Are you tired of walking down the stairs to your basement, flipping on the light and seeing a dark, empty space? How about piles and piles of random stuff, strewn about?
If you’re tired of seeing a cluttered, messy basement, it’s time to do something about it. These days there are all kinds of basement renovations you can do to really transform your basement into a wonderful, inviting space. Not only that but if you’re looking to sell your home or prepare it for selling, the average basement remodel can have up to a 70% return on investment (ROI)
If you’re looking to pull off the perfect basement renovation, here are some easy ways you can make it happen.
Plan Things Out
Before you do anything as far as basement renovations go, you’re going to need a plan. The best plans for a basement renovation or basement redesign are those that have been discussed between a homeowner and experienced contractors. By talking things out and sketching ideas and really thinking about what you’d like to do versus what needs to be done, you’ll come up with a plan that works on all levels.
Add more bedrooms
One of the most common things people are looking to do with basement renovations is to increase the living space in their house. Believe it or not, your basement may be big enough that you can add an extra bedroom or two, creating a cool bedroom space for your kids or extra space if you’re hosting a family get-together. If you’re set on putting in more bedrooms, it’s important to remember that any bedroom must have at least one closet and two forms of egress (exit points).
Adding Recreation Space
If you’re tired of looking at a boring, unused space in your basement, what better way to transform it than by turning into a lounging area or a recreation area.
Want to turn your basement into a man-cave? Think about adding a wet bar, some flat-screen TVs and some couches. Want to turn it into a play area for your family? Add carpeted space for the kids to play with their toys and don’t be afraid to liven things up with a pool table or a gaming table or a pinball machine. If you’re a movie fan, you can even turn your basement into your own home theater where you can host movie nights for family and friends. You can even keep things simple and renovate to turn that space into a basement family room where family and friends can sit and relax.
Add more bathrooms
If you’ve got a big family and a small house, chances are good that there’s a fair amount of fighting going on for a time in the bathroom. For many homeowners, there’s nothing worse than sharing one bathroom with four or five people and getting two minutes of a hot shower or barely 30 seconds to do your business. Keep in mind that if you’re going to add bathrooms, you’re likely going to need some plumbing work done in your basement and drywall might need to be put up to create bathroom dividers. But in the long-term, having extra bathroom space can be invaluable for a variety of reasons.
Easy Does It
It’s already been established that basement renovations can have high ROIs and it’s a big reason why basement remodeling projects are among the most popular undertaken by homeowners. Think about this: If you spend about $1,000 on a basement renovation, it increases the value of your property by about $700, so if you really put some effort into a complete renovation, it could really raise your property values and make it enticing to potential buyers if you’re looking to sell it.
The flip side of that is if you want to keep things simple, you don’t have to do a whole lot to your basement, especially if you’re preparing to sell your home. By adding a decent source of lighting, perhaps a heat source and at decent flooring, that’s usually enough for many prospective buyers and who knows, they might take what you’ve done and do some remodeling of their own.
Modern families have busy lifestyles that only allow them to spend so much of their spare time together. On top that, gadgets and portable devices have become a distraction that affects interactions. This is why it is important to create living spaces that foster fun and communication at home.
You can enhance the layout and design and bring the family together. If your basement renovation project is for a family room, you’ll have to contend with several challenges. There are key elements you must work on to make the room warm, lively, and sociable.
Light Up the Room
Basements tend to be crammed, dull, and lifeless. For family rooms, you may have to make modifications to the structure to improve lighting and make it feel more spacious. The ceiling height and the size of windows should ideally match dimensions of a regular living room. But since adding windows is often costly or impractical, you can improve the ambiance by choosing suitable lights for that space.
Family rooms should be places full of fun and warm interactions. The ambiance should communicate warmth and relaxation, so you should avoid flat and one-dimensional lighting. For a basement remodel, there should be overhead lights, task lights, among other types of lighting. That way, you can illuminate the room to add depth and volume.
You may require special lighting for wet bars, media, and gaming rooms. For such spaces, you may want to add the capability to dim or brighten the room. Multiple sections of the room can be controlled by two switches; one for dimming, and another for normal lighting.
If the room is a place of many activities, avoid incandescent bulbs. They may be inexpensive, but they produce a lot of heat. Since basements tend to have ventilation challenges, you should try using LED lights for illumination.
Color is another critical element of design when it comes to remodeling basements into livable spaces. You can incorporate your family’s preferences into the decor. It is important to know what your loved ones fancy, but there are some hues you ought to consider depending on the function of the room.
Crisp White: You can use crisp white furnishings and decor to brighten an otherwise dull basement. The hue complements the modern interior and could be the perfect option for a cozy living room. Another option is to use it on the wall as a background and break the monotony with rustic wood, or bright colored furniture.
Neutral Shades: You can also use soft neutrals for the basement finish. Use neutral colors, if you are looking to turn the family room into a relaxing, serene, and cozy haven. You could try hues such as sky blue, azure, etc.
Red: Many people consider the color to be unusual for family rooms. However, it can liven up the room and is ideal for spaces where there will be lots of activity. You can try red if your basement finishing project includes a gaming area, gym, or entertainment room.
Yellow: Yellow is bright, energetic, and artsy. It invokes a sense of excitement and bursting energy. But be careful not to overuse it. One way is to pair it with soft neutrals to reduce eye fatigue. It can also be ideal for decor as a highlight to complement duller hues.
Use Versatility to Add Warmth
Family rooms tend to have multiple spaces, as there may be different activities taking place at once. Your layout may include areas for reading and relaxation, watching movies, playing games, or socializing. You don’t need partitions; a good layout can divide these areas by creating clear sections.
Also, ensure the seating facilitates communication and encourages people to interact. You can have multiple seats in different sections so that people can choose according to what they find comfortable. Place the sofas and seating across each other to allow eye contact and interactions.
You can turn the basement into a bright and warm family room by focusing on the critical elements of your layout. The project does not have to be extensive if you carefully take time to evaluate the goal of your renovation.
Look at these amazing rooms in this gorgeous basement! Wow! You can play golf, shoot some pool and have that glass of wine that you’ve so desired at any time of the day or night. Right in your own basement!
The market for home remodeling is already worth an estimated $450 billion, and that number is only expected to grow.
Along with basement remodeling, basement finishing, and things like wet bar installations, hiring fireplace companies to build new fireplaces in family rooms have become popular renovation projects. Whether you’ve selected a beautiful, front-facing modern fireplace for the living room or a corner fireplace for your bedroom, you must be careful when choosing the best installer.
Here are some questions you should ask fireplace companies before deciding to hire them.
Are you certified by the NFI?
While NFI certification isn’t always necessary (all a fireplace company is required to carry is a local license), it’s the gold standard for ensuring you get the best service possible. To obtain NFI certification, a contractor must demonstrate a high level of skill and specialist knowledge in building fireplaces. It’s not a deal-breaker if everything else about the company looks great. But it’s a good thing to be aware of.
How much does it cost to install a fireplace?
Unlike the first question, this one isn’t as simple as it sounds. To calculate the cost of the kind of fireplace you need, fireplace companies have to consider many factors and variables: labor, time, venting, travel distance, and installation. These complexities are just a few things the installer has to make before giving you a quote. When you get an estimated price from a fireplace company, make sure it’s comprehensive and detailed. You don’t want to get hit with unexpected or hidden costs later on.
How do local building codes apply to this project?
In a perfect world, you could simply stick a fireplace into the wall wherever you want. Unfortunately, it’s never that simple. Rules, regulations, and safety concerns all complicate the process. Some cities enforce emission limits, clearance zones, and construction material restrictions. You want to make sure the fireplace companies you’re considering are familiar with all building and heating codes that apply to you.
Have you had experience with this kind of fireplace?
Even if the contractor you want to hire has been building fireplaces for the past decade or so, you still want to look at their background. If they haven’t done anything much like your project before, at least talk to them enough to feel confident that they’ve done their homework.
These are the questions you should ask all fireplace companies you’re seriously considering hiring. By taking the right steps and precautions, you can get a beautiful fireplace with minimal hassle.
Did you know that finishing your basement can give you a 77.6% return on your investment?
Whether you want new basement family rooms, extra space to rent out, or just an added bedroom for guests, basement remodeling is an ideal way to get more value out of the space you already have. The following are the top seven steps you should take to transform your basement into a livable space.
1. Measure Your Basement
You’ll want to know just how much space you’re working with. Most importantly, though, you’ll need to know the height of your basement before you follow through with any more of your building plans. Most building codes and regulations require that a basement be at least seven feet tall to be fit for basement remodeling and finishing.
Along the way, before you plan any new building project, it’s always important to check local building codes to make sure your desires are in line with the law.
2. Inspect Existing Construction Quality
If your basement is unfinished, it may not have plumbing or wiring already. If this is the case, you will need to have your basement remodeling company install the wiring and plumbing themselves. However, if your basement has wiring or plumbing installed already, it will need to be inspected to ensure it’s up to quality standards and local building codes.
Keep in mind that a permit is required to inspect and modify plumbing or electrical wiring, so you will probably want to leave this to your basement remodeling company as well.
