Glossary I-Q

Updated by Jill Bowers



Wood beams that have top and bottom chords made out of laminated veneer lumber (LVL) or dimensional lumber and the center web made out of either plywood or oriented strand board. I-joists are stronger than joists made out of dimensional lumber and can often span from basement wall to basement wall, although in most cases a center bearing wall is still required.


Condition that occurs when snow melts on the heated portion of an improperly ventilated roof. The water drips down to the unheated portion where it freezes into ice. Eventually the build up of ice will cause the roof to leak.


The third of the six points of estimation, identification is where the estimator decides what an item is. For example, identification occurs when an estimator decides that a wood base is 3 1/2" paint-grade colonial base.

Indoor-outdoor carpet

Type of carpet that may be used in interior or exterior applications. Originally, indoor-outdoor carpet was made to imitate grass, but today it imitates many types of traditional interior carpet. See wool carpet, nylon carpet, berber carpet, sculptured carpet, and shag carpet.

Injected insulation

Insulation that is injected into place. There are two types of injected insulation. The first is foam that is injected into holes and cracks through tubes. The second is insulation that is injected through mesh into a framing cavity.

Inside corner

Corner formed where two walls meet at less than a 180 degree angle.

Inspection wizard

The Inspection wizard flags anything in the estimate that does not meet the predefined criteria that has been established for a given Profile. For example, flooring added to a room that exceeds the total square footage of the room is flagged as a violation, since this would fall under the Xactware rule of Excess. Depending on the Profile's Preferences settings, the inspection is Run on Complete and/or Run on Print. The inspection can also be run at any time within the estimate.

Insulated flue

Flue consisting of an inner pipe and an outer pipe with the space between the two filled with heat-resistant insulation.

Insulation board

Board used as a barrier against thermal or sound transmission. Insulation board may be made from fiber, pressed wood, or foam.

Insulation stop

Material placed in the roof system to prevent insulation from falling through the space between the top of the exterior wall and the bottom of the roof sheathing.

Insurance carried/required

Insurance Carried/Required is a ratio of insurance coverage to the value of the property insured. This field on the Loss Recap report, defaults to 1, which is correct unless the property is under-insured. This factor is calculated by dividing the insurance carried by the insurance required. For example, if an insurance policy requires 80% insurance to value (coinsurance) and, if a building were currently valued at $100,000, the Insurance Required for that building would be 80% of $100,000 or $80,000. If the Insurance Carried for the same building were only $60,000, you would calculate the Insurance Carried/Required ratio as follows: Insurance Carried ($60,000) ÷ Insurance Required ($80,000) = .75.

Integral drawer

Type of drawer in which the face serves as the front piece of the drawer. The drawer sides attach directly to the drawer face. See attached drawer.

Interior plaster

Plaster that is used as a wall or ceiling finish inside the structure.

Interlocking shingle

Shingles with interlocking edges; designed so that the wind cannot lift them. The most common type of interlocking shingle is the T lock.

Interlocking siding

Siding made from metal or vinyl with edges that interlock as the pieces are installed forming a weathertight seam.

Isolation membrane

A protective layer of material which is installed between tile and a substrate. The isolation membrane protects tile from movement in the underlying systems absorbs water that penetrates the tile surface. A mortar bed and cement board are two types of isolation membranes. See thinset tile, mortar bed, and cement board.


ITEL is an independent third party that provides unbiased analysis of damaged materials. A sample of the flooring and/or siding is sent with an ITEL Request Form. After the sample is received, ITEL performs a detailed analysis to determine the pertinent material specifications so that an appropriate match can be found. This feature requires a customized profile.

Item codes

Abbreviations of line items for purposes of grouping and separating.

Item definitions

Displays specifically what this activity includes and what it excludes; also displays any notes relating to the item. Displays a graphic of the item.

Item sales tax

Displays the tax type and rate for the selected item, as well as a breakdown of the sales tax total, the item price before tax and the taxed unit price.


Jack rafter

Short rafter that runs either from the valley rafter to the ridge board or from the hip rafter to the wall top plate.

Jalousie window

Window unit with numerous glass louvres that pivot simultaneously outward from the bottom.


Wood or metal parts around the top and sides of the inside of window and door openings. The window frame is made up of the jambs (side jambs and header jamb) and the window sill.

Joist hanger

Metal part used to provide permanent support for joists and headers that do not rest on top of a bearing member.


Parallel, horizontal framing members to which floor or ceiling boards are attached. Joists may be made from wood, steel, or concrete.

