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glossary of garage building terms

Anchor Bolt - A metal connector device used to connect a wood mudsill to a concrete wall or slab.

Batterboards - Scrap lumber nailed horizontally to stakes driven near each corner of the foundation excavation. Stretch nylon strings between batterboards to transfer reference points and to measure elevation.

Beam - Beams are horizontal structural members that are supported by vertical posts. Beams are typically constructed from 2 or more 2xs, 4x material, or engineered lumber.

Bottom Plate - In stud wall framing, the bottom horizontal member of the wall. Also known as the soleplate.

Bridging - Wood or metal cross pieces fastened between floor joists to provide structural strength.

Cantilever - Refers to the end portion of a joist that extends beyond the beam.

Casing - Molding around door and window openings.

Codes - Regulations implemented by your local building department, which control the design and construction of buildings and other structures. Consult your local building department for applicable codes before you begin your construction project.

Collar Beam - A connecting member used between rafters to strengthen the roof structure.

Cornice - The structure created at the eave overhang, which typically consists of fascia board, soffit, and moldings.

Cripple Studs - Short studs that strengthen window and door openings or the gable end of a roof. Also known as jack studs.

Darby - A flat tool with two handles used for spreading concrete, plaster or stucco.

Defect - Any defect in lumber whether a result of a manufacturing imperfection or an irregularity in the timber from which the lumber was cut. Some defects are only blemishes while others can reduce strength and durability. Grading rules establish the extent and severity of wood defects.

Drip Edge - Angled metal or wood located on the outer edge of the roof. Drip edge prevents water penetration.

Drywall - A gypsum panel used to finish interior walls. Also known as plasterboard or sheet rock.

Eave - The roof overhang projecting beyond the exterior wall.

Edge - The narrowest side of a piece of lumber that is perpendicular to both the face and the end.

Elevation - Drawing of a structure as it will appear from the front, rear, left and right sides.

Engineered Lumber - Refers to beams or rafters constructed from wood fiber and glue such as glu-lams, micro-lams, or wood I-beams. Often superior in strength and durability to dimensional lumber.

Face - The widest side of a piece of lumber that is perpendicular to both the edge and the end.

Fascia - Trim used along the eave or gable end.

Finish - Any protective coating applied to your structure to protect against weathering. Finishes are available as stains, paints, or preservatives.

Flakeboard - A panel material made from compressed wood chips bonded with resin. Also known as oriented strand board (OSB) or chipboard.

Flashing - Metal material used on the roof and eaves to prevent moisture penetration.

Fly Rafters - Rafters at the gable end that “fly” unsupported by the tie plate. Also known as rack, barge, or verge rafters.

Footing - Concrete footings help to anchor your foundation or piers in the surrounding soil and distribute weight over a larger surface area. In climates where the soil freezes, a generous footing protects against soil heaves and structural slippage.

Frieze - A horizontal framing member that connects the siding with the soffit.

Frost Line - Measure of the maximum penetration of frost in the soil in a given geographic location. Depth of frost penetration varies with climate conditions.

Furring - Narrow strips of wood attached to walls or other surfaces that serve as a fastening base for drywall.

Gable - The triangular end of the roof structure formed by the roof framing.

Galvanized Nails - Hot-dipped galvanized nails (HDG) are dipped in zinc and will not rust.

Girder - Same as beam.

Grade Stamp - A stamp imprinted on dimensional lumber that identifies wood species, grade, texture, moisture content, and usage. Grade descriptions such as select, finish, and common signify limiting characteristics that may occur in lumber in each grade. The stamp indicates a uniform measurement of performance that permits lumber of a given grade to be used for the same purpose, regardless of the manufacturer.

Grading - The process of excavating, leveling, and compacting the soil or gravel beneath your foundation to its desired finish level. Proper grading avoids drainage problems.

Grain - Lumber shows either a flat or vertical grain depending on how it was cut from the log. To minimize warping along the face of lumber (known as cupping) and raising of the grain, you should place flat grain lumber with the bark side up or facing out.

Header - A horizontal load-bearing support member over an opening in the wall such as window or door openings.

Heartwood - Core of the log that resists decay.

Hip Rafter - A short rafter that forms the hip of a roof and runs from the corner of a wall to the ridge board. Usually set at a 45-degree angle to the walls. Jack Rafter - A short rafter that runs from the ridge board to a hip or valley rafter or from the hip rafter to the tie plate.

Joist - Lumber that is set on edge and supports a floor, decking, or ceiling. Joists in turn are supported by beams and posts.

Joist Hanger - A metal connector available in many sizes and styles that attaches to a ledge or rim joist and makes a secure butt joint between ledger and joist.

Lag Screw - Heavy-duty fastener with hexagonal bolt head that provides extra fastening power for critical structural connections. Use galvanized lag screws to prevent rust.

Ledger - A horizontal support member to which joists or other support members are attached.

