Kitchen & Bath Remodeling Terms

The following is a list of terms that you may come across during a kitchen or bath remodel.

absolute humidity 
The actual amount of water vapor in the air

accent lighting 
Lighting that emphasizes displayed items, such as artwork or china cupboards.

accessibility or accessible design 
Characteristics of spaces or products that meet prescribed requirements for particular variations in ability, i.e., “wheelchair accessible.”

Additional cabinetry items such as overlays, moldings, etc to enhance the appearance and quality of a project. Also includes towel bars, soap dishes, hardware, etc.

The adjustment to changes in the climate or environment. Some materials may need time to acclimate before they are positioned in a kitchen or bath.

Certification by a recognized body of the facilities, capability, objectivity, competence, and integrity of an operational group to provide the specific service or operation needed. For example, NKBA has accredited colleges teaching to NKBA standards.

active solar heating 
Heat from the sun is absorbed by collectors and mechanically transferred by pumps or fans for storage for heating, cooling, or making electricity.

active solar technologies 
Employed to convert solar energy into usable heat, cause air-movement for ventilation or cooling, or store heat for future use. Active solar uses electrical or mechanical equipment, such as pumps and fans, to increase the usable heat in a system. Solar energy collection and utilization systems that do not use external energy, like a solar chimney, are classified as passive solar technologies.

Agenda 21 
A comprehensive strategy developed by the United Nations that can be implemented by national and local governments to minimize the negative impacts that humans have on the environment.

Air chamber 
A device containing a pocket of air which, when connected in the water piping near a fixture, expands and contracts to prevent the sudden jolt called water hammer.

Air gap 
1) The negative pressure that can result when a hand-held shower faucet or sink sprayer is dropped into a sink or tub. If negative pressure exists, wastewater can be siphoned out into the supply system. Newer products have backflow protection or a vacuum breaker (vertical spray bidet) to prevent the problem. 2) The distance between the flood level of a fixture and the lowest portion of the faucet opening delivering water to the fixture.

Associate Kitchen & Bath Designer®. A certification available from NKBA for qualified industry professionals who can adequately substantiate a minimum of two years of industry experience and who successfully pass the AKBD examination.

A recessed area in a room

Alternating current (AC) 
The type of current used in household wiring. The current changes polarity, or alternates, continually from positive to negative and back again at the rate of 60 times a second (referred to as hertz)

A type of reflector in recessed lighting fixtures, in silver or gold color.

The environment surrounding us. In the context of buildings, the environmental conditions in the room.

Ambient lighting 
General lighting diffused within an entire room.

Ambient noise 
The level of acoustic noise at a given location, such as in a room.

Amperes, Amps 
Unit of electrical current. The current in amps equals the power in watts divided by the voltage in volts.

Anti-microbial finish 
A material that has an applied finish, or ingredient in the product that inhibits the growth of microorganisms, such as bacteria or fungi

Machines such as refrigerator, dishwasher, sinks and others used to perform household task.

Appliance Garage 
A common name for a roll-up or single door unit placed under a wall cabinet typically for storage of small appliances.

Trim attached below a tabletop or window sill

Armored (BX) cable 
Electrical wires encased in a flexible metal sheathing.

Using the scent from the essential oils of plants to affect mood and sense of well-being.

A production environment where a product can be assembled after receipt of a customer’s order. The key components used in the finishing process are planned and usually stocked in anticipation of a customer order. Receipt of an order initiates assembly of the customized product. This strategy is useful where a large number of end products can be assembled from common components.

A quality or characteristic of a design item.

Auxiliary Sink 
Second sink in the kitchen providing another work area for either clean-up or food preparation.

A panel material used as a substrate for tile on floors and wall surfaces in wet areas.

1) The portion of the exposed area between the bottom of the wall cabinets and the top of the countertop. 2) Also, an elevated section of counter material approximately 4″ high typically part of the countertop.

A device that controls the current in a fluorescent lamp.

Balloon framing 
Type of framing where the studs run from the bottom sill plate all the way up to the roof rafters.

Band joist 
The floor joist that runs around the perimeter of the house above the foundation.

A built-in table with chairs in an alcove.

A built-in upholstered bench along a wall, often used in breakfast areas

Barn door 
Hardware that allows the door to slide along a wall. Useful when a pocket door is too costly or not possible.

Base cabinets 
Cabinetry used on the floor to provide countertop support and typically is 34 ½ inches tall and 24 inches deep.

Thin layers of natural or synthetic cloth used to line cushions, pillows, quilts, or crafts

A horizontal or nearly horizontal framing member that supports loads imposed perpendicular to the long axis introduced by other framing such as joists.

Beam angle 
The useable portion of the cone of light cast by a lamp defined at the point where the candlepower falls to 50% of the candlepower at the center.

Bearing wall 
A wall designed and placed in a position to hold more of a load above it. Usually around the perimeter of a house and in strategic locations to support floor, ceiling, and roof beams.

A wood preservative considered non-toxic.

A personal hygiene fixture with a hot and cold water supply that is designed for personal cleanliness; used to wash the perineal and genital area.

Biological pollutants 
Indoor air pollutants that coming from living sources, including molds, insects, and animals; more likely to be found in moist places

Living and recently dead biological material that can be used as a sustainable fuel.

Black wire 
A “hot” wire in a two- or three-conductor cable.

Water containing human waste from toilets and urinals. Black water contains pathogens that must be neutralized before the water can be safely reused. Typically, black water, after neutralization, is used for non-potable uses such as flushing or irrigation.

Blind base cabinet 
A base cabinet usually incorporated into a design to turn a corner with an appliance or other cabinet perpendicular to it.

Blue board 
A type of gypsum wallboard (drywall) with a blue-colored paper facing chemically treated to provide a bonding surface for plaster or tile adhesive.

A copy of a drawing done to scale showing the room or a number of rooms, dimensions and configuration of floor space for each level or story of the interior of the proposed building. After the machine copies the drawing onto the special paper, the paper is blue, hence the term blueprint. 2) In engineering, a line drawing showing the physical characteristics of a part.

The central heating device in a hydronic or steam heating system.

The standard terms and conditions on a purchase order or other document.

A wood preservative considered non-toxic.

A large cabinet or bookcase whose center section projects beyond the two end sections

Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) is a comprehensive tool for analyzing and improving the environmental performance of buildings through design and operations. This methodology has been developed by the U.K.-based Building Research Establishment.

Abandoned, idled, or underused industrial and commercial facilities where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination.

British Thermal Unit – A measurement of heat quantity in countries using the British system. One BTU is the amount of heat energy required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.

Building code 
Community ordinances governing the manner in which a home may be constructed or modified.

Building envelope 
The skin of a building—including the windows, doors, walls, foundation, basement slabs, ceilings, roof, and insulation—that separates the interior of a building from the outdoor environment.

Built environment 
Human-built structures such as single-family homes.

A “soffit” in Canadian usage. The under surface of a lowered portion of the ceiling.

Burled wood 
A hard wood cut from a large rounded growth on a tree characterized by a large swirl and often used as a veneer or inlay

A flat bar inside an electrical power panel into which branch circuit breakers are plugged.

A type of natural gas.

A bundle of electrical conductors, or wires, containing one or more insulated hot wires, an insulated neutral or white wire, and a bare or ground wire. Two or more wires bundled inside a protective sheathing of plastic or metal.

Clean Air Delivery Rate – A measure of the efficiency of a portable air cleaner, based on the percentage of particles removed from the air and the speed at which the particles are removed.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) 
A colorless, odorless gas that naturally exists in the earth’s atmosphere. The major source of manmade CO2 emissions is from the combustion of fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide is the primary greenhouse gas and is known to contribute to global warming and climate change.

Carbon footprint 
The measure of the impact human activities have on the environment in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases produced, measured in units of carbon dioxide.

An enclosed frame around a door or window opening. Also called trim.

