Glossary A-H

Updated by Jill Bowers


2/10 Rule

A rule that states that the top of a flue must be at least two feet higher than any roof part within ten feet.

4/1 Rule

A rule for safe placement of a ladder. The 4/1 Rule states that for every four feet of working ladder length, the base of the ladder should be one foot out from the top support point.



The method used to get the concrete from the improved road used by the delivery truck into the forms. The two primary methods for access are to build a temporary road close enough to the forms so that the truck can reach them or to use a concrete pump.

Acetal plastic

A type of PB pipe fitting, usually used with aluminum crimp rings, that commonly fails.

Activity Calendar

Within the Activity Calendar you can view and edit activities for all projects that you are working on and receive reminders of the date and time an activity needs to be completed. To view the Activity Calendar from the Control Center, click the Xactimate tab and select Tools.

Activity Report

The Activity Report window displays a list of activities (to-do items) that apply to the open estimate.

ACV—Actual Cash Value

Actual Cash Value is the cost to purchase a new items to replace a damaged, lost, or stolen item, less applicable depreciation, wear, or obsolescence.


Chemicals added to the water, cement, aggregate mix when making concrete. Among the most common admixtures are those that improve plasticity, retard or advance hydration, or add color.


Sand or gravel or a combination of both. The use and size of gravel varies depending on whether the product is concrete (sand plus gravel larger than 1/4 inch), grout (sand plus gravel 1/4 inch or smaller), mortar, or plaster (sand only).

Air brake

A connection added into the drain line that runs from the dishwasher to the garbage disposal. The air brake prevents stagnant garbage disposal from entering the dishwasher by allowing air into the line which prevents a siphon from forming.

Air conditioning coil

A coil configured to remove heat from refrigerant gas.

Air cooled flue

A flue which may consist of double or triple pipes in which heated gases rising out of the inner flue creates a draft that pulls cool air through the outer pipe(s).

Air entrainment agent

A type of admixture that is actually a detergent which produces small, evenly spaced bubbles in concrete mix. It makes the concrete most plastic or workable while adding a host of benefits, making concrete stronger.

ALE—Additional living expenses

Additional living expense coverage is generally included in the Loss of Use expenses section of the homeowner policy. If an adequately insured homeowner experiences a loss so severe that the home is uninhabitable, the insured can be reimbursed for additional living expenses required to maintain temporary housing off-site. Examples of additional living expenses are: an apartment or motel room, restaurant meals, and laundromat expenses. Additional living expenses may be limited by time or dollar amount. Generally, ALE is for the shortest time to rebuild, not to exceed 12 or 24 months.

All purpose mud

One of two types of drywall mud, all purpose mud contains adhesive chemicals that hold the drywall tape in place and helps the mud adhere to the drywall face.

Alternate repairs

Proposed options in lieu of what is observed in the structure.

Alternating current (AC)

The type of electrical current provided through power lines.

Aluminum oxide

A Chemical that is created when aluminum is exposed to the atmosphere. Aluminum oxide is an insulator, and when it builds up on aluminum power wire it can create heat which can loosen the connection, cause arcing, and even fire.

American Standard Gauge

Units used to measure the size of electrical wires. The smallest wires are measured by gauge with 18 gauge being a very thing doorbell wire and 2 gauge being a larger wire. Wires larger than  gauge are measure in aughts. Wire larger than four aught are measured in micro-circular mills or MCM. 

American wallpaper roll

A roll of wallpaper that contains about 36 square feet.

Anchor bolt

Used to connect the foundation to the inside of the framing above it. The anchor bolts are placed in the foundation while the concrete is still wet. After the concrete cures, the foundation sill plate is attached to the anchor bolts.

Angle iron

An L-shaped metal piece commonly used as a lintel.


An acronym for the American National Standards Institute.

Anti-oxidant compound

A compound applied to aluminum wires to prevent aluminum oxide from forming.

Anti-stratification device

A device that stirs water in a water heater to prevent the stratification of hotter water at the top and cooler water at the bottom.

APP (atactic polypropylene)

A plasticizer used in the torch-down type of modified bitumen roof systems.


A finish piece directly under the window stool. An apron is used to cover the rough edge of the wall finish and whatever gap may be present.

APS—Appurtenant (related) structures

Appurtenant structures, in most policies, include related structures on the same premises as the main structure, such as a detached garage, tool shed, fence, or swimming pool.


A person training and licensed to design and create plans and specifications for buildings. He or she may also ensure that the construction is done in accordance with the plans.

Area Wall

Used around basement windows to hold back the soil. Usually constructed of galvanized, ribbed steel, concrete, or masonry.

Armored/bx cable

A cable which has a flexible metal covering, often used with appliances.

Asembly information

Defines the assembly item selected in the assembly item table.

Assembly item

The breakdown of individual components used in a line item.

Attached drawer

A type of drawer in which the face is attached to the front of a self-contained drawer box. See integral drawer.


A tool which includes a screw shaped shaft that digs a hole when turned.


An American Standard Gauge unit of measure for wire sizes that are larger than 2 gauge. See American Standard Gauge.

Awning window

A window unit that opens by moving hte bottom of the window sash outward. The top of the window sash is attached with hinges.

Backer board

A board that is not part of the original framing, that is placed in a wall or joist system to provide backing for the attachment of drywall board, sheathing, or an intersecting wall.



A framing member installed at a non-layout position so that other framing members can be securely attached later in the construction process.

Backing layer (vinyl flooring)

One of three layers of material typically found in vinyl floor covering. The backing layer is the bottom layer. See pattern layer, wear layer, and perimeter backing.


A part that fits on the wall behind the countertop and is designed to protect the wall from countertop and sink splashes. The backsplash is often made from the same materials used on the countertop. See full backsplash and block backsplash.


A non-combustible surrounding that is placed around a recessed light fixture to prevent light fixture heat from being trapped by insulation where it can build up and cause a fire.

Baked-enamel finish

Application of special enamel paint onto a non-porous surface by baking it onto a surface, usually metal.


A smooth aggregate placed on the surface of the roof to weigh down the roofing. Ballasts also protect the roof materials from ultraviolet light.


One of  series of vertical posts which are placed a regular intervals along the length a balustrade. Balusters are typically similar in pattern to the newel post are much smaller in diameter or thickness. Balusters are attched to a top rail and to a bottom rail, or directly to a stair tread or floor. See balustrade.


A railing system found on stairs or along open areas between floors. Most balustrades contain newel posts, balusters, and top rails. Some balustrades contain bottom rails. See newel post, baluster, top rail, bottom rail, bread loaf top rail, filler, volute, goose neck, one-quarter turn, rosette, skirt, stair bracket,  false tread, and riser.

Band joist

Piece of lumber to which the ends of the joists are nailed or screwed. A band joist is critical to the strength of the floor system because it holds the regular joist ends in their vertical position.

Base block

Square or rectangular piece that is placed between the bottom of the casing and the floor. Also called plinth block. See corner block.

Base coat

First coat of any finish substance on a surface, such as the first coat of synthetic stucco applied on the stucco sheathing over a wire or glass fiber mesh.

Base molding

Molding which covers the corner between the floor and wall.

Base sheet

First layer of multiple ply membrane roof system. Installed by rolling strips of special base sheet style roll roofing over the roof deck and nailing the base sheet to the roof deck. Once the base sheet is in place hot tar is mopped over it.

Base shoe

Molding placed at the corner between the base molding and floor. Usually used when a wood finish floor is installed.


See base molding.

Batt insulation

Insulation made from matted fibers which may be left unfaced or may be faced on one or both sides with kraft paper, foil, or vinyl.

Batten type standing seam

Standing seam roof in which the panels are raised up and fastened together and then a batten strip is placed over the seam to form a water-tight seal.

