Glossary of Home Inspection Terms

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Terms Beginning with “K”

  • Keene's cement: A white finish plaster that produces an extremely durable wall. Because of its density, it excels for use in bathrooms and kitchens, and is also used extensively for the finish coat in auditoriums, public buildings, and other places where walls may be subjected to unusually hard wear or abuse.
  • keeper: The metal latch plate in a door frame into which a doorknob plunger latches.
  • Kelvin (kelvin): A unit of measurement on an absolute thermodynamic temperature scale having the same magnitude as the Celsius degree.
  • key box: A lockable device that permits the fire department to access a building in an emergency. Other types of key boxes may be used at commercial properties to store multiple keys for locked areas.
  • keyless: A plastic or porcelain light fixture that operates by a pull string, typically found in a basement, crawlspace and attic.
  • keyway: A slot formed and poured on a footer or in a foundation wall when another wall will be installed at the slot location, giving additional strength to the joint/meeting point.
  • kick hole: A defect frequently found in perimeter flashings caused by being stepped on or kicked; a small fracture of the base flashing in the area of the cant.
  • kickout flashing: Also known as diverter flashing, kickout flashing is a special type of flashing that diverts rainwater away from the cladding and into the gutter. If missing, it often results in concentrated areas of water accumulation and potentially severe damage to exterior walls.
  • kiln-dried lumber: Lumber that has been kiln-dried to a moisture content of 6 to 12%. Common varieties of softwood lumber, such as framing lumber, are dried to a slightly higher moisture content.
  • kilowatt (kw, KW): One kilowatt is equal to 1,000 watts. A kilowatt hour is the base unit used in measuring electrical consumption.
  • king stud: The vertical 2x4 frame lumber (left and right) of a window or door opening running continuously from the bottom sole plate to the top plate.
  • knife consistency: Compound formulated to a degree of firmness suitable for application with a putty knife, such as that used for face glazing and other sealant applications.
  • knot: In lumber, the portion of a branch or limb of a tree that appears on the edge or face of the piece.
  • kraft paper: A low-cost, heavy, water-resistant paper of high tensile strength used for wrapping particleboard and other building materials.
  • Kynar coating: A resin-based architectural coating that is UV-stable and suitable for exterior use on aluminum and other metal surfaces.