP JOINT: Joint produced by lapping and joining two similar members.

LATH: Metal or gypsum sheeting used under plaster, stucco, and ceramic tile.

LATTICE: Grillwork made by crossing small wooden strips.

LAVATORY: A washbasin or room equipped with a washbasin.

LEACHING BED: A system of trenches that carries wastes from sewers. It is constructed in sandy soils or in earth filled with stones. or gravel.

LEADER: Vertical pipe or downspout that carries rainwater to the ground or storm sewer.

LEAN-TO: A shed whose rafters lean against another building or other part of the same building.

LEDGER: Strip of lumber fastened to the lower part of a beam or girder on which notched joist are attached.

LINEAL FOOT: One-foot measurement along a straight line.

LINTEL: Horizontal support over a window or door opening.

LOADS: Live load; the total of all moving and variable loads that may be placed upon a building. Dead load; the weight of all permanent, stationary construction included in a building.

LOAD-BEARING WALL: Wall designed to support the weight imposed upon it from above.

LOGGIA: A roofed open gallery, often on an upper level.

LOOKOUT: Short, wooden framing member used to support an overhanging portion of a roof. It extends from the wall to support the soffit.

LOT LINE: Line forming the legal boundary of a piece of property; also called property line.

LOUVER: Opening or slatted grillwork that allows ventilation while providing protection from rain, sight, or light.


MANSARD ROOF: A roof with two slopes on each side, with the lower slope being nearly vertical and the upper nearly horizontal.

MANTEL: A shelf over a fireplace.

MASONRY: General term for brickwork, stonework, concrete blockwork, or similar materials.

MASTIC: Flexible adhesive for adhering building materials.

MATTE FINISH: Finish free of gloss or highlights.

MEETING RAIL: The horizontal rail of a double hung sash that fit together when the window is closed.

MEMBER: A single piece of material used in a structure.

METAL TIE: A strip of metal used to fasten construction members together.

METAL WALL TIES: Strips of corrugated metal used to tie a brick veneer wall to framework.

MILLWORK: Finish carpentry work or that woodwork done in a mill and delivered to the site; relates to interior trim.

MINERAL WOOL: An insulating material made into a fibrous form from mineral slag.

MITER JOINT: Joint made with ends or edges of two pieces cut at 45-degree angles and fastened together.

MODULAR CONSTRUCTION: Construction in which the size of the building and the building materials are based on a common unit of measure.

MODULE: Standardized unit of measure (e.g., 4″, 12″, or 4′-0″, etc.) to unify construction.

MOISTURE BARRIER: A material such as specially treated paper that retards the passage of vapor or moisture into walls and prevents condensation within the walls.

MONOLITHIC: Term used for concrete work poured and cast in one piece without joints.

MONUMENT: A boundary marker set by surveyors to locate property lines.

MORTAR: A mixture of cement, sand, and water, used as a bonding agent by the mason for binding bricks and stones.

MOSAIC: Small colored tile, glass, stone, or similar material arranged to produce a decorative surface.

MUD ROOM: A small room or entranceway where muddy overshoes and wt garments can be removed before entering other rooms.

MULLION: Structural support member between a series of windows.

MUTIN: Small bar separating the glass lights in a window sash.

NEWEL: A post supporting the handrail at the top or bottom of a stairway.


NORMAL SIZE: Size of lumber before dressing, rather than its actual or finished size.

NONBEARING WALL: A dividing wall that does not support a vertical load.

NONFERROUS METAL: Metal containing no iron, such as copper, brass, or aluminum.

NOSING: The rounded edge of a stair tread.


OBSCURE GLASS: Sheet glass that is made translucent instead of transparent.

ON CENTER: Method of indicating spacing of framing members by stating the distance from center of one to center of the next.

OUTLET: Any type of electrical box allowing current to be drawn from the electrical system for lighting or appliances.

ORIENTATION: The positioning of a house on a lot in relation to the sun, wind, view, and noise.

OVERHANG: Projecting area of a roof or upper story beyond the wall of the lower part.


PALLADIAN WINDOW: A window arrangement with a half-round window on top of a wider rectangular window.

