Building Materials

Building Materials Terms

Extension Ladder

  • A non-self supporting type of ladder with two similar sections that are linked with internal guides on the bottom of base section and external guides on the top.
  • Sections are pulled apart to increase length.
  • Used for working in high areas and primarily for exterior applications.
  • Available in heights ranging from 16’ to 40’.
  • Smaller extension ladders are extended manually and secured with gravity spring lock brackets
  • that rest on the selected rung.
  • Larger extension ladders are extended by means of a rope and pulley running down the side of the ladder and secured with a cleat.
  • Generally available in all aluminum and fiberglass with aluminum rungs.
  • Rungs can be round or flat and are usually serrated for enhanced slip resistance.
  • Ladder shoes pivot to allow full contact with ground. Shoes can also be turned up to penetrate soft ground for extra stability.
  • Quality classifications include consumer (household), commercial (mechanic) and industrial grades.

Aluminum Screening

  • Resilient, rustproof, fire resistant and melt-proof.
  • Comes in three standard finishes: bright aluminum, charcoal and black.
  • The black finish offers the best outward visibility and is recommended for decks, patios, porches or other applications.
  • Standard mesh is 18×16 (the number or strands per square inch). It is small enough to screen out most insects.
  • Standard widths are 24” and 48”, with many manufacturers offering 54”, 60” and 72” as special order.

Fiberglass Screening

  • Rustproof, corrosion proof and flame retardant.
  • Available in a variety of colors and meshes, with silver gray and charcoal and 18×16 mesh being the most popular.
  • A fine-woven 20×20 mesh is used primarily in coastal areas where very tiny flying insects are a problem.
  • Large areas such as a pool enclosure may use a 18×14 mesh.
  • Standard widths are 24” and 48”, with many manufacturers offering 54”, 60” and 72” as special order.

Bronze Screening

  • Offers a nostalgic look for accenting old homes.
  • Made of 90 percent copper and 10 percent zinc.
  • Screen weathers to a dark finish.

Screen Spline

  • Inserted into grooves in screen frame after screen is tucked in to hold screen in place.
  • Tightens screen onto frame by pulling screen tight.
  • Available in a variety of lengths and thicknesses to fit different size screen channels.

Solar Screen

  • Used in place of regular insect screening and blocks out most of the sun’s heat while serving as an insect barrier.
  • Available in aluminum material or as fiberglass ribbed-weave mesh.
  • Helps save energy; aluminum screens can reduce incoming heat by as much as 87 percent and fiberglass solar screen can reduce incoming heat by 70 percent.
  • Available in the same widths and colors as regular screen.

Window Film

  • Plastic used as window film can be used to reduce heat, prevent heat loss to lower heating and cooling costs and to reduce fade and glare.
  • Can block up to 98 percent of UV radiation and about 80 percent of normal heat gain.
  • Film made of polyester is coated with water-activated or pressure-sensitive adhesive on one side and with a scratch-resistant coating on the other side.
  • Dyed films absorb heat and give a tinted appearance.
  • Metallic films can be clear or reflective. Use this type on double-glazed windows.

Sliding Door

  • Made with safety or insulated glass and comes with a screen for hot-weather use.
  • Low-E glass offers protection from ultraviolet rays and is more energy efficient than regular glass.
  • Frames may be wood, aluminum, fiberglass or PVC vinyl in a variety of finishes.
  • Aluminum patio doors are generally the least expensive as they are the least durable and energy efficient.
  • May be two-, three- or four-panels wide. A two-panel door has one active (sliding) panel and one inactive (stationary) panel. A three-panel door has one active and two inactive panels. A four-panel door typically has two active panels in the middle and two inactive panels on the outside.

Swinging Door

  • Café DoorAlso known as a café door.
  • Hinged to attach to each side of the doorway and swing freely without a latch.
  • Features two or three panels and is available in wood, PVC vinyl or insulated steel or fiberglass.
  • Tends to be more secure and energy efficient than a sliding door and can be easily installed by the homeowner.

French Door

  • Also known as a garden door.
  • Is hinged at the outside of the unit and contains at least two active panels that swing in or out from the center.
  • Made of wood, fiberglass or steel.
  • Comes in a wide range of glass styles.
  • Uses a three-point locking system for improved security.

Storm Door

  • Provides extra security to the exterior door and protects against weather and stops drafts through door openings.
  • Made of solid wood or has a wood or foam hollow core inside an exterior skin of metal, aluminum or vinyl.
  • Glass should be tempered to safety glass, while fiberglass screens offer durability and do not rust.
  • Available in a variety of colors.
  • Self-storing models store the windows and the screen at the same time, with many models allowing ventilation at the top or bottom.
  • Interchangeable models have the glass and screen removable to allow ventilation through the entire opening.
  • Common styles are full view, full lite, crossbuck, traditional and security.