Certified Bathroom Designer® This certification is awarded by NKBA to those professionals that specialize in the design, planning and execution of residential bathrooms, and prove advanced knowledge of technical and personal communication skills required to succeed as a design specialist. A candidate must have a minimum of seven years experience to qualify to take the academic and design practicum required to earn this certification.

Certified Bathroom Educators® – College instructors who specialize in teaching residential bathroom design. They understand the unique qualifications required for bathroom design specialization, and they transfer their knowledge to interior design students. A college instructor achieves the CBE designation by proving experience as an interior design college educator and passing the CBD exam for CBE certification. This certification is awarded by NKBA.

A line drawn equidistant from the sides of an object, such as a sink or an appliance.

Certified Sustainably Managed 
Wood determined to have been harvested from a sustainable forest that exhibits the same ecological characteristics as a healthy natural forest. A number of certifying organizations have been established to oversee the harvesting of wood for lumber and provide guidelines for preservation of forests.

Cubic feet per minute; used as a measure of the amount of air a fan can move

Chair rail 
A trim piece that runs horizontally on a wall at the height of a chair back and is used to make the transition between a wainscot and upper wall. Originally used to prevent damage to a wall from the backs of chairs.

A lighting fixture hung from the ceiling containing several small lamps.

Chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) 
An improved version of PVC, suitable for both hot and cold domestic water supply piping.

A chemical of the trihalomethane group that is used to kill microorganisms in drinking water, but toxic in excessive concentrations.

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) 
A family of chemicals used in refrigeration, air conditioning, packaging, insulation, or as solvents and aerosol propellants, which drift into the upper atmosphere and destroy the Earth’s protective ozone layer.

Using color to affect mood and sense of well-being, using colored lights in a bathtub.

Circuit breaker 
A device that is designed to protect electrical equipment and people from damage or injury caused by overload or short circuit or a protective switch that automatically switches off, or trips, the power to a circuit in the event of an overload or short in the circuit. It can be reset to resume operation.

Certified Kitchen & Bathroom Installers® – Skilled individuals who specialize in kitchen and bathroom installation, safety awareness, customer relations and business management. Kitchen and bathroom installations require more than just the ability to physically install cabinets, fixtures, and appliances; professional installers must also be able to competently manage a project from start to finish. CKBIs prove advanced knowledge of technical and personal communication skills required to succeed as an installer specialist. This certification is awarded by NKBA.

Certified Kitchen Designer® This certification is awarded by NKBA to those professionals that specialize in the design, planning and execution of residential kitchens, and prove advanced knowledge of technical and personal communication skills required to succeed as a design specialist. A candidate must have a minimum of seven years experience to qualify to take the academic and design practicum required to earn this certification.

Certified Kitchen Educators® – College instructors who specialize in teaching residential kitchen design. They understand the unique qualifications required for kitchen design specialization, and they transfer their knowledge to interior design students. A college instructor achieves the CKE designation by proving experience as an interior design college educator and passing the CKD exam for CKE certification. This certification is awarded by NKBA.

Classic crown molding 
Type of crown molding which is usually used to conjunction with additional moldings. Classic crown is larger and has more decorative profiles.

Claw foot tub 
A tub mounted off of the floor on four legs; the base of each leg is shaped like a claw foot.

Clean technology 
A technical measure taken to reduce or eliminate at the source the production of any nuisance, pollution, or waste and to help save raw materials, natural resources, and energy.

Clear floor space 
Clear floor space – area which is free of obstruction within an overall space, typically used in bathrooms in reference to the recommendations for clearances at a center (i.e. the lavatory or the shower) or for a particular activity (i.e. bathing or exercising). Typically used in kitchens in reference to the recommendations for clearances at an appliances or work center.

Clearance space 
The space required for a safe and clear use of an appliance, cabinet doors and safe passage.

Cleavage membrane 
A thin, waterproof material such as polyethylene or asphalt saturated felt, placed between a rigid finish material, such as floor tile, and a substrate, such as a wood floor, to allow the substrate to move without cracking the finish material.

Certified Master Kitchen & Bath Designer® – This NKBA certification is a program which recognizes extraordinary experience and achievements in the kitchen and bath industry. The CMKBD must possess not only both their CKD and CBD certifications, but must have an additional 10 years of experience in the industry beyond the date of their first certification. This means that CMKBDs must have a minimum of 17 years of industry experience!

Certified Master Kitchen & Bath Educator® – This NKBA certification is a program which recognizes extraordinary experience and achievements in the kitchen and bath industry. The CMKBE must possess not only both their CKE and CBE certifications, but must have an additional 10 years of experience teaching at the college level in the industry beyond the date of their first certification. This means that CMKBEs must have a minimum of 17 years of industry teaching experience!

Carbon monoxide (CO) 
A deadly gas that is colorless, odorless, and tasteless.

Collar tie 
A horizontal framing member installed between opposite sloping rafters to counter the outward thrust of the roof.

Color Rendering Index (CRI) 
A method for describing the effect of a light source on the color appearance of objects compared to a reference source of the same color temperature. Or a measurement of how accurately a lighting source defines objects. The best score is 100, the CRI of sunlight.

Color rendition 
An index of how the light makes objects appear.

Color temperature 
The color of the lamp itself as compared to the color of a black reference substance when heated to various temperatures Kelvin, and the effect the lamp color has on the color of an object being illuminated by it. Or an index of how the light source itself looks to us, measured in degrees Kelvin (K).

A decorative paint technique in which a base color and glaze(s) are applied to a wall for a muted “washed” effect

A vertical framing member that supports loads parallel to its long axis.

Combustion air 
Air required for burning by appliances containing a flame.

Comfort zone 
Refers to a body buffer zone that we maintain between others and ourselves or he region of a graph depicting comfort felt by people exposed to various temperatures, humidity levels and air movement

Compact fluorescent (CFL) 
A type of fluorescent lamp with the fluorescent tube coiled into a compact shape in a size similar to an incandescent bulb.

Compartmentalized bathroom 
A bathroom where individual activities, like toileting or showering, are separated by walls into individual compartments.

A process whereby organic wastes—food, paper, and yard wastes—decompose naturally, resulting in a product rich in minerals and ideal for gardening and farming as a soil conditioner, mulch, resurfacing material, or landfill cover.

Composting toilet 
A fully self-contained toilet that requires no water inlet, sewer connection, or chemicals in order to operate. It works like a septic tank with bacterial action breaking down the solid waste into a soil-type residue.

Concealed hinge 
A hinge that is attached to the door and the inside end panel or stile of a cabinet, making it not visible from the exterior of the cabinet

Concrete slab 
Used for the foundation of a house or building when there is no basement or crawl space.

The process where water changes from a gaseous stage to a liquid stage; heat is released by condensation

Condensing boilers 
A type of boiler that achieves efficiencies of up to 95% by incorporating a second heat exchanger that recoups some of the heat from the hot exhaust gases to pre-heat the water in the boiler system.

The flow of heat energy through a material. Heat flows from the warmer to cooler side of the material.

As used in electricity, a metal or plastic tube containing electrical cables.

An affirmative indication or judgment that a product or service has met the requirements of a relevant specification contract, or regulation.

Console sink 
A sink basin supported by legs. The legs can be metal or wooden.

Construction plan 
A drawing that shows both the existing conditions of the structure and the changes to be made to achieve the design

Supplies or materials (such as paint, cleaning materials, or fuel) that are consumed or exhausted in the production or sale of a good or service.

Contract close-out 
Completion and settlement of the contract including resolution of all outstanding items.

Contract installer 
Self employed contractor; usually a self proprietor

The difference in brightness between surfaces in the field of view.

The transmission of heat through a liquid or gas. The cooler feeling you experience in front of a fan in summer is due to convective air movement over your skin. It is also a form of cooking.

The quantity of wood that can be stacked in a volume measuring 4 feet x 4 feet x 8 feet

Countertop plan 
A separate plan showing the countertop is helpful in illustrating the installation or fabrication to the allied tradesperson, particularly in complex projects, such as those that combine various counter materials or built-up edge treatments.