Junction box

Box which protects splices in electrical wires and provides access. Switches, outlets, and boxes for light fixtures are junction boxes.


Kiln drying

Lumber drying process where lumber is placed in a kiln or oven and heated until the excess moisture is removed. Kiln drying is about 10 times faster than surface drying.

King stud

Full-length stud located at each end of the header and parallel to the trimmer. The King stud holds the header and the trimmer in position.

Knob and tube wiring

Wiring system used before 1945. Two strands of copper wire are run along framing by connecting them to porcelain knobs and through framing inside porcelain tubes.

Knock down texture

Any type of drywall texture which is flattened or smoothed. Texture may be knocked down when it is semi-dry with a drywall knife or it can be sanded after it is dry.

Kraft paper

A heavy brown paper made of a sulfate pulp that is often used to face batt insulation. Kraft paper is not resistant to fire, so kraft-faced batt insulation must be covered with a fire-resistant material.


L flashing

L-shaped flashing made from one continuous piece of metal.

L-v-l beam

Laminated veneer lumber or micro-laminated beam, made from thin layers of wood, called veneers, that are glued together. The veneer segments may run either perpendicular or parallel to the load and they have no arch or camber.

Labor burden tax

Labor burden is the cost of employing a worker. State and Federal Unemployment taxes, Pollution Liability, and FICA are examples of labor burden taxes. These taxes, along with their respective rates appear in the Burden Taxes menu of the Price List Editor.

Labor overhead

Is intended to account for all additional costs incurred, and internal markups required by the employer to arrive at the billable hourly rate for the tradesperson. Some examples of costs that may be included in Labor Overhead are non-employee-owned tools, vehicle operational costs, uniforms, markup on material and labor, sub-contractor, O&P, etc.

Laced valley

Interlocking pattern formed in the valley of a roof by overlapping shingles in alternating rows, making a basket-weave pattern.

Laminated shingle

Most expensive type of composition shingle with laminated overlay strips which enhance the roof appearance. Laminated shingles may have an imprinted texture on their surface and may have from one to three laminated strips. Laminated shingles are commonly referred to as architectural or dimensional shingles.

Laminated square edge (countertop)

Edge on a countertop which is made by covering the square front corner with plastic laminate. See plastic laminate countertop.

Lap siding

Horizontal siding that is installed by overlapping the top edge of each course with the bottom edge of the course directly above it.

Laser level

Tool used in building construction that projects a light beam out on a level plane for use as a reference in aligning objects so they are level (e.g. grade stakes).


A wood, gypsum, or metal base over which plaster is spread.

Lauan plywood underlayment

A plywood underlayment made from lauan wood. See underlayment, particleboard underlayment, plywood underlayment, cement board underlayment, gypsum-based underlayment, and untempered hardboard underlayment.

Laundry room pan

Pan that is placed under a washer to catch water should the washer overflow. The pan may catch and hold the water or channel the water into a drain.

Layout board

Board which has been marked to show the distance between each of the trusses, used while trusses are being installed to ensure they are positioned properly.

Lazy susan

Type of specialty shelves which revolve.


Electrical conductor.


When something is parallel to the surface of the earth, forming a line that would be the same as the surface of a liquid at that height. See plumb.

Level cut

True horizontal cut, when a member is installed. The actual angle required for a level cut is determined by the slope of the member to be installed. A level cut is at right angles to the plumb cut.


Each individual opening in the window unit that holds a window pane.

Line item tags

Line item tags give you the ability to append pieces of data to line items (including price list items and contents items). These tags don't have any effect on the default functions in the estimate; they are used to collect data such as a franchise number, a resource, a date, etc. (all line items are automatically tagged with the date that the line item is entered).


A type of flooring made from ground cork and linseed oil. Although linoleum is no longer made in North America, it can still be imported from Europe. Many people outside the construction industry say linoleum when they mean vinyl. The two terms are not interchangeable.


Horizontal structural member above a door or window opening. Used to support the weight over the opening by distributing the weight to each side.

Live load

Temporary weight that will be placed on the structural part, including things such as snow, people, and furniture.


Members which extend out from the roof system to support the fly rafter.

Loop pile

Carpet pile in which fibers are looped and both ends are attached to the carpet backing. See pile and cut pile.

Low E

Membrane that is placed between double panes of glass to filter light coming through the window. Transfers more heat through the glass in the winter and blocks heat in the summer.

Low voltage wiring

Wiring commonly used for television antennas, door bells, thermostats, intercoms, and some specialty lighting systems.

