Houston's Edge Home inspections

Photo of home

Glossary of Home Inspection Terms: Commonly Used Words and Phrases in Home Inspections

In this glossary, we provide a comprehensive guide to commonly used words and phrases in home inspections.

  • A
  • B
  • C
  • D
  • E
  • F
  • G
  • H
  • I
  • J
  • K
  • L
  • M
  • N
  • O
  • P
  • Q
  • R
  • S
  • T
  • U
  • V
  • W
  • X
  • Y
  • Z
  • A/C: stands for “air conditioning,” which is a process of regulating temperature, humidity, and air quality in a space to create a comfortable and healthy environment. This is typically achieved using various methods, such as the refrigeration cycle or evaporative cooling, and the air conditioning system may include components such as fans, compressors, condensers, and evaporators. A/C is commonly used in homes, offices, commercial buildings, and vehicles to maintain cool and comfortable indoor temperatures, especially during hot weather conditions.

    A/C circuit: Alternating current (AC) is a type of electrical current that flows in a conductor and changes direction periodically. It is called alternating because the current changes direction repeatedly, reversing its polarity over time. This type of current is widely used for the transmission and distribution of electrical power because it can be easily converted to different voltage levels, and it is more efficient over long distances. Alternating current is used to power most household appliances and electronic devices, and it is also used in motors, transformers, and other electrical equipment.

    A/C condenser: refers to the exterior fan unit of an air-conditioning system. It functions by withdrawing the heat from the Freon® gas circulating in the system, converting the gas back into a liquid state, and subsequently sending the liquid back to the evaporating coil.

    A/C disconnect: is a primary electrical switch located in close proximity to the A/C condenser, responsible for turning the equipment ON or OFF.

    above-grade wall: refers to a wall that is primarily located above the ground level and is responsible for enclosing conditioned space.

    ABS: stands for acrylonitrile butadiene styrene. It is a type of rigid black plastic pipe that is specifically designed for drainage purposes and is not used for any other applications.

    Absolute humidity: is a measure of the quantity of moisture present in the atmosphere and is expressed in grains per cubic foot.

    Accelerator: refers to any substance that is included in stucco, plaster, or mortar to hasten the process of the natural setting.

    Access panel: is a door or closure device that is utilized to seal an aperture in a wall, ceiling, duct, or an enclosing structure, situated close to a fixture, providing easy access for maintenance, repair, or inspection purposes. For instance, access panels might cover the openings above a plumbing or electrical system, or other fixtures that need regular servicing.

    Accessibility: refers to the degree of ease with which individuals with disabilities can gain entry to and navigate within a building.

    Accessible: When an inspector deems something accessible, it means that it can be approached or entered safely and without any fear, difficulty, or danger.

    Accessory structure: a secondary building erected on a property in addition to the primary structure.

    Accredited: Approved by an accrediting agency or state authority as meeting a prescribed standard, This approval ensures that the courses meet the prescribed standard required for accreditation

    Acre: An area equal to 43,560 square feet.

    Acrylic: is a type of thermoplastic material that boasts a glass-like appearance. It is often molded and formed through vacuum processes to create the surfaces of fiberglass bathtubs, whirlpool bathtubs, shower bases, and shower stalls.

    Activate: The term activate signifies the process of initiating or enabling systems, equipment, or devices via standard operating controls, such as providing electricity or power supply. This may involve turning on valves that supply gas or water to fixtures and appliances or triggering electrical breakers or fuses.

    Actual dimension (lumber): refers to the precise measurement of wood after it has been cut, dried, and processed in a mill.

    Actual knowledge: refers to the knowledge or information that an individual possesses based on their firsthand experience or direct observation, as opposed to information obtained through document review. People who possess actual knowledge are often interviewed during the research phase of a commercial property inspection.

    ADA: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that was passed in the United States in 1990. It was established to safeguard the rights of disabled individuals, including the provision of physical accessibility to commercial facilities and public accommodations. Under the ADA, new constructions must comply with the accessibility standards. Existing buildings also require retrofitting to meet the specified criteria.

    Adaptor: a coupler that joins different materials or types of pipes, for example, ABS to cast-iron pipe. It is usually utilized to create a secure and watertight connection between two pipes that would typically be incompatible due to their varied pipe sizes or materials.

    Addition: refers to an enlargement or expansion of the conditioned space in a building( home).

    Adhesion: pertains to the ability of a coating or sealant to adhere or stick to the surface to which it is applied.

    Adhesive failure: occurs when a coating or sealant loses its grip on the surface it was initially applied to, leading to a partial or complete detachment of the bond.

    Adverse conditions: refer to conditions that may pose a risk of danger to the inspector or other individuals present, and may constrain or impede the walk-through survey segment of an inspection.

    Adversely affect: To constitute, or potentially constitute, a negative or destructive impact.

    Aerator: is a device that introduces air into water as it flows. It is attached to the end of a faucet spout to minimize splashing by regulating the flow of the water.

    AFCI, or arc-fault circuit interrupter, is an apparatus designed to safeguard against the harmful effects of arc faults. It accomplishes this by detecting the distinctive characteristics of an electrical arc and actively shutting down the circuit when an arc fault is detected.

    Aggregate: refers to a variety of materials, including crushed stone, slag, or water-worn gravel. It comes in an assortment of sizes and is commonly used as a surfacing material for constructed roofing systems.

    AHJ (authority having jurisdiction): An organization, office, or individual responsible for enforcing the requirements of a code or standard, or for approving equipment, materials, an installation, or a procedure. The AHJ may be the building owner, health department, building code officer, municipal inspector, building department, or fire marshal.

    Air chamber: A vertical, air-filled pipe that prevents water hammer by absorbing pressure when the water is shut off at a faucet or valve.

    Air chamber: is a vertical pipe filled with air, designed to avoid water hammer caused by the sudden pressure changes that occur when a faucet or valve is turned off. It works by absorbing the excess pressure, thus preventing damage to pipes and other components in the water system.

    Air duct: is a type of ductwork that is usually made of sheet metal, designed to circulate conditioned air to all areas and rooms of a building, whether heated or cooled.

    Air filters: function as adhesive mediums made of metal or distinct fibers that are coated with an adhesive liquid. These filters work by collecting particles of lint and dust, which attach to the adhesive. Under ideal conditions, air filters have the capacity to eliminate up to 90% of dirt, provided they are not blocked. The more commonly used air filters are disposable types.

    Air gap (drainage): The unobstructed vertical distance through the free atmosphere between the outlet of the waste pipe and the flood-level rim of the receptacle into which the waste pipe is discharged.

    Air gap (water distribution): The unobstructed vertical distance through the free atmosphere between the lowest opening from any pipe or faucet that supplies water to a receptacle (sink, tank, fixture, or other devices) and the flood-level rim of that receptacle.

    Air handler: refers to the equipment that facilitates the movement of air through ductwork, providing heating, cooling, and/or ventilation within a space. These components are responsible for blowing the air and circulating it throughout the system to maintain a consistent and comfortable indoor.

    Air infiltration: refers to the volume of air that enters or exits a building, often unintentionally, via gaps, cracks, or openings present in walls, windows, and doors. environment.

    Air intake: An opening in a building’s envelope whose purpose is to allow outside air to be drawn in to replace inside air. This opening serves to maintain a healthy indoor environment by allowing outside air to replace the contaminated air within the building.

    An air: space refers to a one-inch clearance left between the insulation facing and the interior of an exterior wall covering.

    Air-admittance valve: is a mechanical vent that operates via pressure activation and functions as a one-way valve. It is primarily employed as a venting alternative when the conventional method of venting through the building’s roof structure is not viable.

    Air-dried lumber: is a type of timber that has been stacked in yards or sheds for a certain period. Typically, in the United States, this method of drying lumber results in a moisture content of 12 to 15% for completely air-dried lumber, while the average leans towards slightly higher levels. However, in the southern regions, air-dried lumber used in residential construction must have at least 19% moisture content.

    Airway: refers to the gap left between the roof insulation and roof boards, which is intentionally created to allow for the movement of air.

    Aisle: refers to a slender corridor or passage that acts as a path to enable entry and egress.

    Alarm signal: is an indication of an urgent and critical situation, such as a fire emergency. It is a warning signal that informs people of the need for immediate action to safeguard life and property. The sound of an alarm signal typically contains a loud and unique tone that stands out in contrast to the background noise. By recognizing and responding to an alarm signal promptly, individuals can take appropriate measures to protect themselves and others.

    Alarm system: comprises either installed or freestanding warning devices such as carbon monoxide detectors, flue gas detectors, spillage detectors, security equipment, smoke alarms, and ejector pumps, among others. These devices aim to signal and alert people of any dangerous situation, including fires, gas leaks, and intrusions, ensuring timely action to keep people, pets, and property safe.

    Algae: refers to the small living microorganisms that can sometimes develop into colonies in moist areas like certain types of rooftops. They are sometimes mistaken as fungi. Algae can cause discoloration of shingles and other surfaces in certain environments.

    Alligatoring: is a term used to describe a specific type of surface damage that occurs on paint or aged asphalt due to solar radiation and exposure to the sun. The underlying cause of alligatoring is the materials’ inability to expand and contract in response to temperature changes. As a result, the paint or asphalt develops a coarse, checked pattern that looks like an alligator hide. This pattern is produced when a new paint coating is applied over an old one, causing the old coating to become visible through the cracks. Alligatoring often manifests as a series of interconnected cracks, which can compromise the structural integrity of the surface and require significant repairs.

    Allowable: span refers to the distance between two points of support for load-bearing lumber, including joists, rafters, or a girder. This measurement is essential in determining the appropriate size and spacing of structural elements to ensure safe and durable construction. By following the allowable span guidelines, builders can ensure that the load-bearing components can efficiently carry the intended weight without sagging or buckling under stress.

    Allowances: are a sum of money allocated in a construction contract. Typically, these are reserved for items that have not yet been selected or explicitly specified at the time of the agreement’s execution. That said, allowances should be kept to a minimum and reserved for needs like tile selection: these choices have little impact on the project’s early stages, but the flooring may require alternative framing or underlayment material that must be addressed later.

    Alteration: refers to any changes or modifications made to an existing structure that are beyond repair work or additions. This can also include adjustments to mechanical systems within the structure.

    Aluminum: wire is an electrical conductor made of aluminum, used to carry current in electrical circuits. It is primarily used in larger wire sizes, as its lower conductivity limits its use in smaller wire sizes. Typically, aluminum wire smaller than No.12 is not produced due to this limitation. Aluminum is preferred over copper for its lightweight and cost-effective nature, but it is not as efficient in carrying electrical currents and is prone to breaking.

    Amortization: A payment structure where regular (typically monthly) payments are made toward the principal and interest of a loan, resulting in a gradual decrease of the loan balance over time.

    Ampere (amp): A unit of electric current that measures the rate at which electric charge flows through a conductor. The ampere is defined as one coulomb of electrical charge passing through a conductor per second. It is a fundamental unit in the International System of Units (SI) and is widely used in electrical engineering and physics. The ampere is named after the French physicist André-Marie Ampère, who is one of the pioneers in the study of electromagnetism.

    Ampacity: is the measurement of how much electrical current a wire can safely carry without overheating or causing damage. Every wire has a different ampacity rating, which is determined by factors such as its size, material, insulation, and temperature rating. For instance, a 12-gauge copper wire has an ampacity rating of up to 20 amps, meaning it can safely carry electrical currents up to that amount without the risk of overheating or damage.

    Amperage: also known as current, refers to the rate at which electricity flows through a conductor or wire, and is measured in units of amperes. Essentially, amperage represents the number of electrons passing through a point in the wire within a certain amount of time. High amperage can cause overheating and potentially lead to electrical fires, which is why it’s important to use wires or conductors with the proper amperage rating for a given electrical circuit.

    Anchor bolts: are critical components in both residential and commercial construction projects. In residential construction, anchor bolts are used to secure wooden sill plates to concrete or masonry floors or walls. Commercial construction, on the other hand, utilizes anchor bolts to fasten various critical members, including columns and girders, to concrete or masonry surfaces. This type of bolt is also commonly used to anchor sills to a masonry foundation, ensuring that the entire structure is securely anchored to the ground.

