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Construction Terms and Slang

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Babe-In-The-Box
(slang) A cashier, especially one behind a window.

Babywipe
(slang) An extremely annoying or poorly behaved child.

Back Nailing
The practice of nailing roofing felts to the deck under the overlap, in addition to hot mopping, to prevent slippage of felts.

Backer Rod
In glazing, a polyethylene or polyurethane foam material installed under compression and used to control sealant joint depth, provide a surface for sealant tooling, serve as a bond breaker to prevent three-sided adhesion, and provide an hour-glass contour of the finished bead.

Backfill
(1) filling in any previously excavated area, i.e., The replacement of excavated earth into a trench around and against a basement foundation. (2) in carpentry, the process of fastening together two pieces of board by gluing blocks of wood in the interior angle.

Backflow
The flow of liquids through irrigation into the pipes of a potable or drinking water supply from any source which is opposite to the intended direction of flow.

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.

Bacon
(slang) Scabs on knees, elbows, or other body parts from bike, skateboard wrecks, or other injuries.

Bag Of Hammers
(slang) Mythical assault device reputed to cause one's hangover-based discomfort.

Balloon Framing
In carpentry, the lightest and most economical form of construction, in which the studding and corner plates are set up in continuous lengths from the first floor line or sill to the roof plate to which all floor joists are fastened.

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

Balustrade
A railing made up of balusters, top rail, and sometimes bottom rail, used on the edge of stairs, teal conies, and porches.

Bank-in-the-box
(slang) An automatic teller machine, also known as an ATM.

Bap
(slang) A high bandwidth connection to the internet.

Barge Board
A decorative board covering the projecting rafter (fly rafter) of the gable end. At the cornice, this member is a fascia board.

Barometer
Instrument for measuring atmospheric pressure.

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

Base Flashing
The upturned edge of the 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 (or Baseboard)
A board placed against the wall around a room next to the floor to finish properly between floor and plaster.

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.

Batt Insulation
Strips of insulation, usually fiberglass that fit between studs or other framing.

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 Board
One of a pair of horizontal boards nailed to posts set at the corners of an excavation, used to indicate the desired level, also as a fastening for stretched strings to indicate outlines of foundation walls.

Bay Window
Any window space projecting outward from the walls of a building, either square or polygonal in plan.

Bead
In glazing, an applied sealant in a joint irrespective of the method of application, such as caulking bead, glazing bead, etc. Also a molding or stop used to hold glass or panels in position.

Beam
A steel beam with a cross section resembling the letter I. It is used for long spans as basement beams or over wide wall openings, such as a double garage door, when wall and roof loads are imposed on the opening.

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

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

Bed Molding
A molding in an angle, as between the over hanging cornice, or eaves, of a building and the side walls.

Bed or Bedding
In glazing, the bead compound or sealant applied between a light of glass or panel and the stationary stop or sight bar of the sash or frame. It is usually the first bead of compound or sealant to be applied when setting glass or panels.

Bell Reducer
In plumbing, a fitting shaped like a bell which has one opening of a smaller diameter used to reduce the size of the pipe in the line, and the opposite opening of larger diameter.

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 to inch and in widths up to 12 inches. Normally used over some type of sheathing.

Bid Bond
Security posted by a bidder to ensure performance in accordance with a bid.

Bid Documents
Drawings, details, and specifications for a particular project.

Bidding
Getting prices from various contractors and/or subcontractors.

Biff
(slang) (1) To fall down. (2) To make a major mistake.

Big Room, The
(slang) The outdoors.

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

Bits
(slang) The electronic version of a document, as opposed to the paper version.

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

blade
A motor grader

Blade
(slang) Absenteeism caused by a hangover or union dispute.

Bleeding
A 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 workusually at the tongue of matched boards.

Blind Stop
A rectangular molding, usually by 1-3/8 inches or more in width, used in the assembly of a window frame. Serves as a stop for storm and screen or combination windows and to resist air infiltration.

