Residential New Home Construction Glossary


House Building Glossary - B

Back Charge - Billings for work performed or costs incurred by one party that, in accordance with the agreement, should have been performed or incurred by the party to whom billed. Owners bill back charges to general contractors, and general contractors bill back charges to subcontractors. Examples of back charges include charges for cleanup work or to repair something damaged by another subcontractor, such as a tub chip or broken window.

Back fill - The replacement of excavated earth into a trench around or against a basement, crawl space, or foundation wall.

Backhand - A simple molding sometimes used around the outer edge of plain rectangular casing as a decorative feature.

Backing - Frame lumber installed between the wall studs to give additional support for drywall or an interior trim related item, such as handrail brackets, cabinets, and towel bars. In this way, items are screwed and mounted into solid wood rather than weak drywall that may allow the item to break loose from the wall. Carpet backing holds the pile fabric in place.

Back out - Work the framing contractor does after the mechanical subcontractors (Heating-Plumbing-Electrical) finish their phase of work at the Rough (before insulation) stage to get the home ready for a municipal frame inspection. Generally, the framing contractor repairs anything disturbed by others and completes all framing necessary to pass a Rough Frame Inspection.

Ballast - A transformer that steps up the voltage in a florescent lamp.

Balloon - A loan that has a series of monthly payments with the remaining balance due in a large lump sum payment at the end.

Balloon Framed Wall - Framed walls (generally over 10' tall) that run the entire vertical length from the floor sill plate to the roof. This is done to eliminate the need for a gable end truss.

Balusters - Vertical members in a railing used between a top rail and bottom rail or the stair treads. Sometimes referred to pickets 'or' as 'spindles'

Balustrade - The rail, posts and vertical balusters along the edge of a stairway or elevated walkway.

Barge - Horizontal beam rafter that supports shorter rafters.

Barge Board - A decorative board covering the projecting rafter (fly rafter) of the gable end. At the cornice, this member is a fascia board.

Base, Baseboard - A trim board placed against the wall around the room next to the floor. Basement Window Inserts - The window frame and glass unit that is installed in the window buck.

Base Shoe - Molding used next to the floor on interior base board. Sometimes called a carpet strip.

Bat - A half-brick.

Batt - A section of fiberglass or rock-wool insulation measuring 15 or 23 inches wide by four to eight feet long and various thickness, sometimes "faced" (meaning to have a paper covering on one side) or "unfaced" (without paper).

Batten - Narrow strips of wood used to cover joints or as decorative vertical members over plywood or wide boards.

Batter Board - One of a pair of horizontal boards nailed to posts set at the corners of an excavation, used to indicate the desired level, also as a fastening for stretched strings to indicate outlines of foundation walls.

Bay Window - Any window space projecting outward from the walls of a building, either square or polygonal in plan.

Beam - A structural member transversely supporting a load. A structural member carrying building loads (weight) from one support to another. Sometimes called a "girder".

Bearing Header -  (a) A beam placed perpendicular to joists and to which joists are nailed in framing for a chimney, stairway, or other opening. (b) A wood lintel. (c) The horizontal structural member over an opening (for example over a door or window).

Hearing Partition - A partition that supports any vertical load in addition to its own weight.

Bearing Point - A point where a bearing or structural weight is concentrated and transferred to the foundation.

Bearing Wall - A wall that supports any vertical load in addition to its own weight.

Bedrock - A subsurface layer of earth that is suitable to support a structure.

Bid - A formal offer by a contractor, in accordance with specifications for a project, to do all or a phase of the work at a certain price in accordance with the terms and conditions stated in the offer.

Bid Bond - A bond issued by a surety on behalf of a contractor that provides assurance to the recipient of the contractor's bid that, if the bid is accepted, the contractor will execute a contract and provide a performance bond. Under the bond, the surety is obligated to pay the recipient of the bid the difference between the contractor's bid and the bid of the next lowest responsible bidder if the bid is accepted and the contractor fails to execute a contract or to provide a performance bond.

Bid security - Funds or a bid bond submitted with a bid as a guarantee to the recipient of the bid that the contractor, if awarded the contract, will execute the contract in accordance with the bidding requirements of the contract documents.

Bid Shopping - A practice by which contractors, both before and after their bids are submitted, attempt to obtain prices from potential subcontractors and material suppliersthat are lower than the contractors' original estimates on which their bids are based, or after a contract is awarded, seek to induce subcontractors to reduce the subcontract price included in the bid.

Bidding Requirements - The procedures and conditions for the submission of bids. The requirements are included ion documents, such as the notice to bidders, advertisements for bids, instructions to bidders, invitations to bid, and sample bid forms.

BI-fold Door - Doors that are hinged in the middle for opening in a smaller area than standard swing doors. Often used for closet doors.

Binder - A receipt for a deposit to secure the right to purchase a home at an agreed terms by a buyer and seller.

Bypass Doors - Doors that slide by each other and commonly used as closet doors.

Blankets - Fiberglass or rock-wool insulation that comes in long rolls 15 or 23 inches wide.

