Glossary of DIY Terms

Glossary of DIY Terms

Access hatch – hole either round or square cut into a floor to allow access to plumbing or electrical services.

Aggregate – broken stone, pebbles gravel or similar material that forms the largest part of compounds such as concrete and mortar. The finest aggregates are better known as sand. Aggregate is also sometimes referred to as ballast.

Airbrick – special brick built into exterior walls with lots of small holes to allow air to flow into a room or under a wooden floor.

Architrave – decorative strips of moulding fitted around a door frame to create a finish over the joint between frame and wall.

BCO – common abbreviation for Building Control Officer, local authority employee with responsibility for enforcing building regulations.

Baluster – part of a balustrade, the correct term for stair spindles between string and handrail.

Batten – sections of timber 50 x 25mm (2 x 1 in) or less in cross section, used for constructing frameworks, etc.

Blinding – sand spread over hardcore layer in concrete floor to prevent the damp-proof membrane being pierced.

Blocking in – the technical way of saying simply ‘filling in a space’, in the context of this book specifically refers to disguising the construction details of the underside of a staircase with the addition of flat panels of either hardboard or plasterboard.

Bulkhead – partial wall that often hangs over a stairwell or to one side of the staircase, and which is not directly supported by a floor.

Cavity wall – house wall consisting of two layers, or ‘skins’, of masonry held together with metal or plastic wall ties, and with a gap (the cavity) – commonly 50mm (2in) wide – between them. The inner wall is usually built with blocks, and the cavity is partially or fully filled with insulating materials.

Cement – binder in powder form that bonds sand or aggregate together to form, respectively, mortar for bricklaying or concrete.

Chipboard – manufactured board used for flooring made of compressed wooden fibres and supplied in sheets. Sheets are normally joined with a tongue and groove mechanism.

Cladding – name given to a material which covers the main structural element below it.

Cleat – small, short length of timber that supports another larger piece.

Closed tread – type of stairs that includes a riser in each step, the opposite to open tread.

Concrete – building material made from cement, sand, aggregate and water that sets to a hard, stone-like mass and is used for floors and subfloors, wall foundations and as cast slabs for laying patios, driveways and the bases for outbuildings.

Glossary of DIY Terms - condensation Condensation – moisture that forms when the air is completely saturated and unable to absorb any more, most likely to collect on surfaces that are colder than the surroundings, such as cold windows.

DPC – common abbreviation for damp-proof course. An impermeable membrane (formerly slate, now usually plastic) sandwiched between layers of masonry in exterior walls, positioned just above ground level, to prevent damp penetrating to the interior of a house and causing rising damp.

DPM – common abbreviation for damp-proof membrane. A sheet material laid between subfloor and flooring to prevent moisture from rising up through concrete and screeds.

Damp-proof fluid – means of repairing a failed DPC or substitute if none exists, whereby proprietary liquid is injected at numerous points into an exterior wall at the level of a damp-proof course in order to form an impermeable layer.

Datum mark – mark on a wall, or other immovable part, of a known height and from which all other measurements are taken.

Dry rot – type of fungal attack to timber and other building materials. Starts off as minute silky threads covering the timber surface, then changes to what looks like cotton wool balls and finally dark red sponge-like bodies.

Filler – plaster powder used to fill small holes and indentations and to cover nail and screw heads before decorating.

Floor grille – metal cover that is fitted over a hole cut in the floor to allow the passage of air into the room and the area under the floor, can be fixed or with a shutter design.

Formwork – timber boards nailed together to form a temporary mould to support wet concrete until it dries.

Glue block – triangular wooden block fitted at the back of the stairs between tread and riser.

Glue wedge – timber wedge fitted to stairs so that the tread is held tightly into the string.

Gravel – washed river stone typically sieved to a maximum stone diameter of 20mm (3/4in).

Gripper – wooden strips with nails sticking up to hold in position the traditional type of carpet.

Handrail – rail fixed either to wall or open side of staircase that may be gripped to provide support as you climb and descend the stairs.

Hardcore – layer of concrete floor made up of broken brick, concrete and other masonry rubble laid to build up the level and provide a stable base before the concrete is poured on.

Header – timber around a fire surround to support cut joists.

Herringbone struts – wooden or metal diagonal braces that are attached between joists to prevent movement in floors.

Housing – shallow groove into which another section of timber may be fixed. Of stairs, name for grooves into which treads and risers are fitted.

Joists – large timber or steel beams that support the floor and, in upstairs rooms, the ceiling below.

Joist hanger – metal bracket used to support the ends of floor joists at wall junctions, with varieties specifically designed for attaching to masonry or timber, or some can be built-in.

