Home Construction Terminology: D thru F

Home Construction Terminology:  D thru F


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Home Construction Terminology

Home Construction Terminology


Deadbolt:  A tongued throw lock whose bolt must be manually pulled back before the door can open and close.

Deck, Decked:  To install the plywood or OSB sheeting on the floor joists, rafters, or trusses.

Delamination:  Separation of the plies in a panel due to failure of the adhesive, usually caused by excessive moisture.

Disconnect:  A large electrical ON-OFF switch found at the electric water heater and AC condenser.

Doorjamb:  It consists of two upright pieces, called side jambs, and a horizontal head jamb. For a hinged door these 3 jambs have the “door stop molding” installed on them.

Double Hung Window:  A window with two vertically sliding sashes, both of which can move up and down.

Drip System:  An automated low water usage plant watering system.

Dry In:  To install the roofing underlayment (tar paper or feltex) on the roof and stucco paper on the walls in preparation for sheet rocking the house.

Drywall (aka Gypsum Wallboard [GWB] & Sheet Rock):  A manufactured panel made out of gypsum plaster and encased in a thin cardboard. Usually 1/2″ thick and 4′ x 8′ or 4′ x 12′ in size. The panels are nailed or screwed onto the framing and the joints are taped and covered with a ‘joint compound’. ‘Green Board’ type drywall has a greater resistance to moisture and mildew than regular (white) plasterboard and is used in bathrooms and other “wet areas”. Soffit board is even more moisture resistant for use on exterior ceilings, and type X board (5/8”) is fire rated for use in separating livable spaces from fire hazard areas (i.e. the garage).

Ducts:  The air conditioning system. Usually round or rectangular metal or flexible pipes installed for distributing warm or cold air from the air handler to rooms in the home.

DWV (Drain-Waste-Vent):  The section of a plumbing system that carries water and sewer gases out of a home.

Easement:  A formal contract which allows a party to use another party’s property for a specific purpose. e.g. a Public Utility Easement (PUE) allows communication cables to run across a property.

Eaves:  The horizontal exterior roof overhang at the bearing wall.

Egress:  A means of exiting the home. An egress window is required in every bedroom. Normally a 4′ X 4′ sliding window or a 3’ X 5’ single (or double) hung window with a sill no higher than 44” above the floor is the minimum required by code.

Elbow (Ell):  A plumbing or electrical fitting (usually 45 or 90 degrees) that lets you change directions in runs of pipe or conduit.

Electrical Panel:  Main power cabinet where electric enters a home’s wiring system.

Electrical Rough:  Work performed by the electrician after the plumber and heating contractor are complete with their phase of work. All electrical wires, and outlet, switch, and fixture boxes are installed (this is part of the work is required for Pre-Drywall Inspection).

Electrical Trim:  Work performed by the electrician when the house is nearing completion. The electrician installs all plugs, switches, plates, light fixtures, smoke detectors, wires the ventilation fans & the HVAC, and “makes up” the electric panel. The electrician does all electrical work necessary to get the home ready to pass the municipal final inspection.

Elevation Sheet:  The page on the blue prints that depicts the house as if a person is looking straight at each of the sides (there is no perspective in this drawing).

Evaporator Coil:  The part of a cooling system that absorbs heat from air in your home and is located in the compressor unit.

Expansion Joint:  Fibrous material (1/2″ thick) installed in and around a concrete slab to permit it to move up and down (seasonally) along the non-moving foundation wall. Also between the house and adjacent flatwork (drive, sidewalk, etc.) or adjacent sections of flatwork.

Expansive Soils:  Earth that swells and contracts depending on the amount of water that is present. (“Betonite” is an expansive soil). It is a common problem in Arizona. Solving this problem requires the use of a post-tensioned slab.

Fascia:  Lumber (usually 2×6) attached to rafter/truss ends at the eaves and outriggers at the gables.

Felt (aka Underlayment):  Tar paper or feltex, installed under the roof shingles.

Female:  Any part, such as a nut or fitting, into which another (male) part can be inserted. Internal threads are female.

Field Measure:  To take measurements (cabinets, countertops, stairs, shower doors, etc.) in the home itself instead of using the blueprints.

Finger Joint:  A manufacturing process of interlocking two shorter pieces of wood end to end to create a longer piece of dimensional lumber or molding. Often used in jambs, casings and base-board which are painted instead of stained.

Fire-Resistive or Fire Rated:  Applies to materials that are not combustible in the temperatures of ordinary fires and will withstand such fires for at least 1 hour. Drywall used in the garage and party walls are to be fire rated, 5/8″, Type X.

Fire Stop:  (1) A solid, tight closure of a concealed space, placed to prevent the spread of fire and smoke through such a space. (2) All work performed to slow the spread of fire and smoke in the walls and ceiling (behind the drywall) and includes filling wire holes in the top and bottom plates with fire rated caulk or spray foam, and installing blocks of wood between the wall studs at the drop soffit line. This is integral to passing a Pre-Drywall Inspection.

Flashing:  Sheet metal or other material used in roof and wall construction to protect a building from water seepage.

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

Flatwork:  Common word for concrete floors, driveways, basements, and sidewalks.

Floating:  Is the next-to-last stage in concrete work. It is when you smooth off the job and bring water to the surface by using a hand float or bull float.

Floor Plan (aka Plan View):  The drawing of a structure with the view from overhead, looking down.

Fluorescent Lighting:  A fluorescent lamp is a gas-filled glass tube with a phosphor coating on the inside. Gas inside the tube is ionized by electricity which causes the phosphor coating to glow.

Footer, Footing:  Continuous thick concrete pad installed before and supporting the stem (foundation) wall or a post.

Forced Air Heating/Cooling:  A common form of heating and AC. Air is treated in the air handler and distributed through a set of ducts to various areas of the house.

Form:  Temporary structure erected to contain concrete during placing and initial hardening.

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

Framing: The act of building the house frame. Lumber used for the structural members of a building, such as studs, joists, rafters and trusses.

Frieze Board (aka Bird Block):  Non-structural framing member between trusses or rafters at top plate seals attic access. Can be vented but usually is solid 2x material.


If there is a term that you are looking for and you do not find it here, please let me know by leaving a Comment in the Comments section below. If appropriate, I will add it to the list.


Thank you,

CJ Dodaro