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Rook Home Inspections LLC - Glossary of domestic engineering
Category: Architecture and Buildings > Home inspection
Date & country: 16/01/2008, UK
Words: 801


A-C Condenser
The outside fan unit of the air conditioning system. It removes the heat from the Freon gas and turns the gas back into a liquid and pumps the liquid back to the coil in the furnace.

A-C Disconnect
The main electrical ON-OFF switch near the A/C condenser.

ABS
(Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) Rigid black plastic pipe used only for drain lines.

Access Panel
An opening in the wall or ceiling near the fixture that allows access for servicing the plumbing/electrical system.

Adhesion
The property of a coating or sealant to bond to the surface to which it is applied.

Adhesive Failure
Loss of bond of a coating or sealant from the surface to which it is applied.

Aerator
An apparatus that mixes air into flowing water. It is screwed onto the end of a faucet spout to help reduce splashing.

Air Filters
Adhesive filters made of metal or various fibers that are coated with an adhesive liquid to which particles of lint and dust adhere. These filters will remove as much as 90% of the dirt if they do not become clogged. The more common filters are of the throwaway or disposable type.

Air Space
The area between insulation facing and interior of exterior wall coverings. Normally a 1' air gap.

Airway
A space between roof insulation and roof boards provided for movement of air.

Alligatoring
A condition of paint or aged asphalt brought about by the loss of volatile oils and the oxidation caused by solar radiation. Causes a coarse checking pattern characterized by a slipping of the new paint coating over the old coating to the extent that the old coating can be seen through the fissures. 'Alligatoring' produces a pattern of cracks rese …

Amortization
A payment plan by which a loan is reduced through monthly payments of principal and interest.

Amperage
The rate of flow of electricity through wire - measured in terms of amperes.

Amps (AMPERES)
The rate at which electricity flows through a conductor.

Angle Stop
A shutoff valve in which the inlet connects to the water supply pipe in the wall and the outlet angles 90 degrees upward toward the faucet or toilet.

Anti-Siphon
A device that prevents waste water from being drawn back into supply lines and possibly contaminating the water supply.

Aperature
The opening in pipes.

Appraisal
An expert valuation of property.

Approach
The area between the sidewalk and the street that leads to a driveway or the transition from the street as you approach a driveway.

Apron
A trim board that is installed beneath a window sill.

Architects Rule (Ruler)
Three sided ruler with different scales on each side. Also referred to as a 'scale.'

Area Wells
Corrugated metal or concrete barrier walls installed around a basement window to hold back the earth.

Areaway
An open subsurface space adjacent to a building used to admit light/air or as a means of access to a basement.

Asphalt
A dark brown to black highly viscous hydrocarbon produced from the residue left after the distillation of petroleum. Asphalt is used on roofs and highways as a waterproofing agent.

Asphalt Plastic Cement
An asphalt-based cement used to bond roofing materials.

Astragal
A molding which is attached to one of a pair of swinging doors against which the other door strikes.

Attic Access
An opening that is placed in the dry-walled ceiling of a home providing access to the attic.

Awning Window
A window with hinges at the top allowing it to open out and up.

Backflow
Movement of water (or other liquid) in any direction other than that intended.

Backflow Preventer
A device or means to prevent backflow into the potable water supply.

Backhand
A simple molding sometimes used around the outer edge of plain rectangular casing as a decorative feature.

Backhoe
Self-powered excavation equipment that digs by pulling a boom mounted bucket towards itself. It is used to dig basements and/or footings and to install drainage or sewer systems.

Backsplash
A raised integral portion of a wall mount sink or lavatory located at the rear to protect the wall.

Balancing Damper
Baffle or plate used to control the volume of flowing air in a confined area.

Balusters
Usually small vertical members in a railing used between a top rail and the stair treads or a bottom rail.

Barge
Horizontal beam rafter that supports shorter rafters.

Barometer
Instrument for measuring atmospheric pressure.

Barrel Roof
A roof design which in a cross section is arched.

Base Flashing
The upturned edge of a watertight membrane formed at a roof termination point by the extension of the felts vertically over the cant strip and up the wall for a varying distance where they are secured with mechanical fasteners.

Base Molding
Molding used to trim the upper edge of interior baseboard.

Base Ply
An asphalt-saturated and/or coated felt installed as the first ply with 4 inch laps in a built-up roof system under the following felts which can be installed in a shingle-like fashion.

Base Shoe
Molding used next to the floor on interior base board. Sometimes called a carpet strip.

Baseboard
Usually wood or vinyl installed around the perimeter of a room to cover the space where the wall and floor meet. A board placed against the wall around a room next to the floor to properly finish between the floor and the plaster.

Baseboard Heat
A heating system with the heating unit located along the perimeter of the wall where the baseboard would normally be located. It can be either an electric or hot water system.

Basement Window Inserts
The window frame and glass unit that is installed in the window buck.

Basket Strainer
Basket shaped strainer with holes allowing water to drain while catching food or other solids. Can also be closed to fill the sink with water.

Batten
Narrow strips of wood used to cover joints or as decorative vertical members over plywood or wide boards.

Batten Plate
A formed piece of metal designed to cover the joint between two lengths of metal edge.

Batter Boards
Temporary structures that hold strings used to locate and square the corners of a building.

Bearing Partition
A partition that supports any vertical load in addition to its own weight.

Bearing Point
A point where a bearing or structural weight is concentrated and transferred to the foundation.