Low-profile water closet

Water closet with a short tank which cannot usually be detached from the bowl. See water closet and turbo toilet.

Lower unit (cabinet)

A cabinet unit that is designed to sit on the floor. Also called a base unit. See vanity cabinet, upper unit, and full height cabinet.


Machine texture

Any texture that is applied to drywall using a machine.

Main disconnect

A set of large switches or breakers which allow electricity to the structure to be turned off without removing the meter. On newer structures the main disconnect is located on the meter base.

Mansard roof

Roof style with four sides similar to a hip roof but each side is divided into an upper and lower section, the lower section having a steeper slope than the upper section. Often, the center of the mansard roof consists of a flat roof.


Trim or shelf above and around the fireplace opening.

Market conditions

If you adjust a unit price for an item, the difference between the price list amount and your adjusted unit price will be displayed in the Market Conditions field in this window. Market Conditions should not be used to make routine unit price adjustments. The concept of market conditions is intended to be used for short-term situations, such as catastrophes. In these cases, unit price levels are temporarily affected by shortages combined with high demand, but can be reasonably expected to revert to traditional levels when the situation has returned to normal.


Important part of the painting process, done before the paint is applied. Masking involves placing tape on materials adjacent to the surface being painted to keep them clean. Typically masking is done on trim that will not be painted the same color as the wall.


Stonework or brickwork which is assembled by a mason.

Mass produced cabinets

Milled cabinets that are built in large quantities and in standard sizes. They are sold in high volume through retailers. See built-in cabinets, milled cabinets, and custom cabinets.

Matching items

List of items populated based off of key words used in the Search field used to find desired line item.


Displays the totals for all materials costs for the activity. The breakdown between Contractor Supplied and Non-Contractor Supplied material can be specified in the Price List Editor's Components window or entered directly if you are just adding the materials to an activity.

Material Identification

An indicator such as a SKU number or Serial Number that uniquely identifies a particular material component or a third party analysis performed to identify a reliable material match.

MCM (Micro Circular Mills)

American standard gauge unit of measure for wire sizes that are larger than four aught. Also see American standard gauge.

MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard)

Type of pressed fiberboard often used in cabinet building.


Dimensions (area, length, and width etc.) of line items, rooms and areas to be used for determining pricing and estimations for projects, rebuilds, remodels, etc.

Measuring tape

A basic tool used to determine dimensions. A measuring tape has marks on it which make it possible to read dimensions with accuracy of up to 1/16th of an inch or more. Measuring tapes often have special marks at each 16" interval for easy location of 16-inch-on-center framing members.


A thin veneer of plastic which is usually bonded directly to the surface of medium density fiberboard (MDF). See plastic laminate.


Solid sheet of waterproof material that covers an entire roof area. The membrane is able to hold moisture for a short period of time until it drains off of the roof so it can be used on roofs with very slight slope.

Messenger cable

On an overhead electrical drop, the messenger cable is one of the three intertwined cables in the drop wire which contains the neutral lead and carries the weight of the other leads.

Metal stirrup

Used to connect a wood column or post to a concrete part. It holds the wood member securely while preventing the long grains of the wood from directly contacting the moist concrete. This keeps the moisture that collects on the concrete from being pulled into the wood by capillary action.

Meter base

The base into which the power meter is attached.

Mill finish

Surface finish found on aluminum when it is extruded at the mill.

Milled cabinets

Cabinets built by a manufacturer in a cabinet mill. See built-in cabinets, custom cabinets, and mass produced cabinets.

Mineral fibers

Material made from steel or copper slag. Mineral fibers do not burn easily and may be used as batt or blown-in-place insulation. A common type of mineral fiber insulation is called rock wool.

Minimum charges

Minimum amount charged for repair in lieu of line item costs.

Miter joint

Siding joint made by dividing the angle of the intersecting walls in half and then cutting the pieces of intersecting trim at that angle so that they fit together. Most commonly, a 90 degree angle is formed by cutting the intersecting members at 45 degree angles, then joining them together.

Modified bitumen roof system

Single membrane roof system made from either asphalt or coal tar pitch with added plasticisers. Installation methods for modified bitumen systems include both hot mop and torch down.

Mono truss

Truss that has only one slope so that its outline is a triangle. Generally installed to rest on an exterior wall and on an inside bearing wall or they will bear on the vertical member at the high end of the truss. Mono trusses may be used to form the outside portion of a mansard roof.

