Glossary of building terms


Airbricks- perforated ventilation brick.

Architrave- joinery moulding around door or window frame.

Bargeboard- board secured to the gable end of a roof to cover and protect the roof timbers.

Cill- (or sill) horizontal item at the base of a door or window  frame, shaped to  deflect water away from the building.

Corbel- Projection of stone, brick, timber or metal to support a load.

Dado- lower section of wall.

Dado rail- horizontal timber moulding secured to wall about one metre above the floor.

DPC- Damp Proof Course.

DPM- Damp Proof Membrane.

Dry Rot- (Serpula lacrymans)  a   wood   rotting  fungus  which  attacks  mostly  softwoods  and  is  significant  for  its ability  to grow over inert surfaces  and spread extensively behind plaster and through wall surfaces

Drip throat- groove  in  the  bottom  of  a  window  or door cill to encourage water to drip off.

Fasciaboard- horizontal board directly beneath the bottom of the roof covering to cover and protect the roof timbers.

Flashing-  usually of lead used to seal junction at roof to masonry junction.

Foulwater- waste water from a toilet.

Gable- vertical  part  of the end wall of a building contained  within  the  roof slope, usually triangular.

Greywater- waste water from a washing machine, bath, shower or sink.

Gully- an opening into a drain at ground or basement level.

Header- end face of a brick.

Jamb- side part of a window or doorframe.

Joist- wooden (usually) floor component to which floorboards  are  secured.

Keystone- large, often decorative, stone at the centre of an arch.

Lintel- structural  stone, concrete or metal item  above door  or  window  to support load above.

Mullion- vertical member dividing the lights of a window.

Parapet- continuation of a wall above another structure such as a roof.

Plinth- decorative base of a column or wall.

Purlin- horizontal timber that supports the roof rafters.

Rafter- sloping roof timber.

Sleeper walls- low walls that support a timber suspended ground floor.

Spandrel- triangular shaped infill to side of staircase.

String- sides of a staircase that support the treads.

String course- horizontal band within a wall usually raised and often decorative.

Rainwater goods- gutters, downpipes etc.

Ridge board- timber at the apex of a pitched roof.

Rising Damp- ground moisture rising from the ground by capillary action.

Soffit- underside or cladding to the underside of a staircase or overhanging roof.

Stretcher- side face of a brick.

Transom- horizontal item of stone or wood that separates a window  from another window below or a fanlight from a door opening.

Tread- horizontal stair or step.

Wallplate- horizontal timber to which joists and end of rafters are secured.

Woodworm- generic term for the larvae of all wood boring beetles.