The next step in the process of remodeling an unfinished basement is to install insulation. Not only will this provide warmth during the winter, but it will keep unwanted noise out of your basement and unwanted basement noises out of the rest of your home. Insulated panels, batting, or other materials may be used to provide this insulation and noise protection. Important wall renovation choices may come into play here, so it’s integral that you consider all of your options carefully going forward.
Next, you’ll want to add moisture protection to your basement. When you live in a basement, you need vapor barriers to keep moisture from spreading past the concrete walls. This is something you should keep in mind as you think about basement living space ideas.
4. Install the Right Egress Windows
As you study basement building codes, you’ll find that one of the most important safety features in any basement is its windows.
Besides letting light in, egress windows are essential for doubling as escape hatches in case of emergency. If there’s a fire on an upper floor or some other emergency, you don’t want anyone getting trapped in the basement.
It may be necessary to expand window spaces and renovate your foundation in to make room for proper egress windows. This is an absolute necessity for a livable basement space, so don’t skimp on cost here.
5. Inspect for Radon
Radon is a specific kind of radiation that rises from the earth in certain areas. It isn’t found everywhere, but if present it can turn a comfortable home into a death trap. If you live in a location where radon can be a problem, you should get a radon test kit or hire a contractor to check radon levels in your basement.
6. Check for Rot and Pest Damage
Inspect the wood, concrete, and stone making up your basement and foundation for damage caused by moisture or pests, such as rodents or termites. To proceed with building plans, any moisture issues must be addressed, pests must be exterminated or blocked out of your home, and any rotting or damaged materials must be replaced.
7. Install a Sump Pump
If you live in an area prone to heavy rainfall or if your house rests in a fairly low area, there’s no questioning it: your basement needs a sump pump. Groundwater can destroy a finished basement if allowed to sit for prolonged periods. With your basement getting upgraded, you don’t want to come home from a vacation and discover that your basement transformed into a lake during your absence.
Did you know that the earliest known building code was a part of the Code of Hammurabi in 1772 BC?
Since then, our building codes have only grown in number and application. For example, building codes applying to fireplaces and stoves are especially critical since these involve flames that can cause a house to catch fire if not constructed properly. That’s why it’s especially important to choose fireplace companies that know what they’re doing.
Before you start looking for fireplace companies Colorado Springs trusts, you’ll need to settle on just what kind of fireplace is right for you. Read on to learn more!
Wood Burning Fireplace
Open-faced fireplaces — like the ones you see on Christmas cards — are probably the most popular, and the best known. Between the open flames, the flying sparks, and the charred logs crackling under the flames, open fireplaces are highly romanticized.
According to some open fireplace owners, however, these beautiful centerpieces might not be worth the necessary maintenance. They can be a lot of work to light and keep burning — not to mention to clean. It’s also not unusual for traditional fireplaces to fail to burn correctly.
Perhaps the worst aspect of traditional open-faced fireplaces is that, at the end of the day, they don’t produce that much heat. Most of the heat generated by a fireplace is sucked directly up the chimney, effectively wasted in the cold air outside.
However, for their warm, distinctive appearance, open-faced fireplaces can be worth all the hassle and inefficiency they involve — but only if you’re willing to put in the time and effort.
Possibly the most wonderful thing about gas fireplaces is not their often gorgeous design, but their cleanliness. Unlike traditional stoves and fireplaces, gas fireplaces don’t involve any necessary clean up after use. Because they don’t require a chimney, one can be installed virtually anywhere.
Unlike traditional fireplaces, gas fireplaces offer “turn on, turn off” functionality, providing instant heat when you power them up. That means there’s no need to spend an hour with a stubborn fire, trying to get it to take off. Gas fireplaces are also available in automatic, thermostat-controlled versions.
The only real downside to gas fireplaces is their inauthentic appearance. Yes, the flames are very real, but for some, watching gas-fueled fire being spurted up out of fake logs is deeply unsatisfying.
Much like a toaster or refrigerator, an electric fireplace is often considered to be another appliance. Since it doesn’t factually produce flames, its lifespan is practically infinite, and it’s possibly the safest option for homeowners. It can also be moved from one room to another quite easily — all you need to operate it is an electrical outlet.
The best thing about electric fireplaces might be that there’s no need to worry about either toxic fumes or fire hazards. The only real downsides are that electric fireplaces are very expensive when you depend on them for heat during the winter and that if the power goes out, so does your fireplace.
Pellet stoves are reminiscent of a traditional fireplace because of their authentic, open flame. In this case, however, you can watch the fire safely from the other side of glass panes.
A major plus for pellet stoves is that, unlike logs and other fuels, the pellets used to fuel fires are a truly renewable energy source. Pellet stoves are also very low maintenance — you can even pour 50 pounds of pellets into some models, and leave them alone to burn for an entire 24-48 hours afterward.
Clean-burning, efficient wood pellets and removable ash pans make cleanup a breeze. Pellet stoves can also be installed just about anywhere a normal appliance can be — all you need is an exposed wall.
The one downside to pellet stoves is the pellets themselves. While firewood is usually low cost, in pellet form, fueling the fire can be fairly expensive. Massive bags of pellets can also be a pain to move and store.
Good fireplace companies can add an entirely new feel to a home, just by installing a beautiful, warming fireplace. Connect with fireplace companies now to learn even more about your options for installing a fireplace in your home.
Are you considering remodeling your basement but you’re unsure about spending the money? Maybe you’ve been dreaming of a basement wet bar or adding a family room. Making the financial decision to go forward with basement remodeling isn’t always easy given the cost. However, there are some ways that having this renovation done is actually a fiscally responsible choice. Read on for some insight on how redoing your basement could be good for you financially.
More Space Without Moving
If you’ve reached a point where you know you want more space at home, basement finishing could be a great choice for you. It costs up to 80% less than moving to a new and larger home while providing you with extra space. You can create a basement family room or a new bedroom for a fraction of what it would cost to move. If your basement is sizable enough, you could even have multiple rooms added.
Boost Your Home’s Worth
Another great financial perk of basement finishing is that it boosts the value of your home. This means that if you need to sell your home later on, you will be able to get more for it. Updating your basement is an investment that you could get back when the time comes to move onto a new place.
Save on Energy
When remodeling your basement, you can have insulation and smart technology put in. This will help to cut back on any heat loss that your basement might experience. That means that renovating your basement can cut back on your energy use and save money on your monthly bill. It’s a decision that is both environmentally and fiscally wise.
Cut Back on Repairs
Full basement finishing is a great way to cut back on repairs and damage that can occur in regular basements. It’s a way to address any flooding issues or cracks in the concrete. You can have everything reinforced and properly laid out so that you don’t have to worry about costly issues in the future.
Renovating your basement might seem like a bit of a splurge at first glance, but it truly is an investment in your home. If you have it done right you can save money for years to come and increase the value of your home. When you’re ready to invest in a basement finishing company you can trust, rely on ElkStone Homes.
At ElkStone, we are very particular with the trades that we partner with. We strive to partner with companies that share a similar attention to detail at every aspect of the job. Today, I’d like to introduce you to one of our Preferred ElkStone Designers. While our estimators do a great job of helping you keep the flow of your home, adding a designer into the process can up the level of that flow.
INTRODUCING ELKSTONE PREFERRED DESIGNER:
What Kind of Degree Did you Earn?
A Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design from The University of North Texas
What is your Signature Style?
Mostly Transitional; which is a blend of modern and traditional forms. If there is a common thread among every room I create it is, at least one antique, a special art piece, a plant to add warmth and a look of being curated with time.
HGTV defines Transitional style: a marriage of traditional and contemporary furniture, finishes, materials and fabrics equating to a classic, timeless design. Furniture lines are simple yet sophisticated, featuring either straight lines or rounded profiles.
How do you help me discover and communicate my style to you?
Asking good questions helps but I’ve also found the best way to “visually communicate” a style preference is to ask my clients to spend time scanning their favorite magazines and online websites and saving looks that speak to them in some way. I always tell my clients, likes are immediate, so usually if something makes you go hmmmm…it’s worth sharing. When they share these tear-outs, pins, etc. I’m able to ask deeper questions to really pinpoint a design direction.
Do you provide examples of work that are similar in style, scope & Budget to the
Home Owners Projects?
If a homeowner asks, I am always happy to share portfolio images from a past project and detail similarities, but truly, every project is unique and client specific. No two projects are exactly alike so therefore while a budget may be very similar, the project typically unfolds in a very different way based on the Client’s personal style, tastes and involvement.
How do you document and Share your work?
My free time is limited but when I have the time to do so, I enjoy sharing a recent project image and description on facebook. My up-to-date portfolio sits on my website and is easily shared online with prospective clients.
How do you manage the project budget?
I use google sheets which stores and shares information easily and in the 24/7 accessible cloud. My clients are always surprised with how this aspect of the projects seems so simple. When I hear this, I feel I am doing my job well! The design process should be simplified and fun for the client.
How much time does an average basement project take once the construction is finished?