Pocket Frame Door Kit

  • Pocket doors are ideal for wardrobes, dining rooms, bedrooms or anywhere space is at a premium. It frees up floor space by allowing the door to recess into the wall.
  • The pocket door kit includes all the pieces needed to convert a regular doorframe into one that will accept a pocket door.
  • The door is sold separately, and is typically either a solid wood or hollow frame door that is slightly smaller than the size of the frame where it is being installed.
  • Kit includes tracks, rollers, steel/wood wall studs and miscellaneous hardware.

Garage Door

  • Hinged panels allow overhead garage doors to roll up and down with ball-bearing rollers and a rope pulley on a steel track.
  • Some panels have a polystyrene and/or air space between panels to insulate and deaden sound.
  • Some doors feature steel frame construction and a wood-grain raised-panel design, while others combine hardboard panels with a wood frame.
  • Comes with extension springs to help the door lift and balance, as well as safety containment cables to guard against injury.
  • Vinyl or aluminum bottom weatherseal counteracts uneven garage floors and protects against weather intrusion.

Double-Hung Window

  • Has a two-sash system
  • Each sash slides vertically in a channel common frame.
  • It opens from the top and bottom.
  • A popular variation is the single-hung window that has a sash that slides vertically. The second sash remains stationary.

Casement Window

  • Has a single sash hinged at one side to swing open by means of a crank or lever.
  • Tends to be more weathertight than double-hung, single-hung or sliding windows.
  • Utilizes a cam-type lock to draw the sash tightly against the frame when closed.

Awning Window

  • Has a single sash hinged at the top.
  • Opens at the bottom with a hand-turned crank.
  • More durable than casement windows.
  • One type is the basement utility window that is made with a block frame for easy installation in a masonry wall.
  • Another type is the ranch unit, which has the window framed in a brick mold for installation in garages, cottages and utility buildings.
  • Another type is the hopper window, where the window is hinged at the bottom.

Bow and Bay Window

  • A bay window is made of three windows: one large unit in the middle and two flanking windows that are usually placed at 30- to 45-degree angles.
  • A bow window is made of four or more windows that, all together, form a shape that curves outward. It looks like a bay window, but is free of sharp angles.

Picture Window

  • A fixed window.
  • Has no moving parts or sashes and does not open.
  • Sometimes used with another window type, such as an awning window.
  • Usually a fixed window available in various shapes, such as an oval, arch, ellipse, octagon or circle.

Glider Window

  • Slides horizontally to open.
  • Durable, since the sash is fully supported in the frame.
  • The nail-on frame style uses nailing flanges and is used mainly in new construction.
  • The block frame style is used either as a replacement window or in block construction.

Storm Window

  • Sometimes called combination windows because they combine the functions of storm and screen windows.
  • Typically made of aluminum
  • Easy to install and usually attached directly to the exterior casing surrounding the window.
  • The single-track type consists of a piece of glass in a lightweight sash, fixed permanently in a nail-on frame.
  • The dual-track style has a glazed sash and screen. The glazed sash is in the top half of the outer track and the screen is in the lower half. Another glazed sash in the inside track covers the screen and can be raised to uncover the screen for ventilation.
  • The triple-track storm window has two glazed sash and a screen panel, all in a separate track. This is best for second floor windows.


  • A window installed on a sloping roof. Also called a roof window.
  • Can be stationary or vented.
  • Sizes range from 18” to 60” wide to 18” to 60” long. Usually, there should be only one square foot of skylight for every 20 square feet of floor space.
  • Opening the window can be controlled by a manual crank,sometimes reached with a long pole, or by a remote electronic operation.
  • A tubular skylight is one type designed for rooms where a larger, standard skylight may not be practical. Easy to install, it features a one-piece flashing system to eliminate the possibility of leaks.
  • A self-flashing or curb-mounted roof window works best with asphalt or fiberglass shingles.

Gypsum Wallboard

  • Consists of a core of gypsum plaster covered with two sheets of heavy paper.
  • Panels are 4’ wide and range in length from 6’ to 16’.
  • Boards 1/4” thick are normally used for recovering old walls and ceilings.
  • Boards 3/8” thick are used in two-ply construction.
  • Boards 1/2” and 5/8” are used in single-ply new work. 5/6” boards provide better fire resistance and sound control.
  • Benefits include low cost and ease of installation. The plain-papered face provides an excellent surface for paint or wallpaper.
  • The edges are typically made with a slight taper, which allows for a filled and tapered joint.
  • Greenboard is a type of gypsum wallboard that has a water-resistant (not waterproof) facing and is used in bathrooms and areas that will be exposed to water or steam.

