Understanding Home Construction Terms

If you are remodeling or building your new home from the ground up, you have probably heard some terms that you are unfamiliar with.  Architects and builders have a language all their own, which can make it problematic for a homeowner to fully understand what it is they are trying to explain.  With this in mind, we thought it might be helpful to put together some of the most regularly used terms when it comes to renovating or building your home.  To begin, we will start with terms used to describe the roof and certain aspect pertaining to that section of the home.

  • Pitched Roof – This term is used to describe a roof that feature angles and does not lie flat.  But when discussing pitched roofs, there are different styles.  A gabled roof features triangles at the ends while a hipped roof refers to a roof that may feature a ridge at the top and the corners often contain more ridges that run at an angle. 

Next we will discuss windows and the different terms that are used when describing them.  There are typically two types of windows that are commonly used in homes one is a double-hung window and the other are casement windows.

  • Double-Hung – A double-hung window are the types of windows that open by sliding the bottom up or down.  These types of windows are commonly used in homes with an American colonial heritage.  A window that only opens either on the top or bottom is called a single-hung window.
  • Casement Windows – These types of windows are hinged on one side much like a door and are usually opened by using a hand crank.  These types of windows are common in homes that are designed on European styles. 
  • Head – This term is used to describe the top of the window frame.  The bottom, sides and sill are referred to as jambs.
  • Muntins – This term is used to describe the bars that are found going across and up and down on windows. 

While these are only a few of the most commonly confused terms used by builders and architects, you will now have an informed idea of what the builders are referring to when discussing these two areas of your home.  The more educated you are during the home building or renovating process, the better you can communicate your needs and wants with the builder.  By becoming familiar with the terms used to describe certain areas of your home, you will no longer feel left out of the loop and feel like you are missing something.  And if your builder ever uses a term that you unfamiliar with, stop them and ask them to explain what the term refers to.  

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