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Find a local builder

    The A-Z guide to talking like a tradie

    A complete glossary of building & construction terms

    Hannah | Oneflare

    It’s no doubt that at some point, you’ll need to hire a trades or services professional. The technicalities of some trades and services are easier to understand than others, and some use jargon and terms that you may not have heard of before. Whether it’s an emergency job or a planned project, it never hurts to be a little more informed.

    Rather than sitting there dazed and confused by the amount of words you don’t know how to comprehend, we’ve put together a handy dictionary of terms to help you learn the lingo.


    Absorption Field – A leeching or seeping field engineered to receive septic tank effluent.

    Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) – An ABS is in the form of a black plastic pipe that is used in plumbing for drains and vents.

    Adaptor (Plumbing) – A fitting that connects two pipes of different sizes.

    Adjustable Hot Limit Stop – This stop restricts the output of hot water in single control faucets and showers to protect against scalding, which is done by limiting the swing to the hot side.

    Aerator – An insert that is screwed onto a faucet outlet which mixes air with the flowing water to reduce splashing.

    Aggregate – Type of crushed rock used as a top layer in some flat-roof applications.

    Air Admittance Valve – A device used in plumbing that replaces a traditional vent to allow air to enter inside the pipe and equalise the pressure, preserving the seal of water in the fixture trap.

    Air Chamber – A vertical, air-filled pipe that prevents water hammer by absorbing pressure when the water is shut off at a valve or faucet.

    Air Gap – The Air Gap’s purpose is to prevent backflow contamination in drainage systems.

    Airbrick – A perforated brick which is used for ventilation, especially for under-floor spaces. They are usually used in older houses to provide ventilation to pantry’s.

    Angle Iron – Structural steel bent at a 90-degree angle which is used to fasten or reinforce framing joints.

    Arborist – A tree surgeon.

    As-built plans – As-built plans show how the space was constructed, including any changes that have been made from the original house plans.

    Asbestos – A highly heat-resistant fibrous silicate mineral that can be woven into fabrics, and can is usually used in brake linings and fire-resistant and insulating materials.

    Auger (or Closet Auger) – An Auger is a bendable rod with a curved end and is used by plumbers to remove clogs from a toilet’s trap.

    Whatever home project you’re tackling, it’ll pay to learn some lingo / Souce: LG Builders


    Back Flow – Back Flow occurs when water traveling from one system backs into any part of the main distribution system, usually by siphoning.

    Back Flow Preventor – The device used to prevent Back Flow (see above), especially into a potable water supply. It is usually required for sprinkler systems, handheld showers, pull-out faucet spouts and kitchen sprayers.

    Back Pressure – Pressure that resists the flow of fluid in a piping system.

    Backfill – The soil or gravel used to fill in against a wall or foundation.

    Backup – Occurs when there is an overflow of a plumbing fixture due to drain stoppage.

    Baffle – An object placed in an appliance to change the direction or slow down the flow of air, gases or water.

    Balancing Valve – This is a water heater valve that controls the level of water flow and balances the heat distribution to a number of locations.

    Ball Check Valve – A valve that uses a ball to seal against a seat to stop a flow in one direction.

    Ball Joint – A Ball Joint is a spherical assembly in shower heads that allows it to rotate and pivot.

    Ballast – Generally mixed on site with cement to form concrete for the smaller jobs around a building site. It is made up of pebbles and either frit sand or sharp sand.

    Ballcock – A valve in the tank of a gravity-operated toilet that controls refilling the tank. Connected to a float via a metal arm, the toilet refills the tank until the float rises high enough to shut off the valve after flushing.

    Bannister – This is the railing of a staircase, made up of the hand rail, spindles and base rail. Blow Torch – Used by plumbers to solder pipes, activated by pressurised fuel and air to generate the flame for the torch.

    Barge Board – A brick cut crossways to give a reduced length. It can be cut in quarters, half or three quarter bats.

    Bidet – A Bidet has a similar appearance to a toilet bowl. It is a plumbing fixture used for personal hygiene, which is floor mounted and usually next to the toilet. It consists of a washing basin, faucet and sprayer.

