Construction Terms Beginning With Letter: Z

Z-bar flashing- Bent, galvanized metal flashing that’s installed above a horizontal trim board of an exterior window, door, or brick run. It prevents water from getting behind the trim/brick and into the home.

Zone- The section of a building that is served by one heating or cooling loop because it has noticeably distinct heating or cooling needs. Also, the section of property that will be watered from a lawn sprinkler system.

Zone valve- A device, usually placed near the heater or cooler, which controls the flow of water or steam to parts of the building; it is controlled by a zone thermostat.

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. Also see building codes.

Construction Terms Beginning With Letter: Y

Y- A “Y” shaped plumbing fitting.

Yard of 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 basement/garage floor.

Yoke- The location where a home’s water meter is sometimes installed between two copper pipes, and located in the water meter pit in the yard.

Construction Terms Beginning With Letter: W

Wafer board - A manufactured wood panel made out of 1″- 2″ wood chips and glue. Often used as a substitute for plywood in the exterior wall and roof sheathing.

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

Wall out- When a painter pray paints the interior of a home.

Warping- Any distortion in a material.

Warranty- In construction there are two general types of warranties. One is provided by the manufacturer of a product such as roofing material or an appliance. The second is a warranty for the labor. For example, a roofing contract may include a 20 year material warranty and a 5 year labor warranty. Many new homebuilders provide a one year warranty. Any major issue found during the first year should be communicated to the builder immediately. Small items can be saved up and presented to the builder for correction periodically through the first year after closing.

Waste pipe and vent- Plumbing plastic pipe that carries waste water to the municipal sewage system.

Water board- Water resistant drywall to be used in tub and shower locations. Normally green or blue colored

Water closet- Another name for toilet.

Water meter pit (or vault)- The box /cast iron bonnet and concrete rings that contains the water meter.

Water-repellent preservative- A liquid applied to wood to give the wood water repellant properties

Water table- The location of the underground water, and the vertical distance from the surface of the earth to this underground water.

Water tap- The connection point where the home water line connects to the main municipal water system.

W C- An abbreviation for water closet (toilet).

Weatherization- Work on a building exterior in order to reduce energy consumption for heating or cooling.  Work involving adding insulation, installing storm windows and doors, caulking cracks and putting on weather-stripping.

Weatherstrip- Narrow sections of thin metal or other material installed to prevent the infiltration of air and moisture around windows and doors.

Weep holes- Small holes in storm window frames that allow moisture to escape.

Whole house fan- A fan designed to move air through and out of a home and normally installed in the ceiling.

Wind bracing- Metal straps or wood blocks installed diagonally on the inside of a wall from bottom to top plate, to prevent the wall from twisting, racking, or falling over “domino” fashion.

Window buck- Square or rectangular box that is installed within a concrete foundation or block wall. A window will eventually be installed in this “buck” during the siding stage of construction

Window frame- The stationary part of a window unit; 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.

Wonderboard ™- A panel made out of concrete and fiberglass usually used as a ceramic tile backing material. Commonly used on bathtub decks.

Wrapped drywall- Areas that get complete drywall covering, as in the doorway openings of bifold and bipass closet doors.

Construction Terms Beginning With Letter: V

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

Valley flashing- Sheet metal that lays in the “V” area of a roof valley.

Valuation- An inspection carried out for the benefit of the mortgage lender to ascertain if a property is a good security for a loan.

Valuation fee- Th fee paid by the prospective borrower for the lender’s inspection of the property. Normally paid upon loan application.

Vapor barrier- A building product installed on exterior walls and ceilings under the drywall and on the warm side of the insulation. It is used to retard the movement of water vapor into walls and prevent condensation within them. Normally, polyethylene plastic sheeting is used.

Variable rate- An interest rate that will vary over the term of the loan.

Veneer- Extremely thin sheets of wood. Also a thin slice of wood or brick or stone covering a framed wall.

Vent- A pipe or duct which allows the flow of air and gasses to the outside. Also, another word for the moving glass part of a window sash, i.e. window vent.

Vermiculite- A mineral used as bulk insulation and also as aggregate in insulating and acoustical plaster and in insulating concrete floors.

Veterans Administration (VA)- A federal agency that insures mortgage loans with very liberal down payment requirements for honorably discharged veterans and their surviving spouses.

Visqueen- A 4 mil or 6 mil plastic sheeting.

Void- Cardboard rectangular boxes that are installed between the earth (between caissons) and the concrete foundation wall. Used when expansive soils are present.

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 the kitchen range, hot water heater and dryer.

Construction Terms Beginning With Letter: U

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

Undercoat- A coating applied prior to the finishing or top coats of a paint job. It may be the first of two or the second of three coats. Sometimes called the Prime coat.

Underground plumbing- The plumbing drain and waste lines that are installed beneath a basement floor.

Underlayment- A ¼” material placed over the subfloor plywood sheeting and under finish coverings, such as vinyl flooring, to provide a smooth, even surface. Also a secondary roofing layer that is waterproof or water-resistant, installed on the roof deck and beneath shingles or other roof-finishing layer.

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

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