PANELBOARD: The center for controlling electrical circuits.

PARAPET: Low wall or railing at the edge of a roof; it extends above the roof level.

PARGE COAT: Thin coat of cement mortar applied to a masonry wall for refinement or dampproofing.

PARQUET FLOORING: Flooring, usually wood, laid in an alternating or inlaid pattern to form various designs.

PARTICLE BOARD: Sheets made from compressed wood fiber.

PARTITION: An interior wall that separates two rooms.

PARTY WALL: Wall common to adjoining buildings in which both owners share, such as a wall between row houses or condominiums.

PATIO: An open court.

PEDIMENT: A triangular space formed in the middle of a gable; also used as a decoration above a door.

PENNY: Term used to identify nail size.

PERGOLA: Open, structural framework over an outdoor area, usually covered with climbing vines to form an arbor.

PERIPHERY: Entire outside edge of an object or surface.

PERSPECTIVE: A drawing of an object in a three dimensional form on a plane surface. An object drawn as it would appear to the eye.

PIER: Support, usually in the crawl space, to support the floor framing.

PILASTER: Rectangular pier attached to a wall for the purpose of strengthening the wall; also a decorative column attached to a wall.

PILES: Long posts driven into the soil in swampy locations, or whenever it is difficult to secure a firm foundation, upon which the foundation footing is laid.

PILLAR: A column used for supporting parts of a structure.

PINNACLE: Projecting or ornamental cap on the high point of a roof.

PLAN: A horizontal, graphic representational section of a building.

PITCH: Slope of a roof usually expressed as a ratio.

PLANK: Lumber 2″ thick or more and more than 4″ wide, such as joists, flooring, and the like.

PLASTER: A mortarlike composition used for covering walls and ceilings. Usually made of portland cement mixed with sand and water.

PLASTERBOARD: A board made of plastering material covered on both sides with heavy paper.

PLASTER GROUND: A nailer strip included in plaster walls to act as a gage for thickness of plaster and to give a nailing support for finish trim around openings and near the base of the wall.

PLAT: A map or chart of an area showing boundaries of lots and other parcels of property.

PLATE: Top or bottom horizontal members of a row of studs in a frame wall; also, the sill member over a foundation wall.

PLATE CUT: The cut in the rafter that rests upon the plate. It is also called the seat cut or birdmounth.

PLATE GLASS: A high-quality sheet of glass used in large windows.

PLATFORM: Framing in which each story is built upon the other.

PLENUM SYSTEM: A system of heating or air-conditioning in which the air is forced through a chamber connected to distributing ducts.

PLOT: The land on which a building stands.

PLOW: To cut a groove running the same direction as the grain of the wood.

PLUMB: Said of a member when it is in true vertical position as determined by a plumb bob or vertical level.

PLYWOOD: A piece of wood made of three or more layers of veneer joined with glue and usually laid with the grain of adjoining piles at right angles.

PORCH: A covered area attached to a house at an entrance.

PORTE COCHERE: A covered, drive-through structure that extends from the side of a home, providing shelter for people getting in and out of vehicles.

PORTICO: A roof supported by columns; often used at an entry.

PORTLAND CEMENT: A hydraulic cement, extremely hard, formed by burning silica, lime, and alumina together and then grinding up the mixture.

POST: A perpendicular supporting member.

POST & BEAM CONSTRUCTION: Wall construction consisting of large, widely spaced posts to support horizontal beams.

PRECAST: Concrete shapes made separately before being used in a structure.

PREFABRICATED BUILDINGS: Buildings that are built in sections or component parts in a factory, and then assembled at the site.

PRIME COAT: First coat of paint applied to wood or metal to prime the surface for succeeding coats.

PURLIN: Horizontal roof members laid over trusses to support roof decking.


QUAD: An enclosed court.

QUARRY TILE: Unglazed, machine-made tile used for floors.

QUARTER ROUND: Small molding with a quarter-circle profile.

QUARTER SAWED: Lumber, usually flooring, that has been sawed so that the medulary rays showing on end grain are nearly perpendicular to the face of the lumber.

QUOIN: A large, square stone or brick veneer set into the corners of masonry buildings for architectural style.