    Bleed – The process of draining a pipe of excess air by opening a valve at the end of the pipe.

    Blackwater – Waste water coming from a toilet.

    Blowbag – A drain-cleaning device that consists of a rubber bladder with a hose fitting on one end and a nozzle on the other. This device attaches to a water hose and is inserted into a clogged drainpipe. As water flows in, it expands to grip the pipe, and releases pulsating bursts of water, forcing water through the pipe to clear the obstruction. It is also known as a blowfish.

    Blowdown – Occurs when partial venting or draining under pressure, on the water side of a boiler to reduce or remove unwanted contaminants. The pressure drops after releasing a pressure-relief valve.

    Boiler – A sealed tank where water is transformed into steam for heating or power.

    Boiler Feed – A check valve controlling inlet water flow to a boiler.

    Bonnet – The top portion of a compression valve assembly that holds the valve in place as it is tightened against the valve seat the other end of the assembly.

    Boxing In – Generally refers to the construction of a timber frame carcass around heating pipes, internal soil stacks etc.

    Brackish Water – Contains bacteria between 1,000 and 15,000 ppm of dissolved solids.

    Branch Drain – A fixture used in plumbing that leads to the main drain line.

    Brass – A slang word for faucets and fittings regardless of materials used.

    Brick Bonds – A pattern of bricks to ensure stability of the brickwork – with the most common bond called a stretcher bond.

    Brickie – Slang or colloquial language for a bricklayer.

    Burst Pressure – Describes the internal pressure that will cause a piece of tubing to fail.

    Bushing – A fitting that is threaded inside and outside that joins pipes of different sizes.

    Buttress – The process of thickening a wall to form a vertical projection to strengthen the wall.


    Caulking – Describes the task of sealing joints and openings by applying a flexible compound or sealant – commonly known as decorator’s filler.

    Cavity Wall – Usually in construction for external walls, Cavity Walls comprises of an inner and outer wall – also known as leafs – with a space between, being the cavity, filled with insulation.

    Change Order – A written document which officially modifies the plans and specifications of the construction contract.

    Chippie – A Chippie is a slang or colloquial term for a carpenter.

    Circuit – In electrical terms, an electric circuit is a path in which electrons from a voltage or current source flow.

    Cladding – A covering or coating on a structure or material.

    Cleanout Plug – A plug in a trap or drain pipe that provides access to clear an obstruction that may exist.

    Closet Bend – A curved waste pipe that fits under a toilet that connects the closet flange to the drain.

    Closet Flange – A ring that anchors the toilet to the floor and connects it to the closet bend (see above). It is also known as a Floor Flange.

    Collar – A galvanised sheet metal restricting device that is used in conjunction with a plastic pipe. Its function is to direct and control the intumescent action of the firestopping material.

    Collar Tie – A horizontal board attached perpendicular to rafter.

    Compression Fitting – A type of tubing or pipe connection where a nut and a sleeve or ferrule is placed over a copper or plastic tube. It is compressed tightly around the tube as the nut is tightened, forming a positive grip and seal without soldering.

    Contingency – Refers to the backup budget for unseen/unpredictable additional costs during construction.

    Conveyance – The legal process of transferring property from one owner to another.

    Corbelling – Corbelling is the projection of masonry formed by building successive courses outwards by a small amount to form small steps with each additional course.

    Coupling – This is a short fitting used to join two separate pipes.

    Courier – A company or employee of a company that transports packages and documents.

    Coving – Usually made of plaster, Coving is the moulding around a room at the junction of a wall and ceiling.

    Cowl – A short fitting used to join two different pipes.

    CPVC – CPVC stands for Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride, which is a black plastic pipe that can withstand high temperatures. They are mostly used in water supply systems.

    Curtain Drain – Trenches filled with gravel covering perforated pipe, acting as a gutter system to remove unwanted water away from a house. The trench is lined with filter fabric to ensure that the perforated pipe remains free of clogs from dirt and silt over the years.


    Dam – A barrier in the trapway of a toilet that controls the amount of water in the toilet bowl.

    De-humidistat – A control mechanism needed to operate a mechanical ventilation system that is based on the relative humidity in the home.

