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Vintage Style Garage Plan 624-1
Garage plan 576-7 by Behm Design image as built by Ray - garage is shown under construction

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" Thank you so much Jay,
I will do some pricing, and see what I come up with.  What a great company you have.  Very nice plans and very nicely presented in your web site. Thanks so much for helping me figure out the next step.
- B.W. "
"Jay, I want to thank you for the plans. I was able to obtain my permit in about 2 hours.  Next step is to price out the material........ Thank you very much
"..Built the garage this spring and it turned out fantastic. Building codes here are rather strict, but the inspector did not find a single flaw in design or construction. I love the design and my new shop/garage."  -Gerald M.


Aggregate- A mixture of sand and stone - a major component of concrete.

Anchor bolts - Bolts embedded into concrete foundation to secure a treated bottom wall plate to the foundation
Apron - A slab of concrete in front of a garage door, usually sloped up to nearly top of garage slab floor
Attic access- An opening that is placed in the drywalled ceiling providing access to the attic.
Attic Truss (attic storage truss) - A truss configured to create a void space within the trusses which can be used for attic (storage) or living space. If attic use the floor part of the truss is designed for a 20 #/sq. ft. L.L. (live load). If living space L.L. is 40#/sq. ft.
Attic Ventilation- Screened openings provided to ventilate an attic space, often as a vent strip in the soffit or as holes through a 2 x thick blocking between roof framing or trusses at top of wall, typ.. (vented blocking or frieze blocks)


Backfill - The replacement of excavated earth into a trench around or against a foundation wall.
Backing- Frame lumber installed between the wall studs to give additional support for drywall or an interior trim related item, such as handrail brackets, cabinets, and towel bars. In this way, items are screwed and mounted into solid wood rather than weak drywall that may allow the item to break loose from the wall.

Balusters - Vertical members in a railing used between a top rail and bottom rail or the stair treads. Sometimes referred to as 'pickets' or 'spindles'.

Balustrade- The rail, posts and vertical balusters along the edge of a stairway or elevated walkway.

Base or baseboard- A trim board placed against the wall around the room next to the floor.

Batt - A section of fiber-glass or rock-wool insulation measuring 15 or 23 inches wide by four to eight feet long and various thickness'.  Sometimes "faced" (meaning to have a paper covering on one side) or "unfaced" (without paper).

Batten- Narrow strips of wood used to cover joints or as decorative vertical members over plywood or wide boards.

Bay window - Any window space projecting outward from the walls of a building.

Beam - A structural member transversely supporting a load. A structural member carrying building loads (weight) from one support to another. Sometimes called a "girder".

Bearing point - A point where a bearing or structural weight is concentrated and transferred to the foundation

Bearing wall-  A wall that supports any vertical load in addition to its own weight.

Bifold door - Doors that are hinged in the middle for opening in a smaller area than standard swing doors.
Blocked (rafters)- Short "2 by 4's" used to keep rafters from twisting, and installed at the ends

Blocking- Small wood pieces to brace framing members or to provide a nailing base for gypsum board or paneling.

Boom- A truck used to hoist heavy material up and into place. To put trusses on a home or to set a heavy beam into place.

Bottom chord - The lower or bottom horizontal member of a truss.

Bottom plate- The "2 by 4's or 6's" that lay on the subfloor upon which the vertical studs are installed. Also called the 'sole plate'.

Brace- An inclined piece of framing lumber applied to wall or floor to strengthen the structure. Often used on walls as temporary bracing until framing has been completed.

Breaker panel- The electrical box that distributes electric power entering the home to each branch circuit (each plug and switch) and composed of circuit breakers.

Brick ledge- Part of the foundation wall where brick (veneer) will rest.

Brick mold-Trim used around an exterior door jamb that siding or brick veneer butts to.

Brick tie- A small, corrugated metal strip @ 1" X 6"- 8" long nailed to wall sheeting or studs. They are inserted into the grout mortar joint of the veneer brick, and holds the veneer wall to the sheeted wall behind it.

Brick veneer- A vertical facing of brick laid against and fastened to sheathing of a framed wall or tile wall construction.

Bridging- Small wood or metal members that are inserted in a diagonal position between the floor joists or rafters at mid-span for the purpose of bracing the joists/rafters & spreading the load.

