Glossary of Construction Terms

Do you ever feel as if your contractor is selling you polyisocyanurate foam when what you really needed was a setback thermostat? Here is a handy guide to common (and not so common) construction terms. Scroll through the glossary below or sort by the letter that starts the word you're looking for. For example, to find polyisocyanurate foam, select P and click Submit.

A (7) | B (6) | C (18) | D (8) | E (9) | F (8) | G (2) | H (4) | I (1) | J (1) | L (4) | M (3) | O (2) | P (11) | R (10) | S (19) | T (7) | U (1) | V (1) | W (4) | Z (2)
Title Definition

One who designs houses, interiors, landscaping or other objects. When used it the context of residential construction it usually suggests that a designer is not a licensed architect. Most jurisdictions don't require an architectural license for most single family construction.

Deck Biscuit

Deck biscuits are a patented product designed and manufactured by EB-TY® and are the heart of their Hidden-Deck Fastening SystemsTM. These biscuits allow for the construction of wood and composite decks without nail and screws holes, splinters or loose deck boards. EB-TY® is one of the sponsors of the Sound Home Resource Center.

For additional information about deck biscuits, their application and use, please see the Deck Q and A page or visit EB-TY®. Available at Dunn Lumber.

Deck biscuits

Photo courtesy of EB-TY® Hidden-Deck Fastening SystemsTM

See also: Q&A: Decks


A deed is a document used to transfer title to real estate.

See also: Topics: Real Estate Legal Terms


A control mechanism used to operate a mechanical ventilation system based upon the relative humidity in the home.


A roof gable which is usually located at right angles to the main roof structure. Used to increase head room or as an architectural detail.

Illustrations are from Wood-Frame Construction by L.O. Anderson - Agriculture Handbook #73 p. 72.

Double Hung Window

A window with two vertically sliding sashes. This common older window design was usually made out of wood and tends to require frequent repairs.

Double Hung Window

See also: Topics: Replacement Windows, Q&A: Framing For Windows, Store: Window Repair Kit

Dry Rot

See, "Fungal Wood Rot."

See also: Q&A: Pest, Wood Rod, Mold and Fungus

Drywall or Gypsum Wallboard (GWB) or Sheet Rock or Plasterboard

A wall finish consisting of a manufactured panel made out of gypsum plaster and encased in a thin cardboard. Usually 1/2" thick and 4' x 8' or 4' x 12' in size. The panels are nailed or screwed onto the framing and the joints are taped and covered with a 'joint compound'. 'Green board' type drywall has a greater resistance to moisture than regular (white) plasterboard.

See also: Topics: Tub and Shower Walls