    Decking – The timber platform or terrace attached to a house or other building.

    Diaphragm – A flexible membrane in a valve that deflects down onto a rigid area of the body to regulate the water flow from supply lines. Diaphragms eliminate the possibility of debris build-up within the valve.

    Diffuser – A device used to reduce velocity and increase the static pressure of a fluid passing through a particular system.

    Dip Tube – A tube inside a water heater that sends cold water to the bottom of the tank.

    Diverter – A faucet valve that redirects water from the tub faucet straight to the shower head.

    Dope – Dope is a lubricant that is used by plumbers on pipe threads.

    Doublehung – The window frame on doublehung windows are operable – meaning they can move up and down. The sashes on a doublehung windows also tilt in for easy cleaning.

    Downspout – A Downspout is a pipe used for draining water from roof gutters. It is also known as a leader.

    Drain-Waste-Vent System – A pipe system that drains wastewater from the bathroom and vents the drain system.

    Drip Edge – A non-staining, non-corrosive material that is used along the eaves and rakes to allow water runoff to drip clear of underlying construction.

    Drywall – Also known as plasterboard, gypsum board and wallboard, Drywall is the flat surface of most interior walls – to which you apply paint, wallpaper or tiles.


    Easement – A formal contract which allows a party to use another’s property for a specific job or purpose.

    Eaves – The part of a roof that meets the walls of a building, also known as the edges of the roof that hangs over the face of a wall.

    Eaves Flashing – The additional layer of roofing material that is applied at the eaves to assist in preventing damage from water backup.

    Edging strips – Describes boards that are nailed along eaves and rakes in order to provide secure edges for reroofing.

    Efflorescence – Unsightly powdery white salts brought to surface of brickwork.

    Effluent – Septic system liquid waste.

    Egress – Describes the exit of the home. For example, an egress window is required in every bedroom and basement.

    Elbow – A 90 or 45 degree curved fitting, used to change the direction of a pipe run. It is also known as an “ell”.

    Escutcheon – A decorative metal flange or plate that covers and hides the supply line hole in a fixture or wall.

    Estimate – Describes the anticipated cost of a job, which can include the cost of: materials, labour, construction, remodeling or repair.

    Excavate – The process of making a hole or channel by digging.

    Exposure – Describes the portion of a roof that is exposed to the weather after it is installed.


    Faucet – A device for controlling the flow of liquid from a pipe by opening or closing an orifice.

    Fitting – Any part that joins together two sections of pipe. They come in many shapes, sizes and connection styles.

    Fixture – Describes anything that accepts or discharges wastewater or water.

    Flange – The edge or rim at the end of a pipe shaft that aids in connecting it to another pipe or anchoring it to a surface.

    Flapper – Describes a rubber flap with a ball-like shape at the bottom of a toilet. It lifts to allow flushing and seals the tank off for refilling. It also allows water to flow from the tank into the bowl.

    Flashing – A metal sheet which is usually made of lead. It is used to deflect water at a junction between roofs and walls, or around chimney stacks etc.

    Flex Coupling – A rubber fitting that uses steel band clamps to attach to the ends of pipes. It is mostly used to join sections of DWV pipe, but also connects PVC to clay or cast iron pipe.

    Float Ball – A floating device connected to the ballcock inside a toilet tank to activate or shut off the ballcock.

    Flow Control Valve – A device designed to reduce the amount of water flow into a plumbing fixture. It is often used to improve efficiency and reduce operating costs.

    Flow Rate – The measurement of water flow through a plumbing system in gallons per minutes (GPM) or gallons per hour (GPH).

    Flux – A jelly-like substance used in soldering copper pipes and fittings. It is applied before soldering to aid bonding and prevent oxidation.

    Frog – Concave ‘V’ shaped indent on the top of a brick.

    Learn some tradie terms for your next home project / Source: Renomate


    Galvanising – The process of applying a zinc coating to a finished product to protect it from corrosion. The coating can be applied by

    Gasket – A flat device usually made of fibre or rubber, and used to provide a watertight seal between metal joints.

