E-mail: quote@randbbuildersltd.co.uk | Tel: 01865 391313 / 07796 557206 / 07789 884693

R&B Builders Terminology Guide

Here at R&B Builders we understand that indulging in building work on your home can be a daunting prospect not helped by all the different terminology used by all the different trades, here at R&B we try our hardest to discuss your plans in a straightforward and understanding way, but if you still need a guide we have put this list together to help you understand.

Airbrick – A perforated brick built into a wall for providing ventilation. Used, for instance, to ventilate the underside of timber ground floors blocked fireplaces or a roof space.
Asbestos – Material used in the past for insulation and fire protection. Can be a health hazard. Specialist advice should be sought if asbestos is found.
Bellcast – Thickening out of render, in a curved shape, to form a drip to deflect water. Usually found at the base of a wall, above the damp-proof course.
Brickwork / Blockwork – The external and some internal walls if the building is to be rendered both in and outer course on an cavity wall will be blocks.
Cavity Wall – All external walls these have an outer course and an inner course with insulation between.
Damp-Proof Course – Layer of impervious material (bitumen felt, PVC, slate etc) incorporated into a wall and designed to prevent dampness rising up the wall, and lateral dampness penetrating around windows, doors etc. Various alternative methods are available for damp-proofing existing walls including “electro-osmosis” and chemical injection.
Damp-Proof Membrane – Horizontal layer of impervious material (usually polythene or bitumen) incorporated into floors or slabs.
Engineering Brick – Particularly strong and dense type of brick, often used as a damp proof course in older buildings.
Foundations – The concrete that is poured into a trench usually around the perimeter of the extension, sometime this will includes some steel rods.
Gable – Upper section of a wall, usually triangular in shape, at each end of a ridged roof.
Insulation – There are so many different types of insulation used for all different situations, generally they are to keep the heat in in the winter and also the building to stay cooler in the summer.
Lintel – A horizontal beam over a door or window opening usually carrying the load of the wall above. Often lintels can be partially or completely hidden from view.
Mortar – Mixture of sand, cement (or lime), and water used to join stones, blocks or bricks, and for pointing and general filling.
Oversite – The concrete that is poured within the external walls to create the base layer of the floor.
Party Wall – The wall which separates, but is shared by, adjoining properties.
Render – Smooth or rough cast cement or lime based covering to a wall, either internally or externally, sometimes with pebbledash or other textured finish.
Retaining Wall – A wall built to hold back a bank of soil.
RSJ – (Rolled Steel Joist)
Steel-Work – This is the heavy stuff! We install steel usually in area where walls are removed, they are added to support the other parts of the house. Most situation need a structural engineer to have a look at the plans and work out what specification steel need installing.
Plasterboard – This is a man made sheet product applied to walls before finish plastering.
Dry lining / Dot and Dab – This is a method of fitting plaster board to a brick or previously plastered wall, it is done by using dots of adhesive to stick Plaster board to the wall before the finish plaster goes on.

Architrave – A moulding around a doorway or window opening. It usually covers the joints between the frame and the wall finish, thus hiding any shrinkage gaps which may occur.
Balustrade – A row of balusters, or other infilling, below a handrail on a landing, stair or parapet.
Dormer – A construction with a window that projects from a sloping roof.
Eaves – The lower edge of a roof.
Fascia – A board fixed to the rafter ends along the roof eaves.
Joist – A timber or steel beam directly supporting a floor or ceiling.
Newel Post – Post supporting a staircase handrail at top and bottom. Also, the central pillar of a winding spiral staircase.
Pitch – The angle of slope to a roof.
Ridge – The highest part or apex of a roof where two slopes meet.
Riser – The vertical part of a step or stair.
Stud Wall – Internal walls built using timber
Tread – The horizontal part of a step or stair.
Wall Plate – Timber normally fixed on top of a wall to receive floor joists or roof rafters.
Bi-Fold Doors – These doors open by folding back in sections to create a larger opening than a standard door, they can be fitted inside between rooms or to an exterior wall. Bi-fold doors have become increasingly popular with our customers having them fitted to the rear of their properties to create an outside living space.
Decking – Most commonly made of timber, sometimes made of an eco product, it is a structure built outside a property to create a flat area. Very popular to the rear of a house for hosting parties.
Velux / Roof window – Velux is a trade name who are one of the most popular manufactures of roof lights, there are other companies on the market that sell similar products such as Facro. Both these companies produce roof windows that are fitted into the pitched area of a roof most commonly found in loft conversions..
Skirting – The timber profile that is fitted around the bottom of walls to hide the gap between the plaster and the floor finish.

Combination Boiler – A central heating boiler that also provides hot water “instantaneously“ on demand, usually within a pressurised system. With this form of boiler there is no need for water storage tanks, hot water cylinders etc.
Gutter  – A channel along the eaves of a roof or the edge of a path for the removal of rainwater.
Inspection Chamber – Commonly called a manhole. An access point to a drain comprising a chamber (of brick, concrete or plastic) with the drainage channel at its base and a removable cover at ground level.
Septic Tank – Private drainage installation whereby sewage is collected into a chamber and decomposes through the action of bacteria, with remaining solids requiring removal periodically, and liquids running off to a water course or soakaway.
Sewer – A large, underground pipe or drain used for conveying waste water and sewage. The Local Authority is usually responsible for the sewers, which collect the effluent from various drains, the drains being the responsibility of the landowners.
Soakaway – A pit, filled with broken stones etc., below ground to take drainage from rainwater pipes or land drains and allow it to disperse.
Soil Pipe – A vertical pipe that conveys sewage to the drains. Its upper end it usually vented above the eaves.
Stop Cock – A valve on a gas or water supply pipe which is used to cut off the supply.
Waste Pipe – A pipe from a wash hand basin, sink or bath to carry away the waste water into the drains.
Under Floor Heating – This can either be water fed off of the boiler or electric fed. In both situations it is a layer that sits below the finish floor level and gives you extra heating to a room.