Bay window

A window unit(s) installed in an area that projects out from the wall. The exterior wall typically forms a 45 degree angle on each end of the bay window area.

Beam pocket

Notch or opening at the top of a bearing wall or supporting column which secures and bears the weight of a beam.

Bearing points

Location or point on a member where it is supported by another member. Typically, a truss has two bearing points, one at each exterior wall.

Bearing wall

Any wall that supports a load above it, such as a roof system or a floor system. A bearing wall is a structural part.

Berber carpet

Style of carpet with a distinctive, short looped pile. See wool carpet, nylon carpet, indoor-outdoor carpet, sculptured carpet, and shag carpet.


Betterment is a deduction for property betterment (improvement) not covered in the insurance policy. An example of a deduction for betterment is the difference in price to install a premium door to replace a standard door. Depreciation is the reduction in value of tangible property caused by physical deterioration or obsolescence.


Cut at a non-right angle to the main surface, forming a sloping surface.

Bifold door

Door with two slabs that are connected to each other with hinges. When closed the slab ends butt against each other. When opened the slabs fold onto each other. A track at the top of the bifold door holds the slabs in position.

Bird stop

Material used to fill the space under the first course of tile at the eave line to prevent birds from nesting in the roofing.


Joint between two boards made by using a biscuit saw to notch out the ends of the joined boards. A premanufactured biscuit fits into the slots made by the biscuit saw. The glued biscuit swells as the glue soaks in, forming a very tight fit when the joint dries.

Biscuit saw

A special saw used to cut a notch in boards that will be joined with a biscuit joint.

Black label shingles tiles

Utility grade shingles with sapwood, flat grains, and large knots. Commonly used on garages and barns.

Blind miter

Joint made by butting the first piece of material into a corner, then shaping the second piece so that it conforms to the outline of the first piece. Also called a cope joint.

Blind nailing

To drive a nail into a part of the board that will not be visible on the finished product. See face nailing.


Masonry product that is used in the assembly of footings, foundation walls, and both interior and exterior walls. Blocks are precast to specific dimensions and are available in many shapes and styles.

Block backsplash

A thick, relatively short backsplash with a square top. See backsplash and full backsplash.

Block building system

Involves using block to construct the perimeter foundation system and the exterior bearing walls . The footings in a block building system may also be built from block but are often made from concrete.

Block cell

Refers to the open cavities often found in blocks. These cells may be filled with either grout or insulation.


Short pieces of material used to both provide solid bridging over bearing points and to block fire from quickly spreading into other parts of the framing. Usually found in joists over every bearing wall or beam and in studs at every connection with stair stringers or dropped ceilings.


Insulation that is broken down by a machine that blows it into place. Blown-in insulation is often installed above the ceiling line and in wall cavities.

Blue label shingles tiles

Shingles made from the highest quality all heartwood and all clear cedar with 100 per cent edge grain. Most residential structures use red or blue label shingles.

Board and batten siding

Vertical siding in which boards are installed first with small spaces between them. Narrower boards called battens are then installed over the small spaces.

Board foot

A three-dimensional measurement equal to the volume of a board that is one inch thick, one foot wide and one foot long. Used to designate the volume of lumber.

Board on board siding

Vertical siding in which boards are installed with gaps between them. Boards of the same size are then installed over the gaps.

Board siding

Siding made from wood, hardboard, or pressed wood byproducts; usually installed horizontally, one board at a time.


In masonry, the arrangement of bricks or other masonry units in courses and the way the courses overlap each other to form the wall. See also half bond, one-third bond, one-quarter bond, and stack bond.

Bond beam

Horizontal beam poured inside the u block for reinforcement of block walls. A bond beam is made by filling the block cells with either grout or insulation up to the level of the bottom of the u block. Reinforcing steel is placed, and the u block is filled with grout.

Book matched veneer

Veneer pattern produced by turning over every other veneer strip. On a surface the strips look much like mirror images of each other. See veneer, whole-piece veneer, slip-matched veneer, and unmatched veneer.


The process of folding the pasted side of wallpaper over onto itself. Booking allows the glue to cure without drying unevenly.

Booster tile

Small tile placed under the cap tiles on the starter course only.

Bottom chord

Lower or bottom member of a truss.

Bottom rail

The lower rail of a balustrade into which the bottom ends of balusters connect. See balustrade and top rail.

Bow window

Window unit(s) projecting out from the wall in an arch.

Bowstring truss

Truss with a curved top chord and horizontal bottom chord so that the top looks like a bow string and the bottom looks like a bow.

Box (cabinet)

Storage section of the cabinet.

Box beam

Made from steel or wood, they are formed like a long box with four sides and are hollow in the center.

Box nails

Framing fasteners with a slightly smaller shank or shaft than common nails, but with the same length and the same size heads as comparable common nails. Box nails are less likely to split the wood than common nails but box nails are not quite as strong. See common nails, gun nails, and sinkers.

BPP—building and personal property coverage

Building and Personal Property Coverage is insurance coverage (buildings, contents, or both) for commercial property.

Bread loaf top rail

A common type of top rail that has a profile shaped like a loaf of bread. See balustrade and top rail.

Brick tie

Metal anchors installed to secure brick veneer to the exterior wall.

Broom finish

The most common exterior flatwork finish, a slightly rough texture achieved by running a broom over freshly troweled concrete.

Brown coat

Second coat of stucco, applied over the scratch coat. The purpose of the brown coat is to provide a relatively smooth surface for the finish coat. The brown coat is troweled over the scratch coat and then smoothed with a long float. See scratch coat and finish coat.

Bruised composition shingles tiles

A composition shingle that has been permanently dented by a hailstone but has not fractured. Also see fractured composition shingles and granular loss.

Brush textures

Finish applied to drywall with a brush.

BTU—British thermal unit

Amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit.

Building inspector

Individual trained to review plans for work along with completed work to verify that it complies with local codes and ordinances.

Building permit

Issued by the local government, usually the county or city, after a fee has been paid and plans have been reviewed and approved. Normally construction cannot begin until after the permit is issued.

Built-in cabinets

Cabinets that are hand-built on site. See milled cabinets, custom cabinets, and mass produced cabinets.

Built-up roof

See multiple ply membrane.

Bull float

Tool with a long handle that slides on the surface of concrete to press the course aggregate down and to raise the cream.


A unit of lumber consisting of several pieces or sticks which are banded together for convenience in shipping and delivery.

Burn pattern

The direction a fire burns. Fire should burn up and away from the point of origin toward an oxygen source.

Butt hinge

Hinge made up of two flat, rectangular plates with a pin connecting them.

Butt joint

Joint made by placing two square-cut pieces end to end without any overlap. This type of joint must be made water proof by caulking, battens, or flashing.

Butt seams

The seam found when two members are joined together end to end without overlapping the members.

Butterfly roof

Roof style consisting of two planes that slope inward forming a V, lower in the center than at the outside edge.

Bypass door

Door with two flush slabs that are mounted on tracks. Each door part slides parallel to the other. Bypass doors are common on closets and patios. Also called sliding doors.



The Calculation on the Quick Entry edit pad is where you use the Quantity Variables that are defined in the Dimensioning window and/or in Sketch. Xactimate uses variables to calculate the amount of an item required to cover a predetermined portion of a room or structure. For example, the WC variable, used with drywall and paint, tells Xactimate to calculate the amount of drywall required to cover the walls and ceiling of a room, based on the dimensions you have provided for that room. The use of variables is one of the most powerful features of Xactimate. Variables make it possible to ensure accuracy in your estimate even when you copy a scope from one room to another or change the dimensions of a room. You can also use numbers, equations or Calculation wizards. Keep in mind, however, that when you enter a number, Xactimate will not be able to re-calculate that amount if you need to change room dimensions or copy the scope to another room. (Equations and formulas used to determine a numerical value based on the input).

