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
Wafer Board

See "Oriented Strand Board (OSB)"


In construction there are two general types of warranties. One is provided by the manufacturer of a product such as roofing material or an appliance. The second is a warranty for the labor. For example, a roofing contract may include a 30 year material warranty and a 5 year labor warranty.

Many (but not all) new homes come with a one year warranty. Any major issues found during the first year should be communicated to the builder at once. Small items can be saved up and presented to the builder in a letter on the 11 month anniversary of the closing. This gives the builder one month to make the necessary corrections.

See also: Topics: A Building and Remodeling Checklist

Water Heaters

See "Tankless Water Heaters".


A measure of the electrical requirement of an appliance calculated by multiplying voltage x amperage. For example; a 1600 watt hair dryer which uses '110' volt power needs about 15 amps.

See also: Q&A: Amps, Volts, and Watts