Glossary of Construction Terms

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

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

This is the amount of heat required to increase the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit (F). Most heating appliances are rated in BTUs: furnaces, stoves and even the burners on your cooktop. But just BTUs is not the whole story. For example, a low efficiency heating appliance can produce lots of BTUs but not be adequate for the needs of the space to be heated. A space with very even heat can feel more much comfortable at a lower temperature then one with a high BTU heater on one side and cold surfaces on the other.

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Bond or Bonding

An amount of money (usually $6,000-$12,000) which must be on deposit with the governmental agency in order to secure a contractor's license. The bond may be used to pay for the unpaid bills or d