Glossary

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E&O (errors and omissions) insurance: A professional liability insurance that protects companies and individuals against claims made by clients for inadequate work or negligent actions.

earnest money: A sum paid to a seller in good faith to demonstrate that a potential purchaser is serious about buying.

earthquake strap: A metal strap used to secure gas-fired hot water heaters to the framing or foundation of a house, intended to reduce the chances of having the water heater fall over in an earthquake and cause a gas leak.

easement: A formal contract that allows a party to use a limited portion of another party's property for a specific purpose. For example, a sewer easement would allow one party to run his sewer line through a neighbor's property.

easily visible: Describes systems, items and components that are both conspicuous and in plain sight, absent of the need for intrusive inspection techniques, probing, disassembly or the use of special equipment.

eave: The part of a roof that extends beyond the side wall.

eaves flashing: An additional layer of roofing material applied at the eaves to help prevent damage from water backup.

edge clearance: Nominal spacing between the edge of a glass product (such as a window) and the bottom of the glazing pocket or channel.

edge grain (vertical): Edge-grain lumber has been sawed parallel to the pith of the log and approximately at right angles to the growth rings (the rings form an angle of 45 degrees or more with the surface of the piece).

edge metal: A term related to brake or extruded metal around the perimeter of a roof.

edging strips: Boards nailed along eaves and rakes to provide secure edges for re-roofing with asphalt shingles after cutting back the existing wood shingles.

EER (energy-efficiency ratio): A measure of the instantaneous energy efficiency of cooling equipment. EER is the steady-state rate of heat-energy removal (or cooling capacity) by the equipment in BTU/h divided by the steady-state rate of energy input to the equipment in watts. This ratio is expressed in BTU/h per watt (BTU/h/watt). EER is based on tests performed in accordance with AHRI 210/240 (AHRI 2003).

efflorescence: A white powder that forms on the surface of concrete/masonry walls as a result of water evaporation.

egress: To exit or a means of exiting a building.

EIFS (exterior insulating and finish system): An exterior wall cladding system consisting primarily of polystyrene foamboard with a textured acrylic finish that resembles plaster or stucco.

elastomer: An elastic, rubber-like substance, such as natural or synthetic rubber.

elastomeric: Of or pertaining to any of the numerous flexible membranes that contain rubber or plastic.

elbow: An angled fitting that alters the direction of a water line.

electric lateral: The trench or area in a home's yard where the electrical service line from a transformer or pedestal is located, or the work of installing the electrical service to a home.

electric resistance coils: Metal wires that heat up when electrical current passes through them; used in baseboard heaters and electric water heaters.

electrical entrance package: The entry point of the electrical power, including: the strike or location where the overhead electrical lines connect to the house; the meter, which measures how much power is used; and the panel, circuit breaker box or fuse box where the power can be shut off and overload devices, such as fuses or circuit breakers, are located.

electrical rough: The work performed by the electrical contractor after the plumbing and heating contractors have completed their phases of work. Normally, all electrical wires, receptacles/outlets, switches and fixture boxes are installed before the insulation.

electrical trim: The work performed by the electrical contractor when a new-construction house is nearing completion. The electrician installs all plugs, switches, light fixtures, smoke detectors, appliance pigtails, and bathroom ventilation fans, wires the furnace, and makes up the electrical house panel. The electrician does all work necessary to get the home ready to pass the municipal electrical final inspection.

electrolytic coupling: A fitting required to join copper to galvanized pipe, which is gasketed to prevent galvanic action, as connecting pipes of different materials may result in electrolysis.

elevation: A side of a building.

elevation sheet: The page of blueprints that depicts the house or room as if a vertical plane were passed through the structure.

ell (L): See elbow.

emergency escape and rescue opening: A window allowing for easy escape in an emergency and having minimum dimensions as defined by code and as determined by its location in the home, and required in every bedroom and basement of a home. Also called an emergency egress and rescue opening/window.

emergency shutoff valve: A valve designed to shut off the flow of gases or liquids.

emissivity: The measure of a surface's ability to emit long-wave infrared radiation; important factor in infrared thermography and energy-saving windows.