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

Building paper- A general term for papers, felts, and similar sheet materials used in buildings without reference to their properties or uses. Generally comes in long rolls.

Built-up roof- A roofing composed of three to five layers of asphalt felt laminated with coal tar, pitch, or asphalt. The top is finished with crushed slag or gravel. Generally used on flat or low-pitched roofs.

Bull nose (drywall)- Rounded drywall corners.

Bundle - A package of shingles. Normally, there are 3 bundles per square and 27 shingles per bundle.

Butt edge- The lower edge of the shingle tabs.

Butt hinge- The most common type. One leaf attaches to the door's edge, the other to its jamb.

Butt joint- The junction where the end of one member meets another member, and also where sheets of drywall meet on the 4 foot edge. By pass doors- Doors that slide by each other and commonly used as closet doors.

Casement Window- A window with hinges on one of the vertical sides and swings open like a normal door

Casing- Wood trim molding installed around a door or window opening.

Caulking- (1) A flexible material used to seal a gap between two surfaces e.g. between pieces of siding or the corners in tub walls. (2) To fill a joint with mastic or asphalt plastic cement to prevent leaks.

Ceiling joist- One of a series of parallel framing members used to support ceiling loads and supported in turn by larger beams, girders or bearing walls. Also called roof joists.

Cement- The gray powder that is the "glue" in concrete. Portland cement. Also, any adhesive.

Ceramic tile- A man-made or machine-made clay tile used to finish a floor or wall. Generally used in bathtuband shower enclosures and on counter tops.

CFM (cubic feet per minute)- A rating that expresses the amount of air a blower or fan can move. The volume of air (measured in cubic feet) that can pass through an opening in one minute.

Collar Tie  - Nominal 1x or 2x thick members connecting opposite roof rafters just below ridgeboard. They prevent rafters from moving due to wind and roof loads.

Concrete- The mixture of Portland cement, sand, gravel, and water. Used to make garage and basement floors, sidewalks, patios, foundation walls, etc. It is commonly reinforced with steel rods (rebar) or wire screening (mesh).

Concrete block - A hollow concrete 'brick' often 8" x 8" x 16"

Condensation- Beads or drops of water (and frequently frost in extremely cold weather) that accumulate on the inside of the exterior covering of a building. Use of louvers or attic ventilators will reduce moisture condensation in attics. A vapor barrier under the gypsum lath or dry wall on exposed walls will reduce condensation.

Contractor- A company licensed to perform certain types of construction activities. In most states, the general contractor's license and some specialty contractor's licenses don't require of compliance with bonding, workmen's compensation and similar regulations. Some of the specialty contractor licenses involve extensive training, testing and/or insurance requirements. There are various types of contractors:  
    · General contractor - responsible for the execution, supervision and overall coordination of a project and may also perform some ofthe individual construction tasks. Most general contractors are not licensed to perform all specialty trades and must hire specialty contractors for such tasks, e.g. electrical, plumbing.
   · Remodeling contractor - a general contractor who specializes in remodeling work.  
   · Specialty contractor - licensed to perform a specialty task e.g. electrical, side sewer, asbestos abatement.  
   · Sub contractor - a general or specialty contractor who works for another general contractor.  

Control joint- Tooled, straight grooves made on concrete floors to "control" where the concrete should crack

Corner boards- Used as trim for the external corners of a house or other frame structure against which the ends of the siding are finished.

Course- A row of shingles or roll roofing running the length of the roof. Parallel layers of building materials suchas bricks, or siding laid up horizontally.

Crawl space- A shallow space below the living quarters of a house, normally enclosed by the foundation wall and having a dirt floor.

Cripple- Short vertical "2 by 4's or 6's" frame lumber installed above a window or door.

Cross bridging- Diagonal bracing between adjacent floor joists, placed near the center of the joist span to prevent joists from twisting

Dormer- An opening in a sloping roof, the framing of which projects out to form a vertical wall suitable for  windows or other openings. 

Double hung window- A window with two vertically sliding sashes, both of which can move up and down.

