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Construction Terms and Slang

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Facade
The front of a building. Frequently, in architectural terms an artificial or decorative effort.

Face Brick
Brick made especially for exterior use with special consideration of color, texture and size, and used as a facing on a building.

Face Glazing
A system having a triangular bead of compound applied with a putty knife, after bedding, setting, and clipping the glazing infill in place on a rabetted sash.

Factory Mutual (FM)
Insurance agency that has established stringent guidelines for maximum construction integrity as it relates to fire and environmental hazards. Their specifications have become industry standards.

Fascia
In residential construction, a flat board, band, or face, used sometimes by itself but usually in combination with moldings, often located at the outer face of the cornice. Any cover board or framed metal assembly at the edge or eaves of a flat, sloping, or overhanging roof, which is placed in a vertical position to protect the edge of the roof assembly.

Fasteners
A general term covering a wide variety of screws and nails, which may be used for mechanically securing various components of a building.

Fast-track
Project Delivery by overlapping some of the functions and doing two or more things concurrently instead of consecutively. This would be accomplished by starting a new phase of work whenever possible and before the preceding phase is completed. The construction schedule is constantly monitored to seek ways to save additional project time.

Felt
A very general term used to describe composition of roofing ply sheets, consisting of a mat of organic or inorganic fibers unsaturated, impregnated with asphalt or coal tar pitch, or impregnated and coated with asphalt.

Fenestration
Any glass panel, window, door, curtain wall or skylight unit on the exterior of a building.

Ferrous
Refers to objects made of or partially made of iron, such as ferrous pipe.

Fillet Bead
Caulking or sealant placed in such a manner that it forms an angle between the materials being caulked.

Finish
In hardware, metal fastenings on cabinets which are usually exposed such as hinges and locks.

Finish Carpentry
The hanging of all interior doors, installation of door molding, base molding, chair rail, built in shelves, etc.

Finish Coat
The last coat applied in plastering intended as a base for further decorating or as a final decorative surface. Finish coat usually consists of calcified gypsum, lime and sometimes an aggregate. Some may require the addition of lime or sand on the job. The three basic methods of applying it are (1) trowel (2) flat and (3) spray.

Finish Grade
Any surface which has been cut to or built to the elevation indicated for that point. Surface elevation of lawn, driveway or other improved surfaces after completion of grading operations.

Fir
Resistive - In the absence of a specific ruling by the authority having jurisdiction, applies to materials for construction not combustible in the temperatures of ordinary fires and that will withstand such fires without serious impairment of their usefulness for at least 1 hour.

Fire Rated
Descriptive of materials that has been tested for use in fire walls.

Fire Retardant Chemical
A chemical or preparation of chemicals used to reduce flammability or to retard 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.

Fire Wall
Any wall built for the purpose of restricting or preventing the spread of fire in a building. Such walls of solid masonry or concrete generally sub-divide a building from the foundations to two or more feet above the plane of the roof.

Fish Tape (Fish Wire)
Material used to advance wire through a conduit.

Fishplate
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.

Flagstone (Flagging or Flags)
Flat stones, from 1 to 4 inches thick, used for rustic walks, steps, floors, and the like.

Flake
A scale-like particle. To lose bond from a surface in small thin pieces. Sometimes a paint film "flakes".

Flash Point
The critical temperature at which a material will ignite.

Flashing
Weatherproof material installed between roof sheathing (or wall sheathing) and the finish materials to help keep moisture away from the sheathing. Typically, sheet metal or a similar material is used in roof and wall construction to protect a building from water seepage.

Flat Glass
A general term that describes float glass, sheet, glass, plate glass, and rolled glass.

Flat Grain
Flat-grain lumber has been sawed parallel to the pith of the log and approximately tangent to the growth rings, i.e., the rings form an angle of less than 45 with the surface of the piece.

Flat Paint
An interior paint that contains a high proportion of pigment and dries to a flat or lusterless finish.

Flat Seam
A seam at the junction of sheet metal roof components that has been bent at the plane of the roof.

Fleet Averaging
By using a point system, builders can show compliance with energy building requirements by using average figures for all air conditioning units in the same sub division.

Flexible Metal Conduit
Conduit similar to armored cable in appearance but does not have the pre-inserted conductors.

Float Glass
Glass formed on a bath of molten tin. The surface in contact with the tin is known as the tin surface or tin side. The top surface is known as the atmosphere surface or air side.

Floor Plan
The basic layout of building or addition, which includes placement of walls, windows and doors as well as dimensions.

Floor Plate
See Floor Plan.

Flue
The space or passage in a chimney through which smoke, gas, or fumes ascend. Each passage is called a flue, which together with any others and the surrounding masonry make up the chimney.

Flue Lining
Fire clay or terra-cotta pipe, round or square, usually made in all ordinary flue sizes and in 2-foot lengths, used for the inner lining of chimneys with the brick or masonry work around the outside. Flue lining in chimneys runs from about a foot below the flue connection to the top of the chimney.

Flush Glazing
(Pocket Glazing) The setting of a light of glass or panel into a four-sided sash or frame opening containing a recessed "U" shaped channel without removable stops on three sides of the sash or frame and one channel with a removable stop along the fourth side.

Fly Rafters
End rafters of the gable overhang supported by roof sheathing and lookouts.

Folded Seam
In sheet metal work, a joint between sheets of metal wherein the edges of the sheets are crimped together and folded flat.

Foot Print
See Floor Plan.

Footings
Wide pours of cement reinforced with re-bar (reinforcing bar) that support foundation walls, pillars, or posts. Footings are part of the foundation and are often poured before the foundation walls.

Foundation
The supporting portion of a structure below the first floor construction, or below grade, including the footings.

Frieze
In house construction a horizontal member connecting the top of the siding with the soffit of the cornice.

Frostline
The depth of frost penetration in soil. This depth varies in different parts of the country. Footings should be placed below this depth to prevent movement.

Fudge
(slang) To depart from precise design specifications for the sake of appearance.

Full
Adhered - A completely attached (adhered) roof membrane.

Fully Tempered Glass
Flat or bent glass that has been heat-treated to a high surface and/or edge compression to meet the requirements of ASTM C 1048, kind FT. Fully tempered glass, if broken, will fracture into many small pieces (dice) which are more or less cubical. Fully tempered glass is approximately four times stronger than annealed glass of the same thickness when exposed to uniform static pressure loads.

Fungi (wood)
Microscopic plants that live in damp wood and cause mold, stain, and decay.

Fungicide
A chemical that is poisonous to fungi.

Furnace
A heating system that uses the principle of thermal convection. When air is heated, it rises and as the air cools it settles. Ducts are installed to carry the hot air from the top of the furnace to the rooms. Other ducts, called cold air returns, return the cooler air back to the furnace.

Furring
Strips of wood or metal applied to a wall or other surface to even it and normally to serve as a fastening base for finish material.