Sometimes called a restrictive covenant, this is a legally binding clause in a property deed that imposes a limitation or requirement on the use of the property

A certification system and philosophy established by architect William McDonough based on the idea that products and the built environment should be designed in a closed system so that when they are no longer useful, they provide fuel for new products or natural cycles, eliminating waste. This framework seeks to create production techniques that are not just efficient, but essentially waste-free. In cradle-to-cradle production, all material inputs and outputs are seen either as technical or biological nutrients. Technical nutrients can be recycled or reused with no loss of quality and biological nutrients can be composted or consumed.

The process whereby a company takes responsibility for the disposal of goods it has produced, but not necessarily putting products’ constituent components back into service.

Crawl space 
A small clearance between the underside of a house and the ground, usually high enough to crawl through.. It is usually a minimum of 18 inches in height.

Critical path 
The longest sequence of activities through a network. The critical path defines the planned project duration.

Daylight harvesting 
The process of using digital photo sensors to detect daylight levels and automatically adjust the output level of electric lighting to create a balance.

The use of natural light to supplement or replace artificial lighting. Strategies include the proper orientation and placement of windows, use of light wells, light shafts or tubes, skylights, clerestory windows, light shelves, reflective surfaces, and shading, as well as the use of interior glazing to allow light into adjacent spaces.

Decorative overlay 
Overlay – A piece of carved, scrolled wood which is usually fastened to the face of a panel or custom hood.

Dew point 
The temperature at which water vapor condenses; the dew point temperature is a function of humidity – when the relative humidity is 100%, the air is saturated and can hold no more water vapor, therefore, if there is more water vapor, or the temperature drops below the dew point, condensation occurs. The temperature at which moisture begins to form on a slick surface indicating 100% saturation. The temperature at which the wet bulb and dry bulb temperatures are the same.

Diagonal corner cabinet 
A cabinet used to span across a corner; another term for this type of cabinet is wall angle.

In heating and cooling systems, a grill, or register, in a floor or wall that delivers conditioned air to the room. In lighting, a diffuser is a transparent or translucent lens that encloses the lamp.

Dimension lines 
Thin, solid lines showing the height, length or width of a wall or object.

Measurements of wall and objects

Direct current (DC) 
Steady-state current in which the positive and negative wires retain the same polarity. Batteries and PV collectors supply DC current.

Direct-vent heater 
An all-in-one heating device that draws combustion air into the fire chamber through a vent in the wall and exhaust the burnt gases back out through another, concentric vent.

Divided light 
A type of window or door containing several sections of glazing, each section, or pane, separated from the other by muntins. If muntins go all the way through the glazing, the assembly is called true divided light. If the muntins are applied to the face of the glazing, the assembly is called simulated divided light.

Domestic hardwood 
Deciduous trees that grow in the United States. This is the only type of wood in the U.S. where on a general scale the growth of new trees easily exceeds the removal rate.

A structure built atop a roof to increase the usable space below or to contain windows. A window set vertically in a structure projecting through a sloping roof

Downdraft ventilation system 
A kitchen ventilation system that pulls air with the by-products of cooking down through a vent and exhausts it to the outside; typically the ventilation system is integrated with the cooktop or installed immediately adjacent to it

Downflow furnace 
A forced air furnace that delivers heated air below the unit

Dry bulb temperature 
The ambient (surrounding temperature taken with a thermometer.

Gypsum-based plaster encased between two layers of facing paper, used for interior wall surfaces as a substrate for paint, wallpaper, or tile finishes.

Having little or no impact on the native ecosystem.

Ecological footprint 
The area of land and water needed to produce the resources to entirely sustain a human population and absorb its waste products with prevailing technology.

Energy Efficiency Rating, a standard for rating an appliance’s energy efficiency. The higher the EER number, the more efficient the appliance.

A path or opening for exiting a room or building.

Electrical breakers 
Located at the electrical panel and control the flow of electricity to certain parts of a building.

Electrical metallic tubing (EMT) 
A thin-walled galvanized steel conduit used to protect wires from damage.

Electrical panel 
Where the electrical breakers are located and usually the main electrical shut-off for a house.

Electrolytic action 
Corrosion that results from two dissimilar metals in contact with each other in the presence of an electrolyte such as water, which contains a small amount of acid.

Drawing prepared to scale showing the width and height of one wall of a room. An exterior elevation shows the design, architectural style, and height of the exterior of the proposed building as viewed from any side of the building.

Embodied Energy 
The total of the energy required to produce a service or product. Included are the product’s raw material extraction, transport, manufacturing, assembly, and installation, as well as capital and other costs of a specific material, in addition to disassembly, deconstruction, and/or decompostion.

A raised effect on an object

End panels 
Accessory cabinet part used to finish the end of a cabinet run or the side of an appliance or unfinished cabinet.

Energy efficiency 
Ratio of energy output of a conversion process or of a system to its energy input.

Energy smart 
Meeting energy needs cost effectively and with the least impact on the environment.

Energy Star 
The Energy Star program, managed by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy, helps consumers identify energy-efficient products for their homes.

Engineered lumber 
Structural members composed of wood fibers bonded by resins and formed into structurally efficient post, beam, and joist shapes.

The outermost parts of a building that separate the interior environment from the outside weather, usually the walls and roof.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 
A federal (U.S.) agency with regulatory authority over matters affecting the environment, including waste generation and habitat destruction.

Ergonomic design 
The application of human factor data to the design of products and spaces to improve function and efficiency.

An amount or percentage by which a contract price may be adjusted if specified contingencies occur, such as changes in the supplier’s raw material or labor costs.

Evaporative cooling 
Cooling the air by blowing it through water, which then evaporates, removing heat from the air.

Expanded metal lath 
A type of mesh used as a backing for plaster or mortar.

Expected life 
The average length of time a product remains in service or in a serviceable condition.

Exposed hinge 
A hinge attached to the door and the front frame of the cabinet, making it visible from the exterior of the cabinet

Extend stile 
A wider than normal stile typically 4 1/2 inches wide to replace a filler. Typical of semi-custom framed cabinetry.

Extension lines 
Terminate dimension lines with arrows, dots or slashes; also known as witness lines.

Exterior grade plywood 
Uses phenol formaldehyde (a volatile organic compound) as an adhesive rather than the urea formaldehyde used in interior grade plywood and particleboard.

In CAD software, a command that allows the designer to reshape surface or linear items such as countertops, toe kicks or walls, to form an indent or a projection.

The person(s) responsible for building or creating a piece or part of a project.

Face framing 
A method of installing joists or rafters, where they attach to the face of the beam rather than run over the top.

Fair Housing Act Accessibility Guidelines (FHAAG) 
Accessibility regulations affecting the design of multi-family housing built since 1991. FHAAG make up the technical guidance for compliance with the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (the Act).

Asphalt-saturated felt (or building paper, tar paper) used as a weatherproof underlayment for roofing and siding materials.

A device that connects one lengths of piping or a pipe to a fixture or appliance. A term used for a device that controls water entering or leaving a fixture. Faucets, spouts, drain, controls, water supply lines and diverter valves are all considered fittings.

Any fixed part of the structural design, such as tubs, bidets, toilets, and lavatories.

Any fixed plumbing feature that is part of the structural design, such as the primary and auxiliary sinks.

The housing or assembly that holds the lamp and/or trim.

Fixture, electrical 
Any device permanently, or “hard-wired” to the home wiring system.

Fixture, lighting 
The assembly that includes the mounting base, or socket, and any features that reflect or disperse the light from a lamp fitted into the fixture.

Fixture, lighting 
Any light-producing device permanently, or “hard-wired” to the home wiring system.

Fixture, plumbing 
A sink or lavatory (these terms used interchangeably in this book), toilet, bathtub, spa, shower, and bidet.

Floor plan 
An overhead, cut-away view of the project and the central reference point for all the other drawings. Generally, the floor plan shows the entire building or project

Lighting produced by arcing an electrical current between electrodes at opposite ends of a gas-filled tube.