Joist socket – hole in wall or heavy beam to support joists when joist hangers are not used.

Laminate – flooring material, manufactured using a process whereby a thin layer, usually wood veneer, is bonded to another surface to form one homogenous material.

Landing – the area halfway up a staircase that links different flights of stairs, usually to allow flights to change direction. Term is also commonly used to refer to the area of the upper hallway immediately at the top of a staircase.

Latex – rubber-based material used as a levelling and adhesive compound.

Lath and plaster – a lining for ceilings and stud partition walls in older houses, consisting of plaster applied to closely spaced wooden strips (the laths) that are nailed to the ceiling joists or wall studs.

Mastic – non-setting filler used to sea joints between building components, such as between a window frame and the surrounding masonry. It is also known as caulk.

MDF – common abbreviation for medium-density fibreboard, a manufactured building board made from compressed wood fibres.

Mitred – when two sections of material, often wood, are joined at a right angle, as with architrave at the junction of the top and side of a door frame.

Mortar – mixture of cement, sand and sometimes other additives used for bricklaying and rendering.

Moulding – decoration to the edge of a section of timber.

Napp – slope of the carpet pile.

Napplocks – metal strips with a similar function to gripper rods but used at door openings.

Newel post – main post at the top and bottom of the stairs that supports the handrail.

Noggings – short horizontal timbers fixed between wall studs or ceiling joists to stiffen the structure.

Nosing – the rounded-over edge of a timber tread.

Open tread – type of stairs constructed without risers, opposite of closed tread.

Parquet – flooring composed of wooden blocks arranged in a geometric pattern, another name for a woodblock floor.

Penetrating damp – moisture entering a building through some defect in its structure and waterproofing.

Pile – short tufts of material that actually form the carpet layer, can be plain or patterned.

Pilot hole – a small hole allowing a nail or screw to start into the wood.

Pinch rod – two sticks held between a gap and taped together in order to transfer dimensions from one place to another.

Planning permission – legal permission that must be sought from the local authority to carry out some types of building work.

Plasterboard – a sheet material formed by sandwiching a plaster core between sheets of strong paper. It is used for lining ceilings and stud partition walls.

Plumb – perpendicular, upright.

Plywood – type of manufactured board made from three or more laminations of timber.

Pointing – mortar filling the joints between brickwork. It is formed into different edge profiles using a variety of pointing tools.

PVA (polyvinyl acetate) building adhesive – white liquid used as an adhesive and sealer in building work.

Quarry tiles – hard tiles that have been fired in a kiln, which are used as a floor covering material.

Riser – the upright part of a step that joins two treads together.

Rising damp – moisture entering the building from the ground due to the failure of the damp-proof course in a wall or the damp-proof membrane in a concrete floor.

Rock wool – generic term for insulating material made from mineral fibres.

Skirting board – decorative and protective wooden moulding fitted at the junction between floor and wall.

Spandrel panelling – special panels to fill in the triangular space immediately under a staircase.

Spindles – usually rounded wooden poles that fill the gap between the handrail and string.

Stain – oil or water-based chemical for changing the colour of wood.

String – part of the staircase structure that supports the ends of the treads and risers (if fitted).

Stud – wooden uprights used in the construction of a wall framework.

Stud wall – wall consisting of wooden studs and covered in plasterboard, used for partition walls in houses and finished with plaster or dry lined.

Subfloor – the base floor material beneath a floor covering, usually floorboards, chipboard or concrete.

Suspended floor – a floor that is suspended between walls.

Tamp down – action of applying pressure to compact materials in order to consolidate them together.

Tongue and groove – male and female jointing mechanism often used to join one or more boards together.

Tread – the horizontal part of a step that you walk on as you go up and down a staircase.

Trowel – tool for moving and working materials, usually mortar, concrete and plaster, of varying size.

Vinyl – manufactured plastic used to produce decorative, easy-to-clean floor coverings.

Wall plug – plastic insert fitted into a hole in a wall to take a screw and make a secure fixing.

Wet rot – wood damage from the moisture content being too high, not as serious as dry rot but still leads to the destruction of timber.

Woodblock – constituent section of a parquet floor.

Wood-boring insects – bugs that live on the cellulose found in timber, an infestation of such insects can seriously damage the wood until it becomes structurally unsound.

Wick – action whereby moisture is absorbed into the ends of timber by capillary attraction.

15. December 2010 by admin
Categories: Construction, Decorating, DIY Home, Electrical, Fencing/Boundaries, Gardening, Heating, Home Maintenance, Home Security, Insulation | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Glossary of DIY Terms


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