There are many terms in the home improvement world that become interchanged with other similar terms when they have actually very different meanings. Here are a few examples.
Cement/concrete: Cement refers only to the powder that hardens when you add water. If you add sand and aggregate to the mixture, though, you get concrete. So strictly speaking, a cement mixer should be called a concrete mixer.
Sash/window: The part of a window that moves is called the sash. The whole shebang – sash, jambs, sill and everything else – is called a window.
Flue/vent: Both of these things stick out of your roof, but a flue exhausts combustion gas from a fireplace, water heater or furnace – anything with a flame – while a vent leads those nasty gases in your plumbing system to the atmosphere.
Wall/partition: Structurally speaking, a wall is always bearing, while a partition is always nonbearing. In most houses, the exterior walls and at least one wall running down the middle of the house are bearing, while all the other walls – er, partitions – are nonbearing. Since these two varieties aren’t always easy to tell apart, it’s prudent to call in an architect or engineer before you go tearing out either one.
Girder/header/beam: In wood-frame construction, a heavy horizontal member is called a girder if it’s below floor level, a header if it’s over a door or window, and a beam if it’s pretty much anywhere else.
Trim/casing: On the outside of a house, the decorative frame around a door or window is called trim, while on the inside, the same thing is called casing. Go figure.
More from SFGate.com
Here’s our Ultimate Home Improvement Glossary.
Latest posts by Timothy Dahl (see all)
- Build a Rolling Lumber Rack to Fit Full Sheets of Plywood Plus Cut Offs - August 17, 2015
- Smart Homes are Coveted by Home Buyers - August 11, 2015
- Milwaukee Tool ONE-KEY is the First Digital Platform for Power Tools - July 30, 2015