Fly ash 
The ash residue from high temperature combustion processes. Electric motor plants using western coal produce a non-toxic fly ash that because of its very high calcium content can be a substitute for Portland cement (the common bonding material in concrete).

Colorless, pungent smelling, toxic material used as an adhering component of glues used in many wood products. It can cause respiratory problems, cancer, and chemical sensitivity. At concentrations above 0.1 ppm in air, formaldehyde can irritate the eyes and mucous membranes, resulting in watery eyes. Naturally occurring but when added it is referred to as urea formaldehyde.

Fossil fuels 
Carbon-rich deposits in the Earth, such as petroleum (oil), coal, or natural gas, derived from the remains of ancient plants and animals and used for fuel. These are non-renewable resources with a finite supply. They are pollutive, but are so commonly used due to their traditionally low costs.

The below-grade portion of the structure between the footing and main level.

Fuel cell 
A technology that uses an electrochemical process to convert energy into electrical power. Often powered by natural gas, fuel cell power is cleaner than grid-connected power sources. In addition, hot water is produced as a by-product that can be used as a thermal resource.

A device that can interrupt the flow of electrical current when a circuit is overloaded. A safety device that protects a device or circuit from overload or a short. The mechanism is a low-conductor metal that snaps in two when the fuse blows, making replacement necessary. For this reason, fuses in household circuits have been replaced by circuit breakers.

The diameter of wire. The lower the gage, the larger is the diameter. Also used to indicate the thickness of sinks. 22 gage would be thinner than 18 gage.

Metal coated with zinc to resist corrosion.

Geothermal energy 
Heat that comes from the Earth’s interior.

A horizontal framing member that supports beams. The terms are often used interchangeably with beams.

Industry term for a pane of glass in a window. The transparent materials in a window or door.

Global warming 
An increase in the global mean temperature of the Earth that is a result of increased emissions of greenhouse gases that are trapped within the Earth’s atmosphere. Global warming is believed to have adverse consequences, such as climate change and a rise in sea levels. The scientific community is in general agreement that the Earth’s surface has warmed by about 1°F over the past 140 years.

Grab bars 
Safety bars installed in bathtubs and showers to prevent falls. A device, usually installed on a wall, that provide support while rising from, sitting in, entering, or exiting a bathtub or shower.

Grade beam 
A type of shallow foundation consisting of a reinforced concrete rim, most used with slab-on-grade floors without basements in regions without seasonal frosts.

Wastewater from sources such as sinks, showers, kitchens, and washers, which after purification, is used for non-potable uses such as flushing and irrigation. Rainwater from gutters can be used for this.

Green building 
A building that minimizes its impact on the environment through conservation of energy, water, and other resources, while contributing to the health of its occupants without compromising the aesthetic design.

Green design 
A design, also referred to as a sustainable design or eco-design, which conforms to environmentally sound principles of building, material, and energy use. A green building, for example, might make use of skylights, recycled building materials, and energy efficient appliances.

Green power 
Electricity generated from renewable energy sources. This includes solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, and hydroelectric power.

Greenhouse gases 
Any gas that absorbs infrared radiation in the Earth’s atmosphere. Carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrogen oxides are of particular concern due to their length of time they remain resident in the atmosphere. Primarily, the emissions of coal-fired power plants and combustion engine automobiles produce carbon dioxide that prevents excess heat from escaping through the atmosphere, thereby raising the surface temperature of the earth. More than 80 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide emissions from energy-related sources.

Ground wire 
A wire that carries current into the earth to protect people from becoming electrocuted.

A variation of incandescent lighting whereby the filament is encased inside a capsule containing halogen gas, produced by iodine vapor.

Hard water 
Water that contains a high level of dissolved minerals. Water with a high content of minerals, usually calcium and magnesium; often leads to plumbing problems from mineral deposit

A permanent electrical connection for an appliance or device (as opposed to a cord with a plug).

Harvested rainwater 
“The rain that falls on a roof and is channeled by gutters to a storage tank or cistern. ”

Heat exchanger 
A coil through which heat can be transferred to the heating medium (water or air) without exposing the medium directly to the heat.

Heat Island Effect 
A phenomenon that occurs in developed areas where the replacement of natural land cover with paving, buildings, roads, parking lots, and other structures result in an increase in outdoor temperatures. The heat island effect can be mitigated by vegetation, green roofs, and light colored materials that reflect heat. Urban heat islands can be as much as 10°F hotter than the surrounding undeveloped areas.

Heat pump 
A refrigeration device that can reverse the cooling cycle to produce useful heat.

Heat Recovery Systems 
Building mechanical systems that capture waste heat from another system and use it to replace heat that would otherwise come from a primary energy source.

Heating element 
The cylinder inside a water heater that transfers heat to the water in the tank.

Hood insert 
A liner for a custom made hood for housing the filter system, fan, and lights. Made from sheet metal or other non-combustible material.

Hot tub 
A large container of heated water used for soaking. The original hot tub resembled a barrel. They usually did not have moving water. Currently used similarly to a spa tub -large tub holding warm water, having whirlpool action, and seating for multiple users.

The amount of water vapor in the air.

Heating, ventilating, and air conditioning.

Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) 
A class of haloalkanes where not all hydrogen has been replaced by chlorine or fluorine. They are used primarily as chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) substitutes, as the ozone depleting effects are only about 10% of the CFCs.

A type of space heating system that uses heated water as the medium.

Refers to a variety of bathing options that use hot water, water movement, and/or pressure to stimulate or relax the body.

Lighting produced when an electrical current runs through a poor conductor, such as a tungsten carbide filament in an incandescent bulb.

Indigenous Materials 
Building materials that are mined, manufactured, or fabricated locally to reduce transportation cost and increase the viability of the local economy.

Indoor air quality 
The content of interior air that could affect the health and comfort of building occupants. Good air quality inside a building results from streaming an appropriate amount of outside air into the building and regulating proper filtration, air distribution, and removal of indoor pollutants through he use of proper ventilation.

Intelligent materials 
Materials able to adapt to their environment by altering their properties, such as thermochromic glazing that changes its transparency in response to changing temperatures.

An area of cabinets and countertops which can be accessed and walked around from all sides. Considered free standing.

Kilowatt-hours (kWh) 
A measurement of power consumption over time. One Kwh is the power consumed by a 1000w device operating for one hour.

Kilowatts (kW) 
One thousand watts.

A portion of a branch or limb that extends into the trunk of a tree and appears as a darker spot on sawn lumber.

In Judaism, the term kosher can be applied to foods that meet a series of dietary laws. The ease of meeting some of these dietary laws, such as the separation of meats and dairy products, can be enhanced by the design of the kitchen

Kyoto Protocol 
In December 1997, a delegation from 160 countries came together on climate change and adopted an agreement, under which the industrialized nations agreed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 5.2 percent below 1990 emissions levels by 2010.

Any thin material such as wood or plastic glued to the exterior of a cabinet, countertop or other surface.

Lazy Susan 
A corner cabinet on which the shelves are mounted on a vertical axle such that items may be retrieved by pushing on the shelves to turn them may also be called a lazy Susan. This type is usually found in kitchens. Closed, this type of lazy Susan appears to be two normal cabinets at right angles to each other. When pushed on, the cabinet “doors” reveal the shelves, which are circular except for the ninety degree cutout where the doors are mounted.

Lead time 
The time between when a product or item is purchased to the actual delivery date.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) 
A voluntary, consensus-based national rating system for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. Developed by the USGBC, LEED addresses all building types and emphasizes state-of-the-art strategies for sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials and resources selection, and indoor environmental quality. LEED is a practical rating tool for green building design and construction that provides immediate, measurable results for building owners and occupants.

An all natural flooring material made of linseed oil, cork dust, wood flour, tree resins, ground limestone, and pigments; regarded as environmentally friendly flooring.

Linseed Oil 
A wood preservative considered non-toxic.

