Help with those Trade and DIY terms
Here’s our list of regularly used Trade and DIY terms.
Technically substance that can donate a hydrogen ion (H+) to another substance. Acids have a pH less than 7.0. Example products containing acid include hydrochloric acid industrial brick and patio cleaners for removing dirt, algae and moss on paved areas, walls, concrete surfaces, brickwork and patios. Products containing strong amounts of acid should be used by trained technicians only.
Material such as sand or gravel used with cement and water to make concrete, mortar, plaster or tarmac repair.
Algae is an informal term for a large group of photosynthetic eukaryotic organisms. Usually found on roofs, walls, patios and external damp areas.
Ampere, the unit for the measurement of electric current.
Anything that destroys bacteria or suppresses their growth or their ability to reproduce.
Tar-like substance used as a binder for aggregates such as gravel or sand and commonly used for roads, paving and flat roofs.
The floor of a building which is partly or entirely below ground level.
British Board of Agrément. The BBA are in charge of the Agrément Certificate product approval work.
A sealant product or moulding used to decorate or conceal joints.
Something which is able to decay naturally and in a way that is not harmful to the environment.
Black, sticky substance similar to asphalt, used in mineral felts, sealants and damp-proof courses.
A substance of, containing, or of the nature of bitumen.
Generic name for any chemical product which is used industrially and domestically to clean, and to remove stains. Commonly refers to a dilute solution of sodium hypochlorite known as ‘liquid bleach’.
2009 Code of Practice for Protection of Structures Against Water from the Ground is a design document whose purpose is to inform the designer of the various methods of waterproofing available and to assist in the correct specification of those systems.
A flexible material available in sheets used for flat roof coverings and pond liners.
A flexible compound used to seal cracks and fill holes on a variety of surfaces.
Cavity wall insulation
Filling of wall cavities by one of various forms of insulation material, such as polystyrene beads, foam or fibreglass.
A room below ground level in a house that is often used for storing wine, coal or other specific purpose. A cellar is often smaller than a basement.
Dry powder adhesive used to bind ingredients together when making concrete.
Refers to the nature of cement products which comprise of a glue that holds the concrete together.
A round stone for paving. Often shortened to cobble.
A stone that forms the top of wall or building.
County Surveyors’ Society.
Damp-proof course DPC
Layer of damp-proof material between the courses of bricks near the bottom of exterior walls often referred to as DPC.
Plasterboarding walls and ceilings by fixing sheets of pre-plastered boards to a timber frame or metal channels.
The damage caused to timber and other materials by a fungal attack.
Filling larger voids in an uneven surface before plastering or rendering, often using brick or tile to avoid extra thickness.
Not harmful to the environment.
Found as a sign of rising damp and refers to the migration of a salt to the surface of a porous wall, where it forms a coating. Taken from the French ‘to flower out’.
The narrow gap filled with treated fibreboard between bays of concrete to allow for expansion and contraction.
A flat surface, usually made of wood, that covers the end of roof rafters and on which the guttering is fixed.
Flaking (see also Spalling)
Surface flaking in natural stone is an indicator of sub-florescence where mineral salts are carried into the stone by moisture and accumulate beneath the stone’s surface, creating stress within the pores of the stone. This is particularly damaging for external stone exposed to frost.
Waterproof material used to seal exterior joints such as between the roof and walls or chimney; or where two roof planes meet.
A compound used to fill the gaps between ceramic tiles.
Timber generally from deciduous trees, used in construction e.g. oak, ash, beach and birch.
Highways Authorities Product Approval Scheme
Any material used to prevent or limit the passage of heat or sound. Also a non-conductive material surrounding electrical wires or cores.
Timber or steel beams for supporting floors and ceilings.
The process of creating a rough surface to provide a better grip for plaster, paint or adhesive.
The insulation material used to wrap around pipes and tanks in unheated areas to prevent freezing. Also, used on hot water tanks to prevent heat loss.
A sealant used to waterproof joints with a flexible, rubbery consistency even when dry.
In waterproofing a membrane is a layer of water-tight material applied to a surface in order to waterproof it.
A coat made of watered down paint and applied in as thin layer on new plaster on walls to seal it and prevent peeling.
A mixture of sand, cement and water used in bricklaying and rendering.
A fungus that grows in the form of multicellular filaments called hyphae. Often found in damp building materials with a like stain-like appearance. A musty smell is an early sign of mould and if unchecked leads to poor indoor air quality. Dry Rot is a highly destructive mould.
UK-based system of construction specification used by architects and other building professionals to describe the materials, standards and workmanship of a construction project.
An upright post fixed at the foot of a stair or at a point of a change of direction and used as a support for a balustrade.
A metal ring used in plumbing to create a seal for brass compression joints.
Material used for paving, the person who lays it or the machine used to ram down pavement.
Polyurethane (PUR and PU) is a polymer composed of organic units joined by carbamate (urethane) links. Used in Polyurethane Liquid Membrane for waterproofing.
Specially formulated grout for porcelain paving.
Polyurethane resin – a synthetic resin.
Is the abbreviation for Polyvinyl acetate which is a synthetic resin that can be used as an adhesive or, when diluted with water, a sealer on porous surfaces.
PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) is a thermoplastic material used extensively in the construction industry. Uses include insulation for electric wire, roofing sheets, and soft floor tiles. PVC is also used in rigid form to manufacture guttering, drain pipes and window frames.
A square or diamond-shaped unglazed floor tile.
RAL is a colour matching system used in Europe.
A serious damp problem caused by moisture from the ground rising through the walls or floor of the house.
Abbreviation for Rolled Steel Joist.
SBR stands for Styrene Butadiene Rubber. Commonly used to strengthen mortar and concrete.
A thin layer of mortar applied to the surface of a concrete floor to give it a smooth finish.
A flexible, waterproof substance used for sealing along joints. Normally applied using a cartridge applicator.
A small rectangular paving block made of stone, such as granite, used to provide a durable path, patio or driveway.
A mixture of denser than water solids suspended in water or other liquid. Used in cementitious waterproofing.
Spall (see also Flaking)
The result of water entering brick, concrete, stone, plaster etc. resulting in the surface peeling or flaking off. Also known as flaking, especially in limestone.
Square Metres or Feet
Area is measured in ‘square’ units with the area of a square = side x side. Coverage is often quoted in square metres m² or square feet ft²
An underlying layer or substance.
To create a tank-like seal with waterproof material to protect walls and floors against water penetration, particularly in basements and cellars.
A type of waterproofing where sheets of waterproof material are applied to walls and floors above or below ground to prevent water ingress. Most commonly used to protect buildings against penetrating damp or as part of a cavity drainage system.
A material that creates a barrier to water leakage in basements and cellars. Often used for converting a damp unusable basement or cellar into a usable dry space.
A paving material that consists of crushed stone rolled and bound with a mixture of tar and bitumen. Used for a roads, paths, patios, motorways, airport runways etc. Short for Tarmacadam.
The finishing coat applied to an undercoat or first coat, usually in reference to paint or plaster.
The foundation coats applied before the topcoat.
UPVC (unplasticised polyvinyl chloride) is a rigid plastic material widely used in the construction industry in the form of pipes, guttering, window and doorframes, fascias and soffits.
A granular material with thermal insulating properties which is used as loose-fill loft insulation. It can also be mixed with cement to form a lightweight, fire-resistant concrete.
The cladding or ‘siding’ of a house consisting of long thin timber boards that overlap one another, either vertically or horizontally on the outside of the wall.