Remodeling Glossary

Home improvement and remodeling terms.
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Air-conditioning is sometimes referred to as AC.
AC Condenser
Air conditioning is a system that uses a refrigerant to cool a building by removing heat and moisture.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) details certain requirements for building design, such as providing ramps and handicap parking spaces.
An accessory dwelling unit is any additional legal residence incorporated into a single-family home. In most municipalities, an ADU must have its own entrance, electrical service, and egress.
New rooms or square footage added to a home.
A concrete foundation needs a base of sand, gravel, or crushed rock mixed into the cement.
Aging in Place
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines aging in place as the ability of older adults to live in their own homes and communities safely, independently, and comfortably.
Air Gap
Air admittance valves are used to prevent the backing up of sewage through a drainpipe by allowing air to enter the pipe. If a pipe is draining water, then a siphon is created, which is prevented from happening by an air admittance valve.
Allowance is a sum of money set aside for a specific purpose. For example, a construction contract may include an allowance for tile, in case the homeowner hasn't selected a particular tile yet. If all design choices are made before construction begins, the remodel or construction project can proceed more quickly.
Anchor Bolts
The sill plate is attached to the foundation with heavy galvanized bolts.
antimicrobial substances are those that prevent the growth of disease-causing microorganisms.
Apartment Remodeling
Apartment remodeling is the modification of the structural elements and aesthetic design of an apartment.
Appliance Garage
A cabinet that is dedicated to storing small appliances, such as the toaster, stand mixer, microwave, and coffee maker.
The following appliances are covered: electric, mechanical, and electronic appliances such as refrigerators, televisions, DVD players, VCRs/DVD players, washing machines, microwave ovens, music systems, personal computers (including laptops), and air conditioners used in your home for domestic purposes.
A trainee who is working under the supervision of an experienced professional.
The vertical piece of wood or other material you put under a window to protect the wall from moisture.
Architects design, remodel, and build homes and other structures. Interior designers focus on decorating interiors of homes.
Area Wells
The metal or concrete wall that keeps the soil out of a basement window.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral material that was once used extensively for fireproofing and other home and industrial applications. It was later discovered to be a deadly carcinogen, however, and when remodeling an older home, precautions must be taken not to disturb asbestos-containing materials. If this is not possible, they must be abated by trained professionals.
Attic Access
An attic hatch is a removable opening in the ceiling of a home that allows passage to the attic.
Attic Remodeling
Attic remodeling is a term describing an alteration of the attic space. For example, wall removal or insulation work.
Attic Ventilator
An exterior exhaust fan and vent system can help lower the temperature of your home by allowing fresh outside air to pass through the attic.
Average Cost
The average cost per unit is the amount spent to produce one product. It represents the average of all the costs associated with producing that product, including raw materials and labor.
Awning Window
A casement window is a type of window that opens outwards by rotating on hinges at the top. It is usually operated using a crank handle.
When digging holes to lay a foundation, run underground pipes, or perform any other construction-related task, the diggers will backfill the exposed areas with dirt.
Framing lumber installed between studs to provide support for towel holders, cabinets, railings, etc.
A backsplash is a stretch of material that spans the length of a countertop and fills in the gaps between cabinets and a countertop, typically found in kitchens and bathrooms.
Backyard Remodeling
Backyard remodeling is the process of improving and redesigning your lawn, garden, or yard.
Balloon Framing
When the wall studs extend from the sill plate at the bottom to the roof plate at the top, and are supported by a horizontal band of wood nailed into them called a ledger, joists for a second floor rest on top of the studs.
The vertical posts that go between the railing and the stair treads, also known as balusters, are an important and often overlooked component to a well-constructed staircase.
The railing that runs along the side of a staircase or walkway.
A large horizontal rafter that supports shorter rafters in the roof of a home is known as a "main beam."
The baseboard is a narrow board attached to the wall with the purpose of covering gaps and irregularities in the floor.
Basement Finishing
A basement remodeling is a process of insulating and adding finished flooring, drywall, and other amenities to a basement.
Basement Remodeling
Renovating or reconfiguring a basement involves gutting and refinishing an existing basement.
A Bathroom is a room containing a bathtub or shower and usually a sink and toilet.
Bathroom Fixtures
A plumbing fixture is designed to fit into a plumbing system and is used to deliver or drain water.
Bathroom Ideas
Bathroom Ideas, a list of ways in which you can improve your bathroom.
Bathroom Lights
the visible agent, light, is the natural stimulus for sight and makes things visible in a bathroom.
Bathroom Paint
Bathroom paint, formulated with a resin that dries into a tight barrier, does not absorb moisture from the air. That is why it does not degrade as quickly as other paints.
Bathroom Remodeling
Remodeling a bathroom focuses on more than just changing the layout or design. A remodeling project involves renovating all aspects of your bathroom and improving its overall appearance.
Bathroom Sink
A sink is a bowl-shaped plumbing fixture used for washing hands.
Bathroom Vanity
bathroom vanities are sinks surrounded by storage cabinets.
Fiberglass, rock wool, or cotton insulation is a piece of material that fits between studs in a wall.
The purpose of battens is to cover the joints between sheets of plywood or wide boards. The battens are typically made of narrow strips of wood. Battens are often used in board-and-batten siding.
Structural beams run horizontally to support the structure of a building, especially when walls are removed. When a wall is removed, a support beam is put in its place to support the weight of the house.
Bearing Partition
A partition wall that supports the structure above.
Bearing Point
A foundation is a load-bearing structure that transfers heavy loads to the ground below.
Bearing Wall
An interior wall that supports the weight of a second floor or roof. This contrasts with a non-bearing wall, which has no structural role and can usually be removed.
A written agreement between a contractor and a client legally obligating the contractor to complete certain work within a certain timeframe and for a set fee.