We usually come onto a project while it is still under construction to help make the important finish decision and often consult on the interior architecture at this point too. The average is under 2 months.
Where do you find Inspiration?
I am inspired first and foremost through nature. I find the blue-greens of the ocean mixed with the neutral tones of sand the most soothing color palette in a home. When I travel I find fresh perspective too, especially in architecture.
How do you stay up to date with current trends, technology and codes?
I keep a library of books on hand in my office with I can easily research in when needed. New technology is something I’m always learning…it comes often times as I’m sourcing for, say, a plumbing fixture, I’ll learn about the new self-cleaning toilets on the market now and save the thought for the next client short on time to clean house! And I like to keep current on design trends such as color, pattern by watching fashion. Interior trends typically follow fashion trends, but do tend to be around a bit longer, thank goodness. 😊
What is your communication style?
I use a lot of email. But then there are the times when a face to face conversation is the only thing that will do. I feel it’s the most productive as we can understand clearer and often communicate more effectively in person. Emoticons only express so much.
What does a successful project mean to you?
One that the client is proud of. If I hear they can’t wait to open the door to their new home or office each day as they walk back in, that brings me so much joy! And since details are so very important, I like to hear how the Client discovers new things they didn’t see at first when the project is complete. For example, how a mirror places just right reflects the sun into their room in the afternoon.
What is your feeling on trendy design features?
Trends are fun but should be considered as a short-term investment, and thus I caution on using too many as they will date the project. I encourage incorporating any trends in smaller ways, less costly ways such as through a pillow pattern or paint color. I lean toward creating interiors that will not be dated in five years’ time, so I tend to use colors & classic patterns that have longevity.
What does it look like to work with an ElkStone designer?
Fun, Of Course! As I mentioned before, the design process can be overwhelming, but when you have the right team, it should seem simple and fun. The right team can take the dilemma of too many decisions to make and turn it around to effective solutions that are budget-minded and beautiful.
How does the design process flow?
After an initial consultation at the job site, I create a Project Program to define the scope and get us on the same page for budget. The design process is fairly creative from there with some research, a little more development then one or two very fun design presentations with the client, always face to face, if possible. We may make a revision or three or some add-ons, but once the proposed design and any revisions are approved, ordered and wait time is over, the magic unfolds as we begin installing and the Client sees all the ideas come to life!
We welcome you to check out more of Kate’s portfolio at Noble Design Group or Facebook and if this is a service you are interested in incorporating into your basement finish space, please let your estimator know at your complimentary consultation.
This Stunning Sedalia Basement Finish checks off all of the boxes for a dream finished basement space!
Fully Loaded Wet Bar
Spa Quality Bathroom
Bedroom with Private Retreat
Finished Storage/WorkShop Area
Custom Barn Doors
Stone Accent Walls through out
What a gorgeous value add these homeowners gave their home in this Stunning Sedalia Basement Finish!
Are you looking to upsize your home? Do you need more square footage or an extra bedroom? Or perhaps you would like to increase the equity in your home? Save the hassle of moving & Give us a call today for a free no obligation quote!
Terms Commonly Used in Architecture & Interior Design
ACCESS PANEL: A small metal or wood door flush with a wall or ceiling surface which provides a closure over a valve or other operable device which is recessed into the wall or located above a ceiling. The access door may be keyed and lockable.
ACCESS FLOOR: Removable metal or concrete floor panels about 18″ to 24″ square which are supported on short steel pedestals so that wiring and ductwork may be installed, changed and maintained below the floor. The raised floor may be carpeted or tiled to create a finished floor surface.
ACOUSTICAL TILE, ACOUSTICAL PANEL: A ceiling or wall tile finishing material with an inherent property to absorb sound; usually made of mineral, fiber or insulated metal materials. Not “Acoustic Tile” or “Acoustical Board.”
ACRYLIC (PAINT), ACRYLIC LATEX: A paint composed of acrylic resins, thinned with water.
ADDENDUM: Written or graphic instruments issued prior to the execution of the contract which modify or interpret the bidding documents, including Drawings and Specifications, by additions, deletions, clarifications or corrections. Addenda will become part of the Contract Documents when the Construction Contract is executed. (Plural-“Addenda”.)
ADHESIVE: A sticky substance to bond one material to another. Use the term “Adhere” instead of “Glue.” Do not use “Glue,” “Cement,” or Mastic.”
ADMIXTURE: A chemical which is added to concrete to accelerate or retard the setting process or to create air bubbles in the concrete, called “accelerators,” or :air entraining agents.”
ADVERTISEMENT FOR BIDS: Published public notice soliciting bids for a construction project. Most frequently used to conform to legal requirements pertaining to projects to be constructed under public authority, and usually published on newspapers of general circulation in those districts from which the public funds are derived.
AGGREGATE: Any of various hard, inert materials, like sand, gravel, crushed stone, or pebbles added to cement to make concrete, mortar, or plaster.
AGREEMENT: (1) A legally enforceable promise or promises between two or among several persons. (2) On a construction project, the document stating the essential terms of the Construction Contract which incorporates by reference the other Contract Documents. (3) The document setting forth the terms of the Contract between the Architect and a consultant.
AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEM: The process of treating air for simultaneous control of temperature, humidity, cleanliness, and distribution.
ALKYD (PAINT): A paint composed of a chemically synthesized, alkyd derived base, thinned with mineral spirits. The current version of “oil” based paints.
ALTERATION: A planned or executed change to an existing building, short of complete demolition of the building. See also DEMOLITION and SELECTIVE DEMOLITION.
ALTERNATE: Mechanism used in Bid Documents to seek separate bids for a different design than the “Base Bid” design. May be “Additive” or “Deductive” alternates.
APPROVE: The term “approved,” where used in conjunction with the Architect’s action on the Contractor’s submittal, applications, and requests, is limited to the Architect’s duties and responsibilities as stated in General and Supplementary Conditions.
APRON: (1) A finish strip applied below the stool of a window to cover the rough plaster or dry wall edge. (2) A paved or hard packed area abutting a garage door or other opening.
AREAWAY: An uncovered space next to the fountain walls of a building, for entrance of light and air to the basement.
ARRIS: Sharp edge of a finished member.
AS-BUILT DRAWING: A drawing or print marked by the Contractor to show actual conditions of a project as constructed after construction.
ASHLAR: A rectangular pattern of stone used in a wall.
ASPHALTIC CONCRETE: This is the term used for paving for roads and driveways. Not “Asphalt” or “Bituminous” Concrete.
ASTRAGAL: A small molding attached to one or both meeting stiles of a double door, used to provide a tight, draft-free fit.
AWARD: The acceptance of a bid or negotiated proposal by an owner.
BACKFILL: The material (earth, gravel, or sand) used for refilling around a foundation wall.
BACKUP: The inner portion of a masonry wall, usually finished with face brick, stone ashlar, stucco, or other decorative or protective veneer on the outside.
BALUSTER: Any of a number of closely spaced vertical supports for a railing or balustrade.
BATT INSULATION: A preformed section of flexible fiberglass or mineral wool insulation with or without a vapor barrier covering on one side (either kraft paper or aluminum foil) sized to fit snugly in a framed cavity between studs or joists.
BATTEN: A narrow strip of wood or metal used to cover vertical joints between boards or panels.
BAY: An opening in a wall; a horizontal area division of a building, usually defined as the space between two columns or piers.
BEAM: A horizontal load-supporting member of a building which directly supports a floor; may be of wood steel, or concrete; transmits load horizontally to vertical columns or bearing walls. Normally beams are larger and are spaced further apart than “joist.”
BEARING WALL: A wall which supports any vertical load in a building (such as floors, roofs, joist, beams or girder) as well as its own weight.
BEARING: The area of contact between a structural member (beam, girder, footing) and its underlying support (column, bearing wall, load bearing ground).
BELT: A horizontal course of decorative stone or brick exposed to the exterior face and encircling a masonry building.
BEVELED WOOD SIDING: Horizontal wood boards of varying widths, (usually 4″, 6″, 8″, or 10″) with lower edge thicker than upper edge.
BID: A complete and signed proposal to do the construction work or designated portion thereof for the dollar amount stated in the bid.
BIDDER: One who submits a bid for a prime contract with the Owner, as distinct from a sub-bidder who submits a bid to another bidder. Technically, a bidder is not a contractor on a specific project until a contract exists between him and the Owner.
BIDDING DOCUMENTS: The advertisement or invitation to bid, instructions to Bidders, the bid form the drawings, the specifications, and any Addenda issued prior to receipt of bids.
BLANKET INSULATION: Roll type fiberglass insulation for installation over ceilings or on wall surfaces either laid flat or secured with impaling pins.
BOARD FOOT: A unit of measure represented by a board one foot long, one foot wide and nominally one inch thick, or 144 cubic inches.
BOARD MEASURE: A system of cubic measurement for lumber; the basic unit is a board foot.
BOND: The arrangement of bricks in certain overlapping patterns to give the finished structural unit additional strength and to allow the individual elements to act together as a cohesive, integrated unit. Commonly used bonds are Running, common, English, and Flemish bonds.