Drip- (a) A member of a cornice or other horizontal exterior finish course that has a projection beyond the other parts for throwing off water.(b) A groove in the underside of a sill or drip cap to cause water to drop off on the outer edge instead of drawing back and running down the face of the building.
Drip Flashing- A flashing that is formed to  flow water to an extended or angled, projecting tip. Used over windows, doors and some trim boards, as well as roof edges.

Drywall (or Gypsum Wallboard (GWB), Sheet rock or Plasterboard) - Wall board or gypsum- A manufactured panel made out of gypsum plaster and encased in a thin cardboard. Usually 1/2" thick and 4' x 8' or 4' x 12' in size. The panels are nailed or screwed onto the framing and the joints are taped and covered with a 'joint compound'. 'Green board' type drywall has a greater resistance to moisture than regular (white) plasterboard and is used in bathrooms and other "wet areas".

Earthquake Strap- A metal strap used to secure gas hot water heaters to the framing or foundation of a house. Intended to reduce the chances of having the water heater fall over in an earthquake and causing a gas leak.

Easement- A formal contract which allows a party to use another party's property for a specific purpose. e.g. A sewer easement might allow one party to run a sewer line through a neighbors property.

Eaves- The horizontal exterior roof overhang.

Egress- A means of exiting the home. An egress window is required in every bedroom and basement. Normally a 4' X 4' window is the minimum size required

Estimate- The amount of labor, materials, and other costs that a contractor anticipates for a project assummarized in the contractor's bid proposal for the project.

Expansive soils- Earth that swells and contracts depending on the amount of water that is present. ("Betonite"is an expansive soil).
Exposed aggregate finish- A method of finishing concrete which washes the cement/sand mixture off the top layer of the aggregate - usually gravel. Often used in driveways, patios and other exterior surfaces.
Face nail- To install nails into the vertical face of a bearing header or beam.

Fascia- Horizontal boards attached to rafter/truss ends at the eaves and along gables. Roof drain gutters are attached to the fascia.

Felt- Tar paper. Installed under the roof shingles. Normally 15 lb. or 30 lb.

Fire block- Short horizontal members sometimes nailed between studs, usually about halfway up a wall. See lso 'Fire stop'.

Fire block- Short horizontal members sometimes nailed between studs, usually about halfway up a wall. See also 'Fire stop'.

Flatwork- Common word for concrete floors, driveways, basements, and sidewalks.

Fluorescent lighting- A fluorescent lamp is a gas-filled glass tube with a phosphur coating on the inside.  Gas inside the tube is ionized by electricity which causes the phosphur coating to glow.  Normally with two pins that extend from each end.

Footer, footing- Continuous 8" or 10" thick concrete pad installed before and supports the foundation wall or monopost.

Form- Temporary structure erected to contain concrete during placing and initial hardening.

Foundation- The supporting portion of a structure below the first floor construction, or below grade, including the footings.

Foundation ties- Metal wires that hold the foundation wall panels and rebar in place during the concrete pour.

Foundation waterproofing- High-quality below-grade moisture protection. Used for below-grade exterior concrete and masonry wall damp-proofing to seal out moisture and prevent corrosion. Normally looks like black tar.

Frame Inspection- The act of inspecting the home's structural integrity and it's compliance to local codes.

Framer-The carpenter contractor that installs the lumber and erects the frame, flooring system, interior walls, backing, trusses, rafters, decking, installs all beams, stairs, soffits and all work related to the wood structure of the home. The framer builds the home according to the blueprints and must comply with local building codes and regulations.

Framing- Lumber used for the structural members of a building, such as studs, joists, and rafters.

Frost line- The depth of frost penetration in soil and/or the depth at which the earth will freeze and swell. This depth varies in different parts of the country.

Furring strips- Strips of wood, often 1 X 2 and used to shim out and provide a level fastening surface for a wallor ceiling.


GFC I, or G F I- Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter- an ultra sensitive plug designed to shut off all electric current. Used in bathrooms, kitchens, exterior waterproof outlets, garage outlets, and "wet areas". Has a small reset button on the plug.

General Contractor - A contractor who enters into a contract with the owner of a project for the construction of the project and who takes full responsibility for its completion, although the contractor may enter into subcontracts with others for the performance of specific parts or phases of the project

Girder- A large or principal beam of wood or steel used to support concentrated loads at isolated points along its length.

