Glossary of Basement Remodeling

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  • Access panel: A removable panel for access to pipes, valves, cleanouts, and other concealed utility devices.
  • Adhesives: High-strength glues that usually come in tubes to be used with a caulking gun. Some are used for attaching subflooring to joists; some for attaching insulation of concrete walls; and some for installing wallboard, paneling, or mirrors.
  • Anchor bolts: Bolts that are embedded in the foundation wall to hold the sill in place.
  • Block wall: Foundation wall that's made from concrete blocks mortared together.
  • Column: A vertical structural member, usually steel or wood, for sup porting a girder.
  • Crawl space: The unexcavated area under a house, usually with a dirt floor and not deep enough for a basement living space.
  • Cripple wall: A low wall between the foundation and first floor.
  • Dampproofing: A superficial sealing of basement walls when there are minor seepage problems. Materials commonly used are cement-based coatings, epoxy-based sealers, and rubber-based paints.
  • Daylight wall: A basement wall that's substantially above ground, on the downslope side of a house.
  • Downspout: Vertical pipe for carrying water down from the roof gutters.
  • Drain mat: A plastic grid or similar device placed against the exterior of a foundation wall to intercept water flowing toward the wall and divert it downward into the footing drain.
  • Drainpipe: Three- or four-inch-diameter pipe with holes on the sides for collecting underground seepage and carrying it away from a foundation. ABS, PVC, and vitrified clay are the most common materials.
  • Efflorescence: A powdery, white substance that forms on concrete or masonry walls, left by water seeping through the wall.
  • Footing: A concrete base for sup porting a foundation wall or pier.
  • Foundation seal: Insulation or similar material placed between the top of a foundation wall and the wood sill for sealing out drafts, dust, and air infiltration.
  • Foundation wall: A concrete or masonry wall that supports the perimeter walls of the house, retains soil, and keeps wood structural members from direct contact with the soil.
  • Frost line: The lowest depth at which the ground can be expected to freeze in a local region. It determines the required minimum depth for foundation footings and basement wall insulation.
  • Furring strips: 1 by 2 boards attached to a foundation wall. These boards provide a nailing surface for the finish wall.
  • Girder: Main beam supporting the floor joists.
  • Grade: The surface of the ground.
  • Hydrostatic pressure: The pres sure exerted upon basement walls and floors from large amounts of ground water.
  • Isolation joint: Made from special compressible material placed between a concrete slab and adjacent concrete mass, such as a basement wall, to allow the slab to expand.
  • Lally column: A steel post filled with concrete, used in basements to support heavy house loads.
  • Leader: An extension at the bottom of a downspout to carry rainwater away from the foundation.
  • Main drain: A 4-inch pipe for carrying waste from the plumbing system to the house sewer.
  • Mastic: An inexpensive adhesive for attaching material over a large surface area.
  • Parging: A cementitious mortar applied to the exterior of a foundation wall before it's backfilled.
  • Partition wall: Any interior wall; often a nonbearing wall used to de fine spaces.
  • Pier: A concrete or masonry footing, usually isolated from the rest of the foundation. The pier supports a post or column.
  • Polyethylene: A plastic sheeting material that's normally used for vapor barriers under concrete slabs or as a vapor barrier on insulated walls and ceilings.
  • Post: A vertical support.
  • Pressure-treated lumber: With preservatives injected into it under pres sure, this type of lumber is used in foundation sills, soleplates in basement walls, and other applications where the wood may come into direct contact with concrete or masonry that touches the ground.
  • Rebar: Reinforcing steel for concrete and concrete block work.
  • Rigid insulation: Panels of insulating material usually composed of some plastic, such as extruded poly styrene or isocyanurate, but some times of fiberglass. Requires less space than blanket or loose insulation and can withstand some moisture.
  • Screed: A board used to level off the surface of concrete.
  • Sill: A 2-by board bolted to the top of a foundation wall for supporting the floor joists or a low cripple wall.
  • Slab: A concrete floor, usually 4 inches thick and reinforced with heavy wire mesh.
  • Sleepers: Boards, usually pressure- treated 2 by 4s, that are attached to a concrete slab for supporting a wood subfloor.
  • Sump: A pit in the lowest area of a basement floor for collecting water from the surface of the floor. The water is removed with a sump pump.
  • Suspended ceiling: A ceiling of acoustical tile panels laid into a metal grid hung from the floor joists above a basement.
  • Swale: A small valley or surface depression created to divert water around a house.
  • Termite guard: A continuous metal flashing between the foundation wall and sill to provide a barrier against termites climbing up to the wood portion of a home.
  • Waterproofing: Material applied to the exterior of a foundation wall, usually asphalt emulsion or bentonite, a clay substance.

 

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Updated: Thursday, April 25, 2013 12:25