Bearing Wall
A wall that supports any vertical load in addition to its own weight.

Bedrock
A subsurface layer of earth that is suitable to support a structure.

Below Grade
The portion of a building that is below ground level.

Bent Glass
Flat glass that has been shaped while hot into curved shapes.

Bevel
The angle of the front edge of a door usually from 1/8' to 2.'

Bevel Siding (or Lap Siding)
Wedge-shaped boards used as horizontal siding in a lapped pattern. This siding varies in butt thickness from ½ to ¾ inch and in widths up to 12 inches. Normally used over some type of sheathing.

Bifold Door
Doors that are hinged in the middle to allow them to open in a smaller area than standard swing doors. Often used for closet doors.

Binder
A receipt for a deposit to secure the right to purchase a home at an agreed terms by a buyer and seller.

Bipass Doors
Doors that slide by each other. Commonly used as closet doors.

Bird's-Mouth Cut
A cutout in a rafter where it crosses the top plate of the wall providing a bearing surface for nailing. Also called a heel cut.

Bite
The dimension by which the framing system overlaps the edge of the glazing infill.

Bitumen
Any of various mixtures of hydrocarbons occurring naturally or obtained through the distillation of coal or petroleum. (See Coat Tar Pitch and Asphalt).

Blankets
Fiber-glass or rock-wool insulation that comes in long rolls 15 or 23 inches wide.

Bleeding
The migration of a liquid to the surface of a component or into/onto an adjacent material.

Blind Nailing
Nailing in such a way that the nail heads are not visible on the face of the work—usually at the tongue of matched boards.

Blocked (Door Blocking)
Wood shims used between the door frame and the vertical structural wall framing members.

Blow Insulation
Fiber insulation in loose form used to insulate attics and existing walls where framing members are not exposed.

Board and Batten
A method of siding in which the joints between vertically placed boards or plywood are covered by narrow strips of wood.

Board Foot
The volume of a piece of wood measuring 12 inches square and in inch thick. A piece of lumber 1/2' thick and 6 inches wide and 24 inches long is equal to one board foot.

Boards
Yard lumber less than 2 inches thick and 2 or more inches wide.

Bodied Linseed Oil
Linseed oil that has been thickened in viscosity by suitable processing with heat or chemicals. Bodied oils are obtainable in a great range in viscosity from a little greater than that of raw oil to just short of a jellied condition.

Bolster
A short horizontal timber or steel beam on top of a column to support and decrease the span of beams or girders.

Bond Breaker
A substance or a tape applied between two adjoining materials to prevent adhesion between them.

Bonding Strip (Electrical)
A thin strip of metal inside armored or BX cable. This strip is meant to back up the primary ground.

Boston Ridge
A method of applying asphalt or wood shingles at the ridge or at the hips of a roof as a finish.

Bottom Chord
The lower or bottom horizontal member of a truss.

Bottom Plate
The 2x4s or 6s that lay on the subfloor upon which the vertical studs are installed. Also called the sole plate.

Box Cornice
A cornice completely closed with trim work.

Brace
An inclined piece of framing lumber applied to wall or floor to stifled the structure. Often used on walls as temporary bracing until framing has been completed.

Bracing
Ties and rods used for supporting and strengthening various parts of a building used for lateral stability for columns and beams.

Brake Metal
Sheet metal that has been bent to the desired configuration.

Branch Circuit (Electrical)
Wiring that runs from a service panel or sub-panel to outlets. Branch circuits are protected by fuses or breakers at the panel.

Breaker Box
A metal box that contains circuit breakers or fuses that control the electrical current in a home.

Breaker Panel
The electrical box that distributes electric power entering the home to each branch circuit (each plug and switch) and composed of circuit breakers.

Brick Ledge
Part of the foundation wall where brick (veneer) will rest.

Brick Mold
Trim used around an exterior door jamb onto which siding butts.

Brick Veneer
A facing of brick laid against and fastened to the sheathing of a frame wall or tile wall construction.

Bridging
Small wood or metal members that are inserted in a diagonal position between the floor joists at midspan to act as both tension and compression members for the purpose of bracing the joists a spreading the action of loads.

BTU
A measure of the capacity of a heating or cooling system. Abbreviation of British Thermal Unit. The amount of heat energy required to raise the temperature of one pound of water through a change of one degree Fahrenheit.

Buck
Often used in reference to rough frame opening members. Door bucks used in reference to metal door frame.

Buckling
The bending of a building material as a result of wear and tear or contact with a substance such as water.

Built-Up Beam (or Girder)
Beam (or girder) created by sistering or 'scabbing' two or more pieces of lumber together.

Bull Nose (Drywall)
Rounded drywall corners.

Bushing
A pipe fitting for joining pipes with different diameters. A bushing is threaded on the inside and outside.

Butt Glazing
The installation of glass products where the vertical glass edges are without structural supporting mullions.

Butt Joint
The junction where the ends of two timbers or other members meet in a square-cut joint.

Butyl
Type of non-curing and non-skinning sealant made from butylene. Usually used for internal applications.

Buy Down
A subsidy (usually paid by a builder or developer) to reduce monthly payments on a mortgage.

BX Cable
Armored electrical cable wrapped in galvanized steel outer covering. A factory assembly of insulated conductors inside a flexible metallic covering. It can be run anywhere except where exposed to excessive moisture. It should not be run below grade. It must always be grounded and uses its armor as an equipment ground. It is difficult to pull out o …