Low Voltage 
Lamps that operate at a lower voltage than line voltage are termed low voltage lamps. These lamps require a transformer to reduce line voltage usually to 12 or 24 volts.

Low-E (Low Emissive) 
Glass that reflect heat, not light, and therefore keeps spaces warmer in winter and cooler in summer.

Mechanical Plan 
One or more drawings showing the arrangement of the heating, ventilation, air conditioning, plumbing, and electrical systems in the building

Mechanical Systems 
Heating and air conditioner systems, ventilation system, plumbing systems, and wiring systems incorporated into a design plan.

Localized climate conditions within an urban area or building.

An embellishment in strip form, made of wood or other structural material, that is used to decorate or finish a surface, such as the wall of a room or around a door or window

A rectangular recess cut in the edge of one piece to receive another, such as a tenon or-with hardware-a lockset.

A method of installing ceramic stone tiles by setting them into a mortar bed.

Multiple Molding Application 
The use of more than one molding stacked or overlaid onto each other to achieve a grander and more elaborate effect.

A small vertical or horizontal strip that divides window panes from each other.

A piece of material attached to the main structure as a base for attaching subsequent items.

National Electric Code (NEC) 
A code for electrical safety adopted by states and local jurisdictions in the United States.

National Commission of Certifying Agencies (accreditation arm of NOCA)

National Council for Interior Design Qualifications. An exam recommended by the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) for certifying interior designers.

Needs assessment 
In the context of the design process, gathering information about the client and their needs, wants, and desires for the design project as well as the physical characteristics of the jobsite.

Net weight 
The weight of an article exclusive of the weights of all packing materials and containers.

By-products of fertilizer that can leach into ground water and contaminate the aquifers that supply both public and private-source drinking water.

National Kitchen & Bath Association – Australia

National Kitchen & Bath Association – New Zealand

National Kitchen & Bath Association

National Kitchen & Bath Month, recognized in October of each year

A code consisting of numbers and letters to identify cabinetry. Example: An SB36 would be a 36″ wide sink base cabinet.

Non-Renewable Energy Resources 
Energy resources that cannot be restored or replenished by natural processes and therefore are depleted through use. Commonly used non-renewable energy resources include coal, oil, natural gas, and uranium.

Indicates that a drawing is not to scale.

Hemp rope impregnated with a bituminous compound used as a back stop for molten lead in lead and oakum joints for cast iron pipe.

Oblique Drawing 
All paraline drawings including oblique, diametric, isometric and trimetric have three characteristics which separate them from other drawing types: all vertical lines are parallel to each other; all horizontal lines are parallel to each other; and all lines indicating depth are parallel to each other.

Abbreviation for original equipment manufacturer.

A term used to describe the release or evaporation of chemicals into the air from building materials as they dry, cure, or age; the process can be more rapid if temperature and/or humidity are increased.

A system that runs on renewable energy sources independent of a conventional public utility grid.

The unit of measurement of electrical resistance. The resistance of an electrical device equals the line voltage divided by the device’s rated amperage.

Ohm’s Law 
The relationship between volts, amps, and resistance (ohms): Amps = volts/ohms.

On-demand/instantaneous water heater 
A gas or electric water heating unit that heats the water as it is demanded by the user.

Oriented Strandboard (OSB) 
A panel product made by bonding wood chips together with a resin under high heat and pressure. OSB panels are used mainly for roof and wall sheathing.

Written or drawn at right angles. A plan or elevation view of a room or object is an orthographic drawing.

The slow release of chemical gasses contained within building materials to the ambient air, such as formaldehyde in particleboard.

Outpost kitchen 
Small kitchen located away from the primary food preparation area, such as in the bedroom/bathroom area (morning kitchen) or a living or recreation area.

Overflow Scupper 
A projecting lip at the edge of a flat roof, which allows water to run off the edge.

Overhead Lines 
A series of long dashes indicating any object’s edges which are above the tall cabinets such as skylights, soffits, extensive molding, etc.

Demand beyond the safe carrying capacity of electrical cables and circuits.

A form of oxygen found naturally that provides a protective layer shielding the Earth from ultraviolet radiation’s harmful effects on humans and the environment. Ground level ozone is the primary component of smog, produced near the Earth’s surface through complex chemical reactions of nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, and sunlight.

Parallel Strand Lumber (PSL) 
Structural framing shapes made from wood fibers that run parallel to the long axis of the member.

Particle Board 
A panel product made from sawdust or wood particles, bonded with a resin under high heat and pressure.

Particulate Matter 
Solid material that escapes from combustion processes and can be inhaled, causing potential health problems.

Passive Cooling 
A system whereby a building’s structure (or an element of it) permits increased ventilation and retention of coolness within the building components. The intention is to minimize or eliminate the need for mechanical means of cooling.

Passive Design 
“Building design and placement in home construction that permits the use of natural thermal processes—convection, absorption, radiation, and conduction—to support comfort levels. ”

Passive Heating 
A system whereby a building’s structure (or an element of it) is designed to allow natural thermal energy flows, such as radiation, conduction, and natural convection generated by the sun, to provide heat. The home relies solely or primarily on non-mechanical means of heating.

Passive Solar Heating 
Using the sun’s energy to heat a house with minimal dependence on mechanical devices.

Passive solar technologies 
Solar energy collection and utilization systems that do not use external energy, like a solar chimney.

Passive ventilation 
The use of convective airflows that result from the tendency of warm air to rise and cool air to sink, while also taking advantage of prevailing winds. Many passive ventilation systems rely on building occupants to control window and vents as indicated by conditions inside and outside the building.

Pedestal lavatory 
A free-standing fixture with a wide top and narrow base that conceals the plumbing.

A lighting fixture hung from the ceiling containing one or more lamps.

An area of cabinets or counter fastened on one side which can be accessed and walk up to on three sides.

A chemical wood preservative considered toxic.

Peripheral vision 
Scope of vision on both sides of the eyes. Range often diminishes with age.

A drawing that relies on the appearance of the space, giving depth to the items in the space and is not drawn to scale. Perspective drawings indicate a drawing with depth. A two-point perspective drawing has two vanishing points. Items get smaller as they approach the vanishing point. For example, think about telephone poles as they move away from the viewer.

A scale used to measure the acidity or alkalinity of water, with values from 1 to 14; neutral is 7; decreasing numbers below 7 mean greater acidity and increasing numbers above 7 mean greater alkalinity

Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association; “Dedicated to the promotion, advancement, education and training of the industry, for the protection of our environment and the health, safety, and comfort of society” Visit

The measurement of quantities associated with light.

Photovoltaic (PV) 
Electricity directly converted from solar energy. The word derives from “photo” (light) and “voltaic” (electricity).

Photovoltaic Cells 
Devices that use semiconductors to convert sunlight directly into electricity.

Picture Plane 
The plane on which the picture is viewed. Imagine that the picture plane is a sheet of glass through which you are viewing the scene. On this sheet of glass you will draw the scene you are seeing.

Picture Rail 
A horizontal trim piece installed high up on a wall as a means of hanging pictures without puncturing the wall with nails or brads.

Platform Framing 
A standard method of framing where discreet platforms are used for each story of a structure.

A panel product made by cross-laminating alternate thin layers of wood

Pocket door 
A door that slides horizontally on a track and is typically moved inside a wall for storage.

Poly, Polyethylene 
A type of plastic with many uses in construction, one of which is for vapor barriers in walls, ceilings, roofs, and under slabs.

Polyethylene (PE) Piping 
A black-colored plastic pipe used for cold-water supply and underground water supply lines. A flexible gray or black piping used for domestic hot and cold water supply.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) 
A white semi-rigid plastic material whose many uses in the house include cold water piping and DWV pipes.

A set of pictures (as drawings or photographs) either bound in book form or loose in a folder

Post and Beam Construction 
A type of framing which uses larger and fewer pieces of timber which are placed further apart to achieve greater open spaces.

Post Completion Meeting 
A meeting between the designer and the installer for the purpose of evaluating the installation project

Water sufficiently free from impurities to allow it to be drunk without posing a hazard to health.