BORROWED LIGHT (OR “LITE”): An interior window between rooms which allows light from one room to enter another – It is an older term, but not entirely out of use – use instead “glazed opening.”
BRACE: A structural member which reinforces a column, beam, or truss.
BRACKET: A horizontally projecting support for an overhanging weight such as cornice.
BRIDGING: A method of bracing wood or steel floor joists by providing lateral members between the joists. Cross-bridging forms an “x” shape between joists. The purpose of bridging is to distribute loading to several joists.
BUDGET: The sum established by the Owner as available for the entire Project, including the construction budget, land costs, equipment costs, financing costs, compensation for professional services, contingency allowance, and other similar established or estimated costs.
BUILDING PERMIT: A permit issued by a village, town, city, county, state or federal governmental authority allowing construction of a project in accordance with approved Drawings and Specifications.
BUILDING TYPE: A classification of a building according to principal activities or uses for which it was constructed, such as housing, jail, shopping center. This is not the same as an “occupancy type” of building codes.
BUILT-UP ROOFING: roofing system used on relatively flat surfaces – hot asphalt or coal tar pitch mopped on with several plies (3 to 4) of roofing felts. May be smooth surfaced, painted with fibrated aluminum paint, or graveled on top.
BUTT JOINT: The cut ends of sheet or boards placed adjacent to one another with no overlap.
BUTTRESS: An external structure usually brick or stone, built against a wall to support or reinforce it.
BY OWNER: The term “by Owner” means that work shown or described in the contract documents and labeled with this designation is not included in the General Contractor’s contract, but will be completed under a separate contract with another contractor by the Owner. Coordination and scheduling of the work thus described shall be the responsibility of the General Contractor.
BY OTHERS: The term “by others” means that work shown or described in the contract documents and labeled with this designation is not included in the specific sub-trade’s contract, but will be required to be done within the General Contractor’s contract.
CAISSON: A deep foundation type which is constructed by boring a large diameter hole in the ground and filling it with concrete.
CAMBER: A slight upward arching given to a beam, girder, or truss to prevent sagging due to weight.
CANT STRIP: A slanted or angled board laid at roof-wall intersection or in back of a parapet, to transition from horizontal to vertical for a roof membrane.
CANTILEVER: A structural member projecting horizontally well beyond its vertical support.
CASE WALL: A partition to enclose mechanical and plumbing systems.
CASEMENT: A type of window having a sash with hinges on one side allowing the window to open. Most contemporary casement windows swing outward.
CASING: The exposed trim molding, around a door or window; may be either flat or molded.
CASING BEAD: A plaster stop – do not use for gypsum wallboard trim.
CAULK: An archaic term meaning to fill small cracks with a linseed oil and whiting compound called “caulk” which is not very flexible and will not provide a water tight joint — use the term “seal” or “sealant” instead.
CEMENT: Portland Cement for use in concrete, grout, mortar, cement plaster and stucco.
CEMENT PLASTER: Material made from Portland cement sand and water for use on exterior walls and soffits, and on high use interior surfaces or in high humidity interior spaces. “Stucco” is cement plaster.
CERTIFICATION FOR PAYMENT: A signed statement from the Architect to the Owner confirming the amount of money due the Contractor for Work accomplished and/or materials and equipment suitably stored.
CHALKBOARD: Do not use the term “Blackboard” which is archaic since contemporary chalkboards are not normally black.
CHAMFER: To bevel or round off a right angle corner.
CHANGE ORDER: A written order to the Contractor signed by the Contractor, Owner, and the Architect, issued after the execution of the Contract, authorizing a Change in the Work or an adjustment in the Contract Sum or the Contract Time. The Contract Sum and the Contract Time may be changed only by Change Order.
CHIPBOARD: Type of wood panel manufactured from wood chips and glue – not a correct term – use the term “particle board” instead.
CLERESTORY WINDOW: A window or series of windows in a wall above the eye line, for lighting and/or ventilation of the building.
CMU: Concrete Masonry Unit – Do not use “Cement Block” or “Cinder Block.”
CODES: Regulations, ordinances or statutory requirements of a village, town, city, county, state, or federal government relating to building construction, adopted and administered for the protection of the public health, safety, and welfare.
COLUMN: A vertical load-carrying structural member supporting horizontal members (beams, girders, etc.).
COMPLETE: The term “complete” means all surfaces or areas of a construction item.
CONCRETE: A mixture of Portland cement, large and small aggregate, water and admixture.
CONDUCTOR: See “down spout”.
CONDUIT: A protective metal tube for electric wiring.
CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTS: The term “Construction Documents” means the Scope of Work list and reference drawings contained within the Volume by that name.
CONSTRUCTION JOINT: A joint in concrete flatwork or walls which is necessary for stopping the pour for the day – sometimes referred to as a “cold joint,” but do not use that.
CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT: The combined operations for the authorization, purchasing, supervision, accomplishment, and acceptance of a construction project.
CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTS: Working Drawings and Specifications.
CONSULTANT: An individual or organization engaged by the Owner or Architect to render professional consulting services, supplementing the Architect’s services. Types of consultants could be Engineers, acoustical, energy, or cost consultants.
CONTRACT DOCUMENTS: The term “Contract Documents” means all of the documents which make up the Contract between Owner and Contractor, including the Contract itself, the General and Special Conditions, the Technical Specifications, the Construction Documents (Scope of Work and Drawings), all Addenda issued prior to signing of the Contract and Change Orders issued by the Owner and agreed to by the Contractor after the signing of the Contract.
CONTRACT ADMINISTRATION: The duties and responsibilities of the Architect during the Construction Phase, which includes observation of construction, checking shop drawings, and approving pay requests.
CONTRACT DOCUMENTS: The Owner-Contractor Agreement, the Conditions of the Contract (General, Supplementary and other Conditions), the Drawings, the Specifications, and all addenda issued prior to execution of the contract
CONTRACTOR: In construction terminology, the person or organization responsible for performing the Construction Work and identified as such in the Owner-Contractor Agreement.
CONTROL JOINT: A groove which is formed, sawed, or tooled in a concrete or masonry structure to regulate the location and the amount of cracking and separation resulting from the dimensional change of different parts of the structure, thereby avoiding the development of high stresses.
COPING: Top of a parapet, usually stone or metal, to prevent water from getting into the parapet.
COR-TEN: Proprietary name for a brand of weathering steel made by the Inland Steel Company – use the generic term “weathering steel” instead.
CORBEL: Masonry which is stepped out from each course to project from a wall.
CORNICE: A horizontal molding along the top of the wall or ceiling.
COURSE: A continuous horizontal layer of masonry.
CRAWL SPACE: An unfinished, accessible space below the first floor, generally less than full story height, but at least 1′-6″ high clear under the joists or beams.
CRICKET: A small saddle on a roof used to divert water around a chimney or other small projection (see saddle).
CRIPPLE: A short supplemental wall framing member used between the door or window header (or window sill) and sill plate.
CURB: (1) The stone or concrete edging of a side walk or paved street; (2) the raised edge of a floor or well opening.
CURTAIN WALL: An exterior wall which encloses but does not support the structural frame of the building.
DAMPPROOFING: An impermeable coat or coats of asphalt brushed or sprayed on the foundation basement wall to prevent the passage of moisture.
DATUM: A reference elevation to which other elevations are measured.
DEAD LOAD: The part of the total building load contributed by the structural building elements and materials.
DEFLECTION: The displacement in a structural member that occurs when a load is applied to the structure.
DELETE: To take something out of the building or contract – do not confuse with “omit” which means not to install something in the first place.
DEMISING WALL: An interior wall or partition used to sub-divide tenant spaces from one another.
DEMOLITION: Removal of an entire building — see also “alteration” and “selective demolition.”
DETAIL: A drawing, at a larger scale, of a part of another drawing, indicating in detail the design, location, composition and correlation of the elements and materials shown. (Usually referring to a plan detail.)
DIRECTED: Terms such as “directed,” “requested,” “authorized,” “selected,” “approved,” “required,” and “permitted” mean “directed by the Architect,” “requested by the Architect,” and similar phrases.
DIVISION (OF THE SPECIFICATIONS): One of the sixteen organizational subdivisions used in the specifications and in construction information filing. (List them).
DOUBLE HUNG WINDOW: A type of window containing two movable sash sections which slide open vertically.
DOWNSPOUT: A pipe to carry rainwater from the gutter or roof to the ground or the sewer — can be sheet metal, plastic, or other type of piping material.
DRAWING: do not use “print,” “blueprint,” or “sheet”
DRIP: A projecting part of a sill or cornice that sheds rain water and protects structural parts below.
DRYWALL: Gypsum board for interior wall and ceiling finish material.
DUCT: A rectangular or round sheet metal or fiberglass pipe used to convey warm or cooled air.
DUMBWAITER: an elevator too small for a person – used for vertically transporting food, mail, dishes, trays, etc.
EGRESS: Another word for “exit”, and is used in building code to refer to the means by which somebody can exit a building
EAVES: The lower or outer edge of a roof which overhangs the side wall of a building.