    Gate – A device that controls the flow in a conduit, pipe or tunnel.

    Gate Diverter – The pop-up lever on a tub faucet that activates the diverter valve.

    Gauge – Describes the thickness of stainless steel and is commonly used in reference to grades of quality with certain types of lavatories and sinks.

    Glazing bar – A thin bar shapes to receive panes of glass within the main frame of a window.

    GPF – GPF stands for Gallons Per Flush. It measures the rate of waterflow of toilets and flush valves. Current law requires maximum of 1.6 GPF.

    Gravity Operated Toilet – A toilet that relies on the natural downward pressure of water in a toilet tank to flush the toilet effectively.

    Gray Water – Waste water from fixtures other than toilets.

    Grease Trap – A device that captures grease entering a system before it reaches the sewer lines. It is usually used in commercial applications such as restaurants or cafeterias.

    Gyprock – A building material used for making the surfaces of interior walls, consisting of sheets of compacted plaster with a covering of plasterboard.


    H Clip – A small metal clip formed in the shape of an “H” that fits at the joints of two plywood sheets. It is normally used on roof sheeting.

    Hanger – A device used to support pipes.

    Hard Water – Describes natural water containing impurities in various proportions. Traditional hardness is a measure of the presence of calcium, minerals of dissolved solids in a solution – measured in parts per million. Hard water generally ranges from 100 to 250 ppm.

    Hardware – Refers to tools, machinery and other durable equipment.

    Hazard Insurance – Insurance that protects against damage caused by windstorms, fire or other common hazards.

    Heatpump – This device transfers heat from a cooler area to a hotter area by using mechanical energy. For example, in a refrigerator.

    Heating Load – The amount of heating that is required to keep a building at a specific temperature during the winter.

    Hearth – Describes the area directly in front of a fireplace that is fireproof. It is usually made out of brick, tile or stone.

    Highlights – A light spot, area or streak on a surface.

    Hip Roof – A type of roof that is formed by sloping roof planes on all sides.

    Hip Shingles – Types of shingles used to cover the inclined external angle that is formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes.

    Hose Bibb – An outdoor faucet, also used to supply washing machines.


    I Beam – A type of steel beam with a cross section in the shape of the letter “I”. Typically used for long spans such as a double garage door.

    ID – Stands for Inside Diameter. It measures the inside width of a pipe.

    Impeller – A rotating wheel with vanes found inside a centrifugal pump. It spins at a high speed, which draws fluids in and thrusts them under pressure to the discharge outlet.

    Incandescent Lamp – A type of lamp that employs an electrically charged metal filament that glows at white heat.

    Insulating Glass – A window or door that insulates by having a sealed air space between two panes. It is also known as Double Glass.

    Insulation – To insulate is to protect something by interposing material that prevents the loss of heat or intrusion of sound.

    Interceptor – A device for separating grease and oil from drainage systems.

    Interior Finish – The material used to cover interior framed areas of walls and ceilings.

    Interlocking Shingles – A type of roofing shingle, which is shaped and installed so that adjacent shingles lock each shingle into place.

    Irrigation – Describes a lawn sprinkler system.


    Jack Stud – A stud that has been cut down to be placed above and/or below an opening. It provides support to the lintel trimmer and sill trimmer.

    Jamb – Describes a side pot or surface of a doorway, window or fireplace.

    Joinery – The wooden components of a building, such as the stairs, doors and door and window frames – viewed collectively.

    Joint Compound – A term used in both plumbing and carpentry. In plumbing, it is a material applied to threaded connections to help prevent leaks. In carpentry, Joint Compound is a wet gypsum material that is applied to sheetrock joints.

    Joist – A length of timber or steel supporting part of a structure of a building, typically arranged in parallel to support a floor or ceiling.

    Jumpers – A type of water pipe installed in a water meter pit, or electrical wire that is installed in the electric house panel meter socket before the meter is installed.


    Keeper – The metal latch plate on a door frame where a doorknob plunger latches.

    Keyless – A light fixture made of plastic or porcelain that operates by a pull string. They are generally found in attics, basements or crawl spaces.