A wood preservative considered non-toxic.

Powder room 
A small bathroom for guest near the public areas of the home. Consists of a sink and toilet.

Pre-construction meeting 
A meeting between a designer, client and installer to go over all the details and sequence of events related to an installation project.

Standardized building sections that are created in a factory to be shipped and assembled in another location.

Preparation center 
Long, uninterrupted counter for preparing food. Typically placed between the sink and the cooking surface, or the sink and the refrigerator.

Primary center 
Three main work centers, including primary sink, cooking surface, and refrigeration storage.

Primary clean-up/prep sink 
The sink used most frequently. If only one sink is planned it will be used for both clean-up and food preparation. A kitchen with primary and auxiliary sinks may separate these tasks.

Primary Drinking Water Standards 
Federally mandated standards for acceptable levels of certain pollutants in water; used to assure that water is safe to drink or ingest.

An English word used during the 17th and 18th Centuries to describe what is commonly known as the outhouse, a toileting facility located outside the house and consisting of a seat over an opening placed in a small building.

The NKBA Professional Resource Library

Product Differentiation 
A strategy of making a product distinct from the competition on a non-price basis such as durability, quality, or reliability.

Product Diversification 
A marketing strategy that seeks to develop new products to supply current markets.

Product Flexibility 
The ease with which current designs can be modified in response to changing market demands.

Product Industry 
An industry involved in the sale of natural or manufactured products.

Product Life Cycle 
The stages a new product goes through from beginning to end, from introduction through growth, maturity, and decline.

Product Positioning 
The marketing effort involved in placing a product in a market to serve a particular niche or function.

Project Management 
The use of skills and knowledge in coordinating the organizing, planning, scheduling, directing, controlling, monitoring, and evaluating of prescribed activities to ensure that the stated objectives of a project are achieved.

Project Management Professional (PM) 
An individual certified by the Project Management Institute.

Project Plan 
In project management, a document that is to be used in executing and controlling a project. It may exist at a summary or a detailed level.

Project Schedule 
In project management, a list of activities and their planned completion dates that collectively achieve project milestones.

A type of gas delivered to home storage tanks by trucks.

Pounds per square inch, a unit of pressure in the English system (1 psi = 0.1450 kPa).

The grouping of consumers according to their behavior patterns and lifestyles.

Devices attached or built in that enable a person to open a drawer. Pulls are often referred to as stirrup grips and are in the shape of the letter “U.”

Pythagorean Theorem 
The formula to determine the squareness of a wall or object. A2 + B2 = C2

Quality Control 
The process of making sure a job is completed with the standards set forth by your organization. The method of solving problems and measuring results using teamwork.

Remove and Replace. A term describing simple remodeling project that involves removing and replacing cabinetry, fixtures and appliances without structural or mechanical changes.

An L-shaped recess cut out of the edge of a board or panel, usually to allow an adjacent piece to overlap it in the same plane.

An enclosure for electrical wires, typically mounted on interior surfaces.

A condition causing a cabinet or other unit to become out of square. This may be an uneven floor or a corner that is not square. Installers use wooden shims to realign the box to prevent racking. This will allow the box to be level or plum.

Radiant Heating 
An efficient heating system that warms cold objects, which then radiate heat into the surrounding space evenly.

The emission of energy from an object. Heat waves from the object radiate to cooler objects. Like radio waves, this form of energy passes through air without heating it, only becoming heat after it strikes and is absorbed by a dense material.

A naturally occurring radioactive gas found in soil and ground water; tasteless, odorless, and colorless and detectable only through testing equipment; can seep into homes and build to levels that can be a health threat; long-term exposure can lead to lung cancer

Structural members used in series to support roofs.

One of the horizontal structural parts of a door panel or face frame of framed cabinets.

Rainwater Harvesting 
The collection, storage, and reuse of rainwater.

Room Cavity Ratio – A number indicating room proportions calculated from the length, width and height.

Reach range 
The measured distance off the floor within which a person can reach and grasp an item. The universal reach range refers to the distance where most people can reach an item, which is 15″ to 48″ off the floor.

Re-circulating (ductless) system 
A kitchen ventilation system installed in a hood that pulls air through one or more filters, than exhaust the filtered air into the room; a metal mesh filter to remove grease is typical; an activated carbon filter to remove odors may be included

To use a product again after its initial use. This commonly refers to materials such as tile, brick, and stone.

The reprocessing of materials into new products, which generally prevents the waste of potentially useful materials, reduces the consumption of raw materials, lowers energy usage, and decreases greenhouse gas emissions compared to virgin production.

Red Wire 
A “hot” wire in a three-conductor cable.

A pipe fitting that joins two pipes of different diameters.

Renewal of sites or habitats that have become unfit for human, animal, or plant habitation, bringing them back into productive use. The term most commonly refers to urban and industrial land.

Relative humidity 
A ratio, usually expressed as a percent, of the actual amount of water vapor in the air to the maximum amount (saturation) of water vapor the air could hold at the current temperature. The percent of moisture in the air compared to the amount of moisture the air could contain.

The probability that a product will perform its specified function under prescribed conditions without failure for a specified period of time.

A representation of a building, interior, etc executed in perspective. A 3-D representation of a kitchen or bath design. In CAD software, the process of generating an image from three-dimensional objects using viewpoint, texture, and lighting information.

Renewable Energy 
Energy resources, such as wind, solar, hydroelectric, biomass, geothermal, ocean thermal, and wave power, that replenish themselves within a short period. Although non-pollutive, some displace habitats and require large tracts of land.

(Rapidly) Renewable Resource 
Organic materials, like bamboo or corn, that have a short regeneration period to full maturation, usually in stark contrast to the material they are replacing.

Replacement Factor 
The percentage of time on average that an item will require replacement.

Replacement Kitchen 
A kitchen remodel where the new cabinets and appliances are installed in the same locations as the old cabinets and appliances were installed.

An item that replaces components originally installed on equipment; a modification to in-service equipment.

Return-air plenum 
A duct between the supply diffusers in rooms and the furnace of a forced air heating system.

To use products, such as glass bottles or shipping crates, repeatedly in the same form.

A separate vent branch connecting the drain line from a fixture or group of fixtures to the outdoors or to the house’s main stack/vent.

Ridge Beam 
A beam placed at the peak, or ridge, of a gable roof to support the high end of the rafters.

Ridge Board 
A board into which rafters terminate at a roof ridge, and which serves as a nailer for the roof sheathing at the ridge.

Roll-in shower 
Shower without a threshold that is large enough for a wheelchair to enter.

A type of electrical cable containing a single hot wire encased in black plastic, a white-encased neutral wire, and a bare ground wire-all wrapped inside a plastic sheath.

Where the shower head or other plumbing fitting will be placed in the wall or floor.

A measure of the thermal resistance of material, especially insulation.

Safe harbors 
Standards that are legally recognized as complying with the requirements of a code or guideline.

Sanitary Tee 
A term defining a tee used in the drain waste vent system as opposed to the supply system. (Also used with Sanitary Wye – my definition)

A Finnish steam bath. A room that uses dry heat and steam to cleanse and relax the user Steam is produced by pouring water over heated rocks

Scarf Joint 
A joint between two straight pieces of trim or woodwork where each piece meets the other one on an angle other than 90 degrees (butt joint), such that any shrinkage will be less noticeable.

A group of pages within the plans which have lists of like items specified for the home

A light fixture that is fixed to a wall.

The sum of the products and services to be provided as a project.

The process of adjusting bumps and other irregularities in the wall by cutting and shaving a countertop or filler to fit.

Sealed combustion appliances 
Appliances, such as a furnace or water heater, where the air needed for combustion is pulled from an outside vent and then the flue gases resulting from combustion are exhausted to the outside; the combustion process is thus “sealed’ from room air

Secondary center 
A work area established for a specific task, such as baking or salad preparation. It may include an appliance or fixture, storage, and counter space, but is not calculated as part of the work triangle.