Bifold Door
Hinged doors, which can swing in any direction, are useful in spaces where a standard door would be too large.
Blackwater is a mixture of feces, urine, water and toilet paper from flush toilets.
Bracing members or nailing into the framing can be achieved with small wood pieces attached to the framing.
Blown-In Insulation
Blown fiberglass insulation is a type of loose-fill insulation that is blown into a home using a special machine. It is commonly used in attics and walls, where it is difficult or impossible to place batts of fiberglass insulation.
Board Foot
The board foot is a unit of measurement used to express the volume of lumber.
A crane truck is used for lifting and placing heavy construction items, like roof trusses.
Bottom Plate
The horizontal, structural boards that lie on a subfloor and are fastened to vertical studs to create a wall surface.
A temporary support used in the construction of masonry walls, called a cantilever, is a diagonal piece of wood that holds up or strengthens a wall structure.
Breaker Panel
The electrical box that serves as a junction point for the breakers, switches, and wiring installed in a home.
Broom Finish
A common method of finishing concrete is to brush it with a stiff broom while it is still wet. The process causes small air bubbles to cling to the surface, giving the concrete a rough texture.
A budget is a plan for spending and acquiring resources or services over a period of time.
Building Codes
Building codes can be municipal, state, or federal. They are regulated by organizations like the International Code Council and cover everything from structural issues to zoning requirements.
Building Paper
Roofing felt is a heavy, paper-based material that is coated or impregnated with asphalt. It is often used to protect shingles from heat, water and ice in the construction of roofs.
Building Permit
A building permit is a document issued by your local government authorizing you to proceed with a construction project. To obtain one, you may have to submit plans of your proposed work for review.
Bull Nose
A type of corner treatment designed to provide a rounded edge on the inside and outside corners of drywall.
Bull-Nose Tile
Floor tiles with edges that are rounded, providing a smooth transition from the tile to the wall.
Bump-Out Addition
A bump-out is a small addition that protrudes from the side of a house, usually smaller than a full room addition but sometimes larger.
Bungalows are small, one-story houses with a sloping roof. Upper rooms are set into the roof with dormers, and the homes usually have large front porches and sometimes verandas.
Bypass Doors
A sliding door is a set of two or more doors that open and close along a track, usually found in closets.
Computer-aided design (CAD), also known as computer-aided drafting (CAD), is a method of developing a product using graphics software on a computer. It is distinguished from other methods by its three-dimensional visualization techniques, which allow designers to see how their products will look before they are constructed.
Cubic feet per minute (cfm). A unit used to measure the volume of air a blower or exhaust fan can move.
Cabinet Refacing
Cabinet refinishing is a process of repainting or applying a veneer to existing cabinets. This can sometimes involve the addition of new cabinet doors, and usually involves replacing the hardware at the same time.
Cabinet Remodeling
Cabinet remodeling is the process of improving a cabinet's appearance, function or efficiency.
A piece of furniture for storing things in.
A cantilever is a section of the house that juts out over the foundation.
A carpenter works with or repairs a variety of wood products in residential, commercial and industrial settings.
Carpeting is a floor covering made of dense material with a backing. There are many different types of carpeting made from different materials, including nylon, olefin, polyester and wool. Carpeting is rated by its density (thickness), stain resistance and wear-resistance.
Case Goods
Furniture without upholstery, such as desks, tables, chairs, storage chests, etc.
Casement Window
A casement window with hinges on the side and a lintel above, which swings open like a door.
Cathedral Ceiling
A multi-level ceiling.
Caulk is a flexible material used to fill gaps. Some types dry hard, but most is designed to stretch. Caulk can be painted, and other types are formulated to be waterproof and resist mold in damp environments.
Cedar Shakes
Shake, a split piece of wood that typically has a wedge shape, is used for roofing or siding. It is different from wood shingles, which are milled from solid blocks of wood.
Ceiling Joist
Parallel framing members support the ceiling by extending from the load-bearing walls.
Cement is the glue that holds concrete together. It's a white powder made of mineral elements such as limestone and clay.
Ceramic Tile
A ceramic tile that is used for flooring, shower enclosures, and walls.
Certificate of Occupancy
A certificate issued by a municipality that determines whether a structure meets building codes and is safe for habitation.
Chair Rail
A chair rail is a type of trim that is installed above the floor, in order to protect a wall from damage caused by chair backs.
Chalk Line
A chalk line is a tool used by carpenters for marking straight lines and for aligning walls, spaces and objects.
Change Order
To make changes to a construction project or alter the terms of a contract, homeowners must sign a written change order.
A wire pass-through is an enclosed space framed into a wall for the passage of plumbing or electrical wires.
Chip Board
It's also known as oriented-strand board (OSB), a manufactured wood panel made of wood chips compressed and glued together.
Circuit Breaker
A circuit breaker is an electrical device designed to trip automatically if there is a dangerous short in the circuit.
Clean Out
A cover that allows a drain line to be accessed. The plug can be opened and closed as needed.
Closet Remodeling
Closet remodeling is the process of improving a broken, damaged, or outdated Closet with new closet organizers and shelves.
Cold Air Return
Cool air is circulated through ducts that return it to the furnace, where it is reheated.
Color Palette
refers to the entire spectrum of colors that can be displayed.
A structural element that carries the weight of a building and its occupants, such as a column or a post. It can be made of concrete or steel.
Commercial Remodeling
Commercial remodeling is the process of modifying an existing commercial structure's interior and exterior features.
Concrete is a mixture of sand, gravel, portland cement, and water. It is the most widely used construction material in the world and is used in buildings' foundations and slabs as well as large columns.
Concrete Block
A concrete block is a hollow concrete brick that is reinforced with steel rebar.