RABBET: Groove cut along the edge or end of a board to receive another board.

RADIANT HEATING: A system using heating elements in the floors, ceilings, or walls to radiate heat into the room.

RAFTER: Inclined structural members used to frame a roof.

RAGLIN: The open joint in masonry to receive flashing.

RAKE: Inclined edge of a roof that overhangs the gable end.

RANDOM RUBBLE: Stonework having irregular shaped units and no indication of systematic course work.

REBAR: Steel reinforcing bar.

REGISTER: The open end of a duct in a room for warm or cool air.

REINFORCED CONCRETE: Concrete in which steel bars or webbing has been embedded for strength.

RENDERING: The art of shading or coloring a drawing.

RESTORATION: Rebuilding s structure so it will appear in its original form.

RESTRICTIONS: Limitations on the use of real estate building materials, size, or design styles.

RETAINING WALL: A wall to hold back an earth embankment.

REVEAL: Side of an opening of a window or door.

RHEOSTAT: An instrument for regulating electric current.

RIBBON: Wood strip let into the studs to provide a bearing for joists.

RIDGEBOARD: Horizontal wood framing member to which the top of rafters are attached.

RIDGE CAP: A wood or metal cap used over roofing at the ridge.

RIPRAP: Stones placed on a slope to prevent erosion. Also broken stone used for foundation fill.

RISE: The vertical height of a roof.

RISER: The vertical board in a stairway between two treads.

ROCK WOOL: An insulating material that looks like wool but is composed of such substances as granite or silica.

RODDING: Stirring freshly poured concrete with a vibrator to remove air pockets.

ROLL ROOFING: Roofing material of fiber and asphalt manufactured in rolls.

ROUGH FLOOR: The subfloor on which the finished floor is laid.

ROUGH HARDWARE: All the concealed fasteners in a building, such as nails, bolts, and hangers.

ROUGH-IN: Putting up the skeleton of the building.

ROUGH LUMBER: Lumber as it comes from the saw.

ROUGH OPENING: Any unfinished opening in the framing of a building.

ROWLOCK: Brickwork with exposed ends setting vertically.

RUN: Horizontal distance of a flight of stairs, or the horizontal distance from the outside wall to the ridge of a roof.

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SADDLE: Small gable-like roof structure used to divert water and debris from intersection of sloping roof and chimney; also called a cricket.

SAFETY FACTOR: The ultimate strength of the material divided by the allowable working load. the element of safety needed to make certain that there will be no structural failures.

SAND FINISH: A final plaster coat; a skim coat.

SAP: All the fluids in a tree.

SASH: Individual frame into which glass is set; the movable part of a double-hung window.

SCAB: A small wood member, used to join other members, which is fastened on the outside face.

SCARF JOINT: Joint made with diagonal ends.

SCHEDULE: Listing of finishes, doors, windows, etc.

SCRATCH COAT: The first coat of plaster. It is scratched to provide a good bond for the next coat.

SCREED: A guide for the correct thickness of plaster or concrete being placed on surfaces.

SCUTTLE: Small opening in a ceiling to provide access to an attic or roof.

SEASONING: Drying out of green lumber, either in an over or kiln or by exposing it to air.

SECTION: The drawing of an object that is cut to show the interior. Also, a panel construction used in walls, floors, ceilings, or roofs.

SEEPAGE PIT: A pit in which sewage drains from a septic tank, and which is so constructed that the liquid waste seeps through the sides of the pit into the ground.

SEPTIC TANK: A concrete or steel tank where sewage is reduced to liquid and gases by bacterial action. About half the sewage solids become gases that escape back through the vent stack in the house. The liquids flow from the tank into the ground through a leaching field tile bed.

SERVICE CONNECTION: The electric wires to the building from the outside power lines.

SET: The hardening of cement or plaster.

SETBACK: Distance from the property lines, front, side, and rear, to the face of building; established by zoning ordinances.

SETTLEMENT: Compression of the soil or the members in a structure.

SHAKES: Thick hand-cut wood shingles.

SHEATHING: Rough covering over the framing of a building, either roof or wall, which is not exposed when finish material is applied.