Glazing- The process of installing glass, which commonly is secured with glazier's points and glazing compound. A;so refers to the windows or "fenestration" of a building.

Glued Laminated Beam (Glulam)- A structural beam composed of horizontal wood laminations, pressure bonded with adhesives to attain a typical thickness of 1 ½" . (It looks like 5 or more 2 X 4's are glued together).

Grade- Ground level, or the elevation at any given point. Also the work of leveling dirt. Also the designatedquality of a manufactured piece of wood.

Grade beam- A foundation wall that is poured @ level with or just below the grade of theearth. An example isthe area where the 8' or 16' overhead garage door "block out" is located.
Grain- The direction, size, arrangement, appearance, or quality of the fibers in wood.

Grid- The completed assembly of main and cross tees in a suspended ceiling system before the ceiling panels are installed. Also the decorative slats (munton) installed between glass panels.

Grout- A wet mixture of cement, sand and water that flows into masonry or ceramic crevices to seal the cracks between the different pieces. Mortar made of such consistency (by adding water) that it will flow into the joints and cavities of the masonry work and fill them solid.

Gusset- A flat wood, plywood, or similar type member used to provide a connection at the intersection of wood members. Most commonly used at joints of wood trusses. They are fastened by nails, screws, bolts, oradhesives.

Gutter- A shallow channel or conduit of metal or wood set below and along the (fascia) eaves of a house to catch and carry off rainwater from the roof.

Gypboard- Drywall. Wall board or gypsum- A panel (normally 4' X 8', 10', 12', or 16')made with a core of gypsum (chalk-like) rock, which covers interior walls and ceilings.

H Clip- Small metal clips formed like an "H" that fits at the joints of two plywood (or wafer board) sheets to stiffen the joint. Normally used on the roof sheeting.

Hardware- All of the "metal" fittings that go into the home when it is near completion. For example, door knobs,towel bars, handrail brackets, closet rods, house numbers, door closers, etc. The Interior Trim Carpenter installs the "hardware".

Header- (a) A beam placed perpendicular to joists and to which joists are nailed inframing for a chimney, stairway, or other opening. (b) A wood lintel. (c) The horizontal structural member over an opening (for example over a door or window).

Hearth- The fireproof area directly in front of a fireplace. The inner or outer floor of a fireplace, usually made of brick, tile, or stone.

Heel cut- A notch cut in the end of a rafter to permit it to fit flat on a wall and on the top, doubled, exterior wall plate.
Hip- A roof with four sloping sides. The external angle formed by the meeting of two sloping sides of a roof.
Hip (or Hipped) roof- A roof that rises by inclined planes from all four sides of a building.

Hose bib- An exterior water faucet (sill cock).
Hurricane clip- Metal straps that are nailed and secure the roof rafters and trusses to the top horizontal wall plate.
H V A C- An abbreviation for Heat, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning

I-Beam- A steel beam with a cross section resembling the letter I. It is used for long spans as basement beams or over wide wall openings, such as a double garage door, when wall and roof loads bear down on the opening.

I-joist- Manufactured structural building component resembling the letter "I". Used as floor joists and rafters. I-joists include two key parts: flanges and webs. The flange of the I joist may be made of laminated veneer lumber or dimensional lumber, usually formed into a 1 ½" width. The web or center of the I-joist is commonly made of plywood or oriented strand board (OSB). Large holes can be cut in the web to accommodate duct work and plumbing waste lines. I-joists are available in lengths up to 60 feet long

Infiltration- The passage of air from indoors to outdoors and vice versa; term is usually associated with draftsfrom cracks, seams or holes in buildings.

Inside corner- The point at which two walls form an internal angle, as in the corner of a room.

Jack rafter- A rafter that spans the distance from the wall plate to a hip, or from a valley to a ridge.

Jamb- The side and head lining of a doorway, window, or other opening. Includes studs as well as the frame and trim.

Joint- The location between the touching surfaces of two members or components joined and held together by nails, glue, cement, mortar, or other means.

Joint cement or Joint compound- A powder that is usually mixed with water and used for joint treatment in gypsum-wallboard finish. Often called "spackle" or drywall mud.

Joist- Wooden 2 X 8's, 10's, or 12's that run parallel to one another and support a floor or ceiling, and supported in turn by larger beams, girders, or bearing walls.

