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Construction Terms Beginning With Letter: P

Padding– A material installed under carpet to add foot comfort, isolate sound, and to prolong carpet life.

Pad out, pack out– To shim out or add strips of wood to a wall or ceiling in order that the finished ceiling/wall will appear correct.

Paint– A combination of pigments with suitable thinners or oils to provide decorative and protective coatings. Can be oil based or latex water based.

Pallets– Wooden platforms used for storing and shipping material. Forklifts and hand trucks are used to move these wooden platforms around.

Panel– A thin flat piece of wood, plywood, or similar material, framed by stiles and rails as in a door (or cabinet door), or fitted into grooves of thicker material with molded edges for decorative wall treatment.

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Construction Terms Beginning With Letter: O

O C- On Center– The measurement of spacing for studs, rafters, and joists in a building from the center of one member to the center of the next.

Oakum– Loose hemp or jute fiber that’s impregnated with tar or pitch and used to caulk large seams or for packing plumbing pipe joints

Open hole inspection– When an engineer (or municipal inspector) inspects the open excavation and examines the earth to determine the type of foundation (caisson, footer, wall on ground, etc.) that should be installed in the hole.

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Construction Terms Beginning With Letter: N

Nail inspection– An inspection made by a municipal building inspector after the drywall material is hung with nails and screws (and before taping).

Natural finish– A transparent finish which does not seriously alter the original color or grain of the natural wood. Natural finishes are usually provided by sealers, oils, varnishes, water repellent preservatives, and other similar materials.

NEC (National Electrical Code)– A set of rules governing safe wiring methods. Local codes—which are backed by law—may differ from the NEC in some ways.

Neutral wire– Usually color-coded white, this carries electricity from an outlet back to the service panel. Also see hot wire and ground.

Newel post– The large starting post to which the end of a stair guard railing or balustrade is fastened.

Nonbearing wall– A wall supporting no load other than its own weight.

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Construction Terms Beginning With Letter: M

Male– Any part, such as a bolt, designed to fit into another (female) part. External threads are male.

Mantel– The shelf above a fireplace opening. Also used in referring to the decorative trim around a fireplace opening.

Manufactured wood- A wood product such as a truss, beam, gluelam, microlam or joist which is manufactured out of smaller wood pieces and glued or mechanically fastened to form a larger piece. Often used to create a stronger member which may use less wood. See also Oriented Strand Board.

Manufacturer’s specifications– The written installation and/or maintenance instructions which are developed by the manufacturer of a product and which may have to be followed in order to maintain the product warrantee.

Masonry– Stone, brick, concrete, hollow-tile, concrete block, or other similar building units or materials. Normally bonded together with mortar to form a wall.

Mastic– A pasty material used as a cement (as for setting tile) or a protective coating (as for thermal insulation or waterproofing)

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Construction Terms Beginning With Letter: L

Laminated shingles – Shingles that have added dimensionality because of extra layers or tabs, giving a shake-like appearance. May also be called “architectural shingles” or “three-dimensional shingles.”

Laminating– Bonding together two or more layers of materials.

Landing– A platform between flights of stairs or at the termination of a flight of stairs. Often used when stairs change direction. Normally no less than 3 ft. X 3 ft. square.

Lap– To cover the surface of one shingle or roll with another.

Latch– A beveled metal tongue operated by a spring-loaded knob or lever. The tongue’s bevel lets you close the door and engage the locking mechanism, if any, without using a key. Contrasts with dead bolt.

Lateral (electric, gas, telephone, sewer and water)– The underground trench and related services (i.e., electric, gas, telephone, sewer and water lines) that will be buried within the trench.

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