Calrod Burner

Electrical burner made from coiled steel. See ceran top and halogen burner.


Refers to the slight bow or arch that is found in many building materials. Sometimes used as a synonym for crown. However crown usually refers to the natural distortion that occurs in lumbertimber whereas camber usually refers to a built-in bow which was engineered by the manufacturer. See crown.


Housing or container for a recessed light unit. The can is installed during electrical rough-in.

Cant strip

Triangular piece of material placed at the intersection of a parapet wall and the roof deck to soften the angle which must be covered by the membrane.


Refers to a beam or joist with an end portion that hangs out past the structuralbuilding part bearing it from below, but which has the load above it placed at the end of the overhanging portion. Commonly used for the support of bay windows and decks.

Cap mold piece (tile)

Specialty tile trim piece used to finish the edges of tile work. See cove piece, tile base, and double bull nose.

Cap row

Top course of shingles which does not have another course overlapping it. There is a cap row on the ridge of the roof.

Cap Sheet

Top layer of multiple ply membrane roof system. Is usually covered with one of three finishes: 1) a smooth, flood coat that is painted to prevent sun damage; 2) a flood coat with aggregate covering; or 3) a cap sheet with mineral granules embedded into the surface. See flood coat.

Cap tile

U-shaped roofing tile that forms the peaks in a barrel tile roof. Cap tiles are placed at the intersection of pantiles with the U facing down. Water drains off of the peaks formed by the cap tiles and into the pan tiles. Specially designed cap tiles are also used on the rake, ridges, and hips.

Carpet Cove

Carpet that wraps a small distance up the wall.

Carpet grain

Direction in which the carpet fibers slant.

Casement window

Window unit that opens by swinging the side of the window sash outward like a door. The opposite side of the window sash is attached with hinges.

Casing architrave

Framing which surrounds a door, covering the space between the jamb and the wall surface.

Category code

The category code tells you what construction trade or phase an item belongs to.


Support member attached near the center of the bottom chord of a truss system to hold the trusses in a vertical position.


Material used to seal seams and joints against weather and insect penetration. Also used to fill holes and gaps to provide a smooth seamless surface for the paint to cover.

Cellulose insulation

Insulation made from shredded paper. Cellulose insulation should be treated with a fire retardant chemical or it may create a fire hazard.


The chemical agent which reacts with water to form a paste that bonds the aggregate. Should not be confused with concrete which is a mixture of cement, aggregate, and water.

Cement board

A type of isolation membrane which is made by attaching sheets of cement board over the substrate. The joints between the boards are then filled and leveled. See thinset tile, isolation membrane, and mortar bed.

Cement board underlayment

An underlayment made from cement board which has a smooth finish for use beneath vinyl floors. Cement board underlayment is almost impervious to water damage. See underlayment, particleboard underlayment, plywood underlayment, lauan plywood underlayment, gypsum-based underlayment, and untempered hardboard underlayment.

Center bearing wall

Wall on the interiorinternal of a structure that is built to support the weight of the floor system above it. The center bearing wall is usually constructed along the centercentre line of the structure. This is a structural part.

Ceramic Mosaic Tile

Small tile, usually 1" by 1", 1" by 2", or 2" by 2", that are typically made from porcelain or natural clay. See glazed wall tile and quarry tile.

Ceran top

Brand name for a type of specialty glass used in flat-surface cooktopshobs. The burners are placed under the glass and cooking utensils are placed on top of the glass.

Certificate of Occupancy

Issued by the government building inspector to confirm that the building is complete, complies with all the building code requirements and local ordinances that the inspector is required to enforce, and can be occupied.

Chair rail

Horizontal strip, usually wood, that runs around the room at approximately the height of the back of a standard chair. Chair rails were originally designed to prevent chairs from marring the wall surface, but in modern structures are primarily decorative.


As wood burns, the areas of the wood being consumed will begin to char. Charred portions of wood are not structurally stable. When the surface of structuralbuilding framing members is charred more than 1/8" the framing member will generally have to be replaced.

Checkpoint price list

The purpose of a checkpoint price list is to provide a frame of reference for the estimate pricing. Prices in the completed estimate can be compared to checkpoint prices and a report (Variation Report) can be prepared.

Chem sponge

Also called a dry sponge or chemical sponge, a chem sponge is treated with special chemicals for use in removing soot from walls. Water or other liquids are not used with a chem sponge.

Chimney cricket

Small roof built behind the chimney to move precipitation around the chimney and off the roof. Also called a chimney saddle.

Cinder block

A masonry unit made from Portland cement and cinder. Most often used on interiors because it deteriorates quickly when exposed to moisture. Cinder blocks are lighter and have better insulative qualities than concrete masonry units.


A shape in which all points on the perimeter are the same distance from the centercentre. The formula for calculating the area of a circle is: "pi x radius = area." The formula for the perimeter is: "pi x diameter = circumference."

Circuit breaker

Electrical device that automatically disconnects power to a circuit in dangerous situations and can also be used as to manually turn power to a circuit on and off.

Circular saw

Power tool with a circular blade that rotates at a high speed so that the teeth on the blade will cut the material, usually wood.

Circular stair

Stair system which winds in a curving pattern, usually, but not always around a common center.


The length of the perimeter of a circle, calculated with the formula "pi x diameter = circumference." Can be used interchangeably with "perimeter."

Clay block

A masonry unit made from clay. Most often used on commercial structures. Also commonly called an "Atlas Block".

Clay tile

Tile made from clay that has been forced through an extruder, cut to size, air-dried and then fired in a kiln.

Clear all heart

High grade redwood lumbertimber that is free of knots, pitch, and blemishes. The grain of clear all heart is usually fairly straight.

Clerestory roof

Roof style consisting of two sides that slope in opposite directions with a vertical wall section extending between the peaks. The vertical wall contains windows that provide light and/or ventilation into the building. The clerestory roof is common on condominium and passive solar homes.

Closed valley system

Intersection of two roof surfaces where the courses of shingles meet and cover the valley flashing. See also laced valley and half laced valley.

Clustered wiring

A group of wires, each of which is covered with insulation (except for copper ground in some cases) and the entire cluster of wires is also covered by plastic insulation.

Coal tar pitch

Hydrocarbon substance created by processing coal, may be used to waterproof membrane roofing.

Code Upgrade

The Code Upgrade function gives you the ability to include an additional coverage for replacement costs required by ordinance or law. Some of the typical ordinance and law (building code upgrade) scenarios involve increased restoration building costs required by current building codes. Examples include, building codes requiring more expensive energy efficient windows to replace the window that was damaged, or additional smoke detectors installed that were not present at the time of loss. There are two ways in which the Code Upgrade functionality can be used; one is by adding an item that is not associated with a replacement item; the second is to add an item that is associated with the replacement item.


When insurance carriers calculate the cost of insuring a building, they must have some assurance that the amount of insurance carried on that property will be fairly close to the cost of replacing it. Many property insurance policies contain a coinsurance clause to encourage property owners to adequately insure the property. A building valued at $500,000 that is insured with a policy that carries an 80% coinsurance clause must be insured for at least $400,000. The coinsurance clause also applies a penalty that reduces the amount of a claim paid to the insured when the insurance coverage on the property is insufficient. For example, if a loss occurs for the building mentioned above, and at the time of the loss the replacement cost of the building is determined to be $600,000, a ratio is calculated to reduce the amount of the claim paid to the insured. Based on the value of the building at the time of the loss, the minimum insurance that must be carried according to the coinsurance clause in the policy must be determined. In this case, it is 80% of $600,000 or $480,000. The original insurance coverage based on a $500,000 value was $400,000. The ratio or factor to reduce the amount of the claim paid to the insured is generally created by dividing the original minimum insurance amount ($400,000) by the minimum insurance amount required at the time of the loss ($480,000). 400,000 / 480,000 = 0.83 In this case, if the loss that damaged the building is estimated to be $100,000, the insured will receive only $83,000 because the building is not adequately insured.

