Home Building Terms

A/C An abbreviation for air conditioner or air conditioning.

A/C Condenser The outside fan unit of the air conditioning system.

A/C Disconnect The main electrical ON-OFF switch near the A/C condenser.

Aerator The round screened screw-on tip of a sink spout. It mixes water and air for a smooth flow.

Aggregate A mixture of sand and rock that is mixed into concrete.

Air Space The area between the brick and the wall. Normally a 1′ air gap.

Allowance The amount of money allowed by the builder to spend on such items as Flooring, Lighting, Landscaping, etc.

Anchor Bolt Bolt to secure a treated wooded plate to concrete, that secures the wall to the concrete slab.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR) Annual cost of credit over the life of a loan, including interest, service charges, points, loan fees, mortgage insurance, and other items.

Appraisal An expert estimation of the value of a Home based on other homes that have sold in the same price range and neighborhood.

Apron A trim board that is installed beneath a window sill.

Architect One who has completed a course of study in building and design, and is licensed by the state as an architect. One who draws up plans and sometimes supervises the construction of homes. For a percentage of the job cost.

Architectural Review Committee A group appointed by the Home Owners Association to review your house plans, color selections, brick selection, etc. to make sure you are complying with the Protective Covenants. This group will meet about twice a month.

Assessment A tax levied on a property, or a value placed on the worth of a property.

Assumption Allows a buyer to assume responsibility for an existing loan instead of getting a new loan. The assumption may have to be approved by the lender.

Astragal A molding, attached to one of a pair of swinging double doors, against which the other door strikes.

Attic Access An opening that is placed in the drywalled ceiling of a home providing access to the attic or a set of prefab stairs that folds into the attic.

Baffles Device to help achieve a ventilation space between insulation and roof sheathing. It helps assure air flow from the eave vents in attics and cathedral ceilings.

Ballast A transformer that steps up the voltage in a florescent lamp.

Balusters Vertical members in a railing used between a top rail and bottom rail or the stair treads. Sometimes referred to as “pickets” or “spindles.”

Balustrade The rail, posts and vertical balusters along the edge of a stairway or elevated walkway.

Band Joist Vertical member that forms the perimeter of a floor system in which the floor joists tie in. Also known as the rim joist.

Barrel Vault A vaulted ceiling of semi-circular shape, creating a dome-like appearance.

Baseboard Any board or molding found at the bottom of an interior wall.

Basement Foundation a basement is a usable foundation that typically has ceiling heights of 8′ and is often finished off as living or storage space.

Bay Window A window that projects outward in a curve, or a 45 degree angle.

Bi-Level A home that has two levels. Typically, a garage or storage area is situated in the lower level and the home in the upper section.

Board Foot Measurement of lumber that is the equivalent of 144 cubic inches.

Bonus Room A room with no specifically designated function, unlike a living room, bedroom, or kitchen and is not included in the initial square footage.

Bottom Plate The lowest horizontal member of a wall which rests on the rough floor, to which the studding is nailed.

Brick Veneer A vertical facing of brick laid against and fastened to sheathing of a framed wall.

Builders Risk Insurance Insurance coverage on a construction project during construction, including extended coverage that may be added for the contract for the customer’s protections.

Building Code A comprehensive set of laws that controls the construction or remodeling of a home or other structure.

Bull Nose Drywall Rounded drywall corners.

Bundle A package of shingles. Normally, there are 3 bundles per square and 27 shingles per bundle.

Can Light A flush mounted ceiling light in which the fixture is recessed in the attic and the only part visible is the bulb and trim ring.

Cantilever A projecting structure supported on one end, such as a balcony.

Cavity The empty space between studs or joist to place insulation batts.

Change Order This is a document that is filled out when a customer makes a change to the house plan after construction begins. It describes the change and the cost which will protect both the customer and the builder.

Circuit Breaker A device which looks like a switch and is usually located inside the electrical panel or circuit breaker box. It is designed to (1) shut of the power to portions or all of the house and (2) to limit the amount of power flowing through a circuit (measured in amperes).

Clerestory An outside wall of a room or building that rises above an adjoining roof and contains windows.

Coffered Ceiling A ceiling with recessed square panels, borered with trim for ornamental purposes.

Concrete Block A hollow concrete ‘brick’ often 8″ x 8″ x 16″ in size. Often used in low rise commercial and residential construction.

 Conduit A tube or duct for enclosing electric wires or other cables.

Cornice This refers to the overhang of a roof. Most homes have about 12 inches overhang to allow rainwater to fall away from the exterior wall.

Dental Molding One of a series of small projecting rectangular blocks forming a molding under an overhang, most common in colonial-style homes.

Developer The person or group that purchased the entire parcel of land where the subdivision is located. The developer then sells lots to homebuilders or individuals. Richard Hiatt is both a developer and a new homebuilder.

Draw The amount that is currently available to a contractor under a contract with a fixed payment schedule.

Ductwork A system of large tubes, pipes or channels (ducts) designed to deliver air to and from the HVAC system.

Easement An easement is a right of access to a property. There are several types of easements. A drainage easement is for storm water runoff and allows the developer access to create a slope in the ditch on the edge of your property. A utility easement is for the water, phone, sewer, & electric company to be able to install or repair their lines. Most easements run along the side or rear lot lines.

Eave Vent Vent opening located in the soffit under the eaves of a house to allow the passage of air through the attic and out the roof vents.

Eaves The projecting overhang at the lower edge of a roof.

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.

Electrical Service Panel Refers to the high-voltage electrical systems’s first point of entry into a home beyond the meter.

Elevations The exterior view of a home design that shows the position of the house relative to the grade of the land.

Fascia Horizontal boards attached to rafter ends at the eaves and along gables. Roof drain gutters are attached to the fascia.

Flashing The building component used to connect portions of a roof, deck, or siding material to another surface such as a chimney, wall, or vent pipe. Often made out of various metals, and is mostly intended to prevent water entry.

Footing Trenches of poured concrete around the perimeter of the house or below each pier or column that supports and distributes the weight of the house to the ground.

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 the local building codes and regulations.

Gable Roof A roof that consists of two sloping planes that meet at the ridge or peak. The planes are supported at their ends by triangular, upward extensions of walls known as gables.

Gable Vent A louver mounted in the top of the gable to allow the passage of air through the attic.

Hardiplank A concrete composite material that is used on the exterior of a home in place of masonite or vinyl siding. This material will not rot but will need to be painted.

Hearth The area at the bottom of a fireplace consisting of brick or tile.

Plot Plan or Site Plan This is a drawing of your lot that has the area in which your house plan must fit. Some house plans may not fit on your lot. This drawing will include the house plan and driveway laid out within the setbacks, outlined by the architectural review committee, onto the survey of your lot.

Punch List A list of items that need to be completed or repaired. In most cases, the customer will supply two punch lists, one about 5 days before closing and one about 60 days after move in. These items are non- emergency and can wait to be corrected all at one time.

Quoins Brick extensions on the outside corners of the house.

Setback The distance inward from the lot lines in which you cannot build on. For instance in Kingsmill, one section has a setback of 10 feet from the side lines, 20 feet from the rear line, and 25 feet from the front line. You cannot put your house within that distance of the property lines.

Washed Aggregate A form of concrete in which the top layer of rock is exposed. This technique is found in driveways, porches, and patios.