ELASTOMERIC: A material which is inherently rubbery for sealants, flashings, and waterproof membranes.
ELEVATION: (1) A drawing of the front, side, or rear of the building drawn to scale. (2) The height above surface of the earth or the vertical distance from a given reference elevation.
ENGLISH BASEMENT: A basement with half its height above grade level.
EVACUATION: The removal of earth from its natural position, or the depression resulting from the removal of earth.
EXPANSION JOINT: A joint in concrete, masonry, or metal designed for movement – expansion and contraction — not a “control joint,” or “construction joint.”
EXPANSION SHIELD: a drilled-in lead shaft, into which a bolt is screwed, expanding the shaft tight against the hole — used for anchoring materials onto concrete or masonry surfaces.
FACADE: The front of a building.
FACE BRICK: A good grade of brick used to finished the exterior of building walls.
FASCIA: (1) Any relatively broad flat vertical surface like that on the outside of a cornice. (2) A finishing board used to conceal rafter ends.
FEASIBILITY STUDY: A detailed investigation and analysis conducted to determine the financial, economic, technical or other advisability of a proposed project.
FEE: A term used to denote payment for a professional service, (not including compensation for reimbursable expenses, such as travel, long distance telephone calls, photo copy, printing or mailing).
FELT PAPER: Archaic term – an asphalt-impregnated used as a covering for wall sheathing or for plys of built-up roofing, usually weighing 15 lbs. per 100 square feet — use the term “building paper” for use over wall sheathing, and “ply” for roofing felts.
FENESTRATION: The design and disposition or arrangement of windows or other openings in a building wall.
FIBERBOARD: A building board of wood or other plant fibers compressed and bonded into a sheet, usually 4′-0″ x 8′-0″ x 1/2″ thick.
FIBERGLASS: Fine-spun filaments of glass made into a yarn, used in blankets as insulation; or it may by added to gypsum or concrete products to increase tensile strength — do not use the term “glass fiber.”
FILL: Soil, gravel, or sand used to equalize or raise the surface of the earth.
FINISHED FLOOR: The top or wearing surface of a floor system, of hardwood, vinyl, terrazzo, or ceramic tile.
FIRE RESISTANCE: The ability of a wall or floor assembly to maintain structural stability and act as an effective barrier to the transmission of heat for a stipulated period of time. Measured in hours, such as 1hr, 2hr, 3hr, or 4hr.
FIRE STOPPING: Solid wood members placed between studs to retard the spread of flame within the framing cavity.
FIREPROOFING: The use of incombustible materials to protect steel structured membrane of a building so it can withstand a fire without losing structural integrity, for a stipulated period of time. Measured in hours, such as 1 hr, 2hr, 3hr, or 4hr.
FLAKE BOARD: use the term “particle board” instead.
FLAME SPREAD CLASSIFICATION: A standard measurement of the relative surface burning characteristics of a building material when tested by ASTM E 84. Classes are A, B, or C.
FLASHING: The strips of sheet metal, copper, lead, or tin used to cover and protect structural angles and joints, to prevent water seepage or leaks.
FLOAT FINISH: The surface of concrete finished by a continuous spreading of the material with a flat board.
FLUE: The duct or open space within a chimney through which combustion gasses and smoke are allowed to escape.
FOOTING: The projecting course at the base of a foundation wall which distributes the building load over a wider area of the soil.
FOYER: The entrance hall of a house or other building type.
FURNISH: The term “furnish” is used to mean “supply and deliver to the Project site, ready for unloading, unpacking, assembly, installation, and similar operations.”
FURRING: The strips of wood or metal applied to wall or other surface to make it plumb or true to line, which will provide a fastening surface for a finish covering — be more precise by using the terms “wood furring” or “metal furring.”
FURRING CHANNEL: cold rolled steel channel for suspension of plaster or drywall ceilings – usually 3/4″ or 1 2″ deep.
GABLE: The triangular-shaped wall at the end of a building between the slopes of a roof.
GAGE: Same as “gauge” — thickness of metal.
GAMBRELROOF: A ridged roof, with sides having two pitches or slopes.
GENERAL CONTRACT: (1) Under the single contract system, the Contract Between the Owner and the Contractor for construction of the entire Work. (2) Under the separate contract system, that Contract between the Owner and a Contractor for construction of architectural and structural Work.
GENERAL CONDITIONS (OF THE CONTRACT FOR CONSTRUCTION): That written part of the Contract Documents which sets forth many of the rights, responsibilities and relationships of the parties involved.
GIRDER: A Horizontal load supporting member of a building which supports a beam or beams.
GIRT: A secondary horizontal framing member extending between columns or studs to stiffen the framing system; also to provide support for the siding or sheathing.
GLAZED OPENING: glass window in an interior wall or partition — do not use the term “window,” “vision panel,” “light,” “lite,” or “borrowed light.”
GRADE BEAM: A horizontal load-bearing foundation member but end-supported on piles, piers, or caissons like a standard beam; not ground-supported like a foundation wall.
GRADE: Level of the earth’s surface.
GRILLAGE: A system of beams, laid crosswise to form a foundation to evenly distribute the load.
GROSS AREA: The total enclosed floor area of all floors of a building measured from the outside surface of the exterior walls.
GROUNDS: The strips of wood or metal placed around a wall opening to establish the finished plane for the palter or concrete.
GROUT: A thin, fluid mortar mixture of Portland cement, fine aggregate and water used to fill small joints and cavities in masonry work — do not use mortar in place of grout.
GUARD RAIL: A protective railing around an open raised platform.
GYP BOARD: See gypsum wallboard.
GYPSUM WALLBOARD: A prefabricated sheet used in drywall construction made of gypsum covered with paper which can be painted, or wall papered — use the term “drywall” instead.
HANDRAIL: Single railing on wall at stair — use “railing” for a protective barrier.
HANGER: Any suspended structural member to which other members are attached.
HARDBOARD: manufactured flat wood panel used for interior finish material — do not use the terms “Masonite,” or “pressed board.”
HARDWOOD: wood obtained from deciduous trees, mainly used for finished wood trim, doors, panels, and furniture — no specific species, could be oak, birch, ash, poplar, teak, mahogany, butternut, etc.
HEAD ROOM: The distance between the top of a finished floor and the lowest part of the floor above.
HEADER: In masonry, a brick laid across the thickness of a wall with one end toward the face of wall. In carpentry, a wood beam set at right angles to joists at a floor opening to provide a support for joist which are interrupted by the opening.
HEARTH: The floor of a fire place, and the projection of noncombustible flooring material in front of the fireplace.
HIP ROOF: A room whose four sides slope to a common point or to ridge; has no gabled ends.
HOISTWAY: shaft for elevators and dumbwaiters.
HOLLOW METAL: break-formed sheet metal used for doors, windows and frames.
IN KIND: The term “in kind” means of the same type, size, material, etc. as the existing item.
INDICATED: The term “indicated” refers to graphic representations, notes, or schedules on the Drawings, other paragraphs or schedules in the Specifications, and similar requirements in the Contract Documents. Where terms such as “shown,” “noted,” “scheduled,” and “specified” are used, it is to help the reader locate the reference; no limitation on location is intended.
INSTALL: The term “install” is used to describe operations at project site including the actual “unloading, unpacking, assembly, erection, placing, anchoring, applying, working to dimension, finishing, curing, protecting, cleaning, and similar operations.”
INSTALLER: An “Installer” is the Contractor or an entity engaged by the Contractor, either as an employee, subcontractor, or sub-subcontractor, for performance of a particular construction activity, including installation, erection, application, and similar operations.
INSULATION: Any material used to slow down the transfer of heat.
JACK RAFTER: The diagonal sloping ridge rafter of a hip roof.
JALOUSIES: Adjustable glass louvers in doors or windows to regulate light and air or exclude rain.
JAMB: The side framing or finish of a doorway or window.
JOINT FILLER: material which fills the entire depth of a joint and in itself does not form a waterproof joint — may be topped with sealant to provide water tightness.
JOIST: A horizontal closely spaced framing member supporting a floor or ceiling.
KERF: A narrow slot cut in to the face of a material such as wood or metal.
KEYSTONE: The central topmost stone or brick of an arch.
KING POST: The vertical member at the center of a triangular truss.
KNEE: A brace placed diagonally at the center of a triangular truss.
LALLY COLUMN: A steel pipe column which is encased in concrete and another steel jacket on the outside to provide fire proofing.
LATH: Strips of wood (in older existing construction) or expanded metal used as base for plaster walls.
LATTICE: Any openwork panel of crossed strips, rods, or bars of wood or metal, used as a screen.
LEADER: archaic term — use “down spout” instead.
LIEN: See “mechanic’s lien”.
LIGHT (OR “LITE”): A window pane or section of a window sash for a single pane of glass.
LIGHTWEIGHT CONCRETE: concrete which uses lightweight aggregate such as expanded shale or clay instead of crushed stone — normally weighs about 110 pcf.
LIGHT WELL: An open area within a building or in a subsoil space around a basement window, which provides light and air.