Cold joint

Flaw in a concrete wall appearing as randomly drawn line. Occurs when a batch of fresh, highly plastic concrete is placed next to concrete which is less plastic with no vibration or rodding to cause the two batches of concrete to mix. Can be overcome by mixing the two batches where they join before plasticity is lost.

Collar tie

Horizontal member that is used to tie rafters together above the top plate. The collar tie strengthens the roof member and may be used for fastening the ceiling. May also be referred to as a collar beam.

Colonial base and casing architrave

A commonly used molding pattern.

Colonist door

Brand name of door that is made of pressed wood fiberfibre and has six panels.


A type of wood product used for sheathing, it consists of a two thin layers or veneers of wood on the outside and in the middle is a wood flake and resin center.

Combustion air

Air a furnace needs in order to provide oxygen to a flame. Some new homes are so air tight that combustion air must be provided from the exteriorexternal of the structure.

Common gable truss

Truss used to make a gable roof, it often spans from outside wall to outside wall without relying on interiorinternal bearing walls for support. All trusses in a gable truss roof will be common gable trusses except the last truss on each end which are gable end trusses.

Common nails

The standard fasteners used by framers. The most typical size common nail is sixteen penny or 3 1/2" long. See box nails and sinkers.

Common rafter

Full length rafter that extends from the top wall plate to the ridge.

Compactible fill

Soil which is capable of being compacted so as to provide a solid substance under the structural parts which rest upon it. Compactible fill is almost always placed in layers (also called "lifts") which are thin enough to allow the compaction device to be effective throughout the layer. Each layer is thoroughly compacted before the next one is placed.

Composition shingle tile

Shingle made from an organic or fiberglass mat that is saturated with asphalttarmac or coal tar pitch. Granules are embedded in the surface that is exposed to the weather. Also commonly called organic, asphalttarmac, or fiberglass shingles.


Crushing force.

Compression fitting

A fitting used on all types of pipe where a ferrule or a gasket is compressed against the fitting by tightening a threaded nut.


Made primarily from cement, aggregate, water, and admixtures. The aggregate is usually a combination of sand and also gravel which averages over 1/4" in diameter. Concrete is not cement. The primary differences between mortar, grout, and concrete are the ratio of the primary materials and the size of the aggregate and the types of admixtures included in the mix.

Concrete masonry unit (cmu)

Masonry unit made from Portland cement and aggregate. May or may not have pigment added. CMU is the most common type of block.

Concrete stamp

Form used to make patterns in concrete. After the concrete has been screed and rough finished, the stamp is pressed into the concrete. Colors may be added to make the concrete appear more natural by adding a dye admixture to the concrete or by spreading a dye on the surface.

Concrete tile

Tiles made from a stiff, low slump concrete. Concrete tiles are usually heavier and less expensive than clay tiles. Because concrete tiles are so heavy, the roof framing must be built strong enough to carry the extra dead load weight.


Any material which carries electrical current.


Tube or pipe placed around electrical wiring.

Contact Adhesive

Substance used to glue plastic laminate to the underlying substrate. Called contact adhesive because a surface it coats will only bond to another surface which is also covered with contact adhesive. See plastic laminate countertop.

Contact manager

In the Xactimate Contact Manager you can create and manage SmartLists for contacts to be used in your estimates.

Continuous footing

Footing design where all parts of the footing are connected together. Concrete runs continuously from one section of the footing to the next with no breaks or gaps. This helps the footing resist movement during earthquakes or other types of earth movement.

Continuous-cleaning oven

An oven designed to clean materials that may have splashed or spilled inside it as it cooks. Continuous-cleaning ovens are typically lower quality. See self-cleaning oven and convection oven.

Control joint

Cut or formed break in a concrete part designed to control where the fracturing occurs as the concrete expands and contracts. Ideally the fracturing and movement should occur along the control joint and not elsewhere.

Convection oven

An oven which uses circulating hot air to accelerate cooking time. See continuous-cleaning oven and self-cleaning oven.

Cope joint

See blind miter.

Copper oxide

Chemical that is created when copper is exposed to the atmosphere. Copper oxide is not an insulator and creates no hazard.

Corbel block

A block that projects from the face of a wall a short distance and provides support for other weight.

Core sample

Test sample of concrete, usually twelve inches high and six inches in diameter When properly cured, the core sample may be used to determine the strength of the concrete.

Corner block

Decorative piece that is placed between the vertical side casing and the horizontal top casing. Also see base block.

Corner bracing

See let-in-brace.


Decorative exterior trim installed at the intersection of the roof and the top of the wall. May be made of wood, plastic, metal, molded stucco, or molded synthetic stucco.

Corrugated roof panel

Roofing sheet often made out of galvanized steel or fiberglass. Shaped in alternating ridges and valleys.

Cosmetic damage

Damage to an item or surface that only affects the way an item looks and does not effect the way the item functions. For example, a small crack in drywall usually indicates cosmetic damage to the drywall finish but does not indicate structual damage to the wall framing beneath. Also see structural damage.

Cottage cheese texture

See popcorn texture.


Effect created by a force that is acting in opposition to another force; for example, the weight of an overhead door is counterbalanced by springs making it feel lighter when opened.


Installed any time flashing comes in contact with a surface finish that does not overlap it, such as masonry. With masonry, it can be a piece of sheet metal secured into the masonry joint and extending out over the base flashing.


Horizontal layer or row of masonry units in a wall. See also rowlock, soldier course, and sailor course.

Cove piece (tile)

Specialty tile trim piece used to trim corners in a tile surface. See cap mold, tile base, and double bullnose.

Coverage limits window

In the Coverage Limits window you can view the limits (original, new, and overages) of the selected coverage, as well as make adjustments to the policy limit insured.

Coverage/Loss window

The Coverage/Loss window is where you enter loss and policy information, You can also add other coverage information, such as type of loss, limits, and reserve. You can see this window from within an estimate bid by clicking the Claim Info tab, and then clicking Coverage/Loss. You can assign multiple coverages to a type of loss. You can also assign a separate policy limit insured and deductible to each coverage.

Crawl space structure

Building that has an area between the soil and the bottom of the first floor that is large enough for a person to crawl in. A crawl space structure does not have a basement so the sewer lateral can run through the foundation wall rather than under the footings.


In reference to concrete, cream is the thin layer of fine mixture that comes to the surface of concrete when the course aggregate is pushed down with a concrete finishing tool such as a gandy or bull float.

Crimp ring

Used with fitting in PB pipe. The PB pipe is pressed firmly around the fitting with the crimp ring.

Cripple rafter

Rafter that runs from a hip rafter to a valley rafter. A cripple rafter never reaches the wall top plate or the ridge board.


Short studs that are used to fill the gap under the window sill and between the header and the top plate if there is a gap. Also used in a nonbearing wall to fill the space above the door opening and the top plate when no header is required.


Almost no lumber is chalkline straight since it will bow slightly along its length. The upward bow is called the crown of the board. See camber.

Crown molding

Trim piece which is placed over the corner between the wall and ceiling.

Crowned stud

When a wall is assembled on the floor, the framer places the crown of the stud upward. When the wall is stood in place, the convex or crown side of the stud is the "front," and the convex side of the stud is the "back." To more accurately plumb a wall the level is placed on the back of the crowned stud.


Arranging all framing members so that they all bow or arch in the same direction.

Cubic foot

A three-dimensional volume measurement equal to the amount contained by a cube that is one foot wide, one foot long, and one foot high.

Cubic yard

A three-dimensional volume measurement equal to the amount contained by a cube that is one yard wide, one yard long, and one yard high. Each cubic yard contains 27 cubic feet.

