Construction Terms Beginning With Letter: E
EarnestMoney- A sum paid to the seller to show that a potential purchaser is serious about buying.
Earthquake Strap- A metal strap used to secure gas hot water heaters to the framing or foundation of a house. Intended to reduce the chances of having the water heater fall over in an earthquake and causing a gas leak.
Easement- A formal contract which allows a party to use another party’s property for a specific purpose. e.g. A sewer easement might allow one party to run a sewer line through a neighbors property.
Eaves- The horizontal exterior roof overhang.
Egress- A means of exiting the home. An egress window is required in every bedroom and basement. Normally a 4′ X 4′ window is the minimum size required
Elbow (ell)- A plumbing or electrical fitting that lets you change directions in runs of pipe or conduit.
Electric lateral- The trench or area in the yard where the electric service line (from a transformer or pedestal) is located, or the work of installing the electric service to a home.
Electric resistance coils-Metal wires that heat up when electric current passes through them and are used in baseboard heaters and electric water heaters.
Electrical entrance package- The entry point of the electrical power including:
(1) the ’strike’ or location where the overhead or underground electrical lines connect to the house,
(2) The meter which measures how much power is used and
(3) The ‘panel’ or ‘circuit breaker box ‘ (or ‘fuse box’) where the power can be shut off and where overload devices such a fuses or circuit breakers and located.
Electrical Rough- Work performed by the Electrical Contractor after the plumber and heating contractor are complete with their phase of work. Normally all electrical wires, and outlet, switch, and fixture boxes are installed (before insulation).
Electrical Trim-Work performed by the electrical contractor when the house is nearing completion. The electrician installs all plugs, switches, light fixtures, smoke detectors, appliance “pig tails”, bath ventilation fans, wires the furnace, and “makes up” the electric house panel. The electrician does all work necessary to get the home ready for and to pass the municipal electrical final inspection
Elevation sheet- The page on the blue prints that depicts the house or room as if a vertical plane were passed through the structure.
Equity- The “valuation” that you own in your home, i.e. the property value less the mortgage loan outstanding.
Escrow – The handling of funds or documents by a third party on behalf of the buyer and/or seller.
Estimate- The amount of labor, materials, and other costs that a contractor anticipates for a project as summarized in the contractor’s bid proposal for the project.
Escutcheon- An ornamental plate that fits around a pipe extending through a wall or floor to hide the cut out hole
Estimating- The process of calculating the cost of a project. This can be a formal and exact process or a quick and imprecise process.
Evaporator coil- The part of a cooling system that absorbs heat from air in your home. Also see condensing unit.
Expansion joint- Fibrous material (@1/2? thick) installed in and around a concrete slab to permit it to move up and down (seasonally) along the non-moving foundation wall.
Expansive soils- Earth that swells and contracts depending on the amount of water that is present. (”Bentonite” is an expansive soil).
Exposed aggregate finish- A method of finishing concrete which washes the cement/sand mixture off the top layer of the aggregate – usually gravel. Often used in driveways, patios and other exterior surfaces.
Extras- Additional work requested of a contractor, not included in the original plan, which will be billed separately and will not alter the original contract amount, but increase the cost of building the home.
Construction Terms Beginning With Letter: F
FHA strap- Metal straps that are used to repair a bearing wall “cut-out”, and to “tie together” wall corners, splices, and bearing headers. Also, they are used to hang stairs and landings to bearing headers.
Face nail- To install nails into the vertical face of a bearing header or beam.
Faced concrete- To finish the front and all vertical sides of a concrete porch, step(s), or patio. Normally the “face” is broom finished.
Facing brick- The brick used and exposed on the outside of a wall. Usually these have a finished texture.
Fascia- Horizontal boards attached to rafter/truss ends at the eaves and along gables. Roof drain gutters are attached to the fascia.
Felt- Tar paper. Installed under the roof shingles. Normally 15 lb. or 30 lb.
Female- Any part, such as a nut or fitting, into which another (male) part can be inserted. Internal threads are female.
Ferrule-Metal tubes used to keep roof gutters “open”. Long nails (ferrule spikes) are driven through these tubes and hold the gutters in place along the fascia of the home.
Field measure- To take measurements (cabinets, countertops, stairs, shower doors, etc.) in the home itself instead of using the blueprints.
Finger joint- A manufacturing process of interlocking two shorter pieces of wood end to end to create a longer piece of dimensional lumber or molding. Often used in jambs and casings and are normally painted (instead of stained).
Fire block- Short horizontal members sometimes nailed between studs, usually about halfway up a wall. See also ‘Fire stop’.
Fire brick- Brick made of refractory ceramic material which will resist high temperatures. Used in a fireplace and boiler.
Fireplace chase flashing pan- A large sheet of metal that is installed around and perpendicular to the fireplace flue pipe. It’s purpose is to confine and limit the spread of fire and smoke to a small area.
Fire-resistive or Fire rated- Applies to materials that are not combustible in the temperatures of ordinary fires and will withstand such fires for at least 1 hour. Drywall used in the garage and party walls are to be fire rated, 5/8?, Type X.
