Words to Build By
Your neighbor’s chicken coop needs a new roof? Bring it. Your mother-in-law has a broken toilet? Your tools are in the truck and ready to go. Have to ask questions about the materials for your next project? Maybe you’d rather skip that part. No worries, we’ve got you covered with our glossary for the Born to Build to quickly reference, grab what you need, and get back to saving the day.
- Dimensional lumber- Boards cut into pre-determined, industry-standard sizes at the mill to ensure efficiency and consistency across construction projects.
- OSB, OSB sheating- Also known as Oriented Strand Board, this engineered wood material is made from strips of wood that are dried, laid in the same direction, and then compressed with a resin and a small amount of wax to form one sheet. Extremely strong, it is used in many different building applications including subflooring and sheathing.
- Cedar, Cedar post, Cedar beam- A softwood, cedar is one of the most popular and versatile species of tree in the lumber industry. Western Red Cedar, one of the most widely used types, is known for being naturally resistant to rot, decay, and insects.
- Tongue-and-groove- A type of edge that allows pieces to interlock like a puzzle to ensure a secure build or a less-squeaky subfloor. Available on a wide array of products from panels to finished flooring.
- Railroad tie- Reclaimed wood from railroad tracks, these have previously been coated in a creosote preservative and vary widely in quality. Commonly used in projects where appearance is relatively unimportant, such as parking spot markers.
- Treated pine, treated lumber, landscape post- Pressure treated- Lumber or other wooden products like balusters intended for outdoor use, that are infused with a solution of water and chemicals using heat and pressure make them resistant to rot and insects.
- LVL- Also known as Laminated Veneer Lumber, is an engineered wood made of many thick layers held together with strong adhesives. With its inherent strength and ability to withstand shrinking, it is commonly used for floor joists and roof assemblies.
- MDF- Medium Density Fiberboard is an engineered wood product that is made from wood fibers, wax, and resin. Heavier than plywood, it is used in many different interior building applications or finished products like cabinetry.
- Plywood- An engineered wood product that uses a minimum of three layers of cross-laminated veneer lumber which are pressed together using adhesives and heat. With many grades available, it has applications from sheathing, and flooring to furniture, and many others.
- Corral board- A pressure treated 1x6 board, it is often used in fencing horse paddocks and in making concrete forms or pallets.
- Hardwood- Lumber milled from deciduous trees that have broad-shaped leaves, closed seed structure, and slow growth cycle. Typically more expensive than softwoods, hardwoods are often used in fine furniture, flooring, and other high-end applications.
- Softwood- Lumber milled from trees with thin leaves or needles, open seeds, and tall, fast-growing trunks. Softwoods are the most used type of wood in construction.
- Lumber labels- These stamps on lumber tell you everything you need to know about your piece. This includes the grading agency, mill identification number, lumber grade, species of wood, and moisture content.
- Lumber grades- Lumber is scored and ranked based on strength and/or appearance to give the end user information about the best application for that piece.
- MCA- Micronized Copper Azole is a preservative used to pressure-treat lumber to make it resistant to rot and decay.
- Veneer- A thin sheet of wood used in many different applications such as in plywood or a hardwood overlay.
- Composite wood- Made from wood waste and other recycled products such as plastic bags or milk jugs; it is popular in because of its reduced maintenance requirements and eco-friendliness.
- Engineered wood- Any lumber product that has been glued or bound together to create a strong product. Examples include LVLs, OSB, and glulams, among others.
- Glulam- Glued Laminated Timber is an engineered wood product made from layers of wood glued together. Often an added design element, these are mainly used in vaulted ceilings.
- Normal sizing- The standard sizing of dimensional lumber, this refers to the dimensions of a board when it is initially cut at the lumber mill. After the drying process, the actual size is about 1/2 smaller. For example, a 2x4 board is nominally two inches by four inches, but it is actually 1 1/2 by 3 1/2.
- Scaffold Grade Lumber- A higher quality than construction grade lumber, scaffold grade must have at least six rings per inch, minimal knots and scratches, and have a grain slope of 1:14.
- Warp- When wood loses moisture and dries unevenly it becomes misshapen. There are different types of wood warp and even some ways to help fix the problem.