Culinary water

Water that is fit for human consumption.

Cultured countertop

Type of solid plastic material usually mixed with a pattern that imitates a type of stone. Cultured marble countertops are probably the most common type but cultured granite is also common. Cultured materials are also used to make tub and shower surrounds. See plastic laminate countertop, solid surface countertop, solid plastic countertop, wood block countertop, cultured marble countertop, stone countertop, and tile countertop.

Cultured marble counter top

The most common type of cultured countertop, it contains swirls and color variations that imitate the look of marble. See plastic laminate counter top, solid surface counter top, solid plastic counter top, wood block counter top, cultured counter top, stone counter top, and tile counter top.

Cultured stone

Masonry units made from man-made materials such as plaster or plastic. Cultured stone is shaped and colored to resemble natural stone but is much lighter weight.


Vent positioned at the ridge line. Cupolas are often in the shape of a small house or dome, topped with a weathervane. Some cupolas are installed for decoration only and are nonfunctional.

Custom cabinets

Milled cabinets that are built for a specific kitchen to match specified dimensions and a specified design. See built-in cabinets, milled cabinets, and mass produced cabinets.

Cut pile

Carpet pile in which the ends are looped, both ends are attached to the carpet backing, then the centers of the loops are cut. See pile and loop pile.



Piece of metal inside the flue that opens and closes. The damper should remain open when the fireplace is in use to allow combustion gases to escape through the flue and into the  atmosphere. When not in use, the damper should be closed to prevent exterior air and small animals from entering the structure.


Process of coating the parts of the foundation system that will be below the soil level with a moisture resistant material. This helps the foundation to resist the absorption or penetration of groundwater during short term exposure. Not the same as waterproofing.


The default view for the Control Center Dashboard contains the Recent Projects pane, the Project Preview pane, the XactAnalysis Communications pane, and the Status Bar. On the Dashboard window, you can open recent projects and create new projects without searching through the entire Projects List. In the Projects Preview pane, you can view the sketch or notes of a selected project.

Data Backup

With the Backup feature of Xactware you can back up your estimates, valuations, price lists, macros, and other important files. In the event that it becomes necessary to reformat your hard drive or reinstall Xactimate, you can retrieve your data. For this reason, it is important to frequently back up all valuable data.

Data Restore

If you regularly back up important data, you can restore lost or damaged files using the Xactimate restore feature. It is critical that you restore your data using the same version number of Xactimate that you used to back up the data. Restoring data from different versions of Xactimate could result in damaged or lost data.

Data Transfer

With the data transfer feature, you can transfer projects, price lists, contacts, macros, and other information between Xactware users. In order to transfer data from one user to another, both users need to be registered and using the same Xactimate profile.

DC (Direct Current)

Electrical current provided by a battery.

Dead Load

Permanent load consisting of all building parts and built-in fixtures that will be supported by a structural part.

Decimalized Feet

An expression of distance in feet and decimal portions of feet rather than feet and inches. For example: 6.25 feet is the decimalized expression of 6 feet 3 inches.

Dedicated Circuit

Circuit that consists of a home run that connects to a single device.


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 it's life expectancy.


Increases the normal age-based depreciation by 40% (normal depreciation * 1.4).


The normal depreciation is based on the life expectancy and age of the material.


Reduces the normal age-based depreciation by 40% (normal depreciation * .6)


New / Replaced removes any depreciation.


Person who recommends aesthetically pleasing combinations of shapes and shades for the interior or the exterior of a building.


One of the five basic views found on a plan. A detail is a close-up (i.e. large scale) view of some part of a section view, used to show exactly how parts connect together.


Person who improves land, preparing the land for building on it by providing such improvements as roads, sidewalks, and connections for sewer, water, electricity, and gas. The developer may subdivide the land into building lots.

Diagonal Bracing

Reinforcing member that is attached at an angle to provide lateral strength to another member such as a rafter.

Diagonal Wood Floor Installation

Installation where wood strips are installed in a pattern that runs diagonally to at least one of the walls. See straight wood floor installation and herringbone wood floor installation.


The process of drawing a floor plan and sometimes elevations which include dimensions and other important information such as the location of doors, windows, outlets, switches, and so forth.


A straight line segment that passes through the center of a circle and terminates at the outer edges of the circle. It is the longest line segment that will fit inside a circle. The diameter is equal to twice the length of the radius.

Digital Images Window

The Digital Images window lets you take an image from your hard drive or other available drives (network, CD, DVD, flash, etc.), and add it to your estimate. You can see the Digital Images window by choosing the camera button on the Quick access toolbar.

Dimensional Beam

Made from dimensional lumber usually available in rough cut or surfaced finishes. See header.


Dimensions are the measurements of a room or object. From plans, dimensions can be determined using the measurement on the drawing and the scale of the drawing or by reading the dimensions printed on the drawing.

Direct yield

The amount of labor expended directly on a finished task, excluding breaks, set-up, clean-up, etc. The highest level of efficiency that can be achieved when all labor waste factors are excluded.

Document Modules

On the Control Center Document Modules tab, you can view, create and modify company headers and model statements.

Door Gasket

Insulating material placed around the door jamb where the slab meets the jamb or door stop when closed. The door gasket is used on exterior doors.

Door Hardware

The latch, door knob, and striker plate.


Trim attached to the JAMB which prevents a door slab from swinging past the jamb.


Projection from a sloped roof plane; usually contains a window or vent and provides additional interior space.

Double Bullnose (tile)

Specialty trim piece with rounded corners on both sides. See cap mold, cove piece, and tile base.

Double Hung Window

Window unit that may be opened by sliding the upper sash downward or the lower sash upward.

Double Pull

A method for using the ladder to climb a lower roof section, then pulling the ladder onto the roof for use when climbing a second higher roof section.


Stick of wood or metal which fits into corresponding holes to attach two pieces of material together.

Downflow Furnace

A furnace which forces air down and out the bottom.


Vertical pipe that carries water from the gutter, along the side of the structure to the ground or drainage system.


Person who translates the ideas provided to them by an architect or designer into accurate plans that may be used for construction.

Drain Field

A series of pipes through which waste is released into the soil after it has been treated in the septic tank. The size of the drain field depends on the number of people being serviced by the system and the ability of the soil to absorb liquid.

Drip Edge

Any edge that is shaped so that the water drips off of it onto the ground and not onto the part below.

Drip Loop

A loop that is made in the drop wires just in front of the weather head. The drip loop prevents water from dripping down the wires and into the weather head.

Drop Siding

Shiplap siding with special shaping on its face; for example, it may have a rounded face to look like logs.

Drop Wire

Wire that connects the transformer to the structure. The drop wire for a residential structure usually contains a current carrying lead and a neutral.

Dry Looper

Machine used in the manufacture of composition shingles that is designed to allow air to circulate around roofing material to dry the material.


A term used to denote the stage of construction when the inside of the structure is protected from weather. Generally it is the point when all exterior doors and windows are in place and roof felt has been placed over the roof sheathing.


Process used to remove moisture from lumber. The moisture content in the lumber is reduced to about the average amount it will maintain when used in building construction. After drying, many lumber mills seal the lumber with stain or wax to prevent them from absorbing moisture again. Surface drying and kiln drying are two methods used for drying lumber.

Drywall Wallboard

Interior wall finish using mostly non-flammable materials. While drywall actually refers to any interior finish made from plaster or gypsum board, in common usage it usually refers to a finish made from gypsum board.

Duplex Semi-detached house Outlet

An outlet with two ports.

Dutch Door

Door that contains two half slabs mounted one above the other. Each slab is attached to the jamb with hinges and may swing independently of the other. Also known as a stable door.



Piece of land, usually a narrow strip along the perimeter of the lot, that others have a right to use and access, typically for the placement of utilities.