    Angle iron: also referred to as a shelf angle, is a type of iron that forms a right angle and is commonly used to span openings and provide support for masonry at such openings. In brick veneer structures, they play a crucial role in securing the veneer to the foundation, offering the necessary support and stability to the entire structure.

    Angle stop: is a type of shutoff valve commonly used for water supply connections in residential plumbing systems. It features an inlet that connects to the water supply pipe in the wall and an outlet that angles upward at a 90-degree angle towards the fixture, such as a faucet or toilet. This valve allows for easy and convenient water flow control, making it a popular choice for homeowners and plumbers alike.

    Annealing: is a crucial process in the manufacturing of float glass that involves controlled cooling in a lehr, which helps to prevent residual stresses from forming in the glass. During the re-annealing process, objectionable stresses in the glass are removed by heating it to a suitable temperature, followed by a carefully controlled cooling process to restore its strength and durability.

    Annual fuel-utilization efficiency (AFUE): is a metric that indicates the proportion of fuel that a boiler or furnace converts into space heat compared to the total amount of fuel it consumes. This measurement is typically expressed as a percentage. The U.S. Department of Energy has established specific procedures to test AFUE to ensure accurate and consistent results. By understanding AFUE, homeowners can choose heating systems that are more energy-efficient and cost-effective in the long run.

    Annual Percentage Rate (APR): refers to the cost of credit over the term of a loan, including all associated interest, service charges, fees, points, mortgage insurance, and any other expenses. The APR offers a comprehensive measure of the total borrowing cost that a borrower can expect over the life of a loan. This figure is expressed as a percentage rate, and it helps to give prospective borrowers a clear understanding of what the true cost of credit will be, allowing them to compare loan terms and interest rates from different lenders effectively.

    Anti-scald: refers to a specialized valve that is designed to limit water flow and temperature fluctuations to help prevent burn injuries. In certain regions, anti-scald valves are mandatory according to local plumbing codes. It is highly recommended that homeowners or buyers consult with a local professional to ensure adherence to the specific code requirements. Furthermore, thermostatic valves are another related component that can assist in managing water temperature and flow within a home’s plumbing system.

    Anti-Siphon Devices: Protecting Your Water Supply from Backflow Contamination

    Anti-walk blocks: are specially designed elastomeric blocks that prevent glass displacement within the glazing channel caused by various factors such as thermal, seismic or wind-load effects, building movement, or other forces. These blocks act as stabilizers to limit movement and ensure the glass remains securely in place.

    Antiquated: Describes something that is outdated, old-fashioned, or no longer suitable or relevant for modern use or practice.

    APA Plywood: refers to plywood that has undergone a rating process by the American Plywood Association (APA). The association assigns different grades based on the quality of the plywood, which serves as a standard indicator for the buyers. For instance, No. 1 APA-rated exterior plywood indicates that there are no voids between its laminate layers, which assures high quality and durability.

    Aperture: refers to the diameter of the opening in pipes, valves, or other structures that permit the passage of fluids, gases, or other materials. It plays a critical role in regulating the flow of these materials and can vary significantly in size and shape, depending on the intended purpose and application. The aperture is measured in millimeters or inches and is an important factor to consider in the design and operation of piping systems. A properly sized aperture ensures that materials can flow efficiently and prevents blockages or other issues that could compromise the system’s functionality.

    Appliance: is a household device powered through electricity or gas used for specific purposes such as cooking, cleaning, or preservation. It is not considered a part of central heating, central cooling, or plumbing systems. On the other hand, equipment that performs one or more functions in commercial settings, except for industrial applications, is also considered an appliance.

    Appraisal: A professional assessment and valuation of a property carried out by an expert.

    Approach:The section that links the road to the driveway, or the space between the sidewalk and the street that leads to the driveway is commonly known as the approach.

    Approved: Refers to a property condition or system that has been deemed satisfactory by the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ). Additionally, it can also refer to acceptance by an internationally recognized organization like InterNACHI.

    Apron: serves as a decorative and functional board mounted below a window sill. It adds an aesthetically pleasing touch and helps to prevent water from entering the wall cavity around the window.

    Arbitration service: definition rewrite: Arbitration is a dispute resolution service utilized to address issues and complaints related to a product or service. One such example is InterNACHI’s Arbitration Service, which helps consumers and businesses settle disputes related to home inspections in a fair and unbiased manner.

    Arc-fault circuit interrupter (AFCI): is a specialized device designed to protect against arc faults, which occur when electricity jumps a gap between two or more conductive materials. AFCIs recognize the unique characteristics of arc faults and act to de-energize the circuit, reducing the risk of electrical fires and other hazards associated with arcing. In simple terms, an AFCI is an important safety feature that can help protect your home and everyone in it from the dangers of electrical arcs.

    Architect: is a skilled professional who designs and creates plans for buildings while also frequently overseeing the construction process. They possess the unique combination of artistic talent and technical knowledge, allowing them to create safe, functional and aesthetically pleasing structures. An architect is responsible for transforming clients’ needs and desires into a beautiful, structurally sound, and practical design. Their role does not end with the blueprint; they ensure that the structure gets built to their specifications and code requirements.

    Architect’s rule: also known as a scale or three-sided ruler, features distinct scales of measurement on each side. It’s a tool that is frequently used by architects, designers, and engineers to make precise measurements and scale drawings of a building or construction project. With different scales on each side, the architect’s rule allows for the quick conversion of measurements to different scales without the need for additional calculations.

    Architectural service: refers to any professional practice that combines the art and science of designing buildings or structures. This includes not only the physical appearance of the structure but also the use and optimization of the available space both inside and outside the building. Additionally, it encompasses the entire spectrum of the design process, starting from initial design development to the preparation of construction contract documents and finally, the administration of the construction contract.

    Architectural shingles: also known as laminated or three-dimensional shingles, are roofing shingles that feature added dimensionality due to extra layers or tabs. This gives them a more textured, shake-like appearance, providing increased curb appeal and aesthetic appeal for a home. These shingles are highly durable and can withstand harsh weather conditions, making them an excellent choice for homeowners looking to invest in a long-lasting roofing system.

    Area Wells: refer to the corrugated metal or concrete retaining walls that are utilized around a basement window to prevent soil from pressing against the window and allowing water to seep into the basement.

    Areaway: is an open area located below the surface beside a building, designed to let in air and light or provide a pathway to a basement.

    Asbestos: is a naturally occurring mineral fiber and a versatile form of magnesium silicate that was commonly used in various construction products and older homes due to its fire-resistant and stable nature. However, asbestos also poses a significant health risk because of its extremely fine fibers, which can easily be inhaled. Long-term exposure has been linked to severe lung impairments such as asbestosis and cancers of the lung and lung-cavity lining. Homeowners should be aware of the presence of friable asbestos, which can crumble or break easily, and should always seek expert advice before disturbing any suspected asbestos-containing materials.

    Asphalt: is a thick, black hydrocarbon that is produced from petroleum residue through a distillation process. It is a highly viscous material that has multiple practical uses, including as a reliable waterproofing agent for roofs and highways to protect against moisture damage.

    Asphalt plastic cement: refers to a type of cement that utilizes asphalt as its primary component to bond roofing materials together, providing a secure and durable seal for roofs.

    Assessment: refers to the process of levying or placing a value on a property, typically for tax purposes. It involves the collection of information and data related to a property’s characteristics, such as size, location, age, and condition, and assigning a value or tax rate to it based on this information. Property assessments are used to determine the property tax owed by the owner, and they may affect the property’s sale price, financing, and insurance rates.

    Associate member: is an individual who is at the beginning or probationary level of association membership in the inspection industry. This type of membership is typically referred to as “associate” or “candidate”membership.

    Astragal: represents a decorative or protective molding attached to one of a pair of swinging doors that seals the gap between them and prevents dust, air, or drafts from passing through by blocking the other door from striking and creating gaps.

    Attic access: refers to an opening located in a home’s drywalled ceiling that provides a point of entry to the attic.

    Attic ventilators: are openings designed to ventilate an attic space in a residential property. These ventilators can be located in the soffit area and serve as inlet ventilators or at the gable end or along the ridge to serve as outlet ventilators. Some attic ventilators may consist of power-driven fans used as an exhaust system to improve the air circulation. These ventilators are often screened to keep debris and pests out while allowing air to flow in and out of the attic space.

    Auger: is a tool primarily utilized by carpenters, designed to drill precise holes through various types of wood.

    Authority: Having Jurisdiction” or AHJ refers to the person, organization, or government office accountable for enforcing regulatory codes, standards, equipment, materials, installations, and procedures, as well as approving their compliance. The AHJ can be the health department, fire marshal, municipal inspector, building department, building owner, or building code officer, among others. Understanding the AHJ’s scope of responsibilities is essential to ensure the proper compliance and safety of any installation or project.

    Automatic: operates without the need for human intervention, accomplishing its purpose through programmed functionality or self-regulating abilities.

    Automatic fire-extinguishing system: refers to a series of equipment and devices that have the capability to automatically detect a fire breakout within a property and respond accordingly. Typically, these systems utilize either water or fire-retardant materials, which are quickly discharged upon detection to suppress and ideally extinguish the fire.

    Automatic sprinkler system: is a fire-protection mechanism that automatically turns on in case of a fire. It consists of a network of pipes, sprinkler heads, and a control valve that releases pressurized water when the temperature in the vicinity exceeds a certain threshold, effectively extinguishing the flames before they spread out of control.

    Awning window: is a type of window that features hinges at the top, allowing it to open outwards and upwards. This design allows for optimal ventilation while providing the added benefit of keeping rainwater out. Typically, an awning window can be operated with ease using a simple turn of a crank handle, making it easy to adjust the amount of airflow coming into a room. Due to its unique design and functionality, awning windows are often a popular choice for kitchens, bathrooms, and other areas where airflow and lighting are essential.








  • Back Nailing: The practice of nailing roofing felts to the deck under the overlap is known as spot-nailing or back nailing. Spot nailing is a technique used in roofing installation to ensure that the roofing felts do not slip or move out of position. This technique involves attaching the felts to the deck using nails in addition to hot-mopping, which is the process of applying hot bitumen or asphalt to secure the felts. The nails are only spaced a few inches apart, and they are only driven in the portions of the felts that are going to be overlapped with subsequent layers. This technique is commonly used in low-slope roofs and in areas that are prone to strong winds to provide added resistance to slip and to enhance the overall strength and durability of the roofing system.

    Backer rod- is a compressible foam material made of polyethylene or polyurethane that is frequently used in glazing. It is employed to manage the depth of sealant joints, create a smooth surface for sealant tooling, prevent three-sided adhesion by acting as a bond breaker, and produce an hourglass shape of the final bead, achieving a professional-looking finish.

    BackFill- When it comes to construction, “backfill” can mean different things depending on the trade. In general, it refers to the act of replacing soil that has been excavated from a particular area, such as a trench around a basement foundation. This helps to stabilize the foundation and prevent shifting or settling. Additionally, backfill can also refer to the slope of the ground surrounding a house. In carpentry, “backfill” refers to the process of securely fastening together two pieces of board by gluing blocks of wood in the interior angle.

    Backflow- is a term used in plumbing to describe the undesirable or unintended movement of water, or other liquids, in a direction opposite to its intended path. This occurs when there is a disruption in the normal flow of water, leading to a reversal of flow and a backflow of potentially contaminated water into the clean water supply. Backflow can occur due to a variety of reasons, including changes in water pressure, faulty valves, and improper plumbing system design.

    Backflow preventer- is a device or mechanism used in plumbing systems to ensure that contaminated water does not flow back into the clean water supply. It is designed to prevent backflow, which can occur when there is a drop in water pressure or a change in the direction of flow due to various reasons. A backflow preventer safeguards the potable water supply by allowing water to only flow in one direction and blocking any backflow that may contaminate the water source.

    Backhnd- In carpentry and woodworking, a backhand is a decorative feature that is often used to add visual interest to the outer edge of a plain rectangular casing. It consists of a simple molding that is applied along the edge of the casing, creating a subtle shadow line that accentuates the overall design. The backhand molding is usually made of wood and can be customized to suit different styles and preferences.

