Angie's LIST Guide to
Glossary: Remodeling

A collection of terms and definitions relating to carpentry construction when updating or improving structural elements during a remodeling project.

Bottom plate - Gable

Bottom plate: The lowest horizontal framing component in the wall. The bottom plate may also be referred to as a soleplate, because most of the other framing components rely solely on this plate for support.

Ceiling joist: A wood or steel beam positioned horizontally between the top sides of the wall frame. Finished ceiling material and rafters are nailed to these beams for support.

Doubler or doubled: Two structural components nailed together to double the strength of the support.

Finish or finished carpentry: A type of carpentry that focuses on cabinetry, model building, fine woodworking, joinery, parquetry and other similar projects that involve acute attention to detail.

Gable: The most common type of roof that features a simple design where the rafters are the same length and pitch on each side, and meet in the middle of the span. Essentially, any roof that fits the prototype of a standard triangle roof would be considered a gable.

Girder - Miter cut

Girder: A basic support system used in a variety of construction projects that is usually made of steel in an L- shaped style of cross-section. It is strategically designed this way to improve strength and support for the weight it bears.

Header: A support beam located horizontally above the door, window or other opening in the building. The main purpose of the header is to support the structural components above the opening.

Journeyman: A term used in carpentry to describe a carpenter who has completed an apprentice program in a local union. The term may also apply to any carpenter who has extensive experience in the carpentry trade.

Load-bearing wall: Any wall in the structure that acts as foundational support for a load resting upon it. These walls are usually composed of sturdy materials, such as brick, block or concrete.

Miter cut: A simple, angled cut at the end of a board. The technique is most commonly used in slope roofing.

Non load-bearing - Rafter

Non load-bearing wall: Also referred to as a curtain wall, provides no significant support for any structures above it, other than the support necessary to bear its own weight.

On center: Commonly abbreviated as "O.C.," on center refers to the measurement from one structural member to another.

Plumb: A line that is precisely perpendicular or vertical to a level horizontal line. It is often used as an adjective in carpentry.

Punch list: A list designed to organize a construction project by detailing all of the tasks needed to be completed throughout the project. It is also commonly referred to as a "snag list."

Rafter: Any framing member of the roof of a building. More commonly, a rafter refers specifically to a beam forming a portion of the internal framework of a roof.

Rise - Truss

Rise: In relation to stairs, or stair treads, the measured distance between a single step, staircase or rafter. The rise is usually measured from a vertical angle.

Rough carpentry: Involves roofing, framing, form work and other difficult, large-scale structural projects that do not necessarily have to be polished or finely designed.

Rough opening: Commonly abbreviated as R.O., a rough opening refers to all of the leaves in a framing wall for an opening such as a door or window.

Stringer: The primary support system for a staircase. The riser and tread components of the staircase are attached to the stringer to ensure full support.

Truss: A single piece of a pre-manufactured roofing system, which is usually built off-site and delivered to the site for installation.

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