Horizontal roof edge off of which precipitation drips. This edge is extended beyond the exterior wall.

Edge grain shingles

Shingeles made from lumber whose annual rings form at least a forty-five degree angle at the face.

Elastomeric roof system

Stretchable single membrane roof system made from either plastic PVC or rubber EPDM.

Electrical circuit

A group of outlets or other electrical devices that connect to a fuse box or breaker panel through a common lead.

Electrostatic filter

Filter which magnetically attracts dust to its surface.


One of the five basic views found on a plan. Elevation is an eye-level view of a surface on the building.

Emergency board-up

The process of securing a structure from weather and unwanted entry. Damaged doors and windows or other easily accessible openings are typically covered with plywood and opening in the roof are typically covered with plastic.

End-matched board

End-matched boards have tongues and grooves along the sides and the ends.

EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer)

Synthetic rubber material used to make elastomeric roof membranes.


A two-part resin that, when mixed, forms a tight cross-linked polymer. Epoxy forms a hard, tough surface that is highly resistant to corrosion.

Epoxy finish

Concrete finish made by spreading an epoxy adhesive over cured concrete, then aggregate is placed over the epoxy which glues the aggregate to the underlying concrete.

Epoxy injection technique

The process of injecting epoxy resin into a concrete crack. A good epoxy joint is usually stronger than the concrete it replaces.

Equipment field

Displays the totals for all equipment costs for the activity. You can edit this field if there are no Equipment (EQU) items already present in the Assembly Item Table.

Etched Glass

Hardened glass which has been sandblasted or otherwise engraved to form a pattern or design in the glass.

European style cabinet door hinge

A cabinet hinge which is mortised into the back of the door on one side and attached to the cabinet box on the other side. Once installed, it can be adjusted in a variety of directions. The European style cabinet door hinge was designed for use on the frameless style cabinets that were developed in Europe after World War II, but is also found on some higher quality framed style cabinets. Also called a six way adjustable hinge and a recessed hinge. See standard cabinet door hinge.

European wallpaper roll

A roll of wallpaper that contains about 28 square feet.

Evaporative cooler

System which cools by drawing air through moist filters which transfers moisture into the air and cools the air. Evaporative coolers are effective only in regions with relatively low humidity.


Person who moves the soil out of the area where footings, foundations, or utility lines will be placed and backfills the soil around these parts once they are in place.

Exceptions menu

On the Exceptions menu you can apply tax rules to specific line items under specific circumstances. You can also designate certain line items as being non-taxable. In order to create an exceptions list, you must first create exception items. Exception items are line items that are grouped together so that they can be taxed in the same way.

Expanded foam

Foam which contains small beads with air voids around the beads. When used as insulation expanded foam should only be installed above grade.

Exposed aggregate finish

Concrete finish in which the top layer or surface cream is removed to expose the aggregate beneath, or aggregate is pressed into the surface of the concrete after screeding is complete.

Extruded foam

Foam which is smooth, with no beads or voids. Because extruded foam will not absorb water, it can be installed as insulation above or below grade.


Face (cabinet)

The cabinet face frame, doors, and drawer fronts. See face frame and box.

Face frame

A frame placed over the cabinet box against which the doors and drawers will rest. The face frame is made from vertical stiles and horizontal rails.

Face nailing

To drive a nail into the face of the board so that it will be visible on the finished product. See also blind nailing.

Factory built fireplace

A pre-built firebox assembly that includes a heat exchanger, air movement equipment, and the flue assembly. Also called a zero clearance fireplace.

False tread and riser

Non-structural, decorative tread and riser assembly which is placed over the structural tread and riser when carpet will run down the center of a stair. False tread and risers are typically stain-grade wood which give the appearance of higher grade wood treads and risers at a lower cost.


Exterior horizontal trim piece that covers the vertical edge of the rafter tails. It can also be called the finish fascia because it is installed over the rough fascia.

Federal unemployment

Referred to as Labor Burden Taxes, Worker's Comp, General and Pollution liability insurance, and fringe benefits.


Connects the meter base to the breaker panel(s) or fuse box(es.) Usually contains four cables that are twisted together.


Used in compression fittings, the ferrule is a ring that slides over the top of a pipe. The ferrule is tapered on the top and is compressed between the fitting and a threaded nut.

Fiber and Cement Shingle

Shingle made from a combination of wood fiber and Portland cement. fiber, and cement shingles can be made to resemble slate, tile, or wood.


Glass filaments which are formed by pulling or spinning molten glass into random lengths. Fiberglass does not easily burn.

Field total

The amount of material, including waste, that will be required in the field in order to complete the job.


Small piece of decorative wood that fills the space between balusters in a bottom rail. See balustrade.

Final Inspection

Review by the building inspector after the interior and exterior construction is complete, to check for any problems which may endanger the health or safety of the building occupants. In most areas a certificate indicating that the final inspection has been successfully completed is required before the home can be occupied.

Finger joint

Joint which uses small tapered projections (fingers) which interlace to join two pieces of material.


May refer to the plumbing, electrical, carpentry, or HVAC work that is visible when construction is complete.

Finish coat

Final coat of any material on a surface. The third coat of common stucco is the finish coat and contains the texture and may contain the pigment. If the finish coat does not contain pigment, the surface of the stucco must be painted when dry. For stucco, see also scratch coat and brown coat.

Finish electrical

Any electrical part that will be installed after the walls and ceiling are finished.

Finish nail

A nail with a smaller shank for its length than other types of nails. The head on the finish nail is also smaller and able to sink below the surface of the wood. Finish nails are primarily used in finishing work.

Fire blocking

Piece of material installed to block the spread of fire from one side of it into wood framing members on the other side. The fire is forced to burn through it before it can reach another part of the framing system.

Fire tape

Process in which drywall is finished to provide fire protection only and not to provide a smooth finish wall. Firetaped drywall has tape embedded along all joints which are then covered with one additional layer of mud. Fasteners are also covered with mud.

Fire wall

Wall which has been designed to resist the spread of fire. Fire walls in homes are typically required between the garage and living space. Fire walls are usually rated by the hours they are designed to resist the spread of fire. A typical residential firewall rating is one hour.


The interior of a fireplace system built of heat-resistant materials which contains the fire and radiates heat in the room. Can be made from a variety of materials including special Fire brick, prefabricated masonry panels or metal.

Fired brick

Masonry unit made from clay that is formed and then baked at a high enough temperature to cause a partial melting or glazing on the surface. This glaze provides a seal which protects the brick from moisture.

Fish tape

Flexible tape that is used to pull electrical wire through conduit. The fish tape is pushed through the conduit, the electrical wires are fastened to the end and pulled through the conduit.


Term used for exterior decking material. Refers to the one and one-quarter or "five-quarter" thickness of the material.

Fixed window

Window unit that does not open. Also may be referred to as a picture window.


Type of stone which splits easily into slabs known as flags and is commonly used on floors.


Parallel edges on a steel beam that are perpendicular to the center web of the beam.


Any piece of material, usually metal or plastic, installed to prevent water from penetrating into the structure around doors, windows, chimneys, and roof edges.

Flat grain shingles

Shingles made from lumber whose annual rings form less than a forty-five degree angle at the face.

Flat paint

Paint with the lowest reflective finish. Flat paint has little or no sheen.

Flat panel

A flat, thin plywood panel used in a frame and panel cabinet door. See frame and panel cabinet door, slab cabinet door and raised panel.

Flat roof

Roof style that appears flat but actually has a slight slope to allow drainage of precipitation.

Flat tiles

Tile shingle with a flat surface. The surface of flat tiles often have a grain simulation and the sides are usually rabbeted and grooved.

Flat truss

Roof or floor truss with horizontal top and bottom chords reinforced with diagonal members between them.