    Backhoe- is a powerful, self-powered excavation machine that is primarily used to dig foundations, footings, and trenches for utility lines. It features a hydraulic arm with a boom-mounted bucket that is designed to pull soil and other excavated materials towards the machine. Backhoes are commonly used on construction sites and in excavation projects, and are capable of digging deep holes, trenches, and pits quickly and efficiently. They can also be used to install drainage systems, sewer lines, and other underground utilities with precision and accuracy.

    Backout- In the construction industry, the term “backout” refers to the work that a framing contractor completes after the mechanical subcontractors, such as those responsible for heating, plumbing, and electrical work, have finished their rough stage of work. This work is typically carried out before the insulation is installed, and the primary objective is to prepare the home for a municipal frame inspection. During the backout phase, the framing contractor will repair any damage caused by other subcontractors and complete any remaining framing work that is necessary to pass the Rough Framing Inspection. The goal is to ensure that the home is structurally sound and in compliance with building codes and regulations.

    Backsplash- In home design, a backsplash refers to the protective layer of tile, stone, or other material that is installed on the wall behind a wall-mounted sink or lavatory. Its primary function is to safeguard the wall from stains, moisture, and damage caused by water and other substances that may splash onto it during use. A backsplash is not only practical but also decorative, adding aesthetic appeal and style to the overall design of the space.

    Balancing damper- is a type of baffle or plate that is used to regulate the volume of airflow into a confined or limited area. They are often found in HVAC systems and are employed to maintain a suitable balance of air pressure and airflow in different sections of a building. Balancing dampers work by allowing the air to pass through them at a specific rate, which is controlled by the damper’s position. They may be manually operated or have automatic controls, and are an essential element of a well-designed and efficient HVAC system.

     Balcony- is an outdoor platform that extends from a building’s upper level and is supported only by the structure. It typically juts out from the building and is not supported by additional independent supports. Balconies are often constructed with railings or walls to ensure the safety of those who use them, which can offer stunning views of the surrounding areas. They can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, concrete, and metal, and can be found in both residential and commercial buildings.

    Balloon framing- is a type of construction commonly used in carpentry that is known for its lightness and economic efficiency. In this type of framing, the studding and corner plates are assembled in continuous lengths from the first-floor line or sill all the way up to the roof plate. This means that the entire framework of the building is assembled as one continuous vertical structure with no horizontal breaks at the floor levels. This method allows for fast and efficient construction with fewer materials, making it a popular choice for residential and small-scale commercial projects.

    Balusters- refer to the vertical members that are an essential component of any standard railing system. They are installed between the top rail and the bottom rail or stair treads, and their primary function is to provide safety and support for those using the stairs or walking on elevated surfaces. Balusters come in various materials, including wood, metal, and glass, and can be customized to match the overall aesthetic and style of the building. They add a decorative flair to the railing system and provide an extra layer of security for people navigating through the space.

    Balustrade- a type of railing typically used to provide support and protection on the edges of stairs, balconies, and porches. It consists of a series of vertical posts called balusters, which are connected by a top rail and sometimes a bottom rail as well. The balusters can be made from a variety of materials such as wood, metal, or stone, and can be designed in different shapes and styles to match the overall look of the structure. The primary purpose of a balustrade is to improve safety by preventing people from accidentally falling over the edge and providing support when ascending or descending the stairs.


  • Caisson: A caisson is a type of foundation system used to provide structural support for various types of structures such as foundation walls, porches, patios, and monoposts. It is typically made of reinforced concrete and consists of a 10- or 12-inch-diameter hole drilled into the earth, which is then embedded into bedrock to a depth of 3 to 4 feet.

    Caissons are designed to transfer the weight of the structure to the bedrock, which provides a stable and secure foundation. They are particularly useful in situations where the soil is unstable, or the structure needs to be elevated above ground level. The drilling process used to install the caisson ensures that the ground is properly compacted and stabilized, which helps to prevent settlement and subsidence. Additionally, the reinforcement used in the concrete provides additional strength and stability to the structure.

    The use of caissons in construction is common in areas with high winds, seismic activity, or expansive soils. Caissons are capable of withstanding the lateral and vertical loads that are placed upon them and can provide an effective foundation solution for a wide range of structures. They are also often used in combination with other foundation systems, such as piers, to provide additional support and stability. Overall, caissons are an essential component of many construction projects and play a critical role in ensuring the safety and durability of buildings and other structures.

    Calcium chloride- is a chemical compound that is applied to expedite the setting and solidifying of concrete in moist environments.

    Calibrate- refers to the act of verifying, modifying, or establishing the accuracy of a quantitative measuring instrument by comparing it with a recognized standard, such as in the case of a thermometer.

    Calibration- pertains to either the act or process of calibrating a measuring instrument to ensure its accuracy, or the condition of a measuring instrument that has been calibrated to meet a recognized standard.

    Camber- alludes to a gently curved or arched surface, seen in various applications such as roads, ship decks, airfoils or snow skis.

    Camber arch- refers to an arched structure where the inner curve, although appearing straight, slightly dips inwards forming a concave shape upwards.

    Canopy- is a type of roof that extends outward and covers an area or structure, providing shelter from the elements.

    Cant Strip- is a specially designed support that is angled to provide reinforcement at the intersection of a horizontal surface and a vertical surface. Typically used in roofing, it helps prevent damage to the roofing membrane, ensuring a tight seal at the point where the roof deck meets the wall. When paired with a base flashing, it also helps to prevent the roofing material from breaking or tearing.

    Cantilever- is a structural element that extends outwards and is secured at a single point, rather than being supported along its entire length. It may take the form of a beam or any other type of structure, but in all cases, it projects beyond its main support and is balanced on it. This design creates an overhang that can be useful for providing support or creating extra space in a structure.

    Cantilevered void- is a type of foundation void material that is utilized in ground conditions where the soil expansive nature exceeds the normal levels. It is designed to create an area between the structure’s foundation and the underlying soil, which can accommodate any movement caused by soil settling or expansion without impacting the building’s structural integrity. This void is installed to prevent potential damages and cracks in the foundation, thereby ensuring the long-term stability of the structure.

    Cap- is the uppermost part of a column, pilaster, door cornice, molding, or other similar architectural features. It serves as a crowning element, providing a finishing touch to these structures.

    Cap flashing- refers to the section of flashing which is attached to the vertical surface of a structure and serves to prevent the ingress of water behind the base flashing. It acts as an additional barrier against water.

    Cap sheet- is the uppermost layer in a built-up roofing system. This layer is typically made of a durable material, such as asphalt or modified bitumen, and serves to protect the lower layers of the roof from damage caused by weather, UV radiation, and other environmental factors. The cap sheet is designed to be weather-resistant and long-lasting, providing an effective barrier against moisture and ensuring the overall integrity and durability of the roofing system.

    Cap sheets- are an important component used in roofing applications. They consist of one to four layers of felt material that are fused together with bitumen. The cap sheets are then installed over an existing roof surface as a means of addressing defects and preventing further damage. Once in place, they provide a water-resistant barrier that protects the underlying roofing materials from moisture, UV radiation, and other environmental elements. Cap sheets play a significant role in extending the life of a roof system and ensuring the ongoing protection of the structure below.

    Cape chisel- is a specialized tool that is primarily used for removing old mortar from joints in brickwork. This chisel has a thin, flat blade with a slight curve at the end, which allows it to reach into tight spaces without damaging the surrounding masonry. With its sharp edge, a cape chisel enables the user to chip away at hardened mortar, effectively cleaning it out and preparing the joint for re-pointing or repair.

    Capital- refers to the initial amount of money borrowed in a loan, also known as the principal.

    Capital and interest- refer to the most common type of home loan, which involves a repayment loan structure. Under this loan structure, the borrower must make monthly payments that cover the principal amount borrowed, also known as the capital, as well as the interest charged on the capital.

    Capped Rate-  A capped rate mortgage is a type of loan wherein the interest rate is capped or limited from exceeding a predetermined amount for a specific duration. The interest rate may fluctuate below the capped level during this period, but it will not exceed it.

  • Dado: is a woodworking term that refers to a rectangular groove across the width of a board or plank. This groove is created by using a dado blade or router bit and is often used in the construction of furniture, cabinetry, and other woodworking projects. The groove is typically used to create a joint where two pieces of wood will be joined together, allowing for a stronger and more secure connection.

    Damp-proofing- is a method of treating concrete, masonry, and stone surfaces to prevent rainwater from being absorbed by the coated surface. This treatment is designed to allow the moisture vapor to escape from the structure while still preventing water from penetrating the surface. It should be noted that the term damp-proofing is typically used for surfaces above ground level, while waterproofing is used for surfaces below ground level.

    Damper- is an air valve that controls the airflow in the flue of a fireplace or furnace.

    Darby- also known as a bullfloat, is a flat equipment that is used to level and smooth out concrete surfaces right after the screeding process.

    Dead load- refers to the permanent weight of a roof and any fixed structures that are fixed above or below it as part of its design and functionality.

    Decay- is the process of decomposition or breakdown of a material, such as wood or other substance, that occurs through the activity of mold.

    Deck- is a raised platform that is usually situated outside a residential building. The term “deck” can also refer to the upper levels of a multi-level parking garage that are situated above the ground.

    Deck paint- is a type of enamel paint that is specially designed to provide excellent mechanical durability and wear-resistance on surfaces like porch floors.

    Decorative- refers to ornamental items or features that are not essential for the functionality of essential systems or components of a building or home.

  • E&O (errors and omissions): insurance: A professional liability insurance covers mistakes or oversights made by professionals in the course of their work, including errors or omissions that result in financial loss or harm to a client. This can include situations where the professional fails to provide adequate advice or guidance, makes a mistake in a contract or agreement, or provides inaccurate information that leads to financial loss.

    Earnest money- refers to a payment made by a prospective buyer to a seller in a display of good faith, demonstrating their genuine interest in purchasing the property.

    Earthquake strap- is a metal band or strap designed to secure gas-fired hot water heaters to the framing or foundation of a house. Its primary purpose is to minimize the likelihood of the water heater toppling over during an earthquake, which could result in a gas leak and other hazards.

    Easement- is a legal agreement that permits one party to use a specific portion of another party’s property for a particular purpose. For instance, a sewer easement would enable an individual to lay their sewer line through their neighbor’s property.

    Easily visible- pertains to systems, items, and components that can be readily seen and noticed without the need for intrusive inspection techniques, disassembly, probing, or the use of special equipment.

    Eave- is the section of a roof that protrudes beyond the sidewall or the edge of a building’s exterior wall.

    Eaves flashing- is a layer of roofing material that is added to the eaves of a roof to prevent water from backing up and causing damage.

    Edge clearance- is the distance between the edge of a glass product, such as a window, and the bottom of the glazing channel or pocket in which it is situated. It is generally measured as the nominal spacing between the two.

    Edge grain (vertical) grain lumber is wood that has been cut parallel to the pith (center) of the log and at a right angle to the growth rings. This makes the growth rings form an angle of 45 degrees or more with the surface of the piece.

    Edge metal- refers to metal that is used around the edges or perimeter of a roof, typically made by using a brake or an extrusion process.

    Edging Strips: The Secure Board Solution for Asphalt Re-Roofing of Eaves and Rakes by Replacing Wood Shingles.

    EER (energy-efficiency ratio): is a measure of a cooling system’s instantaneous energy efficiency. It is calculated by dividing the equipment’s steady-state rate of heat-energy removal, expressed in BTU/h, by the steady-state rate of energy input to the system in watts. The resulting ratio is expressed in BTU/h per watt, which quantifies a system’s cooling capacity relative to its power consumption. EER testing is based on the industry standards set forth by AHRI (Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute) 210/240 guidelines (AHRI 2003).

    Efflorescence: is a phenomenon where white powder accumulates on the surface of masonry or concrete walls due to water evaporation.

    Egress: is the act of exiting or a way to exit a building or space.

    EIFS (Exterior Insulating and Finish System): can be defined as an exterior wall cladding system made primarily of polystyrene foamboard, featuring a textured acrylic finish that resembles stucco or plaster.

    Elastomer: refers to a type of material that has rubber-like elasticity. This substance can be either natural, such as natural rubber obtained from rubber trees, or synthetic, like synthetic rubber, which is chemically produced. Elastomers can be found in various forms, and they are commonly used in products such as tires, hoses, seals, gaskets, and many other applications due to their ability to deform and regain their shape when subjected to stretching or compression.

