Dictionary of Construction Terminology

Dictionary of Construction Terminology

Search for glossary terms (regular expression allowed)
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Term Definition
Laminated shingles
Shingles that have added dimensionality because of extra layers or tabs, giving a shake-like appearance. May also be called "architectural shingles" or "three-dimensional shingles."
Laminating
- Bonding together two or more layers of materials.
Landing
A platform between flights of stairs or at the termination of a flight of stairs. Often used when stairs change direction. Normally no less than 3 ft. X 3 ft. square.
Lap
To cover the surface of one shingle or roll with another.
Latch
- A beveled metal tongue operated by a spring-loaded knob or lever. The tongue's bevel lets you close the door and engage the locking mechanism, if any, without using a key. Contrasts with dead bolt.
Lateral (electric, gas, telephone, sewer and water)
The underground trench and related services (i.e., electric, gas, telephone, sewer and water lines) that will be buried within the trench.
Lath
A building material of narrow wood, metal, gypsum, or insulating board that is fastened to the frame of a building to act as a base for plaster, shingles, or tiles.
Lattice
An open framework of criss-crossed wood or metal strips that form regular, patterned spaces.
Ledger (for a Structural Floor)
The wooden perimeter frame lumber member that bolts onto the face of a foundation wall and supports the wood structural floor.
Ledger strip
A strip of lumber nailed along the bottom of the side of a girder on which joists rest.
Leech field
A method used to treat/dispose of sewage in rural areas not accessible to a municipal sewer system.  Sewage is permitted to be filtered and eventually discharged into a section of the lot called a leech field.
Let-in brace
- Nominal 1 inch-thick boards applied into notched studs diagonally. Also, an "L" shaped, long (@ 10') metal strap that are installed by the framer at the rough stage to give support to an exterior wall or wall corner.
Level Payment Mortgage
A mortgage with identical monthly payments over the life of the loan.
Level-
True horizontal. Also a tool used to determine level.
Lien
An encumbrance that usually makes real or personal property the security for payment of a debt or discharge of an obligation.
Light
Space in a window sash for a single pane of glass. Also, a pane of glass.
Limit switch
A safety control that automatically shuts off a furnace if it gets too hot. Most also control blower cycles.
Lineal foot
- A unit of measure for lumber equal to 1 inch thick by 12 inches wide by 12 inches long. Examples: 1" x 12" x 16' = 16 board feet, 2" x 12" x 16' = 32 board feet.
Lintel
A horizontal structural member that supports the load over an opening such as a door or window.
Load bearing wall
Includes all exterior walls and any interior wall that is aligned above a support beam or girder. Normally, any wall that has a double horizontal top plate.
Loan
- The amount to be borrowed.
Loan to value ratio
- The ratio of the loan amount to the property valuation and expressed as a percentage. E.g. if a borrower is seeking a loan of $200,000 on a property worth $400,000 it has a 50% loan to value rate. If the loan were $300,000, the LTV would be 75%. The higher the loan to value, the greater the lender's perceived risk. Loans above normal lending LTV ratios may require additional security.
Lookout
A short wood bracket or cantilever that supports an overhang portion of a roof.
Louver
A vented opening into the home that has a series of horizontal slats and arranged to permit ventilation but to exclude rain, snow, light, insects, or other living creatures.
Lumens
Unit of measure for total light output. The amount of light falling on a surface of one square foot.