Glossary of Construction Terminology



wafer board - A manufactured wood panel made out of 1" - 2" wood chips and glue. Often used as a substitute for plywood in the exterior wall and roof sheathing.

Walk Through - A final inspection of a home before "Closing" to look for and document problems that need to be corrected.

warping - Any distortion in a material.

warranty - In construction there are two general types of warranties. One is provided by the manufacturer of a product such as roofing material or an appliance. The second is a warranty for the labor. Many contractors provide a one year warranty.

waste pipe and vent - Plumbing plastic pipe that carries waste water to the municipal sewage system.

water board - Water resistant drywall to be used in tub and shower locations. Normally green or blue colored,

water closet - Another name for toilet.

Water meter pit (or vault) - The box/cast iron bonnet and concrete rings that contains the water meter.

waterproofing - The process where a building component is made totally resistant to the passage of water and/or water vapor.

water-repellent preservative - A liquid applied to wood to give the wood water repellent properties.

water table - The location of the underground water, and the vertical distance from the surface of the earth to this underground water.

water tap - The connection point where the home water line connects to the main municipal water system.

water vapor - Moisture existing as a gas in air.

wattage - An electrical unit of power. Kilowatts is 1000 watts and electrical customers are billed on how many kilowatts of power they have used.

weatherization - Work on a building exterior in order to reduce energy consumption for heating or cooling. Work involving adding insulation, installing storm windows and doors, caulking cracks and putting on weatherstripping.

weatherstrip - Narrow sections of thin metal or other material installed to prevent the infiltration of air and moisture around windows and doors.

weep holes - Small holes in storm window frames that allow moisture to escape.

wet seal - Application of an elastomeric sealant between the glass and sash to form a weather tight seal.

whole house fan - A fan designed to move air through and out of a home and normally installed in the ceiling.

wind bracing - Metal straps or wood blocks installed diagonally on the inside of a wall from bottom to top plate, to prevent wall from twisting, racking, or falling over "domino" fashion.

window frame - The stationary part of a window unit; window sash fits into the window frame.

window sash - The operating or movable part of a window; the sash is made of window panes and their border.

wind uplift - The upward force exerted by wind traveling across a roof.

wire nut - A plastic device used to connect bare wires together.

wire size - Conductors for building wiring are available in AWG, (American Wire Gauge), sizes ranging from #14 - #4/0. The larger the number size, the smaller the diameter. The larger the diameter of a wire the lesser the resistance.

wrapped drywall - Areas that get complete drywall covering, as in the doorway openings of bifold and bipass closet doors.



Y - A "Y" shaped plumbing fitting.

yard of concrete - One cubic yard of concrete is 3'x 3'x 3' in volume, or 27 cubic feet. One cubic yard of concrete will pour 80 square feet of 3-1/2" sidewalk or basement/garage floor.

yoke - The location where a home's water meter is sometimes installed between two copper pipes, and located in the water meter pip in the yard.


zone - The section of a building that is served by one heating or cooling loop because it has noticeably distinct heating or cooling needs. Also, the section of property that will be watered from a lawn sprinkler system.

zoning - A governmental process and specification which limits the use of a property e.g. single family use, high rise residential use, industrial use, etc. Zoning laws may limit where you can locate a structure. Also see building codes.