    Elastomeric: is an adjective that refers to materials that contain rubber or plastic and have flexible properties, often used for creating membranes or coatings that can stretch and rebound without tearing or losing their shape.

    Elbow: In plumbing, an elbow refers to a fitting that is angled to change the direction of a water line’s flow. This type of fitting is commonly used to connect pipes or tubing that need to bend at an angle without breaking continuity in the water flow. The angle may vary depending on the particular application and type of elbow used. It is an essential component in a plumbing system to provide precision and flexibility in routing water lines.
    Electric lateral: is the trench or designated section in a home’s yard where the electrical service line, originating from a transformer or pedestal, is installed to provide service to the residence. It can also refer to the process of installing the electrical service line to a home. The proper installation of an electric lateral is crucial to ensure the safe and reliable delivery of electricity to the home.
    Electric resistance coils: refer to metal wires that generate heat by converting electrical energy into thermal energy when electricity passes through them. They are commonly found in electric water heaters and baseboard heaters and are designed to provide heat quickly and efficiently.
    Electrical entrance package: refers to the entry point of electrical power in a building, including the connection point of the overhead electrical lines to the house, the meter that monitors the electricity usage, and the panel or circuit breaker box where overload devices such as circuit breakers or fuses are located, and from where the power can be controlled or shut off when necessary. It forms an essential component of the building’s electrical system, providing a safe and reliable power supply to meet the occupants’ needs.
    Electrical rough: refers to the stage of electrical work that takes place after the plumbing and heating contractors have completed their respective phases of work. During this phase, the electrical contractor installs all wiring, switches, outlets/receptacles, and fixture boxes before insulation is added. By completing the electrical rough before insulation, this ensures that the electrical components are properly secured, and they meet all local building and safety codes.
    Electrical trim: refers to the work done by an electrical contractor towards the end of a new home construction project. This typically includes installing and connecting all essential electrical components, such as light fixtures, switches, plugs, smoke detectors, and bathroom fans. The electrical contractor is also responsible for wiring the furnace and setting up the electrical house panel. The objective of electrical trim is to get the home ready for municipal electrical final inspection, ensuring that all electrical systems are thoroughly checked, safe, and functional.
    Electrolytic: coupling is a fitting that is used to connect copper and galvanized pipes while preventing galvanic action. Electrolysis can occur when connecting pipes made of different materials, which can damage the fitting and result in leaks. The coupling is designed with a gasket to prevent galvanic action and ensure a secure connection between the pipes.
    Elevation: refers to one side of a building’s exterior, typically seen from a perpendicular angle, that displays the structure’s height, proportions, and other design details.
    Elevation sheet: refers to an essential page in a set of blueprints that presents a home or room’s visual representation as if a vertical plane has been passed through the structure.

    ell (L): See elbow.

    Emergency escape and rescue openings: Often referred to as egress windows, these provide a quick escape route in case of an emergency. These windows are required by code and typically have minimum dimensions determined by their location in the home. They are a necessary safety feature and required in every bedroom and basement of a home. Egress windows serve as a crucial exit and entry point in the event of an emergency, and are also referred to as emergency egress and rescue openings/windows.

    Emergency shutoff valve: is a type of valve specifically engineered to quickly shut off the flow of gases or liquids to avert disasters caused by a sudden or unexpected incident, such as a pipe rupture, gas leak, or other potentially hazardous situations.

    Emissivity: is a physical property used to measure the amount of long-wave infrared radiation that a surface can emit. This property is a crucial factor in several applications, including infrared thermography and energy-saving windows. Understanding emissivity is key to these processes as it relates to how heat transfer occurs and can ultimately impact the efficiency and accuracy of measurement techniques.

    EMT (electrical metallic tubing): is a type of electrical pipe that’s commonly used in both exposed and concealed areas in single-family and low-rise residential and commercial buildings. Also known as thin-wall conduit, EMT is the most widely used raceway for electrical wiring installations. Being lightweight and easy to install, it provides excellent protection for electrical wires, making it an ideal choice for many construction and renovation projects.

    Emulsion: is a roofing coating made of asphalt and fillers that are suspended in water.

    End dam: is an effective strategy to prevent water from flowing horizontally within curtain wall or window wall systems. It’s a type of internal flashing or dam designed to contain water and protect the integrity of the building, reducing the risk of water damage.

    End lap: refers to the degree or position of overlap at the conclusion of installing a roofing felt roll during the application process.

    Energy Analysis: How to Accurately Estimate Annual Building Energy Consumption.

    Energy-efficiency ratio: See EER.

    Energy-recovery ventilation (ERV) system: is designed to recover energy from exhaust air, with the help of air-to-air heat exchangers. The objective of this system is to preheat or precool outdoor air before supplying it to a living area. This way, it minimizes energy usage and enhances indoor air quality, making it an environmentally-friendly and cost-effective solution for homes and buildings.

    Engineering services: refer to any specialized professional work that requires significant education and experience in engineering, along with a working knowledge of mathematical and physical sciences. These services may comprise consultations, investigations, evaluations, planning, design, and/of construction supervision, all of which aim to ensure compliance with relevant specifications and designs. In essence, engineering services involve the management of a vast range of structures, equipment, machines, and processes through effective application of specialized technical knowledge to sophisticated engineering work for optimal outcomes.

    Enter: To access a location.

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): is a U.S. governmental agency responsible for creating and enforcing acceptable standards for various environmental aspects, including radon, mold, lead-based paint, and friable insulation. The EPA sets guidelines for safe exposure to these materials while providing critical oversight of related industries and practices. The EPA also maintains various other standards and duties charged with protecting both the environment and the public’s health.

    EPDM: which stands for ethylene propylene diene monomer, is a type of single-ply membrane made of synthetic rubber. EPDM is typically available in 45 or 60 mils and can be applied through a ballasted, fully adhered, or mechanically attached method.

    Equity: refers to the amount of value a property holds after the outstanding mortgage loan amount has been deducted. It represents the net worth an owner has on the property and is calculated by subtracting the mortgage amount from the property’s current market value. As the loan is gradually paid off over time, equity in the property typically increases, leading to more financial security and opportunities for the owner.

    Escrow: can be defined as a neutral third-party service that handles financial transactions and the exchange of legal documents between buyers and sellers. This service ensures that both parties meet their obligations before completing the transaction. In an escrow agreement, the funds and documents are held by a trusted agent, often referred to as the escrow holder, until all the terms and conditions of the contract are fulfilled. Escrow provides a high level of security and reassurance to all involved in a transaction, and safeguards the money involved until the transaction is complete.

    Escutcheon: is a decorative flange or trim piece designed to conceal the faucet stem and the hole in a fixture or wall beneath a faucet handle. It serves both an aesthetic and functional purpose and is often used in plumbing and home improvement projects to create a clean, finished look.

    Estimate: The projected expenses for materials, labor, and related expenditures for a proposed remodeling, repair, or construction project.

    Estimating: The Art of Calculating Project Costs, Whether Precisely or Expediently.

    Evaluate: with respect to a property inspection: When conducting a property inspection, “evaluate” refers to the process of thoroughly assessing all structures, systems, and components of a property to determine its overall condition. This includes a comprehensive analysis of the property’s features such as the foundation, roofing, plumbing, electrical systems, heating and cooling systems, and appliances, among others. During this process, the inspector carefully inspects for any defects, damages, or signs of wear and tear and evaluates the potential consequences of these issues. In other words, to evaluate a property is to conduct an in-depth investigation of its current state, in order to provide a detailed, informative report.

    Evidence: refers to tangible objects or perceptible items that are readily observable and would likely persuade an average person to believe or disbelieve a fact. These may include physical or visual materials that are obvious and striking, and provokes strong conviction regarding the existence or non-existence of a fact.

    Examine: means to analyze or assess something by carefully observing it. It involves a critical evaluation of an object, situation, or idea to understand its nature, condition, or quality. The purpose of examining something is to gain insights, identify issues, and make informed decisions. It is similar to inspecting, which also involves closely analyzing something. However, examining is a broader term that includes a deeper and more comprehensive analysis, while inspecting is typically associated with identifying potential problems or shortcomings.

    Excavate: refers to the process of digging out the earth or soil in a certain area, such as a basement or foundation, to create the space required for construction. This process often involves heavy machinery and equipment and is done to prepare the site for building footings and foundations. Excavation is a critical part of the construction process, as it creates the necessary space for structural support and ensures that the building will be properly supported and stable.

    Exhaust fan: An electric fan that draws out hot, stale, or humid air from inside a home and expels it outside, helping to maintain healthier and more comfortable indoor air quality.

    Existing: refers to buildings, facilities, or conditions that have already been constructed or are currently present.
    Exit discharge: refers to the specific segment of a means of egress that extends from its endpoint to a public way.

    Expansion coefficient: refers to the degree to which a specific material expands or contracts in a given dimension when there is a change in temperature. It is a measure of the material’s responsiveness to temperature changes and is typically expressed as a fractional change in length or volume per unit temperature change. In simple terms, the expansion coefficient helps to predict how much a material will shrink or expand when exposed to different temperatures. This information is important in a range of industries, from construction to electronics, where materials need to be precisely engineered to withstand a variety of environmental conditions.

    Expansion joint: is a vital component used in building and construction to enable structures to undergo thermal expansion or contraction without suffering damage. This device allows buildings or concrete structures to expand and contract safely according to weather changes. In residential construction, bituminous fiber strips are typically used to separate blocks, units or slabs of concrete to prevent cracks from forming due to temperature changes. These joints are essential to prevent any potential breakage or damage within the structure, ensuring its structural integrity and longevity.

    Expansive soils: are a type of earth that expands and contracts based on the moisture content within them.

    Exposed: refers to a situation where an object or area can be accidentally touched by a person because it lacks suitable insulation, guarding or isolation. Such an object or area may unwittingly pose a risk to people and may need better guarding or insulation to be considered safe.

    Exposed Aggregate (Finish): A finishing method for concrete surfaces that involves washing away the top layer of the cement/sand mixture to reveal the underlying aggregate, typically gravel. This finish is commonly used for exterior surfaces such as patios and driveways.

    Exposed-Nail Method: A Technique for Roll Roofing Application Involving Exposed Nails Across Cemented, Overlapping Roofing that Exposes Them to Weather.

    Exposure: Understanding the Area of Roofing That is Left Exposed to the Elements After Installation.

    Exposure I-grade plywood: is a classification of plywood that has been approved for outdoor or exterior use by the American Plywood Association.

    Exterior property: refers to the outdoor areas of a property that are not enclosed within the building’s physical structure. This includes open spaces like lawns, gardens, driveways, walkways, patios, and other outdoor features on the premises.

    Exterior stop: refers to the molding or bead located on the outer side of a window that holds the window lite or panel securely in place.

    Exterior wall: refers to any wall of a structure that is exposed to the outside environment, and it can be either above or below the ground level.

    Exterior-Glazed: Defined: An Overview of Glazing Infills Installed from the Building’s Outer Side.

    Extermination: The process of controlling and eliminating insects, vermin, and other pests to ensure a pest-free environment.

    Extras: refer to any additional work requested of a contractor that falls outside of the original plan and contract. These requests are billed separately and, although they don’t change the original contract amount, they increase the overall cost of building the home. In other words, extras add up to the final price tag of the project, and it’s important for buyers to understand their impact on the overall budget.

    Extrusion: is a process that involves pushing a malleable metal or plastic, usually aluminum, through a die at a certain temperature to create a finished product with a desired shape.

    Eyebrow: is a design element consisting of a flat concrete projection that juts out from the wall of a building. Typically situated above a window, an eyebrow serves both as a functional feature that shields from sun or rain and an aesthetic element that adds visual interest to the building’s facade.



  • Facade: is a term commonly used in architecture to refer to the front-facing exterior of a building, which is where the main entrance is typically located. The facade of a building is often the most visually prominent feature and can significantly influence the building’s overall aesthetic and style. It can be simple or ornate, reflecting the cultural and historical context in which the building was constructed.