    Kilowatt (kw) – The metric for 1000 watts. A kilowatt hour is the base unit that is used in measuring electrical consumption.

    kPA – A metric unit for pressure, where 100 kPA = one atmosphere.


    L Tubing – An industry standard for copper tubing defined by the tube wall thickness and identified by a blue strip. Type ‘L’ copper tube wall is approximately 50 percent greater thickness than type ‘M’.

    Laminating – The process of bonding two or more layers of materials.

    Lattice – A framework of criss-crossed wood or metal or metal strips that form patterned spaces.

    Leach Lines – Leach Lines are pipes that carry effluent from the septic system out to the leach field; a porous soil area where treated waste is emptied.

    Lintel – A horizontal structural device that supports the load over an opening such as a window or a door.

    Load-Bearing Walls – Non-load-bearing walls are walls that simply divide rooms. They are able to be knocked down or relocated.

    Low Consumption Toilet – A class of toilets designed to flush using 1.6 gallons of water or less. They are also known as “water-saving” toilets.

    Louver – A vented opening that leads into the home, that has a series of horizontal slats.

    Lumens – Lumens is a unit of measure for total light output, which is the amount of light that falls on one square foot.


    M Tubing – An industry standard for copper tubing defined by the tube wall thickness. Identified by a red stripe.

    Main – The primary artery of the supply or drain system to which all the branches connect. It is also referred to as the Main Vent in the vent system.

    Making Good – A general term referring to the repair of plaster and decor after. For example, forming a new doorway into an existing wall.

    Manifold – Describes a fitting that connects a number of branches to the main; serves as a distribution point.

    Mapp Gas – A colourless, flammable gas made by combining liquefied petroleum gas with Methylacetylene-Propadiene. It is a stable, non-toxic fuel used in brazing and soldering.

    MCL – Stands for Maximum Contaminant Level, and describes the maximum level of a contaminant allowed in water by federal law.

    Metal Fatigue – A type of breakage of metal caused by the bending and flexing or the expansion and contraction of a metal part beyond its endurance limit.

    Mezzanine Floor – Means an extra floor, possibly inserted between the floor and ceiling of a very tall room.

    Mitre Joint – An angled joint that is similar to that in a picture frame.

    Mullion – An upright post between window frames.


    Nail Inspection – A type of inspection that is made by a municipal building inspector after drywall material is hung with nails and screws.

    Natural Finish – A type of finish that is transparent, which does not seriously alter the original colour or grain of the natural wood.

    Nesting – The method of reroofing with new asphalt shingles over old ones in which the top edge of the new shingles is butted against the bottom edge of the existing tab.

    Newel – Vertical post at the top and bottom of a staircase to support the handrail.

    Nipple – A short piece of pipe installed between couplings or other fittings.

    No-Hub Connector – A connector for a no-hub iron pipe that consists of a rubber sleeve and a stainless steel band secured by hose clamps.

    Nogging – A short piece of timber used to stiffen timber partition walls horizontally between the vertical studs.

    Non-ferrous – A term used when something does not contain iron.

    Non-fibered Aluminium Roof Coating – A thin but efficient reflective barrier that is designed to reflect the sun’s harmful rays and to prolong the surface life on roofs.

    Non-fibered Roof Coating – A coating that gives added protection to low-sloped roofs, as well as metal and masonry surfaces.

    Nosing or Bull Nose – The rounded edge of a stair tread projecting beyond the riser or the finished edge of a window board.


    O-Ring – A rubber washer that is rounded instead. O-Rings are used in valve systems to create a watertight seal.

    Oakum – Loosely woven hemp rope that has been treated with an oil or other waterproofing agent. It is used to caulk joints in a bell and spigot pipe and fittings.

    OD – OD stands for Outside Diameter. It measures the outside width of a pipe.

    Outrigger – Describes the extension of a rafter beyond the wall line. It is usually characterised by a smaller member nailed to a larger rafter to form a cornice or roof overhang.

    Overhang – An outward projecting eave-soffit area of a roof, which is the part of the roof that hangs out or over the outdoor wall.

    Overflow Hood – The decorative hood concealing the overflow on a bath drain.