Premixed Concrete

  • Contains all the elements needed to mix concrete except water.
  • Generally comes in 40-, 60- or 80-lb. bags.
  • Typically used for minor concrete repairs or projects such as setting a post or replacing a section of a sidewalk.

Premixed Mortar

  • Contains masonry cement and sand, everything but water needed for a mortar.
  • Used for laying brick and block as well as patching and filling in around masonry.

Latex Patching Cement

  • Used to patch cracks in concrete.
  • Can also be applied in layers as thin as 1/16” to make it useful for smoothing rough surfaces.
  • Comes as a powdered cement and latex liquid, which is mixed.

Vinyl Patching Cement

  • Used for patching concrete.
  • Consists of a powder mixed with water.
  • It has greater adhesive strength than cement and sand mixtures and a greater resistance to cracking and chipping.
  • Not affected by repeated freezing and thawing.
  • Can be applied in layers as thin as 1/16”.
  • Bonds to brick, tile, marble and concrete.

Epoxy Patching Cement

  • Fortified with epoxy to make it one of the toughest masonry patchers available
  • Comes in a kit of emulsion, hardener and dry cement
  • Bonds to ceramic tile, glass and steel.
  • Not the ideal choice for minor patching jobs.

Anchoring Cement

  • Used for setting bolts, handrails or anything to be set in concrete.
  • Develops a strength greater than concrete.

Concrete Patch

  • A combination of cement and fine sand that the user mixes with water.
  • Some products come ready-mixed. They can also come in convenient containers or caulk tubes that make dispensing easy.
  • Used to repair cracks and holes in concrete walks, foundations and chimneys.

Hydraulic Cement

  • Used to plug running leaks in masonry surfaces.
  • Stops water leaks under pressure and can be used under water.
  • Fast setting.
  • Used inside or outside, above or below the ground.

Blacktop Sealer

  • Used to maintain outdoor asphalt surfaces.
  • The ultraviolet rays of the sun damage the asphalt binder used as the paving material. The sealer protects asphalt against oil, tar and gasoline and keeps water from settling in pores.
  • Apply at 70°F or higher and require 24 to 48 hours to dry before use.
  • The coal tar type of sealer needs to be resurfaced yearly and may contain hazardous chemicals.
  • The acrylic sealer type is non-toxic and environmentally friendly.


  • Usually constructed of nylon. Polyester, wool, acrylic and polypropylene are also used.
  • Styles include level loop pile (Berber), multi-level loop pile, cut and loop pile, cut pile and sisal.
  • Quality of carpet depends on the density of construction (the denser the better) and the twist, or how many fibers have been intertwined to make the yarn (the tighter the twist, the better the carpet).
  • Use with carpet padding to extend the life of the carpet.
  • Installation products will include tack strips, a sharp razor-type knife, a chalk line and a straight edge.
  • Usually comes in 12’ widths.

Carpet Padding

  • Installed underneath the carpet.
  • Prolongs the life of the carpet and adds to comfort.
  • Usually made from felted cushion, urethane, foam rubber or sponge rubber.
  • Weight, density and thickness vary by type and the amount of traffic in the area to be carpeted.
  • Typically available in 36”, 54”, 72”, 108” and 144” widths.

Vinyl Flooring

  • Generally available in large, 12’ rolls in varying lengths, or in square tiles.
  • Available in a variety of patterns and colors.
  • Most floors have a no-wax surface, although most manufacturers recommend specially formulated floor finish to enhance or restore shine and provide added protection.
  • Quality depends on the thickness of the material. In general, urethane floors last longer than vinyl.
  • Installed by gluing to the subfloor with an adhesive made for the material.
  • The square tile type often has an adhesive backing that makes for easier installation.

Hardwood Flooring

  • Available in planks or parquet tiles.
  • Some types install with nails, others with glue.
  • Popular types of wood are oak, maple, beech, birch and pecan.
  • Has tongue and groove joints for a tight installation.

Engineered Flooring

  • A popular alternative to solid hardwood flooring.
  • The surface veneer is made of hardwood such as maple or oak, while tongue-and-groove strips underneath are constructed of plywood.
  • Easy to install because it can be installed without a subfloor and requires no sanding or finishing.
  • Usually installed by gluing to the subfloor, although some types snap together and do not require glue.
  • The size of the veneer will determine the floor’s durability. High-quality engineered floors feature surface veneer of 5/32” to 1/8”.

Laminated Flooring

  • Consists of thin layers of wood or paper products adhered to a resilient foam core.
  • Designed to look like wood, stone or marble.
  • A coating of aluminum oxide provides hardness for the flooring.
  • Easy to maintain and resists scratching, denting or staining.
  • A glueless, interlocking design offered by some manufacturers makes it easy to install.
  • Not recommended for bathrooms since it can swell when exposed to water.