Secondary drinking water standards 
Voluntary standards for acceptable levels of certain pollutants in water; used to assure that water is functional and aesthetic for typical household uses, such as bathing and laundry

Section Drawing 
A “slice” of a building, showing the inner construction of walls, furniture or any element that needs clarification

Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating – A standard for rating the annual energy efficiency of appliances which considers the effects of climate. The higher the EER, the more efficient the appliance.

Septic System 
An on-site system for disposing of household sewage, consisting of a tank that partially digests the waste and a drain field that distributes the liquid into the soil.

Septic tank 
A large tank where solid matter or sewage from a home is disintegrated by bacteria.

Sequence of Events 
The organization of the procedures which need to be accomplished during a kitchen or bath installation and the order with which they shall occur.

Service entry 
A second, informal entrance to the home, used for bringing in groceries and supplies. It is often close to the kitchen and to garage or carport.

Service Panel 
The metal box that is the distribution point for household electricity. It contains the main breaker and branch circuit breakers.

Waste containing animal or vegetable matter in suspension or solution.

The horizontal force that impels two items in contact to slide past each other.

A material such as plywood used to cover studs or joists, tying them together into a single structural system and providing a base for attaching finish materials.

Building material such as particle board or plywood which is used as a sub-floor, walls and roof under the finished floor, siding, and roofing material

The surface glossiness, or luster, of paints, ranging from “flat,” the dullest, to “gloss,” the shiniest.

A brand of drywall that is itself often used as a term for drywall.

Shelf/drawer frontage 
Calculation of cabinet size x number of shelves or drawers x cabinet depth in feet. Used to determine adequate storage in a kitchen.

The use of small pieces of wood or plastic to compensate for an existing floor or wall which is uneven and not plumb or level.

Short Circuit 
A fault that occurs when a bare wire contacts another bare wire carrying electricity.

Shut-off valve 
A valve control that allows the user to shut off the water entering a fixture. These valves are usually located close to the fixture. Valve which controls the flow of water or gas to an appliance.

Sick Building Syndrome 
A phenomenon in which building occupants experience acute health and/or comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent in a particular building.

Sight lines 
The range or visual field in direct line with a person’s eyes, impacted by the position a person will be in when the space or product is being used. This is useful in planning heights of fixtures, fittings, lighting, windows, and more.

The portion of the door or window assembly at the bottom or floor, including the fixed and movable parts of the window or door and the fixed portion of the building into which the window or door mounts.

Structural insulated panel (SIP) 
A composite wall or roof cladding system consisting of a rigid foam insulation sandwiched between an inner and outer sheet of nailbase sheathing, usually plywood or oriented strandboard

Siphon action water closet 
A vacuum action creates pressure to more efficiently flush away the waste and use less water in the process; this action is used in most modern toilets today.

A natural, durable fiber frequently used for floor coverings

An auxiliary stud or joist attached to the primary member to add strength or even out the surface.

Site Plan 
A drawing prepared to scale showing the placement of a proposed building(s), location of existing structures, and other lot development features — setback measurements, driveways, fencing, landscaping.

A level of competency and abilities which a person is able to perform.

Skim-Coat Plaster 
A plaster process where a thin layer of plaster is troweled onto a special type of gypsum wallboard called blueboard.

Slack Time 
In project management, the amount of time that an activity may be delayed from its early start without delaying the project finish date.

The vertical distance wet concrete sags in a test cone, when the cone is pulled up off the concrete.

Smart House 
“A home that consists of programmable electronic controls and sensors that can regulate heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting, and equipment operation in an energy conserving and climatically responsible manner. ”

Snack bar 
An area of countertop space used for eating or snacking usually 36 or 42 inches off of the floor.

Soaking tub 
Extra deep tub that allows the user to submerge to their neck.

A wood preservative considered non-toxic.

A lowered portion of a ceiling. The horizontal surface below the eave. A porch roof. The under surface of a lowered portion of the ceiling. A “bulkhead” in Canada. An enclosed area used to fill a space between the tops of the wall cabinets and the ceiling.

Soffit Board 
A board cut to fit the space between the top of a wall cabinet and the ceiling. Usually used in conjunction with other molding.

Soffit Plan 
A drawing showing the space above the wall cabinets.

Soffit Trim Board 
Applied to the top of the wall cabinets and designed to help support the soffit board.

Soft Water 
Water that contains a low level of dissolved minerals.

An alloy of soft metals that melt to fuse a connection between metal pipe and a fitting. Lead, the traditional base for solder is no longer acceptable in household water piping, having been replaced by silver-tin alloy.

Solid Surfacing 
A class of rigid surfacing materials made of acrylic and/or polyester resins mixed with alumina tryhydrate.

A unit of loudness, which is a subjective characteristic of a sound; the sone scale is based on data from people judging the loudness of pure tones; as an example, a noise at four sones is perceived to be four times as loud as a noise of one sone

A vessel intended for soaking in heated water.

Spa tub 
A large tub holding warm water having whirlpool action and seating for multiple users, hot tub.

The measurement between centers of luminaires.

Spacing Ratio 
A factor often provided by fixture manufacturer. Multiply the spacing ratio by the distance (in feet) from the fixture to the workplane.

Descriptions, in words, of the materials to be used and the quality expected; can be either on the plans or as a separate document if they will complicate the drawing

Spill Light 
An area of light which extends from the beam angle out to a point in the lamps cone of light where the candlepower drops to 10% of the candlepower at the center of the cone.

Special Project Request

Stack Effect 
The tendency for warm air to rise in a space.

Pulling material for an order from inventory before the material is required. This action is often taken to identify shortages, but it can lead to increased problems in availability and inventory accuracy.

Static anthropometry 
The study of the measurements of the body at rest.

Steel Framing 
Method of using steel beams of different dimensions to build buildings which are residence to rot, shrinkage, and will not warp.

Stick Method 
Type of pricing where every conceivable item and hourly wage is calculated and added together for a total cost of a project.

One of the vertical structural parts of the door panel in a stile-and-rail door or the vertical members of a face framed cabinet.

Stockkeeping Unit (SKU) 
An inventory item. Term is used in distribution and retail and incorporates the location of the item.

Storage principles 
“A series of recommendations, developed through research, to increase both the efficiency of storage space and the ease of use. The most common principles are: 1.Store items at the first or last place of use. 2.Store items in duplicate locations, if needed. 3.Items used together should be stored together. 4.Items should be stored so they are easy to see. 5.Frequently used items should be stored so they are easy to reach. 6.Like items should be stored or grouped together 7.Hazardous items should be stored out of reach of children 8.Store items in the appropriate environment.”

Strength training exercise 
Exercise using weights to develop strength and muscle tone.

Structural Framing Plan 
A drawing which illustrates how the building is assembled.

Framing members of the wall, usually 2x4s or 2x6s which the cabinets are fastened to.

Contractors who will work specifically for another contractor or design firm

The flooring applied directly to the floor joist on top of which the finished floor rests.

A method of passive solar heating by collecting the sun’s heat into a south-facing room that can be opened or closed to the rest of the house.

Supply Plenum 
The duct in a forced air heating or air conditioning system that supplies the heated or cooled air to diffusers in the rooms.

Surge protector, surge suppressor 
An electrical device that is used to protect electronic equipment, especially computer systems, from surges or spikes in electrical current or voltage

The practice of meeting the needs of the present without depleting resources or harming natural cycles for future generations.

Tactile cuing 
Using textural elements to communicate necessary information through touch to the user.

Task lighting 
Added lighting for specific tasks, like grooming, dressing, reading, etc. Lighting focused on an work area.

Task lighting 
Lighting focused on a work area.

A pipe fitting shaped like the letter “T” with three outlets.

Terms and Conditions 
All the provisions and agreements of a contract.

A form of hydrotherapy that uses seawater in baths, showers, or mud baths.

Thermal Break 
An insulating gasket placed between the inside and outside portions of a metal window or door frame to stem heat loss and minimize condensation.