Monolithic pour

Also called mono-pour, it means "one-pour." A monolithic pour includes the footings, foundation, and floor slab. They are all formed and then poured at the same time. Rebar is installed either before or during the placement of the wet concrete at the same positions it is found in other types of foundation/floor system construction where multiple pours are used.


Mixture of cement, aggregate and water which is placed between blocks or bricks to bond them together. The primary differences between mortar, grout, and concrete are the ratio of materials used and the size of the aggregate. No coarse aggregate such as gravel is used in mortar. Sand is used as the only aggregate.

Mortar bed

A type of isolation membrane which is made by spreading a layer of mortar, usually between 1/2" to 1-1/2" thick, over the substrate. After the mortar bed dries, the tiles are attached. See thinset tile, isolation membrane, and cement board.


A recess cut into a surface to receive a tenon or lock.


Vertical part used to connect side-by-side window units. Not to be confused with muntins.

Multiple ply membrane

Roof system with more than one layer. Multiple ply membrane roof systems are also called built-up roofs and hot tar roofs. They are usually made from roll roofing materials that are bonded together with asphalt. A three-ply roof has a base sheet, ply sheet, and cap sheet. A five-ply roof has a base sheet, three ply sheets, and a cap sheet. Hot tar (asphalttarmac) is used to bond the plies and make the roof water-tight.


Vertical or horizontal molding that divides the glass into separate lights. Also see grid and mullion.

Muriatic acid

Commercial grade of hydrochloric acid used to clean mortar off stone and other masonry.


Nail gun

See stud gun and pneumatic nailer.

Natural break

A naturally occurring transition in a material. For example, on walls natural breaks occur at corners or where one material such as painted walls intersects another type of material such as wallpaper.

Net yield

The actual labor productivity which is the result of factoring in assumed time for breaks, set-up, clean-up, etc. The net yield is achieved by applying a waste percentage supporting event factor to the direct yield.

Neutral conductor

One of three electrical conductors provided to a residential structure. Is connected with one of the current carrying leads to provide 120 volt power.

Newel post

Vertical anchor post at the top and bottom of a stair system as well as at other transition or anchor points to which the top and bottom rails are attached. See balustrade.

Non-bearing wall

Any wall that does not support a load above it, also called a partition wall. The primary purpose of a non-bearing wall is to provide privacy. A non-bearing wall is a non-structural part.

Non-recoverable depreciation

Non-recoverable depreciation is the amount of depreciation that will be permanently deducted from the amount the insured receives for the loss. Depreciation is the reduction in value of tangible property caused by physical deterioration or obsolescence. If a damaged carpet were to be replaced, depreciation would be higher for an older carpet that had nearly achieved its life expectancy.

Non-structural part

Part of a building that is not essential for supporting a load or for keeping the structure intact.


No value assigned.


The fourth of the six points of estimation, number is where the estimator calculates how many units of an item will be replaced. For example, number includes calculating things such as the cubic yards of concrete in a slab or the square feet of drywall on a ceiling.

Number one common oak grade

Grade of oak strip flooring which may have bright spots of sap, pinworm holes, machine defects, streaky or inconsistent color, grain variations and a few knots. See select and better oak grade and number two common oak grade.

Number two common oak grade

Grade of oak strip flooring which may have pronounced bright spots of sap, pinworm holes, machine defects, streaky or inconsistent color, grain variations, and knots. Some defects found in number two common oak grade are so severe that the installer will want to cut out some bad spots or even discard some severely flawed strips of wood. See select and better oak grade and number one common oak grade.

Nylon carpet

A carpet made from man-made nylon fibers. See wool carpet, berber carpet, indoor-outdoor carpet, sculptured carpet, and shag carpet.


On center

The distance between two parallel framing members measured from the center of one member to the center of the next. Typical wall framing is 12, 16, or 24 on center.

One quarter bond

Course of brick in which the vertical joint between bricks is one fourth of the way across the length of the brick in the course below it.

One third bond

Course of brick in which the vertical joint between bricks is one third of the way across the length of the brick in the course below it.


An agency which will mark the location of all utility easements on a lot, usually using stakes or painting lines. This service is not available in all areas and the name of the agency varies from state to state.

One-dimensional calculations

Items that are simply counted or measured in just one direction. "Each" and "Lineal Feet" are examples of one-dimensional units of measure.

One-quarter turn

A handrail piece that is used to turn a 90 degree corner. See top rail, volute, goose neck, and balustrade.