SHED ROOF: A roof slanting in one direction.

SHIM: A piece of material used to fill in the space between two surfaces.

SHINGLES: Thin pieces of wood or materials that overlap each other in covering a roof. The number and kind needed depend on the steepness of the roof and slope.

SHIPLAP: Boards with lapped joints along their edges.

SHOE MOLD: Small rounded molding covering the joint between the flooring and the baseboard.

SHORING: Lumber placed in a slanted position to support the structure of a building temporarily.

SIDING: The outside boards of an exterior wall.

SIDELIGHT: A vertical window beside a door or another window.

SILL: Horizontal exterior member below a window or door opening. In frame construction, the lowest structural member that rests on the foundation.

SILL-COCK: Water faucet made for the threaded attachment of a hose; also called a hose bibb.

SKYLIGHT: An opening in the roof for admitting light.

SLAB CONSTRUCTION: A reinforced concrete floor and foundation system.

SLEEPERS: Wood strips placed over or in a concrete slab to receive a finished wood floor.

SMOKE CHAMBER: The portion of a chimney flue located directly over the fireplace.

SOFFIT: Underside of an overhang such as the eave, a second floor, or stairs.

SOFTWOOD: Wood from trees having needles rather than broad leaves. The term does not necessarily refer to the softness of the wood.

SOIL STACK: Vertical plumbing pipe that carries sewage.

SOLAR HEAT: Heat from the sun.

SOLE PLATE: The horizontal framing member directly under the studs.

SPACING: The distance between two structural members.

SPACKLE: To cover wallboard joints with plaster.

SPAN: Horizontal distance between supports for joists, beams, or trusses.

SPECIFICATIONS: The written or printed direction regarding the details of a building or other construction not included in the set of working drawings.

SPIKE: A large, heavy nail.

SPLICE: Joining of two similar members in a straight line.

SQUARE: In roofing, 100 sq ft of roofing.

STACK: A vertical pipe.

STAKEOUT: Marking the foundation layout with stakes.

STEEL FRAMING: Skeleton framing with structural steel members.

STEENING: Brickwork without mortar.

STILE: Vertical framing member of a panel door.

STIRRUP: A metal U-shaped strap used to support framing members and pipes.

STOOL: Horizontal interior member of the frame below a window.

STOP: A small strip to hold a door or window sash in place.

STORM SEWER: A sewer that is designed to carry away water from storms, but not sewage.

STORY: Space between two floors of a building.

STRESS: Any force acting upon a part or member.

STRESS COVER CONSTRUCTION: Construction consisting of panels or sections with wood frameworks to which plywood or other sheet material is bonded with glue so that the covering carries a large part of the loads.

STRETCHER COURSE: A row of masonry in a wall with the long side of the units exposed to the exterior.

STRINGER: One of the sides of a flight of stairs. The supporting member cut to receive the treads and risers.

STRIPPING: Removal of concrete forms from the hardened concrete.

STUCCO: Any of various plasters used for covering walls, especially an exterior wall covering in which cement is used.

STUDS: Vertical framing members in a wall spaced at 16″ or 24″ o.c.

SUBFLOOR: Material fastened directly to floor joist below the finish floor.

SUMP: A pit in a basement floor to collect water, into which a sump pump is placed to remove water.

SURFACE LUMBER: Lumber that is dressed by running it through a planer.

SURVEYOR: A person skilled in land measurement.

SUSPENDED CEILING: Finish ceiling hung below the underside of the building structure, either floor or roof.

SWALE: A drainage channel formed where two slopes meet.


TAIL JOISTS: Relatively shorter joists that join against a header or trimmer in floor framing.

TAMP: To ram or compact the soil.

TAR: A dark heavy oil used in roofing and roof surfacing.

TEMPERED: Thoroughly mixed cement or mortar.

TENSILE STRENGTH: The greatest longitudinal stress a structural member can resist without adverse affects (breaking or cracking).

TERMITE SHIELD: Sheet metal used to block the passage of termites.

TERRAZZO: Wear-resistant flooring made of marble chips or small stones embedded in cement matrix that has been polished smooth.