    Face brick, also known as facade brick, is a type of brick that is specifically designed to be used for the exterior facing of buildings. Unlike regular bricks, which are often used for structural purposes and covered by stucco, plaster, or other finishes, face bricks are intended to be left exposed and provide a decorative or visual appeal to the building. Face bricks come in a variety of colors, textures, and sizes to accommodate different architectural styles and design preferences. They are often used to create patterns, accents, or contrasts in combination with other building materials such as stone, wood, or metal. Additionally, face brick is durable, low maintenance, and fire-resistant, making it a popular choice for both residential and commercial construction.

    Face glazing: is a technique used to secure glass panes in a window frame. It involves applying a triangular-shaped layer of compound using a putty knife after the glazing infill has been bedded, set and clipped in place on a rabbeted sash.

    Faced concrete: refers to the front and vertical sides of a porch, step(s), or patio that are finished with a broom texture.

    Facing brick: refers to the type of brick that is specifically chosen for its appearance and is visible on the exterior facade of the wall, as it has a polished, finished texture.

    Factory Mutual (FM): is an insurance agency that has set high standards for construction integrity concerning fire and environmental risks. Its guidelines are widely adopted in the industry and are recognized as industry benchmarks.

    Fall: referred to as flow as well, is the optimal angle or inclination of a pipe that enables efficient drainage.

    Fascia refers: to the horizontal band positioned vertically along the edge of a roof, which functions as the outermost layer of a cornice. Its primary purpose is to cover the exposed ends of the roof rafters, while also providing a stable base for gutter installation. The region below the fascia is commonly known as the eave, and it typically overhangs the walls of a building.

    Fasteners: refer to a broad range of screws and nails that are utilized to mechanically fasten different components of a structure in a building.

    Faucet: A device for regulating the flow of a liquid from a reservoir, such as a pipe or drum.

    Feathering strips: also known as horsefeathers, are narrow wooden fillers inserted along the butt edges of existing wood shingles when re-roofing to achieve an even and level surface. These tapered strips help smoothen out any irregularities or bumps caused by the old shingles, making it easier to apply new roofing materials.

    Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standard: is a set of regulations designed to establish fair and sensible guidelines for manufacturing, designing, and ensuring that manufactured homes meet the high standards of safety, durability, and quality required by the public.

    Felt: commonly refers to a type of roofing material made up of organic or inorganic fibers. These fibers are compressed together and then typically saturated with either asphalt or coal tar pitch. This results in a durable, water-resistant layer that is then used as part of a roofing system to help protect the underlying structure from the elements.

    Female IPS: is a type of pipe fitting where the threading is located on the inside of the connector. It is also commonly known as FIP.

    Female threads: See FIP.

    Fenestration: refers to any exterior-facing architectural feature made of glass such as windows, doors, skylights, curtain walls, or other such panel units that are designed to allow light, air, and views into a building.

    Ferrous: refers to any objects that are composed entirely or partially of iron, such as pipes made of ferrous material.

    Ferrule: is a device consisting of metal tubes that are utilized to keep roof gutters open and properly aligned. Specialized nails known as ferrule spikes are driven through these metal tubes to securely fasten the gutters onto the fascia, which extends the life of the gutters and helps to prevent water damage to the roof and foundation of the house.

    FHA straps: are durable metal straps utilized to reinforce cut-out sections of bearing walls, connect wall corners and splices, and provide additional support to bearing headers. They can also be used as a secure attachment point for stairs and landings that are anchored to bearing headers.

    Fibered aluminum roof coating: is a top-tier metalized reflective barrier applied to roofing, metal surfaces, and exterior masonry that is renowned for its stellar performance. It is designed to safeguard against the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays, minimizing energy costs in both hot and cold weather, and extending the longevity of roof surfaces.

    Fibered roof and foundation coating: is a specially formulated, medium-viscosity material used for coating roofs and foundations. It contains fibers that improve its durability and performance, providing added protection against environmental elements.

    Fibered roof coating: is a top-quality protective substance particularly useful for roofs with low slopes. This thick coating creates an optimal seal to cover up fine cracks and openings. Using this coating restores and revitalizes aging composition roofing and significantly extends the life of a roof. Additionally, it performs exceptionally well on metal and concrete surfaces, providing reliable protection against environmental factors.

    Fiberglass mat: is a roofing substrate composed of glass fibers and utilized as a foundation for asphalt roofing materials.

    Field measure: refers to the process of obtaining accurate measurements of various elements inside a home such as cabinets, countertops, stairs, shower doors, and other items by physically measuring them instead of solely relying on blueprints or digital models.

    Fillet bead: refers to the application of caulking or sealant in a way that creates an angled joint between adjoining materials, such as a wall and a countertop or a backsplash and a sink. This method of applying sealant helps to create a smoother, more professional-looking finish while also ensuring a more watertight seal between the two materials.

    FindAnInspector.US: Foremost home inspector search engine.


    Finger joint: is an industrial technique that involves connecting two shorter sections of wood end-to-end to produce a longer piece of dimensional lumber or molding. Primarily used for jambs and casings, the resulting joints are typically painted instead of stained due to the visible, alternating short and long elements of the joint.

    Finish: In the context of construction and furniture, the term “finish” refers to the final layer or coating applied to a surface to enhance its appearance and provide protection from wear and tear. On the other hand, in the world of cabinetry and furniture-making, the word “hardware” describes the visible metal components that are used for practical purposes and often serve both functional and design purposes, such as hinges, locks, handles, knobs, and pulls. These hardware elements can greatly impact the overall look and feel of the finished product and are often chosen with great care to complement the aesthetic of the piece.

    Finish carpentry: refers to the skilled craftsmanship involved in the installation and fitting of interior architectural elements such as doors, door moldings, base molding, chair rails, built-in shelving, and other decorative finishing touches. It involves the precise cutting, shaping, and fitting of the woodwork to create a polished and aesthetically pleasing appearance that enhances the overall design of a building’s interior.

    Finish coat: is the ultimate layer used in plastering that functions as either the foundational layer for further adornment or the final decorative surface. It mostly comprises calcified gypsum, lime, and occasionally an aggregate, but the addition of lime or sand may be necessary during application. The finish coat can be applied through three main techniques, which include trowel, flat, and spray.

    Finish grade: refers to any surface that has undergone alterations to meet the designated elevation point. This encompasses surfaces such as lawns, driveways, or other improvements after the grading process has been completed. Essentially, the finish grade represents the final elevation of these surfaces as determined by grading operations.

    FIP: (female iron pipe) refers to the standardized threads located on the interior of a pipe fitting.

    Fire apparatus: access road is a designated road or lane, which could be a public or private street, fire lane, or parking lot lane, that allows firefighting vehicles to travel safely and quickly from the fire station to a facility during an emergency.

    Fire blocks: are horizontal support members that are secured between wall studs, typically located midway up the wall. They are designed to provide structural stability and act as a barrier to the spread of fire, working in tandem with fire stops.

    Fire brick: is a type of refractory ceramic brick that is designed to withstand extremely high temperatures and is commonly used in fireplaces and boilers. Its heat-resistant properties make it an ideal material for lining the insides of these structures to prevent damage and ensure optimal functioning.

    Fire Code officer: The individual responsible for enforcing the fire code in a local area, typically known as the fire code official or fire marshal.

    Fire Department Master Key: A master key held by fire department officials that grants access to key boxes located at commercial properties during emergency situations.

    Fire stop: refers to the act of creating a sealed barrier in concealed spaces to prevent the passage of fire and smoke. In the case of a frame wall, a fire stop often involves installing cross-blocking made of 2x4s between the studs to provide a solid, tightly closed-off space. This critical element of building design is essential to ensure the safety of occupants in the event of a fire.

    Fire-rated: refers to materials that have undergone testing and certification for their ability to withstand fire and heat, particularly for use in firewalls.

  • Gable: A gable is the section of a building that is located at the end of a pitched roof, separate from the front or rear. It is made up of two sloping sides that form a triangular shape, extending from the eaves to the ridge of the roof. In residential construction, the gable refers to the portion of the roof that is situated above the eave line of a double-sloped roof.

    gable end: A gable end is the vertical wall at the end of a building

    Gable roof: refers to a particular roofing style characterized by sloping planes of equal pitch on both sides of its ridge. Typically, the gable ends appear at both ends of this style, and this roof type offers excellent drainage along its high-pitched edges.

    Galvanize: apply a protective layer of zinc to a metal object by immersing it in molten zinc after thoroughly cleaning it.

    Gambrel roof: is a distinct type of roofing that features a unique profile with two slopes. This roofing design is characterized by a steep lower slope that is broken by an obtuse angle, which then transitions into a less steep upper slope. In simpler terms, this means that a gambrel roof is a double-sloped roof with two different pitches, with the lower slope being steeper than the upper slope. This roofing style is commonly seen in barns and other traditional American-style homes.

    Gang-nail plate: also known as a fishplate or gusset, is a steel plate that gets attached to both sides of each joint in a truss. Its purpose is to provide additional support and stability to the truss.

    Garbage: refers to the organic waste generated from the preparation and consumption of food, which includes both animal and vegetable matter.

    Gas lateral: refers to either the excavation or area in the yard where the gas line service is installed or the process of installing the gas service for a residence. This term describes the physical pathway connecting the main gas line to the property, as well as the work undertaken to establish the service connection.

    Gaskets: are pre-formed shapes, including strips and grommets, made of rubber or rubber-like materials that are used to seal joints or openings in a variety of applications. They can be used alone or in combination with other sealants to create an effective seal that prevents leaks and protects against environmental factors.

    Gate valve: is a type of valve that is utilized to shut off liquid flow within a pipe line completely. It is not designed to regulate or adjust the flow, only to stop it altogether.

    Gauge: refers to the measurement of thickness for materials like sheet metal, wire, and other similar materials.

    Gauge board: is a board primarily used for carrying grout specifically for patching small jobs. It is also commonly referred to as a ‘spot board’.

    General contractor: is a professional who oversees all aspects of a construction or renovation project, from start to finish. Essentially, they are the primary contractor in charge of the project and responsible for all facets of the work. This individual is also referred to as a prime contractor.

    General home inspection: is a fee-based, non-invasive, visual examination of the accessible areas of a residential property. The inspection aims to identify any defects within specific systems and components (as outlined by applicable standards) that are both observed and considered material by the inspector. Additionally, the scope of the inspection may be adjusted by the client and inspector before the process starts to exclude items that are usually inspected and/or include items that aren’t commonly inspected. General home inspections are also referred to as home inspections and standard home inspections.

    General home inspection report: is a written or electronic document that details defects within specific systems and components (outlined by applicable standards) that are observed and deemed material by the inspector. Along with photos, the report may also feature additional comments and recommendations. Such thorough inspection reports help buyers and sellers understand a property’s condition, aiding in decision-making and facilitating necessary repairs and maintenance.

    GFCI, or Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter: is a specialized device designed to protect individuals from electrical shock or injury by breaking the circuit when it detects even a small amount of current flowing through the grounding system. This makes it a crucial safety measure in areas where electrical appliances may come in contact with water, such as bathrooms and kitchens.

    GFRC (glass fiber-reinforced concrete): is a type of cementitious material that is reinforced with glass fibers. It is often laminated to a lightweight backing, such as plywood, to be used in wall systems. Though GFRC resembles concrete, it typically does not perform as well. GFRC is a thinner and lighter material than traditional concrete, which can offer some advantages in certain applications but may not provide the same level of durability or strength.

    Girder: is a crucial horizontal beam often made of steel, reinforced steel, or wood that serves as the primary support structure for a building’s floor joists. Its role extends beyond the immediate support, as it also provides foundational support to other critical structural components and serves to absorb concentrated loads at isolated points along its length.

    Glass: is a substance that is created by fusing silicates under high heat with soda, lime, and other materials. It is a hard, brittle, and generally transparent material that is commonly utilized as window panes, as well as lites in French doors and transoms, skylights, and other architectural features.

    Glass-Base: An asphalt-based roofing material, constructed with a durable fiberglass mat and weather-resistant asphalt coating, used as a foundational layer in select TAMKO-modified asphalt and fiberglass roofing systems. This heavy-duty roll roofing product serves as an excellent alternative to TAMKO Type 43 Coated Base Sheet and can be applied either through hot asphalt application or mechanical fastening methods.

