Thursday, March 30, 2017

Understanding Construction Jargon

Whether you're discussing details with the contractor, or working with an inspector, the jargon used by those involved with the industry can be confusing and even frustrating. By defining construction terms like the ones below, we hope to alleviate the stress you might feel when discussing construction with industry professionals. We won't be able to define every term you might hear, but here are some commonly used terms that you might encounter in a variety of construction situations.

Flooring and Roofing Terms

  • Joist: Parallel framing members installed horizontally to carry floor and ceiling loads.
  • Floating Floor: A floor system that can be placed on top of an existing floor (and does not need to be nailed down.) Tiles or boards are glued together rather than directly to the sub floor or floor.
  • Dormer Window: A window that rises vertically from a sloping roof.
  • Hip: The angle formed by two intersecting, sloping roof planes that runs from the eaves to the ridge of a house.
  • Parquet Flooring: Woodwork floors set in geometric forms for design purposes.
  • Ponding: The pooling of water on a roof.
  • Prefinished Floor: A finished flooring that requires installation only.
  • Pickled Floors: The informal, casual look when you rub white paint into already stained or finished wood flooring.
  • Soffit: The underside space between the end of the roof and the side of a home, often vented to provide circulation to the attic.
  • Frieze: A carpet style where the yarn is tightly twisted to give it a nubby, rough appearance.
  • Subfloor: Boards or plywood mounted over joists on which the finish floor is laid.
    Terrazzo: A multi-colored floor made from stone or marble chips embedded in cement.

Window Terms

  • Jamb: The molding around a window frame. The “side jamb” is vertical while the “head jamb” is horizontal.
  • Lite: A pane of glass within a window. Often used when talking about how many panes there are in a window (i.e. a 12-lite colonial window.)
  • Louvered Window: A window with several glass, metal or wooden slats that open together like shutters, usually by pulling a lever or crank to adjust the angle. Also called a jalousie.
  • Mullion: The vertical strip of wood that separates side-by-side windows.
  • Oriel Window: Similar to a bay window, it projects out from the wall, but does not extend to the ground. Instead the bottom curves back into the wall.
  • Sash: The parts of a window that holds the glass (the “doors” of a window.)

Carpentry Terms

  • Galvanized: Any metal coated with zinc to protect it from rusting.
  • Girder: A large beam of wood or steel which acts as the principle support for loads along its span.
  • Header: A beam which is perpendicular to wall suds above doors, windows or other openings. It carries the weight of structural loads.
  • Joint: Any place where two building materials come together and leave a gap or space.
  • Miter: A 45-degree cut. Unlike a compound miter cut, the saw blade remains at 0 degrees.
  • Pull Bar: The tool used to tighten tongue and groove joints during the installation process.
  • Sapwood: The lighter color wood near the outside of the tree.
  • Stud: A 2×4 or 2×6 vertical framing member used to assemble walls.
  • Toenailing: Nailing at an angle to connect one framing piece to a second.

HVAC Terms

  • Passive Cooling/Heating: A building structure designed to increase ventilation and retention of heating/cooling within its building components.
  • Passive Solar Design: Using design methods to capitalize on heat and light from the sun, thereby reducing the need for electric systems.
  • Pellets: Fuel that consist of 100% wood sawdust with no additives.
  • Split System: An air conditioner or heat pump that has components in two different locations (typically one inside and one outside).
  • Integrated Hot Water System: A system that provides water heating from a single heat source.

Miscellaneous Home Improvement Terms

  • Integral Sink: A sink made out of the same material as the countertop to form a continuous surface.
  • Paver Tile: Tile that is larger than six square inches.
  • Pyrolave: Countertop material made from enameled lava rock.
  • Retrofit: Upgrading a preexisting fixture by installing new parts.
  • Sconce: A light fixture attached to a wall.
  • Shim: A thin piece of wood used during installation to insure that countertops are level.
  • Substrate: Any surface to which a paint, stain or sealant is applied.
  • Tongue and Groove: A way of connecting materials, such as wood, in which the tongue of a board is placed into the groove of the board following it.
  • Veneer: A thin piece of wood attached to particleboard to create the illusion of wood surfaces.
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): Materials that evaporate from organic products and can cause acute and chronic illnesses.
  • Wood Shakes: Rough, thick, uneven shingles, either hand split or sawn, that can be used as a siding material.
  • Xeriscape: landscaping that is designed specifically for areas that are susceptible to drought, or for areas where water conservation is practiced.