- Pickets- A classic residential fence material made of Southern Pine, Western Red Cedar, vinyl, or wrought iron that adds security to your property and denotes clear boundary lines. Pickets can be arranged in nearly endless ways and are available in many different varieties including dog ear and Gothic, among others.
- Shiplap- Wood boards placed horizontally on top of each other on the exterior or interior walls of a structure. True shiplap has the appearance of small gap or space between the boards due to the rabbet joint used to secure them.
- Siding panel- Exterior siding comes in units called panels making is easy to purchase and install in large areas.
- Soffit- The underside of a roof overhang as well as the material that applied over that space. It covers rafters from the elements and allows for vents to be installed for air flow.
Concrete and Rebar:
- Concrete- Made of cement, water, aggregate, and sand that is then poured and hardened into a slab or other mold.
- Cement- A component of concrete, it is made from different ingredients like limestone and silicone that is mixed with water, heated, then ground into a powder. This powder is called “portland cement”.
- Rebar- Reinforcing steel bar twisted into a spiral shape along its length; used to strengthen concrete.
- Sand- A mixture of minerals and fine rock particles used in a variety of construction processes such as slab resurfacing, mortar bedding, crack repair, landscaping, and more.
- Form Tube- Generally cylindrical cardboard tubes used as concrete molds that can be cut away once the concrete has cured.
- Pre-mixed concrete- Available in dry form in bags for smaller jobs like installing a mailbox post.
- Ready-mixed concrete- Generally mixed and delivered in a concrete mixer truck, this ready-to-pour form is ideal in applications where large quantities of concrete are needed.
Farm & Ranch:
- T-post- Typically used as fence posts in farm and ranch applications, these slim, metal poles have an anchor plate for easy installation into the ground and evenly spaced studs or nubs to hold wire or panels to form a fence line.
- Hog panel- A high-tensile strength wire fence panel with graduated spacing from top to bottom that can be used with t-posts.
- Gates, wire filled gate, tube gate- Typically used with coordinating panels to create animal pens, most gates are made with galvanized metal tubing; some are wire filled and may also include mesh wire panels or additional or specialized openings.
- Field fence- A type of fencingused around a field boundary line. T-posts or treated wood posts with wire are the most common type of field fence.
- Barbed wire- Used with t-posts or treated wood posts, this two-strand twisted wire has 2- or 4-point barbs along the wire to keep animals away from the fence line. It can be used with t-posts or wooden fence posts.
- Electric fence- A wire with an electric current that runs along a fence line to help keep domestic animals in and predators out. It can be used with t-posts or other posts and requires a power source.
- Sheep and goat panels- Woven wire fence paneling uses 4-guage galvanized wire that stands up to everyday use and the galvanized-before-welding process eliminates sharp burrs that could cause injury.
- Horse panel- These wire fence panels have a 4x2” wire spacing that helps to reduce the possibility of injury due to pawing or animals reaching through the fence. This fencing is available in a variety of different lengths and heights in either 4-guage or 6-guage wire. It can be used with t-posts or wooden fence posts.
- Horse fence- Rolls have horse-safe knots on the rolls to help withstand impact and prevent injury. It can be used with t-posts or wooden fence posts.
- Slick or smooth wire- This type of wire is mostly made of steel that is smooth or slick. This wire fencing can be used with t-posts or wooden fence posts. This is commonly used to help strengthen a fence along the top, bottom, or corner/ends posts.
- Barbless wire- Similar in construction to barbed wire, this wire is also made with two strands twisted together, but without sharp points at intervals.
- Gang (electrical-boxes)- A word referencing the number of plugs that can be served by an electrical box.
- Electric pole- Any of a variety of poles that support electric lines, from high-voltage utility or a post that supports a home’s electricity.
Doors & Windows
- Millwork- A facility employing skilled workers to produce custom doors and windows, sometimes along with other made-to-order items such as paneling and cabinets.
- Culvert- Drainage tunnel structures that move or divert water runoff to decrease the chance of large-scale erosion from flooding or storm damage. Typically installed under driveways or roads driveways.
- PVC, PVC-Schedule- Polyvinyl chloride, a widely produced plastic, is used to make pipe and joints for plumbing and other applications. PVC pipe comes in different thicknesses called “schedules”.