Home Construction Terminology: T thru Z

Home Construction Terminology:  T thru Z


You can view all of my Posts by clicking on the following LinkHelpMeFixHome.com


You can view other  Home Construction Terminology  not found here, by clicking on that link, and then click on any item in the drop-down menu.


Home Construction Terminology

Home Construction Terminology


T & G, Tongue and Groove:  A joint made by a tongue (a rib on one edge of a board) that fits into a corresponding groove in the edge of another board to make a tight flush joint (sub-floor sheets are T & G).

Tab:  The exposed portion of strip shingles defined by cutouts.

Take off:  A list of the material necessary to complete a job.

Taping:  The process of covering drywall joints with paper, plastic, or fiberglass tape and joint compound.

Teco Nail:  The type of hardened nail used to attach metal straps.

Tee:  A “T” shaped plumbing fitting.

Tempered:  Strengthened. Tempered glass will not shatter nor create shards, but will “pelletize” like an automobile window. Required in tub and shower enclosures, entry door and sidelight glass, and in windows when the window sill is less than 16″ from the floor.

Thermostat:  A device which regulates the temperature of a room or building by switching heating or cooling equipment on or off.

Three-Dimensional Shingles (aka Architectural Shingles):  Laminated shingles which have added dimensionality because of extra layers or tabs, giving a shake-like appearance.

Threshold:  The bottom metal or wood plate of an exterior door frame. Generally they are adjustable to keep a tight fit with the door sweep.

Toe-Nailing:  To drive a nail in at an angle to connect two members.

Top Chord:  The upper or top member of a truss.

Top Plate:  Top horizontal member of a frame wall supporting ceiling joists, rafters, or other members.

Transfer Grill (aka Jump Duct):  The grill covered opening through a wall or ceiling used for air pressure balancing.

Trap:  A plumbing fitting that holds water to prevent air, gas, and vermin from backing up into a fixture.

Tread:  The walking surface board of a stairway with a 10” minimum depth.

Treated Lumber:  A wood product which has been impregnated with chemicals and pesticides, to reduce damage from wood rot or insects. Used for the bottom plates of a structure which are likely to be in contact with moisture.

Trim:  The work that the “mechanical” contractors perform to finish their respective aspects of work when the home is nearing completion and occupancy. (2) The finish materials in a building, such as moldings applied around openings (window trim, door trim) or at the floor and ceiling of rooms (baseboard, cornice, and other moldings). Also, the physical work of installing these items.

Trimmer (aka Jack Stud):  The vertical stud that supports a header at a door, window, or other opening.

Truss Joist of TJ:  A brand of manufactured structural building component resembling the letter “I“. Used as floor joists and rafters. I-joists include two key parts: flanges and webs. The flange of the I joist may be made of laminated veneer lumber or dimensional lumber. The web or center of the I-joist is commonly made of plywood or oriented strand board (OSB). Large holes can be cut in the web to accommodate duct work and plumbing waste lines. I-joists are available in lengths up to 60” long.

Turpentine:  A petroleum product, (a volatile oil) used as a thinner & solvent in paints and as a solvent in varnishes.

UL (Underwriters’ Laboratories):  An independent testing agency that checks electrical devices and other components for possible safety hazards.

Underground Plumbing:  The water and drain lines that are installed beneath a slab.

Underlayment (aka Tar Paper, Roofing Paper, Felt Paper, Feltex):  (1) A secondary roofing layer that is waterproof or water-resistant, installed on the roof deck beneath shingles. (2) A thin sheeting used over a sub-floor and under the finished flooring.

Union:  A plumbing fitting that joins pipes end-to-end so they can be easily dismantled.

Utility Easement:  The area of the earth that has electric, gas, or telephone lines. These areas may be owned by the homeowner, but the utility company has the legal right to enter the area as necessary to repair or service the lines.

Valley:  The “V” shaped area of a roof where two sloping roofs meet. Water drains off the roof at the valleys.

Valley Flashing:  Galvanized sheet metal flashing that is sometimes used and lays in the “V” area of a roof valley to prevent moisture penetration.

Veneer:  (1) Extremely thin sheets of wood. (2) A thin slice of wood, brick or stone covering a framed wall.

Vent:  A pipe or duct which allows the flow of air and gasses to the outside.

Voltage:  A measure of electrical potential. Most homes are wired with 110 and 220 volt lines. The 110 volt power is used for lighting and most of the other circuits. The 220 volt power is usually used for electric dryers and AC.

Walk-Through:  A final inspection of a home before “Closing” to look for and document problems that need to be corrected.

Warping:  Any distortion in a material.

Waste Pipe and Vent:  Plastic plumbing pipe that carries waste water to the municipal sewage system and waste gasses out of the house through the roof.

Water Closet:  Another name for toilet.

Water Meter Box:  The concrete box and cast iron bonnet that contains the water meter.

Water Tap:  The connection point where the home water line connects to the main municipal water system.

Weatherstrip:  Narrow sections of thin metal, foam or plastic installed to prevent the infiltration of air and moisture around windows and doors.

Weep Holes:  Small holes in window frames that allow moisture to escape.

Whole House Fan:  a type of fan commonly venting into a building’s attic, designed to circulate air in a home.

Window Frame:  The stationary part of a window unit; the window sash fits into the window frame.

Window Sash:  The operating or movable part of a window; the sash is made of window panes and their border.

Wire Nut:  A plastic device used to connect bare wires together.

Wrapped, Drywall:  Areas that get complete drywall covering, as in walk through openings, or the doorway openings of bi-fold closet doors.

Y:  A “Y” shaped plumbing fitting.

Yard, Concrete:  One cubic yard of concrete is 3′ X 3′ X 3′ in volume, or 27 cubic feet. One cubic yard of concrete will pour 80 square feet of 3 ½” sidewalk or slab.

Z Flashing (aka Counter Flashing):  Z-shaped galvanized metal flashing used to cover L flashing to prevent moisture penetration.

Zone:  (1) The section of a building that is served by one heating or cooling loop because it has noticeably distinct heating or cooling needs. (2) The section of property that will be watered from an irrigation system.

Zoning:  A governmental process and specification which limits the use of a property e.g. single family use, high rise residential use, industrial use, etc. Zoning laws may limit where you can locate a structure.


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