    Glass-Seal: is a roofing product made by TAMKO, which is a three-tab fiberglass shingle with a traditional square-tab design and a self-sealing mechanism. The shingle has a heavy layer of weathering-grade asphalt that provides extra waterproofing protection. It has a UL Class A fire rating and comes with a 20-year limited warranty, making it a reliable choice for homeowners. Additionally, it has an option for algae-resistant granules, which can help maintain the shingle’s appearance over time.

    Glaze Coat: In roofing terminology, a glaze coat refers to a thin, evenly applied layer of bitumen that is brushed onto exposed felts to provide temporary protection from weather elements until the roofing job can be completed. The glaze coat is typically used to prevent moisture from penetrating the roofing system during the installation process and can help extend the life of the roof.

    Glazing is a term used to describe an infill material, which could include glass or panels, used in windows, door panels, partitions, or other structures. Additionally, glazing can refer to the installation process of an infill material into a prepared opening in structures like windows, door panels, or partitions.

    Glazing bead: is a narrow strip that surrounds the perimeter of the glass pane in a window or door. This strip’s primary function is to secure the glass to the sash, frame, or panel, thereby holding the glass in place and preventing it from shifting or falling out of position.

    Glazing channel: refers to a sash detail that consists of three sides and is shaped like the letter “U.” This type of channel is designed to secure a glass product firmly in place and is commonly used during window installations.

    Globe valve: is a type of valve that is installed in a pipe to regulate the flow of liquids. It enables the adjustment of liquid flow between fully open and fully closed positions precisely. Globe valves have a spherical body and a movable disk-shaped element that comes into contact with the flow stream to control the rate of liquid flow. These valves are commonly used in various industries, including manufacturing, chemical processing, and oil and gas production, where precise flow control is essential.

    Gloss: is a type of paint or enamel that has a lower concentration of pigment compared to other types and has a shiny or lustrous finish when it dries.

    Gloss Enamel: is a type of finishing material composed of pigments and varnish that provides a high degree of surface gloss and opacity. This enamel creates a durable, smooth, and hard coating layer, making it ideal for use in areas where a glossy and polished finish is desired. The pigment used is of low opacity or minimal, allowing for maximum color intensity while still producing a highly reflective surface finish.

    Glue-laminated beam: is a type of structural beam made up of multiple wood laminations, which are bonded together under pressure with adhesives to create a beam with a typical thickness of 1-1/2 inches. It often appears as if five or more 2x4s have been glued together to form a single beam. This type of beam is also referred to as glue-laminated lumber, Boise GLULAM®, or simply glulam.

    GPF: which stands for gallons per flush, is a unit of measurement used to determine the flow rate of toilets. It’s also the standard benchmark by which toilet flow rate is regulated in the United States. Under current regulations, the maximum permitted gallons per flush is 1.6 GPF. Understanding this unit of measurement can help you select a toilet that is both eco-friendly and efficient in water usage.

    GPM (Gallons per Minute): This unit of measurement pertains to the flow rate of faucets and showerheads. It’s not only measured but also regulated for optimal home performance.

    Grade refers: to (1) a recognized level or norm, or a placement in a scale of size, quality, or similar properties (e.g., grade of lumber); (2) the measure of the steepness of a slope, road, or any given surface; and (3) the point at which the terrain surface and a building’s foundation intersect.

    Grade beam: is a type of foundation wall that is typically poured at or just below the level of the surrounding ground. It’s commonly found in areas such as the location of an overhead garage door block-out or a lower walk-out basement foundation wall. The beam provides additional support and stability to the home’s foundation, helping to distribute the weight of the structure evenly across the ground.

     Grade MW: This type of brick has moderate resistance to freezing and is suitable for use in moderate weather conditions. It’s a popular choice for outdoor applications like planters due to its ability to withstand moisture and temperature changes without breaking or deteriorating.

     Grade NW: brick refers to a type of brick that is specifically designed for use as a backup or in interior masonry. This type of brick is not intended to be exposed to the weather and is typically used for structural support rather than for aesthetic purposes.

    Grade SW: refers to a category of bricks designed to withstand severe weather conditions and, in particular, high resistance to freezing. This brick grade is often used in areas with harsh winters, where the effects of freeze-thaw cycles can cause significant damage over time. Using Grade SW bricks in these regions ensures that structures maintain their integrity and safety over the long term, without succumbing to the damaging effects of severe weather.

    Graduated payment mortgage (GPM): A graduated-payment mortgage (GPM) is a loan with a fixed rate and payment schedule. Unlike a level payment loan, GPMs start with lower payments that increase annually, with each increase being applied to the outstanding balance. This increase in payments accelerates the repayment, which may allow the borrower to pay off a 30-year loan in less than 20 years. With GPM, borrowers have the advantage of lower initial payments that gradually increase over time for faster repayment and reduced overall interest.

    Grain: The term “grain” is used to describe the size, arrangement, direction, appearance, or quality of the fibers in wood.

    Granules: Mineral Particles Imbedded in Asphalt Coating of Shingles and Roofing, Graded by Size for Protection and Aesthetics

    Gravel: is a type of loose rock fragment that range in size from 1/8-inch to 1-3/4 inches, and is typically used as surfacing material for built-up roofs.

    Grease: The edible fat obtained from animal or vegetable sources, commonly used in cooking or formed as a byproduct during food preparation.

    Grid: refers to the complete installation of the main and cross tees in a suspended ceiling system, done prior to the installation of the ceiling panels. Additionally, in the context of glass panels, the grid refers to the decorative slats or muntins installed between the panels.

    Ground: in electrical systems refer to the tendency of electricity to seek out the shortest route to earth. Neutral wires are responsible for carrying electrical energy to the ground in all circuits. In the event of the neutral leg breaking, an additional grounding wire or the metal sheathing of a cable or conduit provides protection against electrical shock.

    Ground Iron Defined: Understanding the Plumbing Drain and Waste Lines Beneath Your Home” – Ground iron refers to the plumbing drain and waste lines that are installed beneath a home’s basement floor. In older homes and buildings, cast iron was commonly used for these pipes.

    Ground system: refers to the connection of the current-carrying neutral wire to the grounding terminal in the main switch, which is then linked to a water pipe. In this process, the neutral wire is often referred to as the ground wire. This is a crucial safety measure that helps to prevent electrocution and other electrical hazards in a building by providing a low-resistance path for electric current to flow in the event of a fault.

    Grounded: Being Connected to the Earth or a Conductive Body Used as a Substitute for It.

    Grounded effectively: means intentionally and safely connected to the earth through one or more ground connections with sufficiently low impedance to carry current. This connection helps prevent any voltage build-up that could pose undue hazards to equipment or people in the vicinity. The ground connection must also have the appropriate current-carrying capacity to ensure maximum safety for connected equipment and personnel.

    Grounding electrode: is an electrical component that creates a conductive connection to the ground(earth) to ensure safe and effective electrical operations.

    Grounding rod: is a conductive metal rod that is utilized to connect an electrical panel or wiring system to the physical earth in order to dissipate excessive electrical current.

    Grounds: are narrow strips of wood or wide sub-jambs installed around openings and at the floor line in interior doorways. These guides are used to create a level plaster line for the installation of casing and other trim. They are essential in providing a clean and finished look to the interior of a house.

    Groundwater: refers to any water source located beneath the Earth’s surface within an aquifer or sub-surface area. This water is typically accessed through wells and can be a vital source of drinking water for many regions around the world.

    Grout: is a cement-based material with a high moisture content that is used to fill in small gaps between tiles, ceramic clay, slate, and other masonry work. Its semi-liquid consistency makes it easy to apply with a trowel or pump into tight spaces to create a solid surface. Grout can also be used in foundation work to fill voids in soils by injecting it through drilled holes. It is commonly used in masonry and tile work to ensure a solid and uniform finish between each element.

    Gun consistency: refers to a type of sealant that is specifically formulated to be used with a caulking gun. It is designed to have a specific degree of viscosity that allows it to be easily applied through the nozzle of the gun. This consistency ensures that the sealant can be accurately and evenly applied to the desired surface, providing a secure and effective seal.

    Gunite: is a building material made up of a mixture of cement, sand, and/or crushed slag and water, which is then combined and pushed through a cement gun at high pneumatic pressure. This material finds widespread use in constructing swimming pools and other related works.

    Gusset: is a flat wooden, plywood, or similar material piece fastened with nails, screws, bolts, or adhesive that provides a strong connection at the intersection of wooden members, usually at the joints of wooden trusses. It’s often referred to as a gang-nail plate or a fishplate. Gussets are essential in adding load-bearing capacity and enhancing the overall stability of wooden structures, making them a crucial component in construction and engineering.

    Gutter: is a type of trough that is designed to collect rainwater from the roof of a building and guide it toward a downspout or drainage system. Typically made from metal, wood, or other materials, gutters are installed along the edge of a roof’s eaves. Their primary function is to safely channel water away from a building’s foundation to prevent damage caused by water infiltration.

    Gutter strap: is essentially a metallic band that serves the purpose of supporting and securing the gutter in its place.

    Guy wire: refers to a durable steel cable or wire that is installed from an anchor on a rooftop to a thin, tall structure to provide stability support.

    Gypsum Board: An Interior Drywall or Wallboard

    Gypsum Keene’s cement: is a building material utilized to achieve a smooth finish coat of plaster. It is primarily used over gypsum plastic base coats, but only in areas where moisture will not be an issue. Among all types of plaster, this one is known to be the hardest.

    Gypsum plaster: is a type of plaster that is combined with sand and water to create a base coat. The combination of materials creates a hard, durable surface that is ideal for walls and ceilings. In addition to providing a smooth surface, this type of plaster is also resistant to fire and moisture, making it an excellent choice for use in homes and commercial buildings. Its use is popular for creating a seamless, monolithic look on interior walls and ceilings.




  • H-Clip: An H-clip is a small, metal fastener used in construction to securely attach two panels or sheets of material together, without the need for nails or screws. It is named for its distinctive “H” shape, which is formed by two perpendicular flanges that fit into grooves or notches cut into the surface of the material. H-clips are commonly used with roofing or siding panels made from materials such as metal, wood, or plastic, and are particularly useful in situations where the materials are subject to expansion and contraction due to temperature changes. The H-clip allows the panels to move independently while still being held firmly in place, preventing damage caused by buckling or warping. In addition, the use of H-clips ensures a consistent spacing between panels, contributing to the overall appearance and structural soundness of the building.

    Habitable space: pertains to the area within a building that is utilized for activities such as living, sleeping, cooking, and eating. Meanwhile, spaces such as bathrooms, closets, hallways, storage rooms, and utility rooms, are not considered habitable areas.

    Hardware: In the context of construction or home improvement, hardware refers to metallic accessories used for functional or decorative purposes. These can include items such as hinges, door knobs, drawer pulls, towel bars, and toilet paper holders, among others.

    Hatch: is an entryway or opening located in a deck, floor or roof of a building, designed to allow access from inside the structure. Usually available to enter an attic space or a floor access for  a crawlspace.

    Haunch: is a projection or extension of a foundation wall that resembles a knee, providing extra support for a concrete porch or patio to rest upon.

    Hawk or mortarboard: is a hand-held tool that is typically made of wood or metal and features a flat surface measuring from 10 to 14 inches in size, and comes with a handle. It is utilized by workers to transport plaster, mortar, or mud while working on a construction site.

    Hazard insurance: is a type of insurance policy that covers any potential damage or loss to a building while it is under construction.

    Header: is a type of framing component that is placed above windows, doors, and other types of openings in a structure. It can also refer to a beam that is positioned at a right angle to the joists to which other joists are subsequently attached during the construction of a chimney, stairway or other types of openings. Another term used for this type of framing component is wood lintel.

    Hearth: refers to the area, both inner and outer, at the base of a fireplace. It is typically constructed using materials such as brick, tile, or stone.

    Hearth extension: is a non-flammable element positioned in front of and on the sides of a fireplace opening.

    Heartwood: is the part of a tree’s trunk that extends from the pith to the sapwood, consisting of cells that are no longer involved in the tree’s life processes.

    Heat meter: is an instrument utilized for measuring the temperature of a domestic heat panel. It is commonly used for estimating the thermal energy usage by multiple households that are supplied by the same central heater. This device is also referred to as a heat-allocation meter.

