façade: The front of a building; in architectural terms, an artificial or decorative effort.
face brick: Brick made especially for exterior use with special consideration for color, texture and size, and used as a facing on a building.
face glazing: A system having a triangular bead of compound applied with a putty knife, after bedding, setting, and clipping the glazing infill in place on a rabetted sash.
faced concrete: The broom-finished front and vertical sides of a concrete porch, step(s) and/or patio.
facing brick: The brick used and exposed on the outside of a wall having a finished texture.
Factory Mutual (FM): Insurance agency that has established stringent guidelines for maximum construction integrity as it relates to fire and environmental hazards. Its specifications have become industry standards.
fall: The proper slope or pitch of a pipe for adequate drainage. Also called flow.
fascia: The band running horizontally and positioned vertically under a roof edge, or that which forms the outer surface of a cornice. Fascia board caps the rafter ends of a roof structure and may be used to hold a gutter. The area below the fascia may be referred to as the eave.
fasteners: A general term covering a wide variety of screws and nails, which may be used for mechanically securing various components of a building.
faucet: A device for regulating the flow of a liquid from a reservoir, such as a pipe or drum.
feathering strips: Tapered wood filler strips placed along the butt edges of old wood shingles to create a level surface when re-roofing over existing wood shingle roofs. Also called horsefeathers.
Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standard: A reasonable standard for the construction, design and performance of a manufactured home that meets the needs of the public, including the need for quality, durability and safety.
felt: A general term used to describe composition of roofing ply sheets, consisting of a mat of organic or inorganic fibers, either unsaturated, impregnated with asphalt or coal tar pitch, or impregnated and coated with asphalt.
female IPS: Pipe connection where the threads are on the inside of the fitting. See FIP.
female threads: See FIP.
fenestration: Any glass panel, window, door, curtain wall, or skylight unit on the exterior of a building.
ferrous: Refers to objects completely or partially made of iron, such as ferrous pipe.
ferrule: Metal tubes used to keep roof gutters open. Long nails called ferrule spikes are driven through these tubes and hold the gutters in place along the fascia.
FHA strap: Metal straps that are used to repair a bearing wall cut-out, and to tie together wall corners, splices, and bearing headers. Also used to hang stairs and landings to bearing headers.
fibered aluminum roof coating: High-performance metallic reflective barrier used for prepared roofing, metal surfaces and exterior masonry. It reflects the sun's harmful rays and reduces energy costs in summer and winter, while prolonging the roof surface's service life.
fibered roof and foundation coating: Combined application for a special medium viscosity-grade fibered material and used as a roof and foundation coating.
fibered roof coating: Optimal protection for low-sloped roofs. This thick, high-quality coating seals fine cracks and openings. Renews and rejuvenates old composition roofing and prolongs roof life. Also performs well on metal and concrete surfaces.
fiberglass mat: An asphalt roofing base material manufactured from glass fibers.
field-measure: To take measurements (of cabinets, countertops, stairs, shower doors, etc.) in the home instead of using the blueprints.
fillet bead: Caulking or sealant placed in a manner such that it forms an angle between the materials being caulked.
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finger joint: A manufacturing process of interlocking two shorter pieces of wood end to end to create a longer piece of dimensional lumber or molding. Often used in jambs and casings, and normally painted instead of stained.
finish: In hardware, metal fastenings on cabinets that are usually exposed, such as hinges and locks.
finish carpentry: The hanging of all interior doors, installation of door molding, base molding, chair rail, built-in shelves, etc.
finish coat: The last coat applied in plastering, intended as a base for further decorating or as a final decorative surface. Finish coat usually consists of calcified gypsum, lime and sometimes an aggregate. Some may require the addition of lime or sand on the job. The three basic methods of applying it are trowel, flat and spray.
finish grade: Any surface that has been cut or built to the elevation indicated for that point. The surface elevation of lawn, driveway, or other improved surfaces after completion of grading operations.
FIP (female iron pipe): Standard threads that are on the inside of a pipe fitting.
fire apparatus access road: A road, fire lane, public street, private street, or parking lot lane that provides access from a fire station to a facility.
fire block: Short horizontal members nailed between studs, usually about halfway up a wall. See also fire stop.
fire brick: Brick made of refractory ceramic material for use in fireplaces and boilers that resists high temperatures.
fire code official: The fire chief or other authority charged with the enforcement of the local fire code.
fire department master key: A special key carried by fire department officials that will open key boxes at commercial properties.
fire stop: A solid, tight closure of a concealed space that is placed to prevent the spread of fire and smoke through the space. In a frame wall, this typically consists of 2x4 cross-blocking between studs.
fire-rated: Descriptive of materials that have been tested for use in firewalls.