Let-in Brace - Usually a 1x4 corner brace in a wall section that runs diagonally from the bottom to top plate.

Look-out - Blocking which extends from an inner common rafter to the fly rafters at the gable ends.

Metal Connectors - Used to augment or replace nails as fasteners, metal connectors are critical for lasting and sturdy garage construction.

Moisture Content - Moisture content of wood is the weight of water in wood expressed as a percentage of the weight of wood from which all water has been removed. The drier the lumber the less the lumber will shrink and warp. Surfaced lumber with a moisture content of 19% or less is known as dry lumber and is typically grade stamped as “S-DRY.” Moisture content over 19% results in a “S-GRN” stamp to indicate surfaced green.

Mudsill - The part of the wall framing that contacts the foundation. It should be pressure-treated to resist moisture and decay. Also known as the sill plate.

Outrigger - An extension of a rafter at the eave used to form a cornice or overhang on a roof.

Pea Gravel - Approximately 1/4'' round gravel material used in a 4''-6'' layer to cover the soil under your concrete slab.

Perpendicular - At a 90 degree or right angle.

Pilot Hole - A slightly undersized hole drilled in lumber that prevents splitting of the wood when nailed.

Pitch - A measurement of roof slope. Expressed as the ratio of the total rise divided by the span.

Plumb - Absolutely vertical. Determined with either a plumb bob or spirit level.

Post - A vertical support member that bears the weight of the joists and beams. Typically posts are at least 4x4 lumber.

Pressure-Treated - Refers to the process of forcing preservative compounds into the fiber of the wood. Handle pressure-treated lumber with caution and do not inhale or burn its sawdust. Certain types of pressure-treated lumber are suitable for ground contact use while others must be used above ground. While more expensive than untreated lumber, pressure-treated wood resists decay and is recommended where naturally decay-resistant species like cedar or redwood are unavailable or too costly.

Purlin - A horizontal member of the roof framing that supports rafters or spans between trusses.

Rafter - A roof framing member that extends from the top plate to the ridge board and supports the roof sheathing and roofing material.

Rake - The inclined end area of a gable roof.

Redwood - Decay-resistant and stable wood for exterior use. Heartwood grades provide the greatest decay resistance.

Reinforcing Bar - A steel rod that provides internal reinforcement for concrete piers and foundations. Also known as rebar.

Ridge Board - A 1x or typically 2x member on edge at the roof’s peak to which the rafters are connected.

Right Triangle, 6-8-10 or 3-4-5 - A means of insuring squareness when you lay out your foundations. Mark a vertical line at exactly 8'-0'' from the angle you want to square. Then mark a horizontal line at exactly 6'-0'' from the crossing vertical line. Measure the distance diagonally between both the 6'-0'' and 8'-0'' marks and when the distance measures 10'-0'' exactly you have squared a 90 degree angle between lines.

Rise - In roof construction the vertical distance the ridge rises above the top plate at the center of the span.

Rough Sill - The lowest framing member of a door or window opening.

Scale - A system of representation in plan drawing where small dimensions represent an equivalent large dimension. Most construction plans are said to be scaled down. Scale is expressed as an equation such as 1/4''=1'-0''.

Screed - A straight piece of lumber used to level wet concrete or the gravel.

Sheathing - Exterior sheet (typically 4' x 8') material fastened to the rafter or exterior stud walls.

Slope - A measurement of inclination and is expressed as a percentage of units of vertical rise per units of horizontal distance.

Soffit - The underside of the roof overhang. Soffits can either be closed or open (thus exposing the roof rafters).

Span - The distance between two opposing walls as measured from the outside of the top plates or the distance between two beam supports that are measured from center to center.

Spirit Level - A sealed cylinder with a transparent tube nearly filled with liquid forming a bubble used to indicate true vertical and horizontal alignment when the bubble is centered in the length of the tube.

String Level - A spirit level mounted in a frame with prongs at either end for hanging on a string. Determines level across string lines.

Stud - The vertical framing member of a wall.

T1-11 Siding - Exterior siding material with vertical grooves usually 8'' on center.

Tie Plate - The framing member nailed to the top plates in order to connect and align wall sections. Also known as the cap plate or second top plate.

Toenail - To drive a nail at an angle. When you toenail a post to a beam for example, drive the nail so that one-half the nail is in each member.

Top Plate - The horizontal top part of the wall framing perpendicular to the wall studs.

Tongue and Groove - Refers to the milling of lumber so that adjacent parts interlock for added strength and durability.

Trimmer Stud - The stud adjacent to window or door opening studs, which strengthen the opening and bear the weight of the window or door headers. Also known as a jack stud.

Truss - A triangular prefabricated unit for supporting a roof load over a span. Trusses are relatively lightweight and can offer an easier method of roof construction for the novice.

Valley Rafter - A rafter running from a tie plate at the corner of a wall along the roof valley and up to the ridge.