Dept. of Word Lists

Homebuilding Words

Getting ready for that big renovation project at home? To make sure you have the right words for the job, we called Kevin Ireton, the editor of Fine Homebuilding Magazine, who graciously explained these -- fine -- homebuilding terms:

Stool. "The ledge on the inside of a window, which most people call the sill. The sill is the similar piece on the outside."

Crown. "It's used as a verb by framing carpenters and means to check a stud, rafter or joist to see if it's straight and to mark the crown (or high spot) if there is one."

Biscuit. "A small, football-shaped wafer of compressed wood used (like a dowel or spline) to join two boards together."

Eyebrow. "A particular style of dormer with an arched roof that mimic's the curve of your eyebrow."

Doghouse. "The most common dormer, which looks like a doghouse sitting on someone's roof."

Valley. "The intersection where two roof planes come together."

Rake. "Refers to the slope of the roof."

Sister. "In framing, this word becomes a verb for doubling up a framing member to strengthen it. Carpenters talk about 'sistering.'"

Tongue. "A common term for joining flooring, as in 'tongue and groove.'"

Nose. "A carpenter's term; you put a "nosing," say, to hide the exposed edge of plywood shelving."

Can. "Round light fixture recessed in a ceiling."

Snake. "Plumber's tool used for clearing a blocked drain pipe."

Elbow. "A fitting used to make a right angle (or a 45 degree angle) with plumbing pipe."

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Comments from our users:

Monday November 13th 2006, 8:20 AM
Comment by: Ted W.
As a residential remodeling contractor I enjoyed your list a lot. How about the following: "Hickey," "Nipple," "Fascia," "Cripple," "Jack," "Ribbon," "Dovetail," "Flitch," "Cricket," "Balloon," "Apron?"

Another variation that might interest the Department of Word Lists would be terms which are used in multiple professions/trades/occupations.

Keep up the good work.
Sunday July 1st 2007, 10:51 AM
Comment by: James P.
nipple: plumbing - piping terminator.
fascia: carpentry - The vertical board that covers the ends of the roofing joists.
cripple: carpentry - a piece of wood placed at right angles between 2 other pieces of wood usually to support drywall or paneling.
dovetail: carpentry - mehod of joining two boards at right angles.
balloon: carpentry - a type of construction where the building is not supported by the outer walls.
apron: the widened and angled part of a drive nearest the street.
jack: a mechanical device used to raise heavy ojects (like your car).
What the heck is a flitch, a cricket, or a ribbon besides an insect, a flat narrow piece of flexible material used to wrap presents and... what the heck IS a flitch?

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