Builder's Dictionary

One of the most important elements of a happy and productive home building experience is the ability for homebuyers to communicate effectively with their builder. Knowing the builder lingo can help facilitate the communication process and will show the builder you are serious about being involved in the building process — 100 percent.

Here’s a sample of some of the terms homebuyers need to know.


One of a string of small poles used to support the handrail of a stairway.

Base shoe
Molding used at the junction of the baseboard and the floor.

Framing lumber nailed at an angle to provide rigidity.

A frame, as of a window or door.

A decorative molding at the top of the exterior walls under the eaves.

The overhang of a roof that extends beyond the walls of the house.

Sheet metal or other impervious material used in roof and wall construction to protect a building from seepage of water.

Floor joist
Horizontal boards laid on edge resting on the beams or walls that provide the main support for the floor. The subflooring is nailed directly to the joists.

Frieze board
A horizontal exterior molding resting directly beneath the cornice.

Head casing
The strip of molding placed above a door or window frame.

The decorative facing placed above a fireplace.

Thin vertical strips inside the window sash that divide the window glass into panes.

A coat of cement mortar on the face of rough masonry. Typically used on the exterior of foundation walls to cover up concrete block.

Site Plan
A plan of a construction site showing the position and dimensions of the building to be erected, with the dimensions and contours of the lot.

The under-surface of a cornice or overhang.