Construction Terminology Part 2

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Part 2: K-Z of the Construction Terminology pages


Kit home. A home constructed using pre-fabricated components.


Landing. A platform at the end or between flights of stairs.

Lattice. A decorative manufactured framework of crossed wood or metal strips.

Lintel. The support beam above a window, door or other opening.

Log cabin/home. Dwelling constructed from formed logs interlinking at the external corners. Commonly post and beam structure.


Masonry. Walls built using brick, stone, tile or similar materials.

Miter joint. The joint of two pieces of timber, made by sawing and or chiseling part of the surface to enable a solid glue-able join.

Moisture Barrier. Treated paper or metal that retards or bars water vapor, used to keep moisture from passing into walls or floors.

Moulding. A wood strip profiled in a timber mill to have a projecting surface used for decorative purposes.


Noggin. Horizontal wood bracing member between studs in wall frames.


Owner builder. The situation where a person who is not a registered builder can be licensed to build or facilitate the building of their own home.


Panelized home. A house constructed using prefabricated or panelized walls, ie walls which include cladding, sarking, insulation, frames and internal wall boards.

Pitch. The incline or slope of a roof or the ratio of the total rise to the total width of a house.

Plasterboard (also see Dry Wall), Gypsum board, used instead of plaster.

Plate. Top horizontal member of a frame wall supporting ceiling joists, rafters, or other members.

Plate tie. Galvanized strap for securing frame top and bottom plates to studs.

Post-And-Beam Construction.Wall construction in which beams are supported by heavy posts and long beams, rather than many smaller studs.

Power trowel. Also ‘power float’, a motorized trowling machine used to finish large sections of newly poured slabs.

Prefabrication. Construction of components such as frames, complete walls, trusses or 'pre-hung' doors before delivery to the building site.

Pre-hung doors. Pre-manufactured and assembled door jambs with doors installed.

Plumb. To make exactly perpendicular, vertical or central.


Quarter round. Also Quad, a small moulding that has the cross section of a quarter circle.


Rafters. A series of sloping structural members of a roof designed to support roof loads.

Raised floor system. A floor generally on piers, bearers and joists.

Reinforcing. Steel rods (reo) tied into the centre of concrete slabs, beams, or columns to increase their strength.

Rough in. A term used in plumbing and electrical installation: the initial base level work done by the contractor before slabs are laid or walls are completed.


Sarking (sarking membrane): Pliable, water-resistant membrane located beneath the roof covering or external wall cladding to collect and discharge water that may penetrate.

Screed/screeding. A strip of wood or metal with a handle, used as a finishing guide for plastering or concreting.

Seasoning. Drying/removing moisture from green/new wood in order to reduce shrinkage and warping.

Setting out. Using batter boards, string-lines and levels to determine the exact place a foundation will be constructed.

Shiplap. Timber siding that is edge-dressed to make a close rebated or lapped joint for weatherproofing and appearance.

Siding. Wood framed house cladding material to finish the outside wall, can be weatherboards, vertical boards with battens, shingles, fibre cement.

Skirtings. Narrow boards sometimes profiled around the margin of a floor.

Slab. Usually reinforced concrete floor placed directly on earth or a gravel base.

Soil test. Part of a site survey to investigate the structure and reactivity of the ground around and under intended foundations areas.

Span. The distance between structural supports such as walls, columns, piers, beams, girders, and trusses.

Speedbrace. Heavy galvanised strap used to brace multiple trusses together and down to top plates. Also used to diagonally brace wall frames.

Steel home kit. Pre-manufactured kit home with components comprising steel frames and trusses.

Stringer. In stairs, the support on which the stair treads rest; also stringboard.

Stucco. Commonly refers to an outside plaster made with Portland cement as its base.

Stud. One of a series of wood or metal vertical structural members placed as supports in wall frames and partitions.


Termite shield. A shield, usually of non-corroding metal, placed in or on a foundation wall or other mass of masonry or around pipes to prevent passage of termites.

Timber stops. Also ‘corner boards’, attached vertically down the external corners of buildings as trim to push the ends of the siding against.

Theodolite. A laser leveling instrument commonly used to establish correct depth of foundations, levels of excavations, and slab formwork.

Tread. Horizontal board in a stairway on which the foot is placed.

Trim. The finishing materials in a building, such as mouldings applied around openings (window trim, door trim) or at the floor and ceiling of rooms (baseboard, cornice, and other mouldings)

Truss. A combination of structural members usually arranged in triangular units to form a rigid framework for spanning between load-bearing walls.


Valley. The internal angle formed by the junction of two sloping sides of a roof.

Vibrator. A hand operated motorized rod used in concreting which is inserted into wet concrete to remove air pockets and help concrete bond with reinforcing.

Vapor barrier. Also 'house wrap' and ‘sarking’, material used to restrict the movement of water vapor into walls and prevent condensation in them.


Weatherstrip. Narrow sections of thin metal, rubber or other material to prevent infiltration of air and moisture around windows and doors.

Wet seal. Fibreglass waterproofing membrane applied to shower bases and walls.


Yurt. Circular tent with wooden internal structure commonly moveable.

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