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Jargon buster: a glossary of trade terms and terminologies

Does your builder, plumber or gas installer use technical jargon when talking to you? If they do, it’s worth asking them to rephrase their words using plain English. In the meantime, we’ve compiled a list of terms that are often used in the trade world to help you get one step ahead. Keep checking back, as we’ll be adding to this jargon list on a regular basis.

Abrasives - Substances rubbed onto hard surfaces, such as wood, to smooth, polish or clean a surface.

ABS pipe -  A type of (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) plastic pipe used in plumbing. The pipe is resistant to heat and chemicals. 

Ageing - Giving something an aged appearance by staining or denting a surface or material. Also known as antiquing or distressing.

Balustrade - A barrier that is, generally, waist-height. It is a precaution against accidents and people falling from heights especially if there is a change in floor-level e.g. on balconies or staircases. 

Bath apron -  A section of protective covering from the floor to the bathtub's rim.

Catalytic Converter - In a car, this is part  of the exhaust system that converts potentially harmful/polluting gases into carbon dioxide and water.

Caulk - A sealant and waterproof filler used for building work and repairs. It can also be a verb e.g. "to caulk the cracks" meaning to fill a gap with caulk. 

Chase - An opening made in a wall to accommodate pipes or ducts.

Dampproofing - To apply a coating on foundation walls or underneath concrete slabs to stop moisture from entering into the house.

Decking - decking can be either the material used to build an exterior deck or the material used to build indoor flooring systems.

Double-hung windows - Windows that consist of two sashes that are able to slide vertically.

Dry rot - In the advanced stage of dry rot, wood can be decayed to the point that it it is easily crushed by hand. 

Fascia - The board which is long and straight and runs along the lower edge of the roof, to support the the bottom row of tiles and carrying all the guttering. 

Flapper or flush ball - Usually found in newer WCs, the flapper is the rubber ball at the bottom of the cistern that allows water to flush. 

Flue - A duct, pipe, or opening in a chimney for conveying exhaust gases from a fireplace, furnace, water heater, boiler, or generator to the outdoors.

Gasket - A thin material that expands to fill in gaps and imperfections between surfaces. 

Parts Per Million - Commonly used in water samples or power flushing to indicate levels of contamination.
 
Pruning - Trimming and cutting away dead or overgrown branches on trees and plants to stimulate growth.

PRV - A Pressure relief valve controls the pressure in a vessel for e.g. a boiler. 

Rendering - Simply, this is the appliance of plaster to a wall.

Repointing - Weathering and ageing can lead to the joints between bricks to decay. Repointing repairs these joints and protects the property from external conditions. 

Soffit - Usually tucked under the fascia board, it can be ventilated to allow air to flow into the roof. Sometimes it can be over the top of the fascia board, but the necessary ventilation is important otherwise condensation will come into the roof and increase the likelihood of timber decay. 
 
Upholstery - Fitting furniture with springs, seats,  padding, webbing or fabric covers to make them comfortable.

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