    Overflow Tube – Describes the vertical tube that exists inside a toilet tank that directs water in the bowl in case the ballcock malfunctions and prevents potential water damage caused by a tank overflow.


    Panel Beater – A person whose job is to beat the bodywork of motor vehicles.

    Parapet – The low wall at the edge of a roof.

    Partition – A structure dividing a space – especially a light interior wall.

    Party Wall – A wall separating two buildings owned by different people.

    Patio – An outdoor area, usually paved, adjoining a house and used as an area for lounging or dining.

    PB – Stands for Polybutylene. It is a bendable plastic tubing most often used to supply water to bathroom fixtures.

    PE – Stands for Polyethylene. It is a flexible plastic supply line.

    Pebble Dash – An external wall which is rendered, then finished with stones or pebbles applied to the render.

    Pergola – An outdoor structure designed to shade the area.

    Persuader – Slang name or nickname for a hammer.

    PEX – Stands for cross-linked polyethylene. It is a flexible plastic supply line that is stronger than PE (see above). In bathrooms, it is used for water supply lines.

    Pilaster – Projecting part of a square column which is attached to a wall.

    Plain Tile – A rectangular-shaped flat roofing tile.

    Plaster – A gypsum or lime-based mixture added with water that is applied to walls or ceilings to create a smooth hard finish when dry.

    Plasterboard – Prefabricated sheets of plaster between two layers of paper for applying to walls and ceilings.

    Plinth – Projecting base to external walls. It is also used to describe the board around the bottom of kitchen units.


    Quarry Tile – An unglazed floor tile, typically of a reddish-brown colour.

    Quarter Round – A term that is typically used in the flooring industry, which is a convex moulding that contains a cross section in the form of a quarter circle.

    Queen Closer – A brick cut in half lengthways which is also referred to as a closer.

    Quick-setting cement – An asphalt-based cement which is used to adhere tabs of strip shingles to the course.

    Quote/Quotation – The price provided by a service provider to complete the job specified.


    Racking Back – This is the practice of building the ends of brick walls to a height of several courses, which essentially provides a level string line for filling in the courses between both ends.

    Rafter – A structural timber rising from eaves to ridge to support pitched roof coverings.

    Raking or Raking Out – This describes the task of removing old mortar from in between brickwork to allow for new mortar to be applied.

    Rebar – This term is short for “reinforcing bar”. It refers to the ribbed steel rods that are placed in concrete foundations and retaining walls that give the structure extra support.

    Reducer – A fitting that allows different sized pipes to be joined together.

    Relief Valve – A valve that opens to relieve excess temperature and/or pressure in a system.

    Relieving Arch – An arch that is constructed above a lintel or beam to take the weight of the wall above.

    Remodel – To remodel something is to give it a whole new purpose. For example, converting a coat closet into a powder room.

    Render – The external sand-cement coating for walls.

    Renovation – Renovation is making something that is old; new and improved. For example, updating the master bathroom with new tiles and fixtures.

    Restoration – Returning something to its original state, such as pulling up the carpet and sanding and polishing the hardwood floor.

    Return – A plumbing fitting with an 180 degree bend.

    Ridge – The top of a pitched roof.

    Riser – A supply line pipe that rises from one story to the next; also the short vertical pipes that bring water from the branch to the fixture.

    Roof Pitch – Describes the slope of a roof, usually expressed as an angle or ratio.

    Roof Truss – Prefabricated structural timer framework to support roof covering.

    Roughcast – Describes an external wall coating consisting of a cement-based render with either stones or pebbles mixed into the mortar.

    RSJ – Stands for Rolled Steel Joist, which is an ‘I’ section steel beam.


    Scald Guard – A type of valve designed to prevent extreme water temperature changes through pressure balance technology.

    Scale – A thin coating of layer on the bottom of a tank or interior parts that may prevent the transfer of heat.

    Sediment – The substance that settles on the bottom of a water tank, which can also be known as lime.

    Septic Tank – A type of tank that is used to detain domestic wastes to allow the settling of solids prior to distribution. They are used when a sewer line is not available to carry them to a treatment plant.