Open valley

Method of flashing the valley of a roof in which the corrosion-resistant flashing material is left exposed while shingles from each side overlap the edges of the flashing.

Orange peel texture

Finish applied to drywall with a machine that splatters mud onto the walls leaving a bumpy texture that is similar to the pattern on an orange peel.

Order of operations

The mathematic rules which specify the order in which mathematic operations must be accomplished to produce the correct result. The order of operations is as follows: 1. Operations inside parenthesis 2. Squares and square roots 3. Multiplication and division 4. Addition and subtraction.

Organic shingles

Composition shingles made with an organic mat.


The second of the six points of estimation, organization is the method used to document the loss. Organization often begins with an accurate and detailed interior and exterior areas. The interior is organized by levels, such as the basement, main floor, and attic. Each level is then broken down into rooms. The estimate should usually start in the room and level where the damage point of origin is found. Other rooms are estimated in a clockwise (or counter-clockwise) direction from the first room. Center rooms and halls are estimated last. When all rooms in a level are complete the estimator moves to the next level and repeats the procedure, usually starting in the most heavily damaged room.

Oriented strand board (osb)

Type of wood product used for sheathing, it is produced by gluing together three layers of wood chips or strands that are smaller than the chips used in waferboard and are longer than they are wide. The chips in the top and bottom layers are parallel to the length of the panel and the chips in the center layer are perpendicular.

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)

Federally funded agency in the Department of Labor which seeks to develop job safety and health standards.

Outside corner

Corner formed where two walls meet at more than a 180 degree angle.


Horizontal distance that an eave or rake extends beyond the exterior wall of the structure.

Overhead & Profit (O&P)

Overhead and Profit (O&P) are the terms used together to represent the expenses not charged (attributed) directly to the work being performed (O) and the added cost of profit (P) of a project.

Overhead door

Door commonly found on garages, mounted in a track or frame enabling it to move above the opening when in the open position. See also up and over door.

Overlap joint

Siding joint made by placing the edge of a piece of siding over a previously installed piece of siding.

Overlapping seam

Waterproof seam created by placing the edge of one long side of a metal roofing panel over the long edge of the panel adjacent to it. A gasket may be placed along the seam.

Overlaying shingles

The process of laying a new layer of shingles on top of an old layer of shingles. Overlaying shingles can make a roof more susceptible to hail damage.


Fine particles of paint that are carried in the air from the paint sprayer. These particles may then land on other surfaces which are not intended to be painted.


P Trap

A plumbing part—shaped like the letter P—that holds water inside which traps sewer gases in the line and prevents them from entering the structure.

Paint grade material

Trim material which has flaws or joints that will be hidden if the material is painted.

Paint sprayer

High pressure paint pump that sprays paint through a sprayer tip or nozzle onto the surface. The two types of paint sprayers are air powered and airless.

Pan tile

U-shaped roofing tile that forms the troughs in a barrel tile roof.

Paper burns

Tiny fibers that are raised in the drywall surface when sanded excessively.


A 4-sided shape in which the diagonals drawn from opposite corners are not equal and opposite sides are parallel to each other.

Parapet wall

Often found around flat roof systems, a parapet wall is a low wall around the perimeter of the roof which rises above the roof deck.

Parquet flooring

Wood floor which consists of small pieces of wood that are arranged into a specific design. Parquet flooring is generally made from pre-manufactured interlocking blocks. See plank flooring, strip flooring, and plug-and-plank flooring.

Particleboard underlayment

An underlayment made from small wood chips or particles which are glued together. Particleboard is the most common type of vinyl floor underlayment. See underlayment, plywood underlayment, lauan plywood underlayment, cement board underlayment, gypsum-based underlayment, and untemplered hardboard underlayment.

Partition wall

Also called a non-bearing wall, a partition wall is any wall that does not support a load above it. Its primary purpose is to provide privacy, it is a non-structural part.

Passage hardware

Interior door hardware which does not lock. See privacy hardware.

Pattern layer (vinyl flooring)

One of three layers of material typically found in vinyl floor covering. The pattern layer is the inner foam layer which is sandwiched between the backing and the wear layer. See wear layer and backing layer.

Pattern rafter

Rafter used as a guide for making all other common rafters.


Any tile or masonry unit that can be used as a surface upon which one may drive or walk.

Pb (polybutylene)

A type of plastic plumbing pipe made from polybutylene or PB.

Pb manifold system

A system which distributes hot and cold water to individual plumbing fixtures from a single panel of valves.