Thinset, Thinsetting 
A method for installing cementitious, ceramic, and stone tiles on a substrate, by setting the tiles into a special thinset mortar compound troweled onto the substrate.

The outward force that a sloping roof imposes on the walls.

Title Block 
Space on drawings to include company, client information, job identification, drawing number, your name as the designer as well as the draftsperson’s name, the date and scale.

To Weather 
The vertical dimension of the exposed face of siding or shingles.

Toe kick 
An indented space in cabinetry near the floor to accommodate the feet while standing next to a cabinetry.

Traffic Patterns 
The normal walkway or passage a person would go from one place to another.

Transfer Shower 
A shower open on one side with a seat adjacent to the opening, and grab bars on all three sides, that allows for a person to transfer from a wheelchair to the seat.

An electrical device by which alternating current of one voltage is changed to another voltage.

Trans-generational design 
Another term for universal design, referring to design that acknowledges and supports the multiple generations more commonly living in a home.

A horizontal window set above a door or other windows.

A section of pipe curved to retain water and make a seal in the line below a fixture. P-traps are shaped like the letter P, while S-traps (no longer allowed) are shaped like the letter S.

Tributyl Tin Oxide (TBTO) 
A chemical wood preservative considered toxic.

The study of the properties of triangles and trigonometric functions and of their applications.

Trihalomethanes (THM) 
A group of chemicals toxic in excessive concentration and are known to cause cancer in laboratory animals.

Trimetric Drawing 
All paraline drawings including oblique, diametric, isometric and trimetric have three characteristics which separate them from other drawing types: all vertical lines are parallel to each other; all horizontal lines are parallel to each other; and all lines indicating depth are parallel to each other.

A framework of beams forming a rigid structure such as a roof truss or floor truss.

Truss System 
Framework used to support the roof or floor of a structure.

Turkish bath 
A steam bath that is followed by a shower and massage; developed when Roman bathing customs were combined with those of the nomadic people, such as the Byzantines.

An invisible portion of the light spectrum that fades fabrics.

A material placed over the subfloor plywood sheeting and under the finish covering to provide a smooth, even surface. A non-structural sheet material installed on a subfloor to provide a stable, level and smooth base for the floorcovering.

Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS) 
The technical standard referenced by two federal mandates for accessibility for federal buildings,; the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504).

Unit Pricing 
A pricing method where each operation performed, piece of material, and product is broken down and given a value.

Universal design 
The design of products and environments to be useable by all people to the greatest extent possible.

Updraft ventilation systems 
A kitchen ventilation system that includes a hood over a cooking surface to capture the air borne by-products of cooking and a fan to pull air up; captured air is either exhausted to the outside or filtered and re-circulated into the room, depending on the system

Upflow Furnace 
A forced air furnace that delivers heated air above the unit.

USGBC (United States Green Building Council) 
A non-profit organization committed to expanding sustainable building practices. The USGBC is composed of more than 12,000 organizations from across the building industry that are working to advance structures that are environmentally sustainable, profitable, and healthy places to live and work. Members includes building owners, real estate developers, facility managers, architects, designers, engineers, general contractors, subcontractors, product and building system manufacturers, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations.

Vanishing Point 
Parallel lines on the same axis converge at a point on the horizon line. The point of convergence is the vanishing point.

Bathroom cabinet with the lavatory on the type.

Veiling Reflection 
A kind of glare that comes from a shiny surface, such as a glass table.

Translucent paper with high strength often used in design drawings.

A thin sheet of material bonded to one or more other materials. Plywood is one example of a veneer material.

Ventilated Façade 
A special type of curtain wall that consists of two glazed facades separated by a gap through which ambient air is allowed to flow.

Ventilation System 
An exhaust fan or unit which pushes or pulls inside air and odors to the outside

Vernacular housing 
Housing styles that are typical or common to a region and have developed over time in response to factors such as available building materials, climate, and cultural heritage

Vessel lavatory 
A lavatory bowl or basin that sits on top of the counter or ledge.

Vichy shower 
A seven-headed rain bar with pressure spray treatment used to apply water and warmed essential oils to relax and stimulate the mind and body.

Visible Object Lines 
Solid lines used to show wall cabinets, tall cabinets, countertop surfaces, flooring, furniture, some appliances and any other item not covered or hidden in any way.

The condition of a home that has been planned to allow for a guest with accessibility needs. Includes a level entry, wide doorways, and an accessible bathroom on the first floor.

Vitreous china 
A ceramic material fired at high temperatures to form a nonporous, glass-like material.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) 
Any organic compound that evaporates at room temperatures and is hazardous to human health, causing poor indoor air quality. Many VOCs found in homes, such as paint strippers and wood preservatives, contribute to sick building syndrome because of their high vapor pressure. VOCs are often used in paint, carpet backing, plastics, and cosmetics. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found concentrations of VOCs in indoor air to be, on average, two to five times greater than in outdoor air. During certain activities, indoor levels of VOCs may reach 1,000 times that of the outside air.

Voltage, Volts 
The electrical force, or pressure that pushes the current over the conductors. Volts are the measurement units

A material used to clad the lower portion of a wall.

An application of wood paneling up to the middle or lower half of a wall

Waste pipe 
The pipe that carries water and waste away from a water using fixture.

Water closet 
A term for an indoor privy where water was used to wash down human waste.

Water Hammer 
The jolt in a water pipe that occurs when the water is suddenly shut off.

Water vapor 
Water in its gaseous form.

The unit of measurement for electrical power. The power in watts equals the voltage times the amperage.

The amount of energy consumed by the lamp used to find the most economical lamp among those lamps powerful enough to provide the proper footcandle level on the workplane.

The interior members of a truss or thin center portion of a beam or I-joist.

Wet Bulb Temperature 
The lowest temperature level of the air that can be reached by cooling the air by evaporation.

Wet spa bed 
A massage table with a shallow pool that holds water and drains.

Wet wall 
A wall containing supply lines and soil and waste lines usually constructed of 2X6’s or 2X8’s.

A bath with jets that move warm water into a swirling motion, jetted bathtub.

A bathing fixture equipped with jets around the bottom to circulate warm water under the pressure of a pump.

White Wire 
The neutral wire in a cable.

Whole house ventilation system 
A mechanical ventilation system that continuously ventilates the home by pulling outside air into the house and exhausting indoor air; heat recovery or energy recovery ventilation systems increase energy efficiency by using heat exchangers (sometimes called air to air heat exchangers) to pre-heat or pre-cool the incoming air with the exhaust air.

Wind Power 
The conversion of energy from the wind into electricity. Surplus electricity is often stored in a battery storage system for later use, or the power is passed back to the utility, making the electric meter turn in reverse.

Window of Enthusiasm 
A given period of time in which a project is tolerated by the client.

Witness Lines 
Terminate dimension lines with arrows, dots or slashes; also known as extension lines.

Work aisle 
Space needed to work at the kitchen work centers.

Work center 
Comprised of an appliance or sink, surrounding landing/work area, and storage.

Work Triangle 
The distance between the three primary work centers (cooking surface, clean-up/prep primary sink, and refrigeration). Ideally between 12 and 26 feet in total length.

Actual or implied height at which an activity takes place; at this height an imaginary plane which cuts through the entire room is assumed. It is on this workplane that the footcandle measurement is taken. For a kitchen, the countertop is the workplane at 3 feet above the floor, the bath can be anywhere from 2-1/2 to 3 feet, a dining room or desk is 2-1/2 feet.

Y-shaped pipe fittings with an in-line inlet and outlet and a second outlet that branches off at an angle in the DWV system.

Lighting produced by current arcing between two electrodes in an extremely small tube filled with inert gases. Xenon lamps are similar to halogen lamps in their characteristics, and are made with electrodes in a small tube filled with an inert gas. These lamps do not burn as hot as halogen lamps and are not as fragile. They operate at a lower voltage than the standard 120v, thus requiring a transformer.

A section of a building that is served by one heating and cooling loop to meet distinct heating and cooling needs.