LINTEL: A piece of wood, stone, or steel placed horizontally across the top of door and window openings to support the wall above the opening.
LITE: See “light”.
LIVE LOAD: That part of the total load on structural members that is not a permanent part of the structure. it may be variable, as in the case of loads contributed by people, furniture, wind, snow or earthquake loads.
LOAD-BEARING PARTITION: A vertical structural interior wall supporting a floor or roof.
LOFT:(1) An attic-like space below the roof of a house or barn; (2) any of the upper stories of a warehouse or factory, (3) A type of apartment unit which is usually built within an old factory and which provides the occupant with large, open, high-ceiling spaces. Usually only a bathroom is enclosed and plumbing is minimal. Interiors are finished by occupant.
LOUVER: A slatted ventilator pitched to keep out fain or snow.
MANSARD ROOF: A roof with two slopes or pitches on each of the four sides, the lower slopes steeper than the upper.
MASONRY: Brick, concrete block, or stone.
MECHANIC’S LIEN: A legal charge on property in favor of persons supplying labor or materials for a building for the value of labor or materials supplied by them. Clear title to the claim for the labor, materials or professional services is settled through the “release of liens” which is accomplished through a form given to the owner by the contractor.
METAL: used to denote products fabricated from thin sheet steel.
METAL LATH: Expanded metal used for plaster lath — do not use the terms “mesh” or “chicken wire.”
METAL TRIM: edge trim for drywall — do not use the term “casing bead” which is for plaster.
MEZZANINE: An intermediary floor having less than 1/3 of the area than the floor below.
MILL CONSTRUCTION: A type of “slow-burning” construction made of masonry walls, heavy timber framing, and planked or laminated wood floors.
MILLWORK: Doors, windows and door frames, mantels, panel work, stairways, and woodwork.
MITER: A joint formed by to pieces of material cut to meet at an angle.
MOLDING: A finishing piece to cover construction joists or edges, usually a long narrow strip of plain or curved wood; may be ornamented.
MONITOR: A raised rectangular and roofed structure on a roof having windows or louvers for ventilating or lighting the building.
MOP BASIN: Floor mounted sink for building maintenance purposes — do not use terms “slop sink” or “service sink,” which are wall-mounted sinks.
MORTAR: A bonding agent in masonry work, made of lime, sand, and cement mixed with water.
MUD: A common term for drywall joint compound products.
MULLION: Vertical framing which divides windows into major sections.
MUNTIN: The vertical or horizontal bars which divide lights (panes of glass) in a window.
NEWEL: The vertical post around which the steps of a winding staircase turn; the post at the top or bottom of a staircase, supporting the handrail or a balustrade.
NOSING: The rounded projecting edge of a stair tread or landing.
OAKUM: A loose fiber from hemp or rope, used as a backing for caulking joints in cast iron drain piping.
OFFSET: A ledge formed by a difference in the thickness of a wall.
OMIT: to leave something out by intention.
ON CENTER (O.C.): The distance from the center of one structural member to the center of another, term used for spacing studs, joists, rafters.
OPTION: term used in construction documents to indicate that contractor may use one of several products at his or her choice.
PARAPET: An exterior low wall along the edge of a roof, balcony, ridge, or terrace.
PARGING: A coating of cement mortar (Portland cement, sand, and water mix), on a masonry wall, used to waterproof the outside surface of an exterior wall or masonry foundation.
PARQUET FLOOR: A hardwood floor laid in small rectangular or square patterns, not in long strips.
PARTY WALL: A wall built along the dividing line between adjoining buildings for their common use.
PATCH: The term “patch” means to remove any damaged or defective material within the area to be patched, and to replace it with new material, fitted in a workmanlike manner so as to provide a continuous plumb, level, and/or true to line surface, uninterrupted by flaws, defects, or blemishes.
PARTICLE BOARD: A wood and glue composite panel for sheathing, underlayment, subflooring, and substrate for veneers and plastic laminate for millwork.
PARTITION: A non-bearing wall which divides space and supports only its own weight.
PENTHOUSE: A building on the roof of a building to enclose mechanical or elevator equipment; also, an apartment on the roof of a high-rise apartment.
PERFORMANCE BOND: An insurance document purchased by the contractor from a bidding company (a “surety”) which guarantees that the work will be performed in accordance with the Contract Documents.
PERMEABILITY: The property of material to permit a fluid (or gas) to pass through it; in construction, commonly refers to water vapor permeability of a sheet material or assembly and is defined as Water Vapor Permeance per unit thickness.
PERMIT: A document issued by a local, state, county, or federal governmental authority having jurisdiction to authorize specific work on a building.
PIER: A column; a foundation type shaped like a column underground, created by drilling a hole and filling it with concrete.
PILASTER: Half-column attached to or projecting from a wall.
PILE: A timber, steel, or concrete pole which is driven into the ground to serve as support for the foundation.
PITCH: The slope or incline of a roof, expressed in inches of rise per foot of length, or by the ratio of the rise to the total roof span.
PLANK: A piece of unfinished structural lumber 2 to 4 inches thick and at least 8 inches wide.
PLASTER: A mixture of gypsum, sand, and water, used as a finished surface for walls and ceilings, applied over gypsum, metal or wood lath.
PLASTIC INSULATION: Generic term for polystyrene (“Styrofoam”) or urethane insulation.
PLASTIC LAMINATE: Thin sheet material of plastic composition used for finishing of interior millwork – do not use the terms “Formica,” or “Melamine.”
PLATE: A horizontal woo framing member which provides bearing and anchorage for wall, floor, ceiling, and roof framing.
PLENUM: An enclosed chamber for horizontal distribution of ventilation air, such as the space between a suspended finished ceiling and the floor above.
PLINTH: A square block at the base of a column, pedestal, or door casing.
PLY: A term to denote the number of thickness or layers as “3-ply”; for roofing felt, veneers, etc.
PLYWOOD: A fabricated wood product constructed of three or more layers of veneer joined with glue, laid with grain or adjoining plies at right angles.
PORTALS: A door, gate, or entrance, especially one of imposing appearance.
POST: A vertical wood structural column.
PRESTRESSED CONCRETE: A method of giving tensile strength by stressing the reinforcing in the concrete before it sets, then releasing the tension after the concrete has hardened.
PRIMER: A first base coat of paint to seal the surface of the finished material and equalize suction differences.
PROJECT SITE: The term “Project Site” is the space available to the Contractor for performance of construction activities, either exclusively or in conjunction with others performing other work as part of the Project. The extent of the Project Site is shown on the Drawings and may or may not be identical with the description of the land upon which the Project is to be built.
PROJECT MANUAL: The 8 2″x 11″ paper size bound book of written documents prepared by the Architect for a Project, including the bidding requirements, Conditions of the Contact and technical Specifications, used by the Contractor in bidding & building the project.
PROPRIETARY PRODUCT: A product produced by only one manufacturer to his own design, and not available from competing manufactures.
PROSCENIUM: In a theater, the front area of the stage still visible to the audience when the curtain is lower; the curtain and the opening that surrounds it.
PROVIDE: The term “provide” means “to furnish and install, complete and ready for the intended use.”
PURLIN: A structural roof framing member laid horizontally across the roof beams to support a roof deck.
QUANTITY SURVEY: Detailed analysis and listing of all items of material and equipment and quantities of each necessary to construct a Project.
QUARRY TILE: Thick type of ceramic tile which is composed of fired clays and shales used for floors and bases.
QUEEN POST: Either of two vertical members of a triangular truss, each being equidistant from the apex.
QUOIN: The external corner of a building; any of the large square stones by which the corner is marked.
RABBET (ALSO REBATE): A longitudinal channel, groove, or recess cut out of the edge or face of a member to receive another member, or one to receive a frame inserted in a door or window opening; the recess into which glass is installed in a window sash.
RACKING: Lateral stress exerted on an assembly. See test Procedure ASTM E 72.
RAFTER: A closely spaced sloping framing member supporting a roof.
RAIL: The cross of horizontal piece of a door, window sash, or panel. The top horizontal member of a balustrade.
RAKE: A board or molding placed along the sloping sides of a frame gable to cover the ends of the siding.
RANDOM: Without uniformity of dimension or design; e.g., masonry wall with stones placed irregularly, not in a straight course.
REBUILD: The term “rebuild” means to reconstruct a portion or portions of the building completely and properly using new or salvaged materials acceptable to the Owner and Architect.
RECORD DRAWINGS: Sometimes called “as-built” drawings, these are normally modified from the construction documents to conform to all changes made during construction.
REFINISH: To put finish back into its original condition — do not use the terms “refurbish,” “rehabilitate,” “remodel,” “renew,” or “renovate.”
REGULATION: The term “Regulations” includes laws, ordinances, statutes, and lawful orders issued by authorities having jurisdiction, as well as rules, conventions, and agreements within the construction industry that control performance of the Work.
REINFORCEMENT: A system of steel rods or mesh cast into concrete for accepting stresses.
RELOCATE: To move an item from one location and install in another location.
REMODEL: use the term “alter” instead.