fire-resistance rating: A rating based on the period of time that materials and assemblies can withstand fire exposure.
fire-resistive: In the absence of a specific ruling by the authority having jurisdiction, applies to materials for construction that are not combustible in temperatures of ordinary fires and will withstand such fires without serious impairment of their usefulness for at least one hour.
fire-retardant chemical: A chemical or preparation of chemicals used to reduce flammability or retard the spread of flame.
fireplace chase flashing pan: A large sheet of metal that is installed around and perpendicular to the fireplace flue pipe that is used to confine and limit the spread of fire and smoke to a small area.
fireplace lintel: A horizontal, noncombustible member that spans the top of the fireplace opening.
firewall: Any wall built for the purpose of restricting or preventing the spread of fire in a building. Such walls of solid masonry or concrete generally subdivide a building from the foundations to 2 feet or more above the plane of the roof.
fish tape: Material used to advance wire through a conduit. Also called fish wire.
fishplate: A wood or plywood piece used to fasten the ends of two members together at a butt joint with nails or bolts. Sometimes used at the junction of opposite rafters near the ridge line. Also called a gang-nail plate and a gusset.
fitting: A general term that usually refers to a faucet, shower valve, tub filler, and various piping parts, such as tees and elbows.
fixed-price contract: A contract with a set price for the work. See time and materials contract.
fixture: In plumbing, a device that provides a supply of water and/or its disposal, such as a sink, tub and toilet.
flagstone (flagging, flags): Flat stones from 1 to 4 inches thick used for rustic walks, steps, floors, etc.
flake: (1) A small, scale-like particle. (2) To lose bond from a surface in small thin pieces, such as paint film that flakes.
flakeboard: A manufactured wood panel made of 1- to 2-inch wood chips and glue and used as a substitute for plywood in the exterior wall and roof sheathing. Also called chipboard, OSB (oriented strand board) and waferboard.
flame-retention burner: An oil burner designed to hold the flame near the nozzle surface. Generally, the most efficient type for residential use.
flapper valve: In plumbing, a valve that replaces a tank stopper in a toilet that creates a seal between the tank and the bowl.
flash point (flashpoint): The critical temperature at which a material ignites.
flashing: A material (typically, metal) that is shaped or molded for the location and used at an angle in a roof or wall to prevent rainwater/moisture leakage into the structure.
flat glass: A general term that describes float glass, sheet glass, plate glass, and rolled glass.
flat grain: Lumber that has been sawed parallel to the pith of the log and approximately tangent to the growth rings, i.e., the rings form an angle of less than 45 degrees with the surface of the piece.
flat mold: Thin wood strips installed over the butt seam of cabinet skins.
flat paint: An interior paint that contains a high proportion of pigment and dries to a flat or lusterless finish.
flat seam: The seam at the junction of sheet metal roof components that has been bent at the plane of the roof.
flatwork: Common term describing concrete floors, driveways, basements and sidewalks.
fleet averaging: By using a point system, builders can show compliance with energy building requirements by using average figures for all air-conditioning units in the same subdivision.
flex hose: A flexible pipe or tube made of braided stainless steel and commonly used with widespread or Roman tub faucets to provide variable centers.
flexible metal conduit: Conduit similar to armored cable in appearance but without the pre-inserted conductors.
float glass: Glass formed on a bath of molten tin. The surface in contact with the tin is known as the tin surface or tin side. The top surface is known as the atmosphere surface or air side.
floating: The next-to-last stage in concrete work, when it is smoothed and water is brought to the surface by using a hand float or bull float.
floating wall: A non-bearing wall built on a concrete floor constructed so that the bottom two horizontal plates can compress or pull apart if the concrete floor moves up or down, and normally built on basements and garage slabs.
flood-level rim: The edge of a fixture from which water overflows.
floor area, gross: The floor area within the inside perimeter of the exterior walls.
floor area, net: The actual occupied area not including accessory areas, such as corridors, stairways, restrooms, mechanical rooms and closets.
floor plan: The basic layout of building or addition, which includes the placement of walls, windows and doors, as well as dimensions.
floor plate: See floor plan.
flow rate: The rate at which water is discharged from an outlet. For example, the standard flow rate of a showerhead is 2.5 gallons per minute.
flue: A pipe used to exhaust smoke, gas or air.
flue collar: A round metal ring that fits around the heat flue pipe after the pipe passes out through the roof.
flue damper: An automatic door located in the flue that closes it off when the burner turns off; its purpose is to reduce heat loss up the flue from the still-warm furnace or boiler.
flue lining: A round or square fire clay or terracotta pipe, usually made in all ordinary flue sizes and in 2-foot lengths, and used as the inner lining of a chimney, with the brick or masonry work around the outside. The flue lining in a chimney runs from about 1 foot below the flue connection to the top of the chimney.
