To Help You Understand, Some Construction Termonology

Soldier Course  – A soldier course is a row of bricks all oriented in the same
direction which have been placed on their sides so that the long,
narrow side of the brick shows.
Soffit – The underside of an architectural structure such as an arch or
overhanging eaves.
String, Stringer – A timber or other support for cross members in floors or ceilings.
In stairs, the supporting member for stair treads, usually a notched
2 X 12 inch plank.
Subfloor – Plywood or particleboard placed over floor joists as a surface for
application of the finished floor.
Survey Pin-  Metal spikes driven into the ground to mark exactly where the
corners of a property are located.
Thermopane –  A “thermopane” or double-paned window has two panes of glass,
separated by a trapped air space. The trapped air acts as an
insulator, reducing heat loss through the glass.
Tie-Rod Hole – A hole that remains in the foundation once the form tie rods are
Transom –  A crosspiece separating a door or the like from a window or fan
light above it.
Tub Skirt – An upward or downward vertical extension of a bathroom fixture.
Weather Stripping – Rubber strips used around all exterior doors producing a
weatherproof seal.
Weeping Tile – A porous pipe used for underground drainage.

Arches –  A curved symmetrical structure spanning an opening and typically
supporting the weight of a bridge, roof, or wall above it.
Bearing Wall – A wall that supports any vertical load in addition to its own weight.
Breaker Panel –  The electrical box that distributes electric power entering the home
to each branch circuit (each plug and switch) and composed of
circuit breakers.
Brush Coating – A cement coating that is applied to the exterior surface of the
foundation wall for aesthetic purposes.
Caulking  – Sealant applied to the edges of windows, doorframes, and in
areas to create a waterproof seal.
Damper – Slats on a floor register or flap inside ductwork that can be moved
to allow airflow to be adjusted.
Downspouts – A pipe, usually of metal, for carrying rainwater down from the
roof’s horizontal gutters.
Eaves Trough –  Gutter on the bottom edge of roof to collect and convey rainwater
to the ground.
Fascia – Horizontal boards attached to rafter/truss ends at the eaves and
along gables. Roof drain gutters are attached to the fascia.
Flashing – Plastic or metal liner behind brickwork conducting water to the
outside of the wall.
Float Rod – Metal or plastic rod in toilet to which float is attached; it is
adjustable and used to regulate water levels in the tank.
Flush Ball  – Flush lever lifts this device on the toilet to allow water to flow from
the tank into the bowl.
Flush Ball Valve – This is an opening in which water flows from the toilet tank to the

Keystone – A central stone at the summit of an arch, locking the whole together
G.F.I. Outlet – A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI, GFI) is an ultra sensitive
plug designed to shut off all electric current. Used in bathrooms,
kitchens, exterior waterproof outlets, garage outlets, and “wet
areas”. Has a small reset button on the plug.

Load-Bearing – This is a wall in the house that directly supports the rest of the
Low E Argon – Low-E argon windows are designed to minimize the effects of the
outside climate on the interior temperature. Between each pane of
glass, low-E argon windows contain argon gas, which is
considerably more effective at reflecting heat than regular air. This
means that unwanted heat is deterred from entering the home and
interior heat is prevented from leaving.
Muriatic Acid – Cleaning agent that can be purchased at most hardware stores.
Overflow Pipe – Tube in the toilet tank that sits upright to prevent the tank from
overflowing if the float rod is not adjusted properly.
Plastic Laminate – Plastic sheeting that is laminated to particleboard.
Quarter Round – A small trim molding that has the cross section of a quarter circle.
Re-pointing – Reapplying mortar between bricks.
Register – Plastic or metal grate connected to heating system, where warm
air is sent into a room.
Risers – Each of the vertical boards closing the spaces between the treads
of stairways.
Shakes – A wood roofing material, normally cedar or redwood, produced by
splitting a block of the wood along the grain line.

Joists – Main supporting wood structure that is beneath the sub-floor

Insulation R Rating – R Values and their metric equivalent, RSI values are a way of labeling the effectiveness of insulating materials.  The higher the R – Value or RSI, the more resistance the material has to the movement of heat. Insulation products that are sold in Canada are labeled with R or RSI values for new construction with different values for different applications.

Ice Dam – This is a build up of ice under your roof shingles at the eave causing shingles to lift.

Hose Bib – Exterior faucet

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