EMT (electrical metallic tubing): Electrical pipe, also called thin-wall conduit, that may be used for both concealed and exposed areas. It is the most common type of raceway used in single-family and low-rise residential and commercial buildings.

emulsion: In roofing, a coating consisting of asphalt and fillers suspended in water.

end dam: Internal flashing (or dam) that prevents water from moving laterally within a curtain wall or window wall system.

end lap: The amount or location of overlap at the end of a roll of roofing felts in the application.

energy analysis: A method for estimating the annual energy use of a building.

energy-efficiency ratio: See EER.

energy-recovery ventilation (ERV) system: A system that uses air-to-air heat exchangers to recover energy from exhaust air for the purpose of preheating or precooling outdoor air prior to supplying the air to a living space.

engineering service: Any professional service or creative work requiring engineering education, training and experience, and the application of special knowledge of the mathematical, physical and engineering sciences to relevant professional services or creative work, such as engineering consultation, investigation, evaluation, planning, design and/or supervision of construction for the purpose of assuring compliance with the specifications and design, in conjunction with structures, buildings, machines, equipment, works or processes.

enter: To go into an area.

EPA: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which sets acceptable standards for exposure to radon, mold, disturbed lead-based paint and friable insulation, among other standards and duties.

EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer): A single-ply membrane consisting of synthetic rubber, usually in 45 or 60 mils. Application can be ballasted, fully adhered or mechanically attached.

equity: The value of a property less any outstanding mortgage loan.

escrow: The handling of funds or documents by a third party on behalf of the buyer and/or seller.

escutcheon: A trim piece or decorative flange that fits beneath a faucet handle to conceal the faucet stem and the hole in the fixture or wall.

estimate: The anticipated cost of materials, labor and associated costs for a proposed construction, repair or remodeling project.

estimating: The process of calculating the cost of a project. This can be a formal and exact process or a quick and imprecise process.

evaluate: Pertaining to an inspection, to assess the structures, systems and components of a property.

evidence: Plainly visible and conspicuous material objects or other items presented to the senses that would tend to produce conviction in the mind of an ordinary person as to the existence or non-existence of a fact.

examine: To look at and evaluate. Also see inspect.

excavate: To dig the basement and/or all areas that will need footings/foundations below ground.

exhaust fan: A fan that extracts air or excess heat from the interior of a home.

existing: Refers to buildings, facilities and/or conditions that are already present/built.

exit discharge: The portion of a means of egress between its termination and a public way.

expansion coefficient: The amount that a specific material will vary in any one dimension with a change of temperature.

expansion joint: A device used to permit a structure to expand or contract without breakage. In residential construction, a bituminous fiber strip is used to separate blocks, units or slabs of concrete to prevent cracking due to expansion as a result of temperature changes.

expansive soils: Earth that swells and contracts depending on the amount of water present.

exposed: Capable of being inadvertently touched by a person because it is not suitably guarded, isolated or insulated.

exposed aggregate (finish): A method of finishing concrete that washes the cement/sand mixture of the top layer of the aggregate (usually gravel). Often used in driveways, patios and other exterior surfaces.

exposed-nail method: Application of roll roofing by which all nails are driven into the cemented, overlapping course of roofing, leaving the nails exposed to weather.

exposure: The portion of roofing exposed to the elements after installation.

Exposure I-grade plywood: Type of plywood approved for exterior use by the American Plywood Association.

exterior property: The open space on a property.

exterior stop: The exterior-side molding or bead that holds a window lite or panel in place.

exterior wall: An outside wall of a building, either above or below grade.

exterior-glazed: Glazing infills set from the exterior of the building.

extermination: The control or elimination of insects, vermin and other pests.

extras: Additional work requested of a contractor that is not included in the original plan and is billed separately. While extras do not alter the original contract amount, they increase the final cost of building the home.

extrusion: An item formed by forcing a base metal (typically, aluminum) or plastic at a malleable temperature through a die to achieve a desired shape.

eyebrow: A flat concrete projection that protrudes horizontally from a building wall, generally located above a window.