Flat-laid countertop

Type of plastic laminate countertop with no integral backsplash, a flat smooth surface, and usually a square front edge. Flat-laid countertops can be fabricated in a shop or on site. See plastic laminate countertop and postformed countertop.


A large piece of lumber cut out of a log that is then sawn into boards or veneer strips.


Hand tool used to provide an even texture to concrete or plaster surfaces before they set.

Flood coat

Heavy, smooth asphalt coating mopped over the cap sheet of a multiple ply membrane roof to provide a smooth surface. The flood coat must be protected from sun damage by painting it with a UV coat or by covering it with aggregate.

Flood plane structure

Structure which sits atop columns which raise the main floor above the flood plane.

Floor plan

One of the five basic views found on a plan. Also known as plan view. Floor plan is a view as though you are looking directly down on a building with the top removed so you can see the layout of the floor including walls and fixtures.

Floor system

Includes the framing support members such as floor joists or floor trusses and the sheathing that provides the floor system surface. This is a structural part.

Floor truss

May be used instead of regular joists or I-joists. Floor trusses are generally placed on wider centers, are deeper and more expensive than other joists. Floor trusses are designed to allow plumbing, electrical, and heating runs to be placed inside of them instead of below them like is often required in other joists.


Pipe that is sized, insulated, and positioned to carry combustible gases up and away from the structure.

Flue cap

Cap placed on the top opening of the flue in such a way as to permit proper ventilation of the inner chambers of the flue pipe and at the same time prevent moisture or small animals from entering the flue.

Flush door slab

Door with a flat, smooth face with no panels or decoration. Flush doors may have a solid core or a hollow core.

Flush tile

Ceiling tiles that are flat with no embossed design or recessed edges.

Fluted casing

Casing that contains a series of round called flutes along its length. Fluted casing is designed to look like fluted columns.

Fly rafter

Gable rafter which is located under the overhang part of the roof sheathing on the gable end. It is not directly supported by the exterior wall. Also sometimes referred to as the barge rafter or barge board.

Foam foundation sill plate sealer

Gable rafter which is located under the overhang part of the roof sheathing on the gable end. It is not directly supported by the exterior wall. Also sometimes referred to as the barge rafter or barge board.


Base upon which the structure will stand, it rests on the soil. A footing ultimately supports all of the weight of the structure, it is a structural part.

Forced air system

Heating system that uses a fan to push heated air through ducts to vents throughout the structure.


Brand name of a common type of plastic laminate material. The term formica is often used in the industry when referring to plastic laminate. See plastic laminate countertop.


This structural part rests on the footing and supports the exterior walls and floor system. A foundation is usually constructed out of concrete, block or treated lumber.

Foundation sill plate

Piece of lumber (usually redwood or treated) that is used between the foundation and the framing. It is attached to the foundation with anchor bolts.

Four way inspection

Inspection of the rough-in of four trades including framing, plumbing, HVAC, electric. This inspection must be completed before the walls or ceilings are covered.

Fractured composition shingles

A composition shingle that has been torn by the impact from a hailstone. The fractures often radiate out from the center of the hailstone impact in a spider web pattern. Also see bruised composition shingles and granular loss.

Frame and panel cabinet door

A cabinet door which consists of a frame that surrounds a panel. The panel may be glass, a veneered plywood flat panel, or a solid wood raised panel. See slab cabinet door.

Framed style cabinets

Cabinet style in which a face frame is attached to the cabinet box. See frameless style cabinets.

Framed to square

Term to denote that the building framing has been completed to the point that it is ready for the roof system to be built.

Frameless style cabinets

Cabinet style which has no face frame attached to the cabinet box. Often called a European style cabinet because it was developed in Europe during the reconstruction following World War II as an alternative to the more labor-intensive framed style cabinet. See framed style cabinet.

Framing tie

Members which connect the bottoms of opposing rafters together to prevent them from moving outward. Ceiling joists are commonly used as framing ties.

Freezeless hose bibb

A faucet designed to supply water to the outside of the structure without danger of freezing in cold temperatures. The faucet is located on the outside of the structure but the valve portion is located inside the heated structure.

Frieze board

Horizontal trim piece installed at the top of the exterior wall, covering the joint between the soffit and the exterior wall. The frieze board is often ornately decorated.

Frost line

The maximum depth that frost is expected to penetrate into the soil during the coldest part of winter.

FRV—Fair Rental Value

Fair rental value coverage is insurance that pays the loss of rental income on rental property, minus expenses, when that rental income cannot continue because property rented to others or held for rental is damaged by a peril covered in the insurance policy.

Full backsplash

Backsplash which runs from the countertop to the bottom of the upper cabinet. See backsplash and block backsplash.

Full basement structure

A structure that has a basement level, the floor of which is usually positioned below ground level under the main level.

Full extension glide

Hardware attached between a cabinet drawer and the cabinet box which allows the drawer to be pulled completely out of the cabinet box.

Full height cabinet

Any cabinet that runs the full height from the floor to the level of the upper unit. See lower unit, vanity cabinet, and upper unit.

Furring strip

Also called furr strips, they are often used on the interior of block or concrete walls. Furring strips can be made from either metal or wood. They are fastened to the walls, ceiling, or floor system generally for the purpose of providing a surface to which the ceiling or wall covering may be easily attached.


Gable end truss

Truss used at the ends of a gable roof. It has vertical members which are spaced to allow convenient attachment of the exterior wall sheathing.

Gable roof

Roof style consisting of two sides that slope in opposite directions down from the peak or ridge. The roof ends form an inverted V and are filled in with triangular shaped gable end walls.

Gable vent

Vents placed in the gable ends of the roof. Gable vents facilitate the flow of air in the attic while protecting it from insects and the weather.

Gambrel roof

Roof style consisting of two sides that meet at the RIDGE and slope in opposite directions. Each side has two sections, the lower section having a steeper slope than the upper section. The gambrel roof is often used on barns. Also known as a mansard roof.

Gambrel truss

Truss used to make a gambrel roof, functions in the same way as a gable truss. Traditionally used in the U.S.


Tool which uses a screen to press the course aggregate downward while leaving the fine aggregate at the surface. Flat gandy is dropped lightly over the entire surface. Rolling gandy uses a screen shaped like a barrel and is rolled across the entire surface. Widely used in residential construction, its use is discouraged by many structural engineers because it can severely damage the concrete unless used skillfully.


More than one switch installed in a single electrical box.


Soft pliable material used to prevent joint leakage.


Refers to the thickness of metal. A heavier gauge means that the metal is thicker but it is noted by a smaller number.

General category items

Main line items that represent more specific line items that can be placed or associated within a category (i.e. Appliances, Cleaning, Doors, Electronics, Light Fixtures, Painting, Roofing, Siding etc.)

Geotechnical engineer

Scientist who performs the necessary calculations to determine the types and sizes of footings which must be used to ensure safe and proper support of the building by the soil. Also called a Soils engineer.


Large horizontal beam which may be used to provide structural support at specific bearing points along its length. A girder is held up in position by columns or a bearing wall.

Glazed tile

Tile shingle with a color glaze compound put on its surface that produces a smooth and shiny face. Glazed clay tiles are baked. Glazed concrete tiles dry chemically. Glaze usually adds significantly to the cost of clay tiles, but adds only moderately or not at all to the cost of concrete tiles.

Glazed wall tile

Tile which come in a variety of sizes but are usually about 4" by 4" and typically have a high gloss or matte glaze applied to the finish surface. See ceramic mosaic tile and quarry tile.


Hardware attached between a cabinet drawer and the cabinet box which holds the drawer in a level position as the drawer is pulled out of and pushed into the cabinet box. See full extension glide.

Glue-lam beam

Short for glue-laminated beam, it is made of several layers of dimensional lumber glued together so that the joints in each layer are overlapped by other layers to provide strength. Glue-lam beams always have a slight arch or bow called a camber. They are always installed so the camber is up.