    Shutoff Valve – Valves that are installed under sinks and toilets and are used to shut off water supply in the event of a malfunction or repair. It is also called an Angle Stop, Straight Stop of Supply Stop.

    Siphoning – The suction or pulling effect that takes place in the trapway of a toilet as it is filled with outgoing water and waste.

    Sleeve – A pipe which is passed through a wall for the purpose of inserting another pipe through it.

    Soft Water – Water that has been treated so that is has low mineral content.

    Soil Pipe – A pipe that carries waste from toilets.

    Solder – A member of the legal profession who is qualified to deal with conveyancing, wills and other legal matters.

    Sparky – Slang term for an electrician.

    Sweep – A pipe bend fitting used in drains to permit smooth passage of waste.


    T&P Valve – A valve that opens to release excess pressure and temperature in a system.

    Tailpiece – The section of a pipe that runs between a fixture outlet and the trap.

    Tee – Describes a plumbing fitting in the shape of the letter “T”, used to connect three sections of pipe.

    Tee Fitting – The fitting that allows another pipe to be joined at a 90 degree angle.

    Teflon Tape – A type of white tape made of fluorocarbon polymer. This tape possesses non-stick properties and is wrapped around pipe threads in a joint to create a tight seal.

    Timber – A type of wood prepared for use in building and carpentry.

    Trap – Describes the curved section of a drain that traps a small portion of water to prevent sewer gases from escaping into the bathroom.

    Trap Seal– The water in a trap or toilet that prevents sewer gases from escaping back through the drain.


    Ultraviolet Degradation – The reduction in certain performance limits that is caused by repeated exposure to ultraviolet light.

    Undercoat – The coating applied before the finishing or top coats of a painting job. It is also known as the Prime coat.

    Underlayment – A secondary layer of roofing that is water resistant. It is installed on the roof deck and beneath shingles.

    Union – A fitting used in plumbing that joins pipes end-to-end so that they can be dismantled.

    Upholstery – The process of fitting furniture such as sofas and chairs with springs, webbing, padding, fabric or leather.


    Vapour Retarder/Barrier – A substance that prevents the transmission of water vapour.

    Veneer – A thin layer of wood that is laminated or glued onto a surface to give the beauty of solid wood.

    Verandah – A place that leads to the outdoors, which usually has the characteristics of a spacious, long, narrow structure which also has room for tables and chairs.

    Valve – A device that regulates the flow of water.

    Valve Seat – The immovable portion of a valve. Water flow is stopped when the movable portion of the valve comes in contact with the valve seat.

    Vent – A vertical or sloping portion of drain pipe that allows sewer gasses to escape from the house into the outdoor air, and also lets air into the drain system to keep the pressure balanced.

    Voltage – A measure of electrical potential.


    Water Closet – Another name for a toilet.

    Water Table – The location of the underground water. It is also the vertical distance from the earth’s surface to the underground water.

    Water Hammer Arrestor – A device that is installed near a fixture to absorb the hydraulic shock that occurs when a fixture’s supply is suddenly shut off, causing a loud banging noise in the pipes.

    Wax Ring – A seal that is located between the floor flange and toilet to prevent leakage and fumes.

    Weatherisation – Describes the work on the exterior of a building in order to reduce energy consumption for heating or cooling. It can involve caulking cracks, installing weather-stripping and installing storm windows and doors.

    Wet Vent – Describes a pipe that both drains wastewater and vents air into the drains – it also connects two or more fixtures.

    Whirlybird – A roof ventilator to cool the house.

    Wye Fitting – A drain fitting that allows one pipe to be joined to another at a 45 degree angle.


    Yoke – Describes the location where a home’s water meter is installed between two copper pipes.


    Z-Bar Flashing – Prevents water from getting behind the brick and into the home.

    Zone Valve – The device placed near the heater or cooler which controls the flow of water or steam to parts of the property.

    Zoning – A governmental process and specification which limits the use of a property.

    With this dictionary of trades and services terms, you are able to become more informed when making decisions on different jobs and projects to come. Knowing exactly what the service provider is talking about can save you a world of hassle, time and even money.

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