Now that you've learned what some of the jargon means, we hope it will help you feel a little more comfortable the next time you're having a conversation with someone in the construction industry. Understanding these commonly used terms should give you a steady foundation to stand on.

Maze Lumber is dedicated to providing our customers with superior service.

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1100 Water Street
P.O. Box 449
Peru, IL 61354
Phone: 815-223-1742
Fax: 815-223-1752


Monday-Friday: 7:30AM - 4:30PM
Saturday: 8:00AM - 12:00Noon
Sunday: Closed

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Prepare For the Extreme

A disaster supply kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency. You should have a kit at home and also at your place of work. At work, try to include a pair of comfortable shoes in case you need to walk to a shelter area. It's best to assume that in the event of an emergency or natural disaster, roads will be inaccessible by vehicles, and public transportation will be shut down.
Try to assemble your kit well in advance of an emergency. You may have to evacuate at a moment's notice and take essentials with you. You will probably not have time to search for the supplies you need or shop for them.
You may need to survive on your own after an emergency. This means having your own food, water and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least 72 hours. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours or it might take days.
Additionally, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment and telephones may be cut off for days, even a week or longer. Your supplies kit should contain items to help you manage during these outages.

Emergency Supplies

Water, food and clean air are important things to have if an emergency happens. Each family or individual's kit should be customized to meet specific needs, such as medications and infant formula. It should also be customized to include important family documents.

Recommended Supplies To Include In A Basic Kit:

  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First Aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Infant formula and diapers, if you have an infant
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Dust mask or cotton t-shirt, to help filter the air
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)

Clothing and Bedding:

If you live in a cold weather climate, you must think about warmth. It is possible that the power will be out and you will not have heat. Rethink your clothing and bedding supplies to account for growing children and other family changes. One complete change of warm clothing and shoes per person, including:
  • A jacket or coat
  • Long pants
  • A long sleeve shirt
  • Sturdy shoes
  • A hat and gloves
  • A sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
Below are some other items for your family to consider adding to its supply kit. Some of these items, especially those marked with a * can be dangerous, so please have an adult collect these supplies.
  • Emergency reference materials such as a first aid book or a print out of the information on
  • Rain gear
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils
  • Cash or traveler's checks, change
  • Paper towels
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Tent
  • Compass
  • Matches in a waterproof container*
  • Signal flare*
  • Paper, pencil
  • Personal hygiene items including feminine supplies
  • Disinfectant*
  • Household chlorine bleach*
  • You can use bleach as a disinfectant (diluted nine parts water to one part bleach), or in an emergency you can also use it to treat water. Use 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
  • Medicine dropper
  • Important Family Documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container

Make a Kit For Your Pet

Keep an Evac-Sack (or pillow case) and supplies handy for your pets. Make sure that everyone in the family knows where it is. This kit should be clearly labeled and easy to carry. Items to consider keeping in or near your pack include:
  • Photocopies of medical records and a waterproof container with a two-week supply of any medicine your pet requires (Remember, food and medications need to be rotated out of your emergency kit — otherwise they may go bad or become useless)
  • Pet first-aid kit and guide book (ask your vet what to include, or visit the ASPCA Store to buy one online)
  • 3-7 days-worth of canned (pop-top) or dry food (be sure to rotate every two months)
  • Disposable litter trays (aluminum roasting pans are perfect)
  • Litter or paper toweling
  • Liquid dish soap and disinfectant
  • Disposable garbage bags for clean-up
  • Pet feeding dishes
  • Extra collar or harness as well as an extra leash
  • Bottled water, at least 7 days' worth for each person and pet (store in a cool, dry place and replace every two months)
  • A traveling bag, crate or sturdy carrier, ideally one for each pet
  • Flashlight
  • Blanket (for scooping up a fearful pet)
  • Recent photos of your pets (in case you are separated and need to make "Lost" posters)
  • Especially for cats: Pillowcase or Evac-Sack, toys, scoopable litter
  • Especially for dogs: Extra leash, toys and chew toys, a week's worth of cage liner