Glue-up tile

Roof tile that is glued into place. Glue up tile is usually 12" by 12".

Goose neck

A long, curving handrail piece that is used to step down and make a long vertical transition between handrail parts on a stair balustrade. See top rail, volute, one-quarter turn, and balustrade.

Grade beam

Concrete beam that rests on grade (ie: on the soil) but is supported by piers or columns rather than the soil directly underneath. A grade beam may appear to be a footing or short foundation wall unless one inspects carefully enough to discover the connections to the top of the piers or columns underneath.

Grade stake

Stake which is placed in the ground and marked at the point where the grade should be found once the building part is in place. Grade stakes are often placed and marked to indicate where the top of the concrete will be located once the pour is complete. Grade stakes used as a guide for establishing the final level of the concrete are usually pulled out and their holes filled with wet concrete once the wet concrete has been leveled at the proper grade.

Granular loss

Granular loss occurs when mineral granules embedded in a composition shingle are loosened by the impact from a hailstone when the hailstone does not bruise or fracture the shingle. See fractured composition shingles and bruised composition shingles.

Grass cloth wallpaper

Wall covering made of loosely woven vegetable fibers.

Greenfield conduit

Type of flexible metal conduit.


Molding that fits over a single pane to make it appear as if the window unit has many separate lights. Also see muntin.


Circular eyelet which reinforces a hole that has been punched into a piece of material.


Electrical connection from a circuit or equipment to the ground.

Ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI)

Special electrical circuit which will immediately stop power from flowing through an outlet or electrical device if there is a hazardous event such as dropping an electrical device into water. All outlets in a bathroom should have GFCI protection. GFCIs can be built into an outlet or into a circuit breaker.

Ground wire

Electrical conductor that leads to an electric connection at the earth.


Water concentration below the surface of the ground. The level of this water in the soil is called the water table.

Grouping code

A grouping code is a unique ID assigned to each object in the estimate. It can be used as a variable or it can be used in a calculation. Object names, by comparison, allow spaces and are not unique—meaning an estimate can have more than one object with same name.


Mixture of cement, water and aggregate. The course aggregate in grout is always 1/4 inch in diameter or less. Grout is used to fill in the block cells which contain rebar. This holds the rebar joints in place and strengthens the block. The primary differences between mortar, grout, and concrete are the ratio of materials used and the size of the aggregate.

Gun nails

Most modern framers use nail guns and rarely use a hammer. Gun nails come in strips or coils so they can be easily loaded in the nail gun. They usually have a hooded or "T" shape so the nails can fit closely together. See common nails, box nails and sinkers.


Plates fastened to the face of the truss to hold together members where they join.


Channel or trough positioned along the lower edge of the roof to catch and control roof water, directing it to the downspout. May be made of wood, metal, or plastic.

Gutter Brace

A place where the gutter is attached to the structures fascia. On seamless aluminum gutter the gutter brace contains usually a large nail and the nail head can be seen on the face of the gutter.

Gypsum-based underlayment

An underlayment made from fiber reinforced gypsum which is easy to cut and install and is highly resistant to indentation. See underlayment, particleboard underlayment, plywood underlayment, lauan plywood underlayment, cement board underlayment, and untempered hardboard underlayment.


Half Bond

Course of brick in which the vertical joint between bricks is half-way across the length of the brick in the course below it. Also referred to as running bond and stretcher bond.

Half laced valley

Pattern formed in the valley of a roof by overlapping the valley with shingles from one side of the valley and cutting shingles from the other side so they end at the center of the valley.

Halogen burner

Electrical burner which instantly becomes hot when the burner is turned on. See ceran top and halogen burner.

Hand texture

Any texture that is applied to drywall by hand, without the use of a machine. This include brush textures and hocl textures.

Hand-split and resawn shake

Wood shake with a rough, split face and a sawn back.

Hand/feet rule

A rule for safe use of a ladder. The hand/feet rule states that when climbing a ladder you should always have either one foot and two hands or two feet and one hand on the ladder at all times.


Extension out of a foundation wall used to support a concrete part such as a step.


Part of a weight-bearing system, a header is placed over an opening in the wall and distributes the weight supported by the members above it onto other parts which distribute the weight down to the footings. The header is usually supported by trimmers under each end.

Header jamb

Specific name for the jamb found on the top of the inside of window and door openings.


Fireproof material in the area surrounding the front of the fireplace.


Wood found at the center of the tree. Generally higher quality wood than sapwood, with less and tighter knots and more resistant to decay.

Heat blister

Bubble which forms in the shingle when the asphaltic coating does not properly bond to the mat.

Heat exchanger

Device which transfers heat from a source, such as a flame, to a conductor, such as air or water.

Heat line

A distinct line left on walls by superheated smoke that was stopped at the ceiling. The bottom edge of this superheated smoke often leaves a line on the walls.

Heat pump system

System which heats or cools the air by using refrigerant gas to either take heat out of the structure or bring heat into the structure.

Heating zone

Room or group of rooms that is heated or cooled as a unit, usually controlled through a single thermostat.

Herringbone wood floor installation

Installation where wood strips are installed in a zigzag pattern. See straight wood floor installation and diagonal wood floor sintallation.

High density urethane foam pad

A urethane foam pad that looks much like a thin wrestling pad. Unlike most other types of pad, water can be extracted from high density urethane foam pads. See synthetic felt pad, waffle type sponge rubber pad, and rebond pad.

High gloss paint

Paint with a highly reflective finish.

High-low range cooker

A self-contained, usually freestanding unit which contains an oven below, with top burners and an upper oven which is often a microwave oven. See range cooker and restaurant style range cooker.


External angle or convex intersection created at the joint of two roof planes. A regular hip roof has four hips, one from each corner of the exterior walls to the ridge.

Hip jack

Type of jack rafter that runs from the hip rafter to the wall top plate.

Hip rafter

Rafter which forms the HIP line of the roof from the ridge to the outside corner of the exterior walls.

Hip roof

Roof style with four sloping planes. Both the sides and ends of the hip roof slope down from the peak or ridge to the top of the exterior walls.

Hock texture

Finish applied to drywall with a hock.


Used to connect the outside of the framing to the foundation. The hold-downs are placed in the foundation while the concrete is still wet.


Bubbles resulting from the separation of plies in multiple ply membrane roofs due to improper installation. Holidays will break over time.

Home run

The electrical lead that runs between the breaker panel or fuse box and the first outlet or device in an electrical circuit.


Flaw in a concrete wall finish indicating air pockets remained in the mix where the concrete failed to settle properly against the forms during the pour. These air pockets produce a result that resembles the pattern found in a honeycomb. Can be overcome by proper tamping and vibration of the concrete while it is in a highly plastic state.

Hopper window

Window unit that opens by moving the top of the window sash inward. The bottom of the window sash is attached with hinges.

Hot mop insullation method

Installation method where bonding materials are heated and mopped onto roofing materials to form a bond between layers, overlapping seams, or flashing. On modified bitumen roof systems, a method whereby SBS type modified bitumen roofing is adhered to the base sheet.


Device which transfers moisture to the air.

Hurrican tie

Manufactured metal bracket used to tie the roof truss to the top of the bearing wall.

Hurricane clips

Fasteners which overlap the side of roofing tile, designed to keep the tiles in place even under hurricane-force winds.


Abbreviation for Heating / Ventilating and Air Conditioning.


The chemical process that occurs when water and cement combine to form the adhesive paste that holds the aggregate together and makes concrete harden. The correct mixture of water, cement, and temperature is needed for proper hydration to occur.

Hydraulic shock

The instantaneous pressure caused when flowing water is stopped by a closed plumbing valve.


The long side on a right triangle found opposite the 90 angle.

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