Pea gravel

Aggregate or stones roughly the size of peas.


Highest part of the roof where the roof planes meet, also called the ridge.


A measurement of nail size, usually indicated by a "d." For example, 2d indicates a 2 penny nail. The higher the number of PENNIES the longer the nail. A 2d nail is 1" long and a 60d nail is 6" long. The most common framing nail is 16d which is 3 1/2" long. See common nails, gun nails, box nails, and sinkers.


General movement of liquid through soil.


The measurement around the outside of an object. The Perimeter of a rectangle or triangle is the sum of the lengths of its sides. On a circle the perimeter is also referred to as the circumference, and is calculated by multiplying pi (3.14) times the diameter.

Perimeter backing

A type of backing used on some types of specialty vinyl floor covering which should be installed with adhesive placed around the perimeter of the room only. Trowel marks in the adhesive will often show through vinyls with perimeter backing. See backing layer.

Perimeter drain

Drain line that runs around the perimeter of the structure. Usually constructed from pipe that is perforated so that water can seep into it and then be carried away. The drain pipe is usually buried in washed, course aggregate or crushed rock, and covered by a silt barrier. Designed to drain off ground water before it can overcome the foundation dampproofing system.


The first of the six points of estimation, perspective is where the estimator gains an understanding of the loss and decides where and how to proceed. Perspective includes such things as determining the type of structure, learning what caused the damage, noting subrogation issues, locating the damage point of origin, taking photos, and developing a theory of the total effect of the damaging event.


A mathematical constant used in many calculations involving circles. PI is equal to 3.141596... but is often rounded to 3.14.


Vertical column that provides support for a large load. The sizes and numbers of piers are determined by a structural engineer. The base of the pier is usually sized so that it is large enough to act as a footing.

Pier and grade beam structure

Structure utilizing piers and grade beams to lower the footings down to a level where they will rest on bedrock or stable soil. This type of construction is commonly used on steep hillsides. The piers act like cleats to hold the structure on the hillside and the grade beams rest on the piers to support the structure.


Carpet fibers which have been attached to a carpet backing. See loop pile and cut pile.

Pipe dope

Compound placed on threads that helps to seal threaded pipe joints.

Pipe flashing

Flashing that is placed around any pipe that penetrates the roof. A gasket-like sleeve fits around the pipe and its base slides under the upper shingle and over the lower shingle.


Expression of the angle of a rafter as a ratio of total rise over span.

Plain sawing

A method of cutting boards from a log by sawing from one side of the log to the other. The grain in plain sawn boards can vary from a 45 degree angle to the face of the board to a grain that is almost parallel to the face of the board depending upon where the board was cut from the log. See quartersawing.


A set of pictures of a building showing it from different views. A plan provides instruction for the construction of the building depicted.

Plan view

Another name for floor plan.

Plank flooring

Wood floor that contains wood strips that are over 3-1/4" wide. See strip flooring, parquet flooring, and plug-and-plank flooring.


Made from concrete, water and aggregate as are concrete, grout and mortar. It is mixed using sand as its aggregate, using no course aggregates such as gravel. It produces a hard, concrete-like surface. Plaster is often used as a finish coat on the exterior of a block wall.

Plastic laminate countertop

Type of countertop in which plastic laminate veneer is glued over supporting material that is usually made from plywood or medium density fiberboard (MDF). In practice, many people refer to plastic laminate by the brand name formica. See solid surface countertop, solid plastic countertop, wood block countertop, cultured countertop, cultured marble countertop, stone countertop, and tile countertop.


Additive that increases the flexibility of a material. Examples of plasticisers include SBS and APP.


Refers to the softness of concrete or how easy it is to mold and shape. Concrete that has a high plasticity flows easily and is easy to work with. When concrete loses its plasticity it becomes hard and can no longer be worked with.


Horizontal framing member of the wall that is used to hold the studs in place, specifically called the bottom or top plate depending on its location.

Plate glass mirror

Mirror made from high quality glass that can be up to 1 1/4" thick. A plate glass mirror can be glued directly to the wall, held in a frame that is hung on the wall, or held in place with plastic clips.


Main ducts that connect to the furnace.

Plot plan

One of the five basic views found on a plan. Plot plan is a view as though you are looking directly down on the lot or plot of land showing the structure in place along with the lot boundaries and easements.

Plug-and-plank flooring

Wood flooring which is installed by installing fasteners through the tops of boards. Holes for fasteners are pre-drilled along with a countersink hole. After the fasteners are tightened into place, the holes are filled with plugs which are usually sanded level with the finish floor. See plank flooring, strip flooring, and parquet flooring.