Joist hanger- A metal "U" shaped item used to support the end of a floor joist and attached with hardened nails to another bearing joist or beam.


King stud- The vertical "2 X's" frame lumber (left and right) of a window or door opening, and runs continuously

from the bottom sole plate to the top plate.

Knot- In lumber, the portion of a branch or limb of a tree that appears on the edge or face of the piece.


Laminated shingles - Shingles that have added dimensionality because of extra layers or tabs, giving a shake-like appearance. May also be called "architectural shingles" or "three-dimensional shingles."

Laminating- Bonding together two or more layers of materials.

Landing- A platform between flights of stairs or at the termination of a flight of stairs. Often used when stairs change direction. Normally no less than 3 ft. X 3 ft. square.

Lap- To cover the surface of one shingle or roll with another

Ledger (for a Structural Floor)- The wooden perimeter frame lumber member that bolts onto the face of a foundation wall and supports the wood structural floor.

Level- True horizontal. Also a tool used to determine level.

Lintel- A horizontal structural member that supports the load over an opening such as a door or window.

Load bearing wall- Includes all exterior walls and any interior wall that is aligned above a support beam or girder. Normally, any wall that has a double horizontal top plate.

Lookout- A short wood bracket or cantilever that supports an overhang portion of a roof.

Louver- A vented opening into the home that has a series of horizontal slats and arranged to permit ventilationbut to exclude rain, snow, light, insects, or other living creatures.
Manufactured wood- A wood product such as a truss, beam, gluelam, microlam or joist which is manufactured out of smaller wood pieces and glued or mechanically fastened to form a larger piece. Often used to create a stronger member which may use less wood.
Manufacturer's Recommendations- The written installation and/or maintenance instructions which are developed by the manufacturer of a product and which may have to be followed in order to maintain the product warrantee.

Masonry- Stone, brick, concrete, hollow-tile, concrete block, or other similar building units or materials. Normally bonded together with mortar to form a wall.

Millwork- Generally all building materials made of finished wood and manufactured in millwork plants. Includesall doors, window and door frames, blinds, mantels, panelwork, stairway components (ballusters, rail, etc.), moldings, and interior trim. Does not include flooring, ceiling, or siding.

Miter joint- The joint of two pieces at an angle that bisects the joining angle. For example, the miter joint at theside and head casing at a door opening is made at a 45° angle.

Molding- A wood strip having an engraved, decorative surface

Mudsill- Bottom horizontal member of an exterior wall frame which rests on top a foundation, sometimes called sill, or sill plate.
Mullion- A vertical divider in the frame between windows, doors, or other openings.
Muntin- A small member which divides the glass or openings of sash or doors.

Nonbearing wall- A wall supporting no load other than its own weight.

Nosing- The projecting edge of a molding or drip or the front edge of a stair tread.

Notch- A crosswise groove at the end of a board.

Oriented Strand Board or OSB- A manufactured 4' X 8' wood panel made out of 1"- 2" wood chips and glue. Often used as a substitute for plywood.

Outside corner- The point at which two walls form an external angle, one you usually can walk around.

Overhang- Outward projecting eave-soffit area of a roof; the part of the roof that hangs out or over the outside wall.
Panel- A thin flat piece of wood, plywood, or similar material.

Paper, building- A general term for papers, felts, and similar sheet materials used in buildings without reference to their properties or uses. Generally comes in long rolls.

Parapet- A wall placed at the edge of a roof to prevent people from falling off.

Parting Trim -A trim board which separates one siding material from another
Partition- A wall that subdivides spaces within any story of a building or room.

Paver, paving- Materials—commonly masonry—laid down to make a firm, even surface.

Penny- As applied to nails, it originally indicated the price per hundred. The term now series as a measure of nail length and is abbreviated by the letter "d". Normally, 16d (16 "penny") nails are used for framing

Percolation test or perc. test- Tests that a soil engineer performs on earth to determine the feasibility of installing a leech field type sewer system on a lot. A test to determine if the soil on a proposed building lot is capable of absorbing the liquid affluent from a septic system.

Perimeter drain- 3" or 4" perforated plastic pipe that goes around the perimeter (either inside or outside) of a foundation wall (before backfill) and collects and diverts ground water away from the foundation. Generally, it is "daylighted" into a sump pit inside the home, and a sump pump is sometimes inserted into the pit to discharge any accumulation of water.