Fire retardant chemical- A chemical or preparation of chemicals used to reduce the flammability of a material or to retard the spread of flame.
Fire stop- A solid, tight closure of a concealed space, placed to prevent the spread of fire and smoke through such a space. In a frame wall, this will usually consist of 2 by 4 cross blocking between studs. Work performed to slow the spread of fire and smoke in the walls and ceiling (behind the drywall). Includes stuffing wire holes in the top and bottom plates with insulation, and installing blocks of wood between the wall studs at the drop soffit line. This is integral to passing a Rough Frame inspection. See also ‘Fire block’.
Fishplate (gusset)- A wood or plywood piece used to fasten the ends of two members together at a butt joint with nails or bolts. Sometimes used at the junction of opposite rafters near the ridge line. Sometimes called a gang nail plate.
Fish tape- A long strip of spring steel used for fishing cables and for pulling wires through conduit.
Fixed price contract- A contract with a set price for the work. See Time and Materials Contract.
Fixed rate- A loan where the initial payments are based on a certain interest rate for a stated period. The rate payable will not change during this period regardless of changes in the lender’s standard variable rate.
Fixed Rate Mortgage- A mortgage with an interest rate that remains the same over the years.
Flagstone (flagging or flags)- Flat stones (1 to 4 inches thick) used for walks, steps, floors, and vertical veneer (in lieu of brick).
Flakeboard- A manufactured wood panel made out of 1?- 2? wood chips and glue. Often used as a substitute for plywood in the exterior wall and roof sheathing. Also called OSB or wafer board.
Flame retention burner- An oil burner, designed to hold the flame near the nozzle surface. Generally the most efficient type for residential use.
Flashing- Sheet metal or other material used in roof and wall construction to protect a building from water seepage.
Flatmold- Thin wood strips installed over the butt seam of cabinet skins.
Flat paint- An interior paint that contains a high proportion of pigment and dries to a flat or lusterless finish.
Flatwork- Common word for concrete floors, driveways, basements, and sidewalks.
Floating- The next-to-last stage in concrete work, when you smooth off the job and bring water to the surface by using a hand float or bull float.
Floating wall- A non-bearing wall built on a concrete floor. It is constructed so that the bottom two horizontal plates can compress or pull apart if the concrete floor moves up or down. Normally built on basements and garage slabs.
Fluorescent lighting- A fluorescent lamp is a gas-filled glass tube with a phosphor coating on the inside. Gas inside the tube is ionized by electricity which causes the phosphor coating to glow. Normally with two pins that extend from each end.
Flue- Large pipe through which fumes escape from a gas water heater, furnace, or fireplace. Normally these flue pipes are double walled, galvanized sheet metal pipe and sometimes referred to as a “B Vent”. Fireplace flue pipes are normally triple walled. In addition, nothing combustible shall be within one inch from the flue pipe.
Flue collar- Round metal ring which fits around the heat flue pipe after the pipe passes out of the roof.
Flue damper- An automatic door located in the flue that closes it off when the burner turns off; purpose is to reduce heat loss up the flue from the still-warm furnace or boiler.
Flue lining- 2-foot lengths, fire clay or terra-cotta pipe (round or square) and usually made in all ordinary flue sizes. Used for the inner lining of chimneys with the brick or masonry work done around the outside. Flue linings in chimneys runs from one foot below the flue connection to the top of the chimney.
Fly rafters- End rafters of the gable overhang supported by roof sheathing and lookouts.
Footer, footing- Continuous 8? or 10? thick concrete pad installed before and supports the foundation wall or monopost.
Forced air heating – A common form of heating with natural gas, propane, oil or electricity as a fuel. Air is heated in the furnace and distributed through a set of metal ducts to various areas of the house.
Form- Temporary structure erected to contain concrete during placing and initial hardening.
Foundation- The supporting portion of a structure below the first floor construction, or below grade, including the footings.
Foundation ties- Metal wires that hold the foundation wall panels and rebar in place during the concrete pour.
Foundation waterproofing- High-quality below-grade moisture protection. Used for below-grade exterior concrete and masonry wall damp-proofing to seal out moisture and prevent corrosion. Normally looks like black tar.
Frame Inspection- The act of inspecting the home’s structural integrity and it’s compliance to local municipal codes.
Framer-The carpenter contractor that installs the lumber and erects the frame, flooring system, interior walls, backing, trusses, rafters, decking, installs all beams, stairs, soffits and all work related to the wood structure of the home. The framer builds the home according to the blueprints and must comply with local building codes and regulations.
Framing- Lumber used for the structuralmembers of a building, such as studs, joists, and rafters.
Frieze- In house construction a horizontal member connecting the top of the siding with the soffit of the cornice.
Frost lid- Round metal lid that is installed on a water meter pit.
Frost line- The depth of frost penetration in soil and/or the depth at which the earth will freeze and swell. This depth varies in different parts of the country.
Furring strips- Strips of wood, often 1 X 2 and used to shim out and provide a level fastening surface for a wall or ceiling.
Fuse- A device often found in older homes designed to prevent overloads in electrical lines. This protects against fire. See also ’circuit breakers’.