REPAIR: The term “repair” means to fix and restore a portion or portions of the building to a sound, acceptable state of operation and serviceability or appearance. Repairs will be expected to last approximately as long as a replacement.
REPLACE: The term “replace” means to remove an existing element or elements from the building and install a new element of like kind or a salvaged element acceptable to the Owner and Architect, completely and properly anchored to the substrate and surrounding materials; also the term can mean to provide a substitute or replacement for an item.
RESET: The term “Reset” means to remove an existing element or elements from the building and reinstall it completely and properly anchored to the substrate and surrounding materials.
RESILIENT BASE: wall base material — use this term generically instead of “vinyl base,” or “rubber base.”
RESILIENT FLOORING: Either tile or sheet goods for flooring material made from vinyl or rubber.
RESILIENT TILE: Floor tile — use this term generically instead of “vinyl composition tile,” “vinyl tile” or “rubber tile.”
RETAINING WALL: A wall built to keep a bank of earth from sliding.
RIDGE: The top horizontal edge or peak of a roof.
RIGID INSULATION: High density fiberglass or cellular glass insulation.
RISER: The vertical part of a stair step; a vertical HVAC, plumbing, or electrical run or extension.
ROLL ROOFING: A roofing material made of compressed fibers saturated with asphalt, and coated with small gravel supplied in rolls.
ROOF HATCH: use this term instead of the archaic term “scuttle.”
ROOFING FELT: See “felt paper”.
RUNNER CHANNEL: Cold rolled steel channel 1 2″ deep used for suspended ceiling framing.
SADDLE: A roof crossing between two adjoining roofs to the ends of the valley.
SANITARY SEWER: A sewer designed to carry sewage from bathroom, toilet room, and kitchen waste, not usually storm water.
SASH: The framework which holds the glass in a window or door.
SAWTOOTH ROOF: A roof composed of a series of single-pitch roofs whose shorter or vertical side has windows for light and air.
SCORE: To cut a surface of a material part way through with a sharp blade before braking; glass and ceramic tile are cut using this method.
SCRATCH COAT: The first coat of plaster applied to a wall, scratched or scored to provide a bond for the second coat.
SCREED: (1) A metal or wood strip placed at intervals on a wall or floor to gauge thickness of plaster or concrete. (2) To level, as in pulling a straight edge across a concrete slab within the formwork.
SCRIBE: To score or mark along a cutting line.
SCUTTLE: A framed opening in a ceiling or roof, fitted with a lid or a cover.
SEAL COAT: A fine thin coating of asphalt paving with bituminous material to provide water resistance.
SEAL: (1) An embossing device or stamp used by a design professional on his Drawings and Specifications as evidence of his registration in the state where the Work is to be performed. (2) To provide sealant at a joint to make it water tight.
SEALANT: A semi-liquid or “elastomeric” water proofing material placed in a joint between materials to create a water tight joint or to fill small openings in wall or ceiling systems to prevent leakage of sound or to create a finished appearance and seal between dissimilar materials.
SEALER: A base coating of paint to seal and equalize suction differences and prevent absorption of subsequent coats.
SEAMLESS FLOORING: Sheet flooring material with joints field welded or sealed.
SECTION (DRAWING): A drawing of a surface revealed by an imaginary plane cut through the project, or portion thereof, in such a manner as to show the composition of the surface as it would appear if the part intervening between the cut plane and the eye of the observer were removed.
SECTION (MATERIAL): Sometimes loosely used to describe a rolled steel shape, such as “W section” — use the term “W member” instead.
SELF-EDGE: Plastic laminate edging in which the horizontal surface overlaps the vertical edge surface and is cut off flush with the vertical surface — this will expose a dark brown edge of the plastic laminate material and will be visible.
SEPTIC TANK: A covered tank in which waste matter is decomposed by natural bacterial action, draining into a drainage field.
SERVICE SINK: Wall-mounted sink for building maintenance purposes — do not use the terms “slop sink” or “mop basin.”
SEWER: An underground system of pipes which carry off waste matter or storm water to a sewage treatment plant or to an area of natural drainage.
SHAKE: A shingle formed by splitting a short long into a number of tapered sections.
SHEATHING: The first covering of boards, plywood, or wallboard placed over exterior wall studding or roof rafters — not “sheeting.”
SHEET FLOORING: Resilient linoleum, vinyl or rubber flooring installed wall to wall.
SHEET METAL: Usually thin steel sheets.
SHEET PILING: Planking or steel plates driven close together vertically, to form a temporary wall around an excavation.
SHIM: To build up low areas; to level or adjust height.
SHINGLE: A roofing type using tapered pieces of cedar or asphalt composition pieces nailed one overlapping the other.
SHOP DRAWINGS: Drawings, diagrams, illustrations, schedules, performance charts, brochures and other data prepared by the Contractor or any Subcontractor, manufacturer, supplier or distributor, which illustrate how specific portions of the Work will be fabricated and/or installed.
SHORING: Structural bracing used as temporary support for a building during construction.
SILL: A horizontal piece forming the bottom frame of a door or window.
SITE: Geographical location of the Project, usually defined by legal boundary lines.
SLEEPER: A strip of wood anchored to a concrete floor or nailed to subflooring and to which the finishes floor is nailed.
SLUMP: A concrete test method to evaluate water/cement ratio consistency.
SOFFIT: The undersurface of a building member, as of a cornice, arch or stairway.
SOFTWOOD: Type of lumber from conifer evergreen trees, such as pine, fir, larch, cedar, and redwood.
SOIL: Use this term instead of “earth” or “dirt.”
SPAN: The horizontal clear distance between supports, as those of a bridge, or between two piers.
SPANDREL BEAM: A beam which lies in the same vertical plane as the exterior wall.
SPANDREL: A portion of an exterior wall between a window on one floor and a window on the floor above.
SPECIFICATIONS: (1) A detailed description of requirements, composition and materials for a proposed building; (2) Apart of the Contract Documents contained in the Project Manual consisting of written descriptions of a technical nature of materials, equipment construction systems, standards and workmanship. Under the Uniform System, the Specifications comprise sixteen Divisions.
SPRAYED FIREPROOFING: Mineral fiber composition applied to structural steel members by spraying with an applicator gun used to obtain a specific fire rating for the structure to comply with building code requirements.
SQUARE: (1) 100 Square feet of roofing surface; (2) edges of an object which are at a right angle to each other.
STAGGER: To offset building members or fasteners in a horizontal or vertical plane in alternating sequence.
STAGING: A temporary scaffolding to support workers and materials during construction.
STANDARD: An approved criterion governing the quality of a construction material, operation, functional requirement, or method of assembly.
STICK BUILT: Constructed by means of building stud-by-stud and joist-by-joist in the field from raw materials.
STICK BUILDING: Lightweight wood framed building — type 5 construction by the BOCA/National Building Code.
STILE: The upright or vertical outside piece of a sash, door, or panel.
STOCK: Standard size raw building materials or standard equipment.
STONE: Granite, marble, limestone, slate used for fabricated interior or exterior finishes.
STORM SEWER: A sewer carrying only storm water (but never sanitary waste).
STORY (A CODE TERM): A horizontal division of a building; that portion between one floor and the floor above.
STRETCHER: A brick laid lengthwise in a wall.
STRIKE: In stone setting or bricklaying, to finish a mortar joint with a stroke of the trowel, simultaneously removing extruding mortar and smoothing the surface of the mortar remaining in the joint; strike off.
STRINGER: The inclined structural framing member supporting the treads and risers of a stair.
STUCCO: Plaster made from Portland cement, sand, and water used as an exterior wall surface finish; usually applied over a galvanized metal lath or wood lath base.
STUD: A vertical wood or metal framing member to which sheathing and finished surfaces are nailed, as the supporting elements in walls and partitions.
SUB STRUCTURE: That part of a building structure below the ground.
SUBCONTRACTOR: A person or organization who has a direct Contract with a prime Contractor to perform a portion of the Work at the site.
SUBFLOOR: A floor laid on top of the floor joists, to which the finished floor is fastened.
SUBSOIL DRAIN: Also called a “footing drain”. A perforated 4″ diameter pipe which is installed on the outside of the footing surrounded by pea gravel, which allows storm water in the soil to drain into it and be carried off to the sewer system or to a sump pit inside the basement, and from there pumped out back to the gravel surface or into the sewer.
SUBSTANTIAL COMPLETION: The term “Substantial Completion” means the date on which the Architect issues a Certificate of Substantial Completion based on an inspection of the Work, by which it can be determined that the Work is sufficiently complete in accordance with the Contract Documents so that the Owner can occupy or utilize the Work for the use for which it is intended. A Certificate of Substantial Completion may be issued for each individual building as it is completed, if this is in the Owner’s best interests.
SUPERSTRUCTURE: That part of a building structure above the foundation or ground level.
SUPPLIER: A person or organization who supplies materials or equipment for the Work, including that fabricated to a special design, but who does not perform labor at the site.
SURVEY: Boundary and/or topographic mapping of a site.
TACKBOARD: A bulletin board, made of cork or other resilient tackable surface.
