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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.

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Construction Terms Beginning With Letter: T

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. Typically, the subfloor plywood is T & G.

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

Tail beam– A relatively short beam or joist supported in a wall on one end and by a header at the other.

Take off– The material necessary to complete a job.

Taping– The process of covering drywall joints with paper tape and joint compound.

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Construction Terms Beginning With Letter: S

Saddle– A small second roof built behind the back side of a fireplace chimney to divert water around the chimney. Also, the plate at the bottom of some—usually exterior—door openings. Sometimes called a threshold.

Sack mix– The amount of Portland cement in a cubic yard of concrete mix. Generally, 5 or 6 sack is required in a foundation wall.

Sales contract – A contract between a buyer and seller which should explain: (1) What the purchase includes, (2) What guarantees there are, (3) When the buyer can move in, (4) What the closing costs are, and (5) What recourse the parties have if the contract is not fulfilled or if the buyer cannot get a mortgage commitment at the agreed upon time.

Sand float finish– Lime that is mixed with sand, resulting in a textured finish on a wall.

Sanitary sewer– A sewer system designed for the collection of waste water from the bathroom, kitchen and laundry drains, and is usually not designed to handle storm water.

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Construction Terms Beginning With Letter: R

Rabbet- A rectangular longitudinal groove cut in the corner edge of a board or plank.

Radiant heating– A method of heating, usually consisting of a forced hot water system with pipes placed in the floor, wall, or ceiling. Also electrically heated panels.

Radiation– Energy transmitted from a heat source to the air around it. Radiators actually depend more on convection than radiation.

Radon– A naturally-occurring, heavier than air, radioactive gas common in many parts of the country.  Radon gas exposure is associated with lung cancer. Mitigation measures may involve crawl space and basement venting and various forms of vapor barriers.

Radon system– A ventilation system beneath the floor of a basement and/or structural wood floor and designed to fan exhaust radon gas to the outside of the home

Rafter– Lumber used to support the roof sheeting and roof loads. Generally, 2 X 10’s and 2 X 12’s are used. The rafters of a flat roof are sometimes called roof joists.

Rafter, hip– A rafter that forms the intersection of an external roof angle.

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Construction Terms Beginning With Letter: Q

Quarry tile– A man-made or machine-made clay tile used to finish a floor or wall. Generally 6″ X  6″  X 1/4″ thick .

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