Residential New Home Construction Glossary

House Building Glossary - A

ABS - A type of black plastic pipe commonly used for waste water lines.

A/C - An abbreviation for air conditioner or air conditioning.

A/C condenser - The outside fan unit of the air conditioning system; removes the heat from the freon gas and turns the gas back into a liquid, then pumps the liquid back to the coil in the furnace.

A/C disconnect - The main electrical ON-OFF switch near the A/C condenser.

APA Plywood - (American Plywood Association) Plywood that has been rated by the American Plywood Association (e.g.,number one APA-rated exterior plywood contains no voids between laminate layers)

Appraisal -  An expert valuation of property.

Aerator - The round screened screw-on tip of a sink spout; mixes water and air for a smooth flow.

Aggregate - A mixture of sand and stone and a major component of concrete.

Air chamber - A vertical, air filled pipe that prevents water hammer by absorbing pressure when water is shut off at a faucet or valve.

Air-dried lumber -  Lumber that has been piled in yards or sheds for any length of time; in the US, the minimum moisture content of thoroughly air-dried lumber is 12 to 15 percent, and the average is somewhat higher; in the southern states, air-dried lumber may be no lower than 19 percent.

Air space - The area between insulation facing and interior of exterior wall coverings; normally a one-inch air gap.

Airway - A space between roof insulation and roof boards which allows air movement.

Algae - Microorganisms that may grow to colonies in damp environments, including certain rooftops; can discolor shingles.

Alligatoring - Coarse checking pattern characterized by a slipping of the new paint coating over the old coating to the extent that the old coating can be seen through the fissures.

Allowance - A sum of money set aside for specified items in the construction contract that are yet to be selected. (ex; floor covering, light fixtures, etc.) Should your choice exceed the allowance, you’ll pay the difference. If less, you’ll be credited.

Amortization - A payment plan by which a loan is reduced through monthly payments of principal and interest.

Amperage or AMPS -  a unit of electrical current or volume; most homes have an electrical service entrance package of 125 or 200 amps, while some older homes have 60 or 100 amp entrances.

Anchor bolts - Bolts to secure a wooden sill plate to concrete, masonry floor, or wall.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR) - Annual cost of credit over the life of a loan, including interest, service charges, points, loan fees, mortgage insurance, and other items.

Apron - The flat member of the inside trim of a window placed against the wall immediately beneath the stool.

Architect - One who has completed a course of study in building and design, and is licensed by the state as an architect. One who draws up plans.

Areaway - An open subsurface space adjacent to a building used to admit light or air or as a means of access to a basement.

Area Wells - Corrugated metal or concrete barrier walls installed around a basement window to hold back the earth.

Asphalt - Most native asphalt is a residue from evaporated petroleum; insoluble in water; used widely in building for waterproofing roof coverings of many types, exterior wall coverings, flooring tile, etc.

Assessment - A tax levied on a property, or a value placed on the worth of a property .

Assumption - Allows a buyer to assume responsibility for an existing loan rather than obtaining a new loan.

Astragal - A molding, attached to one of a pair of swinging doors, against which the other door strikes.

Attic Access - An opening that is placed in the dry walled ceiling of a home providing access to the attic.

Attic Ventilators - A screened opening provided to ventilate an attic space; typically located in the soffit area as inlet ventilators and in the gable end or along the ridge as outlet ventilators; can also consist of power-driven fans used as an exhaust system.


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