TERRA COTTA: A hard, brown-red fired, clay product, typically used as exterior ornament. Can be glazed, or unglazed.
TERRAZZO: A durable floor finish made of small chips of colored stone or marble, embedded in cement and polished in place to a high glaze.
TESTING LABORATORIES: A “testing laboratory” is an independent entity engaged to perform specific inspections or tests, either at the Project Site or elsewhere, and to report on and, if required, to interpret results of those inspections or tests.
THERMAL BRIDGE: A thermally conducive area of an exterior enclosure which will allow heat to transfer from the interior of the building to the exterior at a greater rate than the other parts of the enclosure.
THERMAL BREAK: A separation between exterior and interior materials by an insulation material. Typically refers to a feature of a window wall system.
THRESHOLD: A strip of wood, stone, or metal placed beneath a door to cover a change in floor materials, to receive weather-stripping and, sometimes, an automatic door closer.
THRU: Short version of the word “Through” as used in drawings.
TOEBOARD: Raised protective edge (usually 4″ high) at edges of landings, balconies, mezzanines, etc. where there is no wall or knee wall, but only a guard rail.
TOE SPACE: Recess at base of cabinets.
TONGUE AND GROOVE: A factory formed notch and mating projection on wood flooring or deck.
TOPSOIL: Soil used for planting trees, shrubs, ground cover, or grasses.
TRADES: Use of titles such as “carpentry” is not intended to imply that certain construction activities must be performed by accredited or unionized individuals of a corresponding generic name, such as “carpenter.” It also does not imply that requirements specified apply exclusively to trades persons of the corresponding generic name.
TRUSS: Triangular structural framing members formed into a single plane for supporting loads over long spans, in wood or steel, or both.
TYPICAL: Means that the item referred to is repeated several times in similar circumstances and locations.
UNDERLAYMENT: A smooth, hard sheet material, such as hardboard, cement board, plywood, or particle board, placed over rougher substrates to achieve a surface suitable for application of finishes such as resilient flooring or ceramic tile.
UNDISTURBED EARTH: Soil which has not previously been excavated.
VAPOR RETARDER: A plastic sheet used to retard condensation in walls, floors, and ceilings, applied on the warm-in-winter side of the wall or ceiling structure or over the ground surface in a crawl space — do not use the term “vapor barrier.”
VERMICULITE: An inorganic mineral product that expands several times its initial volume when exposed to a high temperature (about 1000 degree F).
VITRIFIED TILE: A pipe made of clay, baked hard, then glazed so it is impervious to moisture; used particularly for underground drainage.
WAINSCOT: The lower part of an interior wall when its surface finish is different from that of the upper.
WAIVER OF LINEN: An instrument by which a person or organization who has or may have a right of mechanic’s lien against the property of another relinquishes such right. Waivers of linen are provided to the owner by the general contractor and his sub-contractors & suppliers, at the time a pay request is submitted.
WALL: Vertical enclosure of a building or occupancy separation, usually load bearing.
WALL BEARING CONSTRUCTION: A structural system in which the floor and roof systems are carried directly by the masonry walls rather than by structural framing system.
WALLBOARD: A manufactured fibrous compressed material cut into sheets, used for sheathing (may be particle board, hardboard, or similar product).
WARM AIR SYSTEM: A heating system in which furnace-heated air moves to living space through a series of ducts, circulated by natural convection (gravity system) or by a fan blower in the ductwork (forced system) to registers in the floor, walls or ceilings.
WATERPROOFING: A procedure to make a material impervious to water or dampness, designed to resist a head of water (water pressure). Any of the material used to waterproof — do not use the terms “roofing,” “membrane,” or “damp proofing.”
WEATHERING STEEL: Steel designed to rust to a certain extent on its surface, then stop rusting — Cor-Ten is one manufacturer’s trade name for weathering steel.
WEATHERSTRIP: A thin strip of metal, felt, wood, etc., used to cover the joint between a door or window sash and the jamb, casing, or sill; to keep out air, dust, rain, etc.
WINDOW WELL: See “light well”.
WOOD: Use the term for solid softwoods only, otherwise use the terms “hardwood,” “plywood,” or “particle board.”
WROUGHT IRON: A soft, pure form of iron easily molded into bars and worked into ornamental shapes; widely used for decorative railings, gates and panels.
ZONING ORDINANCE: The control by a municipality of the use of land and buildings, the height and bulk of buildings, the density of population, the relation of a lot’s building coverage to open space, the size and location of yards and setbacks, and the provision of any ancillary facilities such as parking. Zoning, established through the adoption of a municipal ordinance, is a principal instrument in implementing a master plan
One of our project managers, Phil, called to get his inspection ETA today for a basement in Littleton, and they told him they’re having a training session for the entire building department at 9AM at the basement!
Phil raced over there and good thing, too, because after all the building officials arrived there were no more parking spaces! All up and down the street were Jefferson County building inspector trucks. After he introduced himself to the chief building officer and all the other inspectors, he led them to the basement where 12 inspectors with flashlights combed over every part of the basement as part of their training. This went on for over an hour!
Interestingly, in JeffCo you cannot call in your framing inspection until after you’ve passed your electrical inspection, so it’s a two day process. When the training was over all twelve inspectors couldn’t find one thing wrong and unanimously passed all roughs and framing inspections at the same time without one correction notice.
Each inspector one by one shook Phil’s hand on the way out and congratulated him on a very well-built basement. Some of inspectors comments to Phil as the filed out the door:
“[Ryan] the plumber was genius on how he ran the underground.”
“Really like how [Juan] the insulator spray foams all the fire-blocking insulation so it stays in place and won’t move.”
“The framer [Marco] did a great job.”
“This is a perfect example of how a basement should be built.”
“The electrician [Boris] did a good job with his ground bonds.”
“This a not a really good training session because this is how everything is supposed to be built.”
Congratulations to our all our employees, subs, and vendors who do this kind of work day-in and day-out. I’m so proud of the entire ElkStone team – well done!
The question often comes up on how ElkStone frames our basements. One issue that is whether to frame the studs at 16 inches on center or 24 inches on center. Typical structural construction requires studs to be framed at 16 inches on center. The basement walls however are not structural and most of the time in the Denver metro area the walls are actually floating. The soil in the front range of Colorado often contains bentonite which if it becomes wet will contract and expand. Because of this condition, the building code requires the basement walls to literally be hung from the first floor joists above. The bottom of the wall is anchored to a floor plate by extra large 60D nails. If the floor does heave or settle the wall will float or slide on the 60D nails. The floating walls are structural only in that they keep the drywall and trim in place but they won’t push up on the floor joists above which would cause significant structural damage on the floors above and throughout the house. Symptoms of structural problems from non-floated walls are sticking windows and doors, and cracking drywall.
When a lot is in consideration for new home construction one of the first things a builder does is order a soil survey. A geoscience company will drill several test holes on the property where the home will be placed and submit the dirt core to a lab for testing. If the test results contain a certain amount of bentonite then the engineer will recommend a floating basement floor and a foundation supported by piers instead of a footer. You would recognize this if your basement floor is wood or if you have a concrete basement floor with a crawl space below it. You can identify this if there is an access panel in your basement floor that opens to a crawl space below.
Back to framing. A stud is defined as a dimensional lumber that has a specific length. Most often we purchase studs but because we’re working in a confined space between the basement floor and the bottom of the 1st floor joist above, we can rarely use the full length. Studs are intrinsically not straight because they are cut from a tree which has a grain. The studs are kiln dried and often twist and bow in the drying process according to their grain. Because of this it’s my theory that the less you sample the studs the straighter the wall. In other words, the drywall we attach to the wall comes in contact less with the studs framed on a 24 inch on center wall than a 16 inch on center wall thereby making the wall straighter than if you attached it more frequently to the studs.
Another reason we choose to frame basement walls at 24 inches on center is that it uses less lumber. This has several benefits. First, since it requires less lumber this conserves natural resources. It also keeps costs down and is less work for the framer. It’s also less work for the electrician and plumber who have to run their wires and pipes through the studs so they don’t have to drill as much. Because framing the studs 24 inches on center it makes easier it’s also faster which also costs less. In theory you could frame the studs at 8 inches on center but this is silly. It costs more in materials and labor, takes longer, and isn’t necessary. So why go through the expense if it’s not needed. Some will argue that the walls are sturdier. I’d agree with that but it’s not a practical matter. There’s no instance I can think of that the walls need to be sturdier throughout the basement space. Obviously there are certain places where we beef up the wall with extra studs for a wall mounted TV or wall cabinets but from a day to day practical matter, I don’t see where you’d need the walls to be sturdier than what 24 inches on center provides.
ElkStone will frame a basement 16 inches on center but only on request. So in summary, our default method is to frame basement studs 24 inches on center for the following reasons:
Uses less lumber which conserves natural resources
Takes less time to build
Is easier and faster for the framer, electrician, plumber, insulator, and drywaller
Makes walls straighter because the drywall is coming in less frequent contact with the studs
And is completely adequate and sufficient
Have a different view or angle to consider? I’d love to hear your thoughts so please leave a comment below.