Permeability- A measure of the ease with which water penetrates a material.

Permit - A governmental  authorization to perform a building process as in:
· Zoning\Use permit - Authorization to use a property for a specific use e.g. a garage, a single family residence etc.

· Demolition permit - Authorization to tear down and remove an existing structure.

· Grading permit - Authorization to change the contour of the land.

· Septic permit - A health department authorization to build or modify a septic system.

· Building permit - Authorization to build or modify a structure.

· Electrical permit - A separate permit required for most electrical work.

· Plumbing permit - A separate permit required for new plumbing and modifications of existing plumbing systems.

Plate-  Normally a 2 X 4 or 2 X 6 that lays horizontally within a framed structure, such as:

 Sill plate- A horizontal member anchored to a concrete or masonry wall.

 Sole plate- Bottom horizontal member of a frame wall.

 Top plate- Top horizontal member of a frame wall supporting ceiling joists, rafters, or other members.

Plot plan (or Site Plan)- An overhead view plan that shows the location of structures on the lot. Includes all easements, property lines, set backs, and legal descriptions of the home.
Plumb- Exactly vertical and perpendicular.

Plywood- A panel (normally 4' X 8') of wood made of three or more layers of veneer, compressed and joined with glue, and usually laid with the grain of adjoining plies at right angles to give the sheet strength.

Point load- A point where a bearing/structural weight is concentrated and transferred to the foundation.

Portland cement- Cement made by heating clay and crushed limestone into a brick and then grinding to a pulverized powder state.

Post- A vertical framing member usually designed to carry a beam. Often a 4" x 4", a 6" x 6", or a metal pipe with a flat plate on top and bottom.

Post-and-beam- A basic building method that uses just a few hefty posts and beams to support an entire structure. Contrasts with stud framing.

Pressure-treated wood- Lumber that has been saturated with a preservative.
Primer- The first, base coat of paint when a paint job consists of two or more coats. A first coating formulated to seal raw surfaces and holding succeeding finish coats.

Property survey- A survey to determine the boundaries and corners of your property. Sometimes includes a topographic survey describing the ground surface elevations. The cost depends on the complexity of the survey.
Punch list- A list of discrepancies that need to be corrected by the contractor.

Rabbet- A rectangular longitudinal groove cut in the corner edge of a board or plank.

Rafter- Lumber used to support the roof sheeting and roof loads.  The rafters of a flat roof are sometimes called roof joists.

Rafter, hip- A rafter that forms the intersection of an external roof angle.

Rafter, valley- A rafter that forms the intersection of an internal roof angle. The valley rafter is normally made of double 2-inch-thick members.

Rail- Cross members of panel doors or of a sash. Also, a wall or open balustrade placed at the edge of a staircase, walkway bridge, or elevated surface to prevent people from falling off.  Any relatively lightweight horizontal element, especially those found in fences (split rail).

Rake- Slope or slanted.

Rake Board (Rake Fascia)- The vertical face of the sloping end of a roof overhang

Ready mixed concrete- Concrete mixed at a plant or in trucks en route to a job and delivered ready for placement.

Rebar, reinforcing bar-Ribbed steel bars installed in foundation concrete walls, footers, and poured in place concrete structures designed to strengthen concrete. Comes in various thickness' and strength grade.

Ridge- The horizontal line at the junction of the top edges of two sloping roof surfaces.

Ridge board- The board placed on the ridge of the roof onto which the upper ends of other rafters are fastened.

Rim joist- A joist that runs around the perimeter of the floor joists and home.

Rise- The vertical distance from the eaves line to the ridge. Also the vertical distance from stair tread to stair tread (and not to exceed 7 ½").

Riser- Each of the vertical boards closing the spaces between the treads of stairways.

Roll roofing- Asphalt roofing products manufactured in roll form. 36-inch wide rolls with and 108 square feet of material. Weights are generally 45 to 90 pounds per roll.

Roof jack- Sleeves that fit around the black plumbing waste vent pipes at, and are nailed to, the roof sheeting.