When something is exactly straight up and down. It is perpendicular to a level line.

Plumb cut

True vertical cut when a member is installed. The actual angle required for a plumb cut is determined by the slope of the member. A plumb cut is at right angles to the level cut.

Plumbing stack

A vertical pipe in a waste system that extends from the underground drain line up through the roof. The plumbing stack provides a central collection point which carries waste to the sewer lateral.

Ply sheet

Layer of built-up roofing sandwiched between the base sheet and the cap sheet. The more plies included in the multiple ply membrane roof system, the higher the quality.


Type of wood product used for sheathing, it is produced by gluing together several thin layers or veneers of wood. Each layer is called a ply. The grain of each ply runs perpendicular to the next ply. There is an odd number of plys so that the exposed surface grain on both sides runs in the same direction.

Plywood underlayment

An underlayment made from plywood that has been specially manufactured for use as a vinyl floor underlayment. See underlayment, particleboard underlayment, lauan plywood underlayment, cement board underlayment, gypsum-based underlayment, and untempered hardboard underlayment.

Pneumatic nailer

Tool which uses compressed air to drive a nail, usually into wood, but can drive special nails into hard surfaces like concrete.

Pocket door

Sliding door which rolls on a track and opens into a cavity in the wall.

Point of origin

The point from which the damage began. For example, in a fire the point of origin is where the fire started.

Polyvinyl acetate (pva)

Water-based primer commonly used on drywall. When used on wood PVA can cause raised grains.

Popcorn texture

Finish applied to drywall ceilings that contains large clumps of texturing material that leave a heavy texture, similar to popcorn or cottage cheese. Also called acoustic texture or cottage cheese texture.

Post and beam structure

Foundation system or building support system made from posts and beams. Diagonal supports are often installed to help keep the posts vertical.

Post-formed countertop

Type of plastic laminate countertop that includes an integral rolled backsplash and a rolled front edge. Postformed countertops are fabricated in a shop. See plastic laminate countertop and flat-laid countertop.

Poured-in insulation

Loose insulation which comes in bags and is poured into place. Most commonly used to fill cavities in masonry walls.

Power roller

Paint roller with a pump unit attached to bring the paint onto the roller so it can be spread evenly on the surface.

Power vent

Electric fan in the vent is turned on by a thermostat to pull the air through the attic space. May be placed inside a vent placed on the roof deck or inside a gable vent.

PPFA (Plastic Pipe and Fittings Association)

An association which produces standards and methods for joining and installing plastic pipes and fittings.

Pre-hung door

Door unit which comes with the jamb assembled, door stop in place, and the slab connected to the jamb with hinges.

Pre-pasted wallpaper

Wallpaper with adhesive that was applied to the paper then dehydrated. Pre-pasted wallpaper can be attached by dipping it into water and then placing it on the wall. In practice, many installers will apply a thin layer of paste.

Pressure tank

Used with a water pump to provide pressure in plumbing lines when the pump is not running. The pressure tank contains water and air. As water is pumped into the pressure tank the air compresses. When a faucet is opened the air pressure in the tank pushes the water through the lines. When pressure drops below a preset limit the pump turns on. When the pressure in the tank reaches a preset high level the pump turns off.

Pressure-treated lumber

Lumber which has had chemicals forced into it by pressure to make it more resistant to moisture-related rot.

Pressurized irrigation water

Water that is not fit for human consumption but is provided to a structure for use as irrigation water for plants and lawns.

Price note

When you are entering price list items into an estimate and the pricing information for a line item isn't immediately available, you can enter a price note to replace the price. For example, if your estimate contains a custom-made item for which you have not yet received a bid, you can add the price note "Bid Pending."

Price list

A price list contains commonly used items and their associated costs, from which an estimator can select when creating an estimate. In Xactimate, you can create and store as many price lists as they want in order to cover different jobs and geographical areas. Xactware researches and publishes separate, localized price lists for nearly 500 individual markets in North America, with costs based on local and regional material, labor, equipment, and unit cost information, as surveyed from suppliers who service each individual market. Published price lists can be used and edited to fit a company's needs. During the estimating process in Xactimate, users can use a published price list cost for items, or can choose to enter line item costs for individual tasks, summarized costs for each phase of the job, or the total job price as miscellaneous items.

Price List Audit Report

On the Price List Audit Report you can compare a modified price list with it's original. A modified price list is a price list that has been changed, duplicated, or created via Compare/Merge.