    Heat pump: is a device that utilizes the compression and decompression of gas for the purpose of heating and/or cooling a residential property.

    Heat rough: refers to the heating or HVAC contractor’s task of installing all ductwork and flue pipes after building the internal walls and stairs. This phase of construction also often includes the installation of the furnace and fireplace.

    Heat trim: pertains to the set of tasks carried out by the heating or HVAC contractor to ready a new-build residential property for its official municipal heat inspection. Such tasks comprise the installation of all vent grilles, registers, thermostats, vent hoods, air-conditioning services, and the activation of the furnace, as well as the proper venting of the hot water heater and range, and all other related heat work necessary for inspection.

    Heat-strengthened glass: refers to flat or curved glass that has undergone a specific range of surface and edge compression heat treatment, as per the standards of ASTM C 1048, Type HS. This kind of glass is about two times stronger than annealed glass of the same thickness when subjected to uniform pressure loads. However, heat-strengthened glass is not categorized as safety glass, and it cannot fully fragment as tempered glass does.

    Heated slab: is a type of slab-on-grade construction where heating elements are installed within or underneath the concrete slab.

    Heating load: pertains to the volume of heat energy necessary to maintain a home or a structure at a fixed temperature during the winter season (commonly set at 65°F), without regard to the temperature outside.

    Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF): is a metric that quantifies the energy efficiency of a heat pump system during one heating season. It is calculated by comparing the total heating output of the heat pump, including any auxiliary electric heat, in BTUs, against the total electricity consumed in watt-hours over the same period. HSPF calculations are based on standardized tests conducted in adherence to AHRI 210/240 guidelines (AHRI 2003).

    Heel bead: refers to a sealant that is applied at the bottom of a channel following the installation of a glass lite or panel, and prior to the placement of a removable stop, with the primary goal of preventing any air leakage and moisture penetration beyond the stop.

    Heel cut: involves the creation of a notch at the end of a rafter, which allows it to rest flatly on a wall and on top of the doubled exterior wall plate.

    Hermetic seal: is a vacuum-sealed barrier between the panes of a double-paned window or insulated glass unit (IGU). A broken or failed hermetic seal results in an unfixable fogging between the IGU panels.

    High-early cement: is a Type III Portland cement known for its ability to reach its full strength relatively quickly in comparison to other types of cement. It is also referred to as high early-strength cement.

    Highlight: refers to a bright spot, streak, or region on a painted surface that stands out due to its lighter hue in comparison to surrounding areas.

    Hinge: is a flexible or jointed device that enables a part, such as a door or lid, to pivot or turn on a fixed frame.

    Hip: is the exterior corner formed by the junction of two sloping sides of a roof.

    Hip rafter: in construction, is a type of rafter that forms the point of intersection at the external angle of a roof.

    Hip roof: is a type of roof that slopes upward from all four sides of a structure, forming inclined planes.

    Hip shingles: are roofing materials that are utilized to cover the angled external joint that forms at the intersection of two sloping roof planes.

    Hoistway: is a vertical passageway dedicated to the movement of one or several elevators.

    Home inspection: See general home inspection.

    Home run: In the electrical context, a home run signifies an electrical cable that transports power from the primary circuit breaker panel or the panelboard to the first switch, plug, or electrical box within the circuit.

    Honeycomb: when referring to a foundation wall is a term used for the areas where aggregate (gravel) is visible. These spots can typically be repaired by applying a thin layer of grout or other cement products over the affected area. In addition, honeycomb also refers to a method of pouring concrete where it is not puddled or vibrated, resulting in edges that contain voids or holes once the forms are taken out.

    Hood: is a mechanical apparatus that is mounted over a kitchen range or cooktop, designed to collect and direct grease-laden vapors and gases into an exhaust system and release them outside of the building.

    Horizontal: pertains to a direction that is parallel to or situated in the same plane as the horizon.

    Hose bibb: also known as a hose bib, refers to an outdoor faucet with threads on its spout that enables the connection of a variety of accessories such as a garden hose, a lawn sprinkler, and others. It can also be installed inside a household for the attachment of various devices such as a washing machine, a wash basin, and a utility sink.

    Hot wire: is a wire that carries electrical energy to a device or receptacle, usually identified by its black color, and distinguished from a neutral wire which carries the electricity back.

    Household appliances: are considered to be portable or semi-portable equipment, such as refrigerators, microwave ovens, dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers, window air-conditioners, and other similar devices.

    Hub: in plumbing, a hub refers to the expanded end of a pipe that is specially designed to allow a connection to be made so that another pipe can be affixed to it.

    Humidifier: is a device that is intended to raise the level of humidity inside a room or a house by releasing water vapor. It can either be a self-contained unit intended for a single room or a larger unit that is linked to the heating system to regulate the moisture levels throughout the whole house.

    Humidistat: is an apparatus utilized for the automation of controlling the level of relative humidity within enclosed spaces.

    Hurricane clips: also known as TECO clips (named after the renowned UK brand TECO), are metallic straps that are affixed by nails to anchor the roof rafters and trusses firmly to the uppermost horizontal wall plate in buildings that are susceptible to high-velocity hurricane winds.

    Hurricane: ties are metallic fastening devices that are utilized to secure the rafters in structures that may be exposed to hurricane winds.

    HVAC: is the abbreviation for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. It refers to a system that regulates the temperature, humidity, and air quality of a building, as well as a type of work and contractor who specializes in installing and maintaining such systems.

    Hydro-electric elevator: is an elevator system whereby a liquid is directly pumped under pressure using an electric motor, without the need for an accumulator, in order to move a cylinder.






  • I-beam: is a type of steel beam that has a cross-sectional shape that resembles the letter I. This construction component is commonly utilized in residential construction for spanning long distances, such as a basement beam. Additionally, it is often implemented in scenarios where significant wall and roof loads are imposed on an opening, such as over double garage doors or wide wall openings. The I-beam’s unique shape allows it to distribute weight evenly, making it an ideal choice for applications where a sturdy and reliable structural component is required. By using I-beams, builders can construct stronger and more durable structures and help ensure the safety and longevity of a building.

    I-joist is a structural building component that resembles the letter I and is commonly used as a floor joist or rafter in residential and commercial construction. It consists of two main components: the flanges and webs. The flange, which is typically made of laminated veneer lumber or dimensional lumber, forms the top and bottom edges of the

    I-joist: and is usually 1-1/2 inches wide. The web, which is located in the center of the I-joist, is typically made of plywood or oriented strand board (OSB). The web can have large holes cut into it to accommodate plumbing waste lines and ventilation ductwork. I-joists are available in lengths of up to 60 feet, making them a versatile and convenient option in construction projects where long, sturdy structural components are needed.

    IAC2: refers to the acronym for the International Association of Certified Indoor Air Consultants, which is an organization that certifies professionals specializing in indoor air quality testing and consultation.

    IAQ: acronym for IAQ stands for indoor air quality, which pertains to the cleanliness and overall quality of the air inside a building or enclosed space.

    ID or Inside Diameter denotes the measurement of the diameter taken from the inside of a pipe, and is a widely accepted method for sizing pipes.

    Identify: means to perceive or take notice of something and provide a report or description of it.

    IIC: stands for Impact Insulation Class, which is a set of standards suggested by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) in the United States. This system is used to gauge the effectiveness of sound insulation when it comes to reducing impact noise.

    IMC: stands for the International Mechanical Code, which is a set of guidelines and standards developed for the installation, maintenance, and inspection of mechanical systems in construction projects.

    Immediate cost: refers to the approximate expense associated with fixing a safety hazard that currently exists or repairing a system or component that is likely to malfunction within the next year.

    Imminent danger: refers to a circumstance that presents a significant risk of causing severe or life-threatening injuries, or even potential fatality.

    Incandescent lamp: is a type of lighting fixture that employs an electrically-charged metal filament which produces white heat, resulting in a glowing effect. This type of lamp is commonly known as a regular light bulb.

    Incompatibility: is a term used to describe the unsuitability of using two or more materials together due to their inability to function together effectively.

    Indemnification clause: is a contractual agreement that establishes one party’s financial responsibility for specific types of damages, claims, or losses.

    Index: In the context of loans, an index refers to the interest rate or adjustment metric that is utilized to determine the fluctuations in the monthly payments for an adjustable-rate loan.

    Infestation: is the condition in which insects, vermin, or other pests are present or have invaded a particular area or object.

    Infill: refers to the section of a railing system that is enclosed by the railing posts, cap, rail, and the deck or floor surface. It is recommended that the spacing for typical infill (in the U.S.) should be designed such that a 4-inch sphere cannot pass through for safety reasons.

    Infiltration: pertains to the entry of outside air into a building through leakage. The infiltration heating load factor (HLF) can be calculated by multiplying the building volume with the number of air changes, the BTU per cubic foot per hour of the infiltrated air and the temperature difference. This calculation is used to determine the additional BTUs needed to heat the infiltrated air.
    Inlet: is an opening that serves as an access point or serves as a means for intake.
    INR or Impact Noise Rating: is a metric that represents an approximate measure of a floor-ceiling assembly’s impact sound insulation performance in a single numerical value.
    Inside corner: refers to the juncture where two walls intersect, forming an internal angle, such as the corner of a room.
    Inside drain: in terms of roofing, refers to a drainage system that is placed on the roof at a location other than the perimeter. This type of drain collects surface water from the inside of the building through enclosed pipes, which then leads to a proper drainage system.
    Inspecting: refers to the act of safely examining areas, components, and systems that are easily accessible using standard operating controls and in accordance with pertinent standards of practice.
    Inspected property: refers to the areas of a structure(s), site, items, components, and systems that are easily accessible and included in an inspection process.

    Inspection: is a procedure that involves an inspector visually inspecting a subject property to gather information, which is then used to generate a report detailing the condition of the property based on the observations made during the inspection. In general, a home inspection is a non-invasive, visual evaluation of accessible areas of a residential property, as outlined in Texas Real Estate Commission and  InterNACHI’s Residential Standards of Practice, that is conducted for a fee. The objective of this inspection is to identify any observed defects in specific systems and components defined by the Standards that are both observed and considered significant by the inspector. The scope of work can be modified by the client and the inspector before the inspection process. On the other hand, a commercial inspection involves an inspector collecting information about a subject property by visually examining it, conducting research, and preparing a report based on their findings.

  • J-channel is a metal trim that is commonly used in construction to create a clean, finished edge on drywall panels when the walls are not being wrapped in another material. This is particularly useful in basement stairway walls where the drywall is only installed on the stair side of the wall. The J-channel is installed on the vertical edge of the last sheet of drywall to create a smooth transition between the drywall and adjacent materials. This edging can be made from various materials, such as aluminum or PVC, and is available in different sizes and colors to match the surrounding decor. By using J-channel, contractors can achieve a professional-looking finish on their drywall installation, ensuring a visually pleasing and aesthetically appealing result.

    Jack post: is a metal support used in construction as a replacement for an outdated or damaged supporting member. It is designed to be adjustable, with a mechanism consisting of pins and a screw that allows for height adjustments to match the necessary levels required for proper support. This feature allows contractors and homeowners to extend the life of an old or defective supporting member while avoiding the cost and complexity of a complete replacement. In some cases, a jack post may also be referred to as a monopost, though this term is less commonly used. Overall, jack posts are a practical and cost-effective solution for maintaining the structural integrity of a building, and can help ensure that it remains safe and stable for years to come.

    Jack rafter: is a building component that extends from the wall plate to a hip, or from a valley to a ridge. This type of rafter spans the distance between two intersecting roof planes and is positioned perpendicular to the ridge or hip line. Jack rafters are commonly used in the construction of hip and valley roofs, where the shape of the roof requires additional framing members to support adjacent rafters. The position and length of the jack rafter helps to distribute the weight of the roof evenly and maintain the roof’s structural soundness. By installing jack rafters, builders can create sturdy and reliable roofs that are able to withstand the elements and provide long-lasting protection for the building’s occupants.

    Jalousie window : is a type of window that features a frame fitted with parallel glass, acrylic, or wooden louvers. These louvers are mounted on a track and locked down together, enabling the window to be opened and closed in concert by utilizing a crank mechanism. This control system is beneficial in regulating the flow of air into and out of the window, making jalousie windows a popular choice in hot and humid climates.