Blind-Nailing - Nailing in such a way that the nail heads are not visible on the face of the work; usually at the tongue of matched boards.

Blind stop - A rectangular molding, usually by 1-3/8 inches or more in width, used in the assembly of a window frame. Serves as a stop for storm and screen or combination windows and to resist air infiltration.

Blocked (door blocking) - Wood shims used between the door frame and the vertical structural wall framing members.

Blocked (rafters) - Short "2 by 4's" used to keep rafters from twisting, and installed at the ends and at mid-span.

Blocking - Small wood pieces to brace framing members or to provide a nailing base for gypsum board or paneling.

Block Out - To install a box or barrier within a foundation wall to prevent the concrete from entering an area. For example, foundation walls are sometimes "blocked" in order for mechanical pipes to pass through the wall, to install a crawl space door, and to depress the concrete at a garage door location.

Blow Insulation - Fiber insulation in loose form and used to insulate attics and existing walls where framing members are not exposed.

Blue Print - A type of copying method often used for architectural drawings. Usually used to describe the drawing of a structure which is prepared by an architect or designer for the purpose of design and planning, estimating, securing permits and actual construction.

Blue Stain - A bluish or grayish discoloration of the sapwood caused the growth of certain mold like fungi on the surface and in the interior of a piece, made possible by the same conditions that favor the growth of other fungi.

Blue Stake - Another phrase for Utility Notification. This is when a utility company (telephone, gas, electric, cable TV, sewer and water, etc.) comes to the job site and locates and spray paints the ground and/or installs little flags to show where their service is located underground.

Board Foot - A unit of measure for lumber equal to 1 inch thick by 12 inches wide by 12 inches long. Examples: 1" x 12" x 16'= 16 board feet, 2" x 12" x 16'= 32 board feet .

Bolster - A short horizontal timber or steel beam on top of a column to support and decrease the span of beams or girders.

Bond, Bonding - An amount of money (usually $5,000-$10,000) which must be on deposit with a governmental agency in order to secure a contractor's license. The bond may be used to pay for the unpaid bills or disputed work of the contractor. Not to be confused with a performance bond. Such bonds are rarely used in residential construction, they are an insurance policy which guarantees proper completion of a project.

Boom -  (n.) A truck used to hoist heavy material up and into place; (v.) to put trusses on a home or to set a heavy beam into place.

Boston Ridge - A method of applying asphalt or wood shingles at the ridge, or at the hips of a roof, as a finish.

Bottom Chord - The lower or bottom horizontal member of a truss. s or 6'.

Bottom Plate - The 2 by 4's that rest on the subfloor upon which the vertical studs are installed. Also called the sole plate.

Brace - An inclined piece of framing lumber applied to wall or floor to strengthen the structure. Often used on walls as temporary bracing until framing has been completed.

Breaker Panel - The electrical box that distributes electric power entering the home to each branch circuit (each plug and switch) and composed of circuit breakers.

Brick Ledge - Part of the foundation wall where brick (veneer) will rest.

Brick Lintel - The metal angle iron that brick rests on, especially above a window, door, or other opening.

Brick Mold - Trim used around an exterior door jamb that siding butts to.

Brick Tie - A small, corrugated metal strip @ 1" X 6"-8" long nailed to wall sheeting or studs. They are inserted into the grout mortar joint of the veneer brick, and holds the veneer wall to the sheeted wall behind it.

Brick Veneer - A vertical facing of brick laid against and fastened to sheathing of a framed wall or tile wall construction.

Bridging - Small wood or metal members that are inserted in a diagonal position between the floor joists or rafters at mid-span for the purpose of bracing the joists/rafters & spreading the load.

Buck - Often used in reference to rough frame opening members. Door bucks used in reference to metal door frame. See Window Bucks .

Builder's Risk Insurance - Insurance coverage on a construction project during construction, including extended coverage that may be added for the contract for the customer's protections.

Building Codes - Community ordinances governing the manner in which a home may be constructed or modified.

Building Insurance - Insurance covering the structure of the building.

Building Paper - A general term for papers, felts, and similar sheet materials used in buildings without reference to their properties or uses. Generally comes in long rolls.

Built-up Roof - A roofing composed of three to five layers of asphalt felt laminated with coal tar, pitch, or asphalt. The top is finished with crushed slag or gravel. Generally used on flat or low-pitched roofs.

Bull Nose (drywall) - Rounded drywall corners.

Bundle - A package of shingles. Normally, there are 3 bundles per square and 27 shingles per bundle.

Butt Edge - The lower edge of the shingle tabs.

Butt Hinge - The most common type of hinge; one leaf attaches to the door edge, the other to its jamb.

Butt Joint - The junction where the ends of two timbers meet, and also where sheets of drywall meet on the 4 foot edge. To place materials end-to-end or end-to-edge without overlapping.

Buy Down - A subsidy (usually paid by a builder or developer) to reduce monthly payments on a mortgage.

Bi-Fold Door - Doors that are hinged in the middle for opening in a smaller area than standard swing doors. Often used for closet doors.

Bypass Doors - Doors that slide by each other and commonly used as closet doors.

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