THERMAL CONDUCTOR: Material capable of transmitting heat.

THERMOSTAT: A device for automatically controlling the supply of heat and air.

THRESHOLD: Wood, metal, or stone member placed directly below a door.

THROAT: A passage located directly above the fireplace opening where a damper is set.

TIE: A structural member used to bind others together.

TIMBER: Lumber with a cross section larger than 4″x6″, for posts, sills, and girders.

TOENAIL: Nailing diagonally through a member.

TOLERANCE: The acceptable variance of dimensions from s standard size.

TONGUE: A projection on the edge of wood that joins with a similarly shaped groove.

T-POST: Post built up of studs and blocking to form the intersection framing for perpendicular walls.

TRANSOM WINDOW: A narrow horizontal window above a window or door, named for the cross bar on which it rests.

TRAP: U-shaped pipe below plumbing fixtures which provides a water seal to prevent sewer odors and gases from entering habitable areas.

TRAY CEILING: A recessed ceiling resembling an upside-down tray; also referred to as a stepped ceiling.

TREAD: The step or horizontal member of a stair.

TRIMMER: The longer floor or ceiling-framing member around a rectangular opening into which headers are joined; both headers and trimmers are doubled.

TRUSS: Structural unit of members fastened in triangular arrangements to form a rigid framework for support over long spans.

TRUSS RAFTER: Truss spaced close enough (usually 24″ o.c.) to eliminate the need for purlins.

TURRET: A small tower usually on the corner of a building, most common in Victorian-style homes.

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UNDERPINNING: A foundation replacement or reinforcement for temporary braced supports.

UNDRESSED LUMBER: Lumber that is not squared or finished smooth.


VALLEY: The internal angle formed by two slopes of a roof.

VALLEY JACKS: Rafters that run from a ridgeboard to a valley rafter.

VALLEY RAFTER: Diagonal rafter at the intersection of two intersecting sloping roofs.

VALVE: A device that regulates the flow of material in a pipe.

VAPOR BARRIER: Watertight material used to prevent the passage of moisture or water vapor into and through walls and under concrete slabs.

VAULTED CEILING: A ceiling that slopes up to a peak.

VENEER CONSTRUCTION: Type of wall construction in which frame or masonry walls are faced with other exterior surfacing materials.

VENT: A screened opening for ventilation.

VENTILATION: The process of supplying and removing air by natural or mechanical means to or from any space.

VENT PIPES: Small ventilating pipes extending from each fixture of a plumbing system to the vent stack.

VENT STACK: Vertical soil pipe connected to the drainage system to allow ventilation and pressure equalization.

VERGEBOARD: The board that serves as the eaves finish on the gable end of a building.

VESTIBULE: A small lobby or entrance room.

VITREOUS: Pertaining to a composition of materials that resemble glass.

VOLUME CEILING: Any ceiling higher than the standard 8 feet.


WAINSCOT: Surfacing on the lower part of an interior wall when finished differently from the remainder of the wall.

WALLBOARD: Wood pulp, gypsum, or similar materials made into large rigid sheets that may be fastened to the frame of a building to provide a surface finish.

WALL TIE: Small metal strip or steel wire used to bind courses of masonry to wood frame in veneer construction.

WARP: Any change from a true or plane surface. Warping includes bow, crook, cup, and twist.

WASH: The slant upon a sill, capping, etc., to allow the water to run off.

WASTE STACK: A vertical pipe in a plumbing system that carries the discharge from any fixture.

WATERPROOFING: Material or construction that prevents the passage of water.

WATER TABLE: Horizontal member extending from the surface of an exterior wall to throw rainwater away from the wall; also, the level of subsurface water.

WEATHER STRIPPING: Strips of fabric or metal fastened around the edges of windows and doors to prevent air infiltration.

WEEP HOLE: Small holes in masonry cavity walls to release moisture accumulation to the exterior.

WELL OPENING: A floor opening for a stairway.

WINDER: Stair tread that is wider at one end than the other, allowing the stairs to change direction.

WYTHE: Pertaining to s single-width masonry wall.


ZONING: Building restrictions as to size, location, and type of structures to be built in specific areas.

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