Home Building Glossary of Terms

Need to expand your knowledge of home building terms? We've compiled a construction glossary of terms to help you define unfamiliar terms that you may come across while on our house plans site and throughout your home building experience. Just click on a letter to view the terms in that category.

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

A/C Condenser - The outside fan unit of the Air Conditioning system. It removes the heat from the freon gas and "turns" the gas back into a liquid and pumps the liquid back to the coil in the furnace.

A/C Disconnect - The main electrical ON-OFF switch near the A/C Condenser.

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

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

Air space - The area between insulation facing and interior of exterior wall coverings. Normally a 1" air gap.

Allowance(s) - A sum of money set aside in the construction contract for items which have not been selected and specified in the construction contract. For example, selection of tile as a flooring may require an allowance for an underlayment material, or an electrical allowance which sets aside an amount of money to be spent on electrical fixtures.

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

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

Appraisal An expert valuation of property.

Apron- A trim board that is installed beneath a window sill

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.

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

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 instead of getting a new loan.

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

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

Attic Ventilators- In houses, screened openings provided to ventilate an attic space.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z