Terms of the Trade

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Terms of the Trade: What Is a Screed?

A screed gives a smooth finish to materials like concrete and stucco.

Terms of the Trade: What Is a Brick Hammer?

A brick hammer comes in handy when you need to either remove brick or stone or change its size.

Terms of the Trade: Hardwood vs Softwood

You can't simply use a touch test for this one.

Terms of the Trade: What Is U-value?

U-value is considered the most accurate way to measure a material's insulation ability. The lower the number, the better the insulation properties.

Terms of the Trade: What Is R-value?

This measurement reflects the efficiency of a building material against heat loss.

Terms of the Trade: What Is a Speed Square?

Use this tool to make multiple measurements at a time.

Terms of the Trade: What Are Tin Snips?

Use this scissor-type tool to cut either curved or straight lines in sheet metal.

Terms of the Trade: What Is Deadheading?

Deadhead plants to improve the appearance and encourage overall growth.

Terms of the Trade: What Does Taping and Floating Mean?

Taping and floating gives drywall a smooth appearance.

Terms of the Trade: What Is a Combination Square?

This multipurpose tool is handy for any woodworker who needs to measure angles and determine level surfaces.

Terms of the Trade: What Is a Coping Saw?

Use this handsaw for detailed joint and corner woodwork.

Terms of the Trade: What Is a Crescent Wrench?

A crescent wrench is an adjustable wrench that can take the place of many others in your collection.

Terms of the Trade: What Is Plumber's Putty?

Use this pliable sealant to protect drains and faucets from water leakage.

Terms of the Trade: What Is a Ball Peen Hammer?

This type of hammer is used in metalworking.

Terms of the Trade: Ballcock

This valve controls the water level in your toilet. Here's how.

Terms of the Trade: What Is Mastic Sealant?

Mastic sealant is a liquid substance used to join two materials together or to protect the area where it's applied.

Terms of the Trade: What Is an Escutcheon?

This piece of hardware is strictly decorative.

Terms of the Trade: What Is Aeration?

Poke holes into your lawn to alleviate soil compaction and allow for better absorption of nutrients and water.

Terms of the Trade: What Is a GFCI?

A GFCI keeps your family and house safe from potential electrical disasters.

Terms of the Trade: What Is Wood Grain?

Never go against the grain.

Terms of the Trade: Mortar vs Concrete

One is best for bonding applications. The other is best for structural support.

Terms of the Trade: What Is Carbon Monoxide?

Known as the "silent killer," carbon monoxide can be present in your home without you even knowing it.

Terms of the Trade: Flushing Drains

Low flow plumbing features are great for saving water, but not great for clearing drains. Here's how to remedy the problem.

Terms of the Trade: What Is a Hose Bib?

A hose bib provides a water source outside your home.

Terms of the Trade: What Is an Underlayment?

There are many types of underlayment available, depending on the type of flooring they're being used with.

Terms of the Trade: What Is a Tack Strip?

The many tacks or nails in this piece of wood keep carpet from moving around once installed.

Terms of the Trade: Shake vs Shingle

Shake, shingle, and roll.

Terms of the Trade: What Is a Pinhole Leak?

Check your water bill regularly to make sure these tiny leaks don't go undetected.

Terms of the Trade: What Is a Sump Pump?

A sump pump keeps your home dry and moisture-free.

Terms of the Trade: What Is an Outfeed Table?

An outfeed table supports wood as it's cut by a saw.

Terms of the Trade: What Is Expanding Foam Insulation?

Spray foam insulation is a popular choice to combat air leaks.

Terms of the Trade: What Is Pipe Dope?

Pipe dope creates a watertight seal between two plumbing fixtures.

Terms of the Trade: What Is Rebar?

Rebar adds tension to concrete, making it able to hold up heavy weight.

Terms of the Trade: What Is an Air Gap?

A dishwasher air gap prevents water contamination.

Terms of the Trade: What Is a T-Square?

Use this drafting tool to measure and cut drywall.

Terms of the Trade: What Are Louvers?

Louvers are used to adjust exposure to light and air.

Terms of the Trade: What Is a Tongue and Groove Joint?

Tongue and groove allows for a tight fit on many forms of carpentry, such as cabinets.

Terms of the Trade: What Is Spackling Paste?

Make sure your walls have a smooth surface before painting.

Terms of the Trade: What Is Composite Decking?

This manufactured plastic material resists mold, rot, and insect infestation.