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
Oriented Strand Board or OSB or Chip Board or 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.

See also: Q&A: OSB vs. Plywood, Q&A: OSB For Sidewall Sheathing

On-site and Off-site stormwater drainage Systems

The control of storm water is critical to the maintenance of a home and property. On-site systems come in a variety of configurations but usually involve ways to promote storm water absorption into the ground. Such system are sometimes called French Drains.

The most common off-site systems are community utilities that channel storm water from private and public lands (streets etc.) to a properly designed location.