Blister
An enclosed raised spot evident on the surface of a building. They are mainly caused by the expansion of trapped air, water vapor, moisture or other gases.

Blocking
In carpentry, the process of fastening together two pieces of board by gluing blocks of wood in the interior angle.

Blue Flu
(slang) Portable toilets. See also: Green Room.

Blue Print
Architectural plans for a building or construction project, which are likely to include floor plans, footing and foundation plans, elevations, plot plans, and various schedules and or details.

Blue Stain
A bluish or grayish discoloration of the sapwood caused the growth of certain mold like fungi on the surface and in the interior of a piece, made possible by the same conditions that favor the growth of other fungi.

Board Foot
In carpentry, the equivalent of a board 1 foot square and 1 inch thick.

Board Stretcher
(slang) Mythical device used to stretch a board that was cut too short.

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.

Boiled Linseed Oil
Linseed oil in which enough lead, manganese or cobalt salts have been incorporated to make the oil harden more rapidly when spread in thin coatings.

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.

Bond Plaster
In addition to gypsum, bond plaster contains 2-5% lime by weight and chemical additives which improve the bond with dense non-porous surfaces such as concrete. It is used as a base coat.

Bonotude
(slang) A disposition that is characterized primarily by self importance.

Booger Parade
(slang) Exclamation used to express disappointment.

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

Bow
A curve, bend, warping or other deviation from flatness in glass or wood.

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.

Brain Wipe
(slang) A simple-minded person, especially someone who was once respected for intelligence.

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

Brick
(slang) A person who is all brawn and no brain.

Brick Veneer
A facing of brick laid against and fastened to 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 both as tension and compression members for the purpose of bracing the joists a spreading the action of loads.

Browncoat
The coat of plaster directly beneath the finish coat. In three-coat work, the brown is the second coat.

BTU
British Thermal Unit - The amount of heat energy required to raise the temperature of one pound of water through a change of one degree F.

BTU/HR
BTU/HR = building volume x air changes x BTU/cu.ft/hr x TD (TD is temperature difference)

Bubbling
In glazing, open or closed pockets in a sealant caused by release, production or expansion of gasses.

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

Bucket Of Steam
(slang) A five-gallon galvanized bucket.

buggy
An on-site concrete-carrying hopper with heavy rubber wheels.

Building Brick
Brick for building purposes not especially treated for texture or color, formerly called "common brick." It is stronger than face brick.

Building Paper
A general term for papers, felts, and similar sheet materials used in buildings without reference to their properties or uses.

Building Permit
Written authorization from the city, county or other governing regulatory body giving permission to construct or renovate a building. A building permit is specific to the building project described in the application.

Build-Out
The process of finishing raw space. Normally involving commercial leased space, build-out is typically negotiated between the building owner (landlord) and the tenant. Items to be negotiated include what improvements will be made, who will pay for them, who will be responsible for getting the work done and what will the tenant be able to remove or be required to remove at the end of the lease.

Built-Up Roof
A roofing composed of three to five layers of asphalt felt laminated with coal tar, pitch, or asphalt. The top is finished with crushed slag or gravel. Generally used on flat or low-pitched roofs.

bull gear
The largest or strongest toothed driving gear of a set.

Bullfloat
A tool used to finish and flatten a slab. After screeding, the first stage in the final finish of concrete, smoothes and levels hills and voids left after screeding. Sometimes substituted for darbying. A large flat or tool usually of wood, aluminum or magnesium with a handle.

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.

Butterfly Roof
A roof assembly, which pitches sharply from either side toward the center.

Buttering
In glazing, application of sealant or compound to the flat surface of some member before placing the member in position, such as the buttering of a removable stop before fastening the stop in place.

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

BX-Cabling
A factory assembly of insulated conductors inside a flexible metallic covering. It can be run except where exposed to excessive moisture and 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 old wires or insert new ones.