Roof joist- The rafters of a flat roof. Lumber used to support the roof sheeting and roof loads.
Roof sheathing - The plywood panels or sheet material fastened to the roof rafters or trusses on which the shingle or other roof covering is laid.

Roof valley- The "V" created where two sloping roofs meet.

Rough opening- The horizontal and vertical measurement of a window or door opening before drywall or siding is installed.

Rough sill- The framing member at the bottom of a rough opening for a window. It is attached to the cripple studs below the rough opening.

Roughing-in- The initial stage of a plumbing, electrical, heating, carpentry, and/or other project, when all components that won't be seen after the second finishing phase are assembled.

Run, roof - The horizontal distance from the eaves to a point directly under the ridge. One half the span.

Run, stair- the horizontal distance of a stair tread from the nose to the riser.

R Value- A measure of insulation. A measure of a materials resistance to the passage of heat. The higher the R value, the more insulating "power" it has. For example, typical new home's walls are usually insulated with 4" of batt insulation with an R value of R-13, and a ceiling insulation of R-30.


Sheathing - The structural wood panel covering, usually OSB or plywood, used over studs, floor joists r rafters/trusses of a structure.

Shed roof- A roof containing only one sloping plane.

Sheet rock- Drywall-Wall board or gypsum- A manufactured panel made out of gypsum plaster and encased in a thin cardboard. Usually 1/2" thick and 4' x 8' or 4' x 12' in size. The 'joint compound'. 'Green board' type drywall has a greater resistance to moisture than regular (white) plasterboard and is used in bathroom and other "wet areas".

Shim- A small piece of scrap lumber or shingle, usually wedge shaped, which when forced behind a furring strip or framing member forces it into position. Also used when installing doors and placed between the door jamb legs and 2 X 4 door trimmers. 

Shingles- Roof covering of asphalt. asbestos, wood, tile, slate, or other material cut to stock lengths, widths, and thickness'.

Shingles, siding- Various kinds of shingles, used over sheathing for exterior wall covering of a structure.

Shutter- Usually lightweight louvered decorative frames in the form of doors located on the sides of a window. Some shutters are made to close over the window for protection.

Siding- The finished exterior covering of the outside walls of a frame building.

Siding, (lap siding)- Boards used as horizontal siding in a lapped pattern over the exterior sheathing. Varies in butt thickness from ½ to ¾ inch and in exposures upto 12".

Sill- (1) The 2 X 4 or 2 X 6 wood plate framing member that lays flat against and bolted to the foundation wall (with anchor bolts) and upon which the floor joists are installed. Normally the sill plate is treated lumber. (2) The member forming the lower side of an opening, as a door sill or window sill.

Sill plate (mudsill)- Bottom horizontal member of an exterior wall frame which rests on top a foundation, sometimes called mudsill.
Sill seal- Fiberglass or foam insulation installed between the foundation wall and sill (wood) plate. Designed to seal any cracks or gaps.

Single hung window- A window with one vertically sliding sash or window vent.

Skylight- A more or less horizontal window located on the roof of a building.

Slab, concrete- Concrete pavement, i.e. driveways, garages, and basement floors.

Slope- The incline angle of a roof surface, given as a ratio of the rise units to the run units.
Soffit- The area below the eaves and overhangs. The underside where the roof overhangs the walls. Usually
the underside of an overhanging cornice.

Sole plate- The bottom, horizontal framing member of a wall that's attached to the floor sheeting and vertical wall studs.

Solid bridging- A solid member placed between adjacent floor joists near the center of the span to prevent joists or rafters from twisting.

Sonotube- Round, large cardboard tubes designed to hold wet concrete in place until it hardens.

Spacing- The distance between individual repetitive members centerlines  in building construction.

Span- The clear distance that a framing member carries a load without support between structural supports.

Square- A unit of measure-100 square feet-usually applied to roofing and siding material. Also, a situation that exists when two elements are at right angles to each other. Also a tool for checking this.

Stair stringer- Supporting member for stair treads. Usually a 2 X 12 inch plank notched to receive the treads;

Stair landing- A platform between flights of stairs or at the termination of a flight of stairs. Often used when stairs change direction. Normally no less than 3 ft. X 3 ft. square.

Stair rise- The vertical distance from stair tread to stair tread
Story- That part of a building between any floor or between the floor and roof.