fluorescent lighting: A fluorescent lamp is a gas-filled glass tube with a phosphor coating on the inside, normally with two pins that extend from each end. Gas inside the tube is ionized by electricity, which causes the phosphor coating to glow.
flush glazing: The setting of a lite of glass or panel into a four-sided sash or frame opening containing a recessed U-shaped channel, without removable stops on three sides of the sash or frame, and having one channel with a removable stop along the fourth side. Also called pocket glazing.
flush valve: The valve separating the water in the toilet tank from the bowl.
flux: A material applied to the surface of copper pipes and fittings to assist in the cleaning and bonding process.
fly rafters: End rafters of a gable overhang that is supported by roof sheathing and lookouts.
folded seam: In sheet metal work, a joint created between the sheets of metal when the edges are crimped together and folded flat.
footing: The underground support for a foundation or support post.
footings: Wide pours of cement reinforced with rebar (reinforcing bar) that support foundation walls, pillars and posts. Footings are part of the foundation and are typically poured before the foundation walls.
footprint: See floor plan.
forced-air heating: A common form of heating using natural gas, propane, oil or electricity as the fuel. Air is heated in the furnace and distributed through a set of metal plastic ducts to various areas of the house.
form: A temporary structure erected to contain concrete during placing and initial hardening.
foundation: The supporting portion of a structure below the first floor construction, below grade or partially below grade, including the footings, upon which the structure or wall rests, and usually made of masonry, concrete and/or stone, but can be made of alternative building materials.
foundation coating: High-quality, below-grade moisture protection used for below-grade exterior concrete and masonry wall damp-proofing to seal out moisture and prevent corrosion.
frame inspection: An inspection of the home's structural integrity and its compliance with local municipal codes.
framer: The carpenter contractor who installs the lumber and erects the frame, flooring system, interior walls, backing, trusses, rafters and decking, and installs all beams, stairs, soffits and other work related to the wood structure of the home. The framer builds the home according to the blueprints and must comply with local building codes and regulations.
framing: The structural wood and/or metal elements of most homes. The floor and ceiling framing is called the joist work. Wall framing is usually made of 2x4 or 2x6 studs. See rafters, posts and beams.
free-tab shingles: Shingles that do not contain factory-applied strips or spots of self-sealing adhesive. See also self-sealing shingles.
frieze: In house construction, a horizontal member connecting the top of the siding with the soffit of the cornice.
frost line: The depth of frost penetration in local soil. Footings should be placed below this depth to prevent movement.
frost-protected shallow foundation (FPSF) system: Offers a design option that allows for shallower footing depths by raising the frost depth around the building through the use of insulation.
fully-adhered: A completely attached (adhered) roof membrane.
fully-tempered glass: Flat or bent glass that has been heat-treated to a high surface and/or edge compression to meet the requirements of ASTM-C-1048 type FT. Fully tempered glass, if broken, will fracture into many small pieces (dice), which are more or less cubical. Fully tempered glass is approximately four times stronger than annealed glass of the same thickness when exposed to uniform static pressure loads.
function: The action for which an item, component or system is specially fitted or used, or for which an item, component or system exists; to be in action or performing a task.
functional: Performing or able to perform a function.
functional drainage: The emptying of a plumbing fixture in a reasonable amount of time without overflow when another fixture is drained simultaneously.
functional flow: A reasonable flow of water supply at the highest and farthest fixture from the main when another fixture is operated simultaneously.
fungal wood rot: A common wood-destroying organism that develops when a wood-containing material is exposed to moisture and poor air circulation for six months or more. Often and incorrectly referred to as dry rot.
fungi: Microscopic organisms that live in damp wood (among other places) and cause mold growth, staining and decay.
fungicide: A chemical that is poisonous to fungi.
furnace: A heating system that uses the principle of thermal convection. When air is heated, it rises, and as the air cools, it settles. Ducts are installed to carry the hot air from the top of the furnace to the rooms in a home. Other ducts, called cold-air returns, return the cooler air back to the furnace.
furring: Strips of wood or metal applied to a wall or other surface to provide a level fastening base for finish material.
further evaluation: A degree of examination beyond that of a typical and customary non-intrusive, visual examination.
fusible link: A form of fixed-temperature, heat-detecting device sometimes used to restrain the operation of an electrical or mechanical control until a certain temperature is reached, usually signifying a fire; a component of a fire door.
FVIR (flammable vapor-ignition resistance): (1) A device designed to prevent ignited vapors from passing out of the combustion chamber. (2) A one-way intake system used to control the movement of make-up air into the combustion chamber. (3) An inner door and burner assembly used to create a sealed junction with the combustion chamber, preventing combustion air and flammable vapors from entering the chamber through the front of a water heater.