    Jamb: is the vertical or horizontal lining comprising the sides and top of a doorway, window or other types of openings.

    Joint: refers to the area that exists between two adjoining surfaces of two separate members or components. This space is typically used to hold the two parts together via means such as nails, glue, cement, mortar, or other similar methods.

    Joint cement: otherwise referred to as spackle, is a substance typically utilized in gypsum-wallboard finishes for joint treatment. It is obtained in powder form and mixed with water to generate a viscous material that can be applied and smoothed over joints between wallboards to form a seamless surface.

    Joint compound: is a multi-purpose substance that serves varying purposes in different sectors. In plumbing, it is used to help prevent plumbing leaks on threaded connections. In carpentry, this wet gypsum-based material is deployed to coat and fill in drywall joints, typically between sheets of sheetrock or other similar paneling.

    joint tenancy: A form of property ownership in which multiple tenants own a property equally. If one dies, the survivor(s) automatically inherits the property in whole.

    Joint trench: is a trench that is jointly utilized by both an electric company and a telephone company. It is one lengthy and unified excavation where the utilities can drop in their respective service lines for electricity and phone services.

    Joist hanger: is a U-shaped metal device that is employed to reinforce the end of a floor joist. It is affixed, using sturdy nails, to another supporting joist or beam to provide extra stability.

    jumpers: Water pipe installed in a water meter pit (before the water meter is installed), or electrical wire that is installed in the electrical house panel meter socket before the meter is installed. This installation may be illegal.



  • Keene’s cement: is a type of white finish plaster that is highly prized for producing a remarkably durable wall surface. It is particularly well-suited for use in moisture-prone areas such as bathrooms and kitchens, owing to its exceptional density and resistance to water damage. Additionally, it is a popular choice for the finish coat in high-traffic environments such as auditoriums, public buildings, and other areas where the walls may be subjected to above-average wear and tear. Keene’s cement’s exceptional durability helps ensure that surfaces maintain their visual appeal and structural integrity, even with extended or heavy use. As a result, this type of plaster is highly sought after by builders and homeowners alike.

  • labeled: Devices, equipment and materials to which have been affixed a label, seal, symbol or other identifying mark of product evaluation.

    Labor hour: is a unit of measurement used to estimate the amount of work completed by an individual in one hour. It is a standard practice that allows for the calculation of labor costs and productivity rates. One labor hour typically represents the amount of work that can be completed by one worker in a single hour, regardless of the specific task or industry. By measuring work output in labor hours, businesses and organizations can accurately track the amount of time and resources required to complete a project or task, helping to ensure that deadlines are met and budgets are managed effectively.

    ladder: is a structure, either portable or fixed (permanently attached), consisting of two long sides connected by parallel rungs. Ladders are designed to facilitate vertical movement by offering a series of steps or rungs that can be climbed up or down. They can be made from various materials, including wood, aluminum, and fiberglass, and come in a variety of types such as step ladders, extension ladders, and platform ladders. Ladders can be used indoors or outdoors, and are often utilized in construction, painting, and home improvement projects. Overall, ladders are essential tools for accessing heights and areas that would otherwise be difficult or unsafe to reach by other means.

  • A main vent, also known as a main stack, is a primary vent in a building’s plumbing system that serves as the main pathway for waste and sewer gases to exit the building. This vent is the main point to which branch vents can be connected for proper ventilation. It is essential for maintaining proper air pressure within the plumbing system, ensuring that wastewater flows freely and avoiding the buildup of harmful gases that can lead to unpleasant odors and potentially harmful conditions. By having a well-connected and properly functioning main vent, a building can promote good hygiene and safety, and avoid issues associated with poor ventilation.

    A major defect: refers to a significant issue or flaw in a system or component that renders it non-working, non-performing, non-functioning or unsafe, and requires the attention of a professional contractor to assess, repair, correct or replace it. This condition poses a risk to the safety and functionality of the structure or system, and may compromise the overall integrity of the building. Major defects often require urgent and thorough attention to ensure the issue is resolved effectively and promptly, preventing further damage or risks to the occupants or property.

  • A nailer: is a wooden component that is securely attached to non-nailable walls or decks using bolts or other fastening methods. It provides a stable base onto which roofing components can be mechanically fastened. This important element is essential in roofing installation scenarios where traditional nailing methods may not be feasible or secure. The nailer is typically made from dimensional lumber and is carefully positioned and anchored to ensure that it can support the roof materials and withstand the stresses and weather conditions that can affect the structural integrity of the building. By providing a reliable and sturdy base for roof components, nailers help ensure that the roof remains securely anchored and properly sealed against the elements, contributing to the longevity and safety of the structure.

    A natural finish is a clear and transparent finish that preserves the original color and texture of the natural wood without significantly modifying it. This effect is usually achieved by using products such as sealers, oils, varnishes, and water-repellent preservatives that enhance the wood’s natural beauty while offering protection against moisture, UV rays, and other environmental factors. A natural finish is often preferred in woodworking and furniture making, where the goal is to enhance the natural quality of the wood rather than paint or stain it. This type of finish is also widely used in architectural and interior design, where it adds warmth, authenticity, and elegance to any space while preserving the unique features of the natural material.

  • An O-ring refers to a circular washer or gasket made of rubber that is compressed to establish a water-resistant seal, usually in a compression fitting. This component plays a crucial role in preventing water and other fluids from leaking out of a pipe or other fitting. O-rings are typically made from durable and flexible materials like silicone or neoprene, and they come in a variety of sizes and thicknesses to accommodate different applications. When an O-ring is compressed, it fills any gaps or spaces between the surfaces of the fitting, creating a tight seal that prevents leaks. This makes O-rings an essential component in many industrial, automotive, and plumbing applications, ensuring the safe and efficient operation of the equipment or systems.

  • P-trap is a pipe fitting that is shaped like a letter P. It is installed beneath a sink or any other plumbing fixture that produces wastewater. The trap is designed to hold a small amount of water in its curved portion, which forms a barrier that prevents unpleasant odors and gases from entering the living space through the drain. Thus, the P-trap is an essential component of modern plumbing systems as it helps maintain healthy and hygienic indoor air quality.

  • Quarry tile A type of clay tile, quarry tile is typically available in a 6×6 inch size and is either machine-made or man-made. This tile is commonly used as a finish for walls or floors due to its durability and resistance to abrasion. With a thickness of around 1/4 inch, quarry tiles are a popular choice for industrial, commercial, and residential projects alike.

  • R-value: The R-value refers to the level of thermal resistance exhibited by insulation or a glazing system. It is calculated as the inverse of the U-value and indicates the degree to which heat is impeded from passing through the insulation or glazing material. The higher the R-value, the more effective the insulation or glazing material is at reducing heat transfer.

    • saber saw: A saw that cuts on the upstroke, with the good side of the wood facing down.
  • T-bar: is a bar with a ribbed T-shape design, featuring a flat metal plate situated at the bottom. It is commonly driven into the earth and used alongside chain link fence poles for support purposes, and as a marker to indicate the location of a water meter pit.

  • The U-value refers to a metric used to gauge the level of heat transmission (whether gain or loss) via a window. It is established based on factors such as the disparity between interior and exterior temperatures, as well as the thermal conductance properties of the window materials. A lower U-value signifies a lower extent of heat transferred through the glazing material. As such, the lower the U-value, the more effectively the fenestration product restricts heat transfer. The U-value is the reciprocal of the R-value.

  • VA loan: A home-loan guaranty for the purchase, building, repair, retention or adaptation of an owner-occupied home, with such benefit being insured by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, a federal agency that extends various benefits and services to active service members and honorably discharged veterans (and their families) of the U.S. military.

  • Waferboard: also known as oriented strand board, is a type of engineered wood product that is commonly referred to as particleboard.

    Walk-through: is an ultimate assessment of a residential property that is put up for sale, carried out just before its closing, and where the inspector examines and records any issues that require rectification or improvement.

    Walk-through: survey refers to the stage of a property inspection where the inspector visually examines accessible areas of the property without utilizing invasive methods. The inspector takes note of their observations and records their findings.

    Walkway: is an outdoor path that is designated for pedestrians to traverse on foot.

    Wall protector: a non-flammable barrier that is installed between a wall and any heat-generating object, with the purpose of reducing the required clearance distance.

    Wall-Out: refers to the process of utilizing spray paint to coat the interior walls of a household.

    Wane: in wood refers to the flawed or defective edges of a board that result from the presence of remaining bark or a beveled end.

    Warping: a type of deformation that occurs in a material, characterized by a distortion or irregularity in its shape.

    Warranty: is a seller’s guarantee of the quality and reliability of their products and/or services, either as represented or promised within a predefined time period. In new construction homes, a builder’s warranty typically lasts one year, which covers the repair and replacement of items that fail due to normal use and conditions. The length of warranties may differ depending on various factors such as materials, labor, and workmanship.

    Waste and overflow: refer to a bathtub drainage mechanism that is designed to simultaneously expel overflow water during the filling of the tub, and drain wastewater from the bottom of the tub during the draining process. It consists of two outlets, one at the top and another at the bottom of the assembly.

    Waste pipe and vent: is a type of plumbing tubing made of plastic, which is intended for transporting wastewater to the local sewage system.

    Water board: also known as greenboard, is a type of drywall that features an outer layer of water-resistant paper, typically green or blue in color. It is specifically designed for use in the walls and ceilings of tub and shower areas.

    Water closet: is another way to refer to a toilet.

    Water meter pit: also referred to as a water meter vault, is a container consisting of concrete rings, a cast-iron bonnet, and a box, which houses the water meter.

    Water table: is the level of naturally occurring groundwater below the earth’s surface, and the vertical measurement from the ground level to this water level. The location and depth of water tables can differ depending on the location, topography, and other geographical factors.

    Water tap: is the junction point where the water line of a home connects to the primary municipal water system.

    Water vapor: refers to the gaseous form of moisture that is present in the air.

    Water-cement: ratio represents the proportion of water to cement utilized in a concrete mixture, which is a crucial factor in determining the strength of the concrete. The greater the amount of water in the mix, the weaker the resulting concrete will be. Concrete mixtures are defined in terms of the ratio of cement to fine aggregate to coarse aggregate. For instance, a 1:2:4 ratio refers to a mixture composed of 1 cubic foot of cement, 2 cubic feet of sand, and 4 cubic feet of gravel. Cement and water are the two active chemical components in concrete that, when combined, produce a paste or adhesive coating around the aggregate particles and, upon solidification, bind the entire mass together.

    Water-repellent coating: is a transparent layer or sealant that is applied to the exterior of concrete and masonry surfaces to promote water resistance and prevent water infiltration.





  • No terms available for X

  • Y: A Y-shaped plumbing fitting used to attach branch lines or to redirect flow. Also called a Y-fitting.

    A yard: refers to an unobstructed and uncovered area that is located within the vicinity of a building or structure.

    Yard lumber: pertains to the various grades, patterns, and sizes of lumber that are typically utilized for regular building purposes such as the framework and basic coverings of houses.

    Yard of concrete: refers to a unit of measurement that is equivalent to one cubic yard or 27 cubic feet of concrete. This amount of concrete is capable of covering an area of 80 square feet when poured at a thickness of 3-1/2 inches. It has a volume of 3x3x3-feet.

    Yoke: refers to the specific spot where a water meter in a household is installed, generally situated in a pit located in the yard and sandwiched between two copper pipes.

  • Z-bar flashing: is a type of galvanized metal flashing that is bent into a “Z” shape. It is typically mounted above a horizontal trim board of an exterior window, door, or brick installation. Its primary function is to prevent water from infiltrating the interior of the home by blocking its path behind the trim or brick.

     Zone: refers to a specific portion within a building that is served by an individual heating or cooling loop due to its unique heating and cooling requirements. Additionally, it can also refer to the specific area of a property that is irrigated by a lawn sprinkler system.

    Zone valve: is a component installed in proximity to the heating or cooling apparatus that regulates the distribution of water or steam to different sections of a building. It is managed by a zone thermostat to maintain controlled temperatures in each specific zone.

    Zoning: A governmental process and specification that limits the use of a property, such as for single-family use, high-rise residential use, commercial use, industrial use, etc. Zoning laws typically limit where a particular structure can be built and are related to the locality’s building codes.