Stucco- Refers to an outside plaster finish made with Portland cement as its base.

Stud- A vertical, repetitive wood framing member, also referred to as a wall framing, attached to the horizontal sole plate below and the top plate above. Normally 2 X 4's or 2 X 6's,
Stud framing (or light wood framing)- A building method that distributes structural loads to each of a series of relatively lightweight studs. Contrasts with post-and-beam.
Subfloor- The framing components of a floor to include the sill plate, floor joists, and deck sheeting over which a finish floor is to be laid.

T & G, tongue and groove- A joint made by a tongue (a rib on one edge of a board) that fits into a corresponding groove in the edge of another board to make a tight flush joint. Typically, the subfloor plywood is T & G.

Tempered- Strengthened. Tempered glass will not shatter nor create shards, but will "pelletize" like an automobile window. Required in tub and shower enclosures and locations, entry door glass and sidelight glass, and in a windows when the window sill is less than 16" to the floor.

Termites- Wood eating insects that superficially resemble ants in size and general appearance, and live in colonies.

Termite shield- A shield, usually of galvanized metal, placed in or on a foundation wall or around pipes to prevent the passage of termites.

Threshold- The bottom metal or wood plate of an exterior door frame. Generally they are adjustable to keep a tight fit with the door slab.

TJI or TJ- Manufactured structural building component resembling the letter "I". Used as floor joists and rafters. I-joists include two key parts: flanges and webs. The flange or from of the I joist may be made of laminated veneer lumber or dimensional lumber, usually formed into a 1 ½" width. The web or center of the I-joist is commonly made of plywood or oriented strand board (OSB). Large holes can be cut in the web to accommodate duct work and plumbing waste lines. I-joists are available in lengths up to 60'' long.

Toenailing- To drive a nail in at a slant. Method used to secure floor joists to the plate.

Top chord- The upper or top member of a truss.

Top plate- Top horizontal member of a frame wall supporting ceiling joists, rafters, or other members.

Tread- The walking surface board in a stairway on which the foot is placed.

Treated lumber- A wood product which has been impregnated with chemical pesticides such as CCA (Chromated Copper Arsenate) to reduce damage from wood rot or insects. Often used for the portions of a structure which are likely to be in contact with soil and water. Wood may also be treated with a fire retardant.

Trimmer- The vertical stud that supports a header at a door, window, or other opening.

Truss- An engineered and manufactured roof support member with "zig-zag" framing members. Does the same job as a rafter but is designed to have a longer span than a rafter.

Turnkey- A term used when the subcontractor provides all materials (and labor) for a job.

Valley flashing- Sheet metal that lays in the "V" area of a roof valley.

Vapor barrier- A building product installed on exterior walls and ceilings under the drywall and on the warm side of the insulation. It is used to retard the movement of water vapor into walls and prevent condensation within them. Normally, polyethylene plastic sheeting is used.
Window frame- The stationary part of a window unit; window sash fits into the window frame.

Window sash- The operating or movable part of a window; the sash is made of window panes and their border.


Yard of concrete- One cubic yard of concrete is 3' X 3' X 3' in volume, or 27 cubic feet.  One cubic yard of concrete will pour 80 square feet of 3 ½" sidewalk or basement/garage floor.

Z flashing- Bent, galvanized metal flashing that's installed above a horizontal trim board of an exterior window, door, or brick run. It prevents water from getting behind the trim/brick and into the home.


Many thanks to The Home Building Manual for the basis of this glossary.






















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Garage Plan image as built by Ruffing

Hi Jay -
Attached is a photo of my garage (#856-1), which turned out great.  The garage plans were thorough and made approval in my city and county (which has a strict set of design standards) much easier....Thank you.... M. C., OH


Jay, I meant to tell you much earlier what a great value your garage plans are. This garage was constructed late fall of '09. I was at the house the other day and it happened to be one of those perfect coastal New England summer days. The garage looked great. .........Thank you, J.W.

Jay, your garage plans were right on the money.  I was able to get an accurate quote and was able to check up on the contractor to make sure it was being built by the specs.  The low cost spent on the garage plans made whole project go smoother.  No potential disagreements.  Every time there was a question I would just say, “build it just like the plan says”  Thanks again !


Binghamton, NY