Glossary

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waferboard: Another name for particleboard.

walk-through: A final inspection of a home for sale before its closing and during which the inspector looks for and documents problems that need to be corrected.

walk-through survey: That portion of the inspection during which the inspector makes non-invasive, visual observations of readily accessible areas of the subject property and documents his/her findings.

walkway: An exterior area designated for foot traffic.

wall protector: A non-combustible shield between a wall and anything heat-producing for the purpose of reducing required clearance.

wall-out: To spray-paint the interior of a home.

wane: The defective edge of a wood board caused by remaining bark or a beveled end.

warping: Any distortion in a material.

warranty: An assurance by the seller of goods and/or services that such items and/or services are as represented or will be or will last as promised for a pre-determined period. A builder's warranty on a new-construction home is generally for one year, during which time the builder and his/her subcontractors will repair or replace an item that fails during normal use and under normal conditions. New-home warranties may vary in length for materials, workmanship and labor.

waste and overflow: A bathtub drain assembly that has an outlet near or at the top to remove overflow water when filling the tub and an outlet at the bottom to remove wastewater when the tub is drained.

waste pipe and vent: Plastic plumbing pipe that carries wastewater to the municipal sewage system.

water board: Drywall with an outer layer of water-resistant paper, typically green or blue, that is used in tub and shower locations. Also called greenboard.

water closet: Another term for toilet.

water meter pit: The box, cast-iron bonnet and concrete rings that contain the water meter. Also called a water meter vault.

water table: The location of naturally occurring underground water, and the vertical distance from the surface of the earth to this underground water. Water tables vary by locality, geography, etc.

water tap: The point at which the home water line connects to the main municipal water system.

water vapor: Moisture in its gas state in air.

water-cement ratio: The ratio of cement to water in a concrete mixture, which ultimately determines the concrete's strength. More water in the mix results in a weaker concrete. Concrete mixes are identified in ratios of cement to fine aggregate to coarse aggregate. For example, the ratio 1:2:4 refers to a mix consisting of 1 cubic foot of cement, 2 cubic feet of sand, and 4 cubic feet of gravel. Cement and water are the two chemically active elements in concrete which, when combined, form a paste or glue that coats and surrounds the particles of aggregate and, upon hardening, binds the entire mass together.

water-repellent coating: A transparent coating or sealer applied to the surface of concrete and masonry surfaces to repel water.

water-repellent preservative: A liquid designed to penetrate into wood to repel water and provide a moderate level of protection. It is used for millwork, such as sashes and frames, and is usually applied by dipping.

waterproof, waterproofing: Descriptive of a product and the process by which a building component is made totally resistant to the passage or penetration of water and/or water vapor.

wattage: The electrical unit of power. A kilowatt equals 1,000 watts. Customers of an electric utility are billed on a monthly basis according to the number kilowatts of power they have used (or are predicted to use under budget billing plans).

wax ring: A thick, pre-formed wax ring located between a toilet's bowl and the floor flange, which provides a watertight connection to the soil drain (sewer).

wax ring job: The removal of a toilet from the floor so that a blockage can be manually removed; also, the replacement of a degraded wax ring to create a new seal.

WC: Abbreviation for water closet (toilet).

weatherization: The work on a building's exterior features with the goal of reducing its energy consumption (heating and/or cooling), and typically involving adding insulation, installing storm windows and doors, caulking cracks, and adding weatherstripping.

weatherstrip, weatherstripping: Jamb-width or narrower sections of thin metal, rubber or other material that prevent the infiltration of air and moisture around windows and doors. Compression weatherstripping prevents air infiltration, provides tension, and acts as a counter-balance.

weathertight: Sealed against the intrusion of rain, snow, cold air, etc.

weep hole: A hole located near the base of a masonry or glazing structure that allows for the drainage of entrapped water.

weep screed: A type of flashing material installed along the base and at roof-wall transitions of exterior stucco or stone that drains excess moisture.

weld: The joining of components by fusing; also, the resulting joint. To join (metals) by applying heat with pressure or an intermediate or filler metal having a high melting point. In thermoplastics, refers to the bonding together of a membrane using heat or solvents.

well casing: A steel or plastic pipe that serves as the lining of a well, preventing it from caving in, and protecting groundwater from contamination by surface water.

well casing head: A heavy, flanged steel fitting connected to the first string of a casing.

well house: A structure that encloses a private well.

wet or dry surface plastic roof cement: A general-purpose exterior repair and maintenance material that can be used on both damp and dry surfaces, and typically used to stop roof leaks.

wet seal: An elastomeric sealant between window glass and its sash to form a weathertight seal.

whole-house fan: A type of fan or exhaust system installed in a home's attic that is designed to pull air out of the building and force it into the attic space, causing a positive pressure differential in the attic, and forcing the air out through the gable or soffit vents, while simultaneously producing a negative pressure differential inside the living areas, which draws air in through open windows; not to be confused with an attic fan, which removes some hot air from the attic space.

widespread: In plumbing, a style of lavatory faucet whose spout and handles are separate. Flex hoses are used between the spout and handles to allow adjustable centers.

wind bracing: Metal straps or wood blocks installed diagonally on the inside of a wall from bottom to top plate that prevent the wall from twisting, racking or falling over in a domino fashion.

wind uplift: The upward force exerted by wind traveling across a roof.

window: An opening constructed in a wall or roof that functions to admit light or air to an enclosure and is typically framed and spanned with glass mounted to permit opening and closing; a framework enclosing a pane of glass for such an opening; a sash; a pane of glass or similar material enclosed in such a framework.

window buck: A square or rectangular box (buck) that is installed within a concrete foundation or block wall for a window that will eventually be installed during the siding stage of construction.

window frame: The stationary part of a window unit; the window sash fits into the window frame.

window sash: The operating or movable part of a window; the sash is made of window panes and their borders.

wire nut: A plastic cap used to cover and connect bare wires together.

wire size: A system used to determine the resistance of electrical wire. Conductors for building wiring are available in AWG (American Wire Gauge) sizes ranging from No. 14 to 4/0. The larger the number size, the smaller the diameter. For example, 10 wire is smaller than 8. The larger the diameter of a wire, the less its resistance.

WonderBoard®: A panel made of concrete and fiberglass used as a ceramic-tile backing material, typically on bathtub decks.

wood filler: A heavily pigmented preparation used for fining and leveling off the pores in open-pored woods.

wood rays: Strips of wood cells that extend radially within a tree, varying in height from a few cells in some species to 4 inches or more in oak. The rays serve primarily to store food and transport it horizontally in the tree.

wood-fiber plaster: A plaster consisting of calcified gypsum that is integrally mixed with selected coarse cellulose to provide bulk and coverage. It is formulated to produce high-strength base coats for use in highly fire-resistant ceiling assemblies.

work life: The time during which a curing sealant remains suitable for use after being mixed with a catalyst.

workmanlike: Executed in a skilled manner.

woven valley: A method of valley construction by which shingles from both sides of the valley extend across the valley and are woven together by overlapping alternate courses as they are applied. The valley flashing is not exposed.

wrapped drywall: Areas that get complete drywall covering, as in the doorway openings of bifold and bypass closet doors.

wythe: A wythe is a continuous vertical section of masonry one unit in thickness. A wythe may be independent of, or interlocked with, the adjoining wythe(s). A single wythe of brick that is not structural in nature is referred to as a veneer. A multiple-wythe masonry wall may be composed of a single type of masonry unit layered to increase its thickness and structural strength, or different masonry units chosen by function, such as an economical concrete block serving a structural purpose and a more expensive brick chosen for its appearance.