Price List Editor

The Price List Editor allows you to view, edit, duplicate and delete items in non-read-only price lists.

Price List Filter

The Price List Filter Editor lets you create and/or edit a price list filter, which you can then use to filter out price list items that you don't want to see when scoping your estimate(s).

Price List Merge Wizard

With the Compare/Merge Price List Wizard you can evaluate the differences between two price lists as you combine (merge) them. This would be helpful, for example, if you have customized some aspects of a price list according to your specific needs and then receive a new version of that list with updated pricing data. In the information windows you can modify the Source price of a selected component prior to merging it into the Target price list in the Compare/Merge Price Lists Wizard.

Price List Supporting Events

The Price List Editor Supporting Events menu displays indirect activities (such as waste) that are used by price list items, along with a list of all items that use the selected supporting event. For instance, the supporting event FCRLINO (linoleum floor waste due to handling, cutting and fitting) is used in both price list item FCRLINO (Linoleum floor covering sheet goods) and FCRRUB (Rubberized floor surface—glued sheets, poured or rolled).


Numerical amount(s) individually and holistically of line items, materials, equipment and labor of a given project(s).


First coat of paint applied to a surface in order to seal the surface and provide a good base to which the paint may adhere.

Privacy hardware

Interior door hardware which locks. See passage hardware.

Profile manager

With the release of Multiple License Versions by Xactware, certain carriers approve specific versions of Xactimate for use with their profiles. The Profile Version Manager allows you to view the version to which each profile is set.

Project Filter

In the Project Filter/Search window you can temporarily filter out projects from the Projects List. This is helpful if you have a large number of active projects and need to find specific kinds of projects. For example, you can create a filter that displays only estimates that you personally created, temporarily removing the projects created by other Xactimate users.

Project Merge Wizard

With the Project Merge Wizard you can create several, separate estimates for a single claim and then merge them into a one estimate prior to completing the claim. This is helpful when you want to assign several different adjusters to work on a claim that has many similar rooms, such as an apartment, flat or condo complex.

Project Preview pane

The Project Preview pane appears by default in the upper right corner of the Control Center Dashboard window. It displays the lowest level of the sketch for the estimate highlighted in the Recent Projects List. The arrows at the bottom of the Project Preview pane allow you to view other levels of the sketch.

Project SmartList

The Projects SmartList displays all current projects, regardless of status, type, profile, or user ID. The Projects SmartList allows you to quickly open existing projects, edit projects, create new projects, and view estimates or valuations. In the Project Information window you can view information about a project, rename or reassign a project, and modify and print notes.

Protected pattern

A pattern left on a surface that was exposed to heat and smoke. Items on the surface, such as appliances and dishes, protect the areas they rest on from heat and smoke. When the surface is cleaned a pattern remains because the exposed areas discolor more than do the areas that were covered.


Common abbreviation for pounds per square inch; unit of measure used to specify the strength of concrete.


A handle used on drawers and cabinet doors.

Pulse system

Furnace which produces heat through multiple explosions of gas.


Horizontal member that spans across adjacent rafters or beams, commonly installed to provide a fastening surface for the roofing material.

Pvc (polyvinyl chloride)

Type of plastic which is used to make elastomeric roof membranes as well as plumbing pipes and fittings, conduit, and fences.

Pythagorean theorem

A mathematic relationship between sides of right triangles specifying that the length of the hypotenuse (longest side) squared equals the sum of the lengths of the other two sides squared. It is often expressed as: "a squared + b squared = c squared. " The theorem can be used to solve for any side of a right triangle where the lengths of the other two sides are known. To solve for side "a," use the formula "a = c - b." To solve for side "b," use the formula "b = c - a."


Quad outlet

An outlet/electrical socket with four ports.

Quarry tile

Type of tile that is generally used for interior floors or exterior pavers. Quarry tiles are generally between 3/8" and 1/2" thick and can be made from porcelain, slate, or natural clay. See ceramic mosaic tile and glazed wall tile.


A method of cutting boards from a log by sawing from the bark side of the log in toward the center axis of the log. Called quartersawing because logs are usually split into quarters before they are sawn. Quartersawn boards have a consistent grain that runs at a 45 to 90 degree angle to the face of the board. See plain sawing.

Quick copy

With the Quick Copy option, you can create an exact replica of the estimate that you currently have opened.


Large stones, usually rectangular, used as decorative corners. Generally installed to protrude or recess from the structure.

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