Ceramic Tile

  • More durable and easier to maintain than vinyl or wood flooring.
  • Glazed tile is made of clay that has been single fired at a high temperature, a process that makes color and shape permanent and a surface that is resistant to stains, burns and scratches.
  • Comes with a durability rating from 1 to 4+. Class 1 is the least durable, while 4+ is intended for commercial applications with heavy traffic.
  • Available in a variety of colors and patterns.
  • Comes in sizes 12” x 12”, and accent pieces can be 2”x 2”, 4” x 4” or 6” x 6”.

Marble Tile

  • Made of natural marble.
  • Slick and easily scratched, although scratches can be buffed out.
  • Tiles should be sealed after installation.
  • Types include travertine (for exterior use), while (translucent) and green (usually installed with water-free epoxy mortars.

Granite Tile

  • Made of solid granite.
  • Similar to marble, but harder, denser and more durable.
  • Must be sealed after installation.
  • Commonly used on countertops.
  • More difficult to harm than marble, but also more difficult to restore when damaged.

Slate Tile

  • Made of shale with a natural cleft finish.
  • Must be sealed after installation.

Quarry Tile

  • Has a shale body, extruded then cut to size with edges ground smooth.
  • Can be glazed, but is usually sold unglazed.
  • Must be sealed after installation.
  • Very durable, and often used in institutional settings.


  • Poured between the joints of a tile installation.
  • Must be sealed after installation.
  • Made of cement and is either sanded or non-sanded, some are polymer modified.
  • Pre-mixed grout is also available and is for repairs in dry areas only.
  • Color of the grout will coordinate with the color of the tile.

Interior Plywood

  • A laminate made from thin sheets of wood called veneers.
  • Layers are glued perpendicular to the next, creating a strong, stiff panel.
  • Varying thicknesses are available. The most common are 1/4” and 3/4”.
  • Sheets usually measure 4’x 8’. Other sizes may be available.
  • Most common wood type is Douglas fir and Southern pine.
  • Available in a wide range of grades, with the most common being C-D, Exposure 1 (usually called CDX or sheathing).
  • Another popular grade is A-D Exposure 1, which is suitable when only one paintable side is needed.

Exterior Plywood

  • Plywood construction acceptable for outdoor use.
  • A popular grade is A-C EXT, which has one paintable surface and can be used outside.
  • Type A-A EXT is also available if both sides will be exposed.
  • Plywood siding is also available, and comes in standard patterns such as texture 1-11, reverse board and batten and others.
  • A “shop-grade” panel is one that, after its manufacturing process, failed to meet the specifications of a specific grade. The piece can still be used for some applications, but should not be recommended for structural applications.
  • A “mill certified” panel does not carry the approval of a quality control agency, but may be used for non-regulated projects such as storage sheds or shelves.

Oriented Standboard

  • Known as OSB.
  • A structural-use panel used for roof sheathing, subfloors, underlayment, single-layer floors, exterior siding and wall sheathing.
  • Composed of elongated, thin strands of wood that are bonded with resin under intense heat and pressure.
  • A uniform panel free of knotholes that holds nails and screws securely.
  • Available in 4’ x 8’ panels in thicknesses of 3/8”, 7/16”, 15/32”, 19/32” and 23/32”.
  • Three grades are available: sheathing, single floor and siding.


  • Also known as wood fiber substrate.
  • Made from wood chips that are mechanically reduced to wood fibers and then bonded together into panels through heat and pressure.
  • Panels are thin, grainless, dense, uniformly textured, strong and bone-dry.
  • Used as an exterior siding, interior paneling, as a garage door panel, perforated boards, for furniture, toys, cabinets, floor underlayment and many other items.
  • Can be sawed, shaped, routed and drilled and will accept paint and varnish.
  • Not recommended for use in areas with high temperature or humidity because warping can occur.


  • A hard, dense composition board made of very small particles of wood bonded together with resin under intense heat and pressure.
  • Comes in various thicknesses from 3/8” to 3/4” and in panels 4’ x 8’; 10’ and 12’lengths are also available.
  • Often used in non-structural applications such as interior construction in closets and as an underlayment because it does not warp.
  • Should be cut with a carbide blade.
  • May swell if it gets wet.

Laminated Veneer Lumber

  • Known as LVL.
  • Engineered to span longer distances and support heavier loads than ordinary lumber.
  • Common applications include headers, beams, columns and posts.
  • Made from veneers glued up to 1-3/4” thick, then sawed to the required size.
  • Beams range from 5-1/2” to 18” deep, in lengths up to 66”.
  • Will not shrink, twist or split like ordinary dimension lumber.
  • This type of lumber may cup when exposed to wetting on one side.


  • Made from standard dimension lumber glued face to face.
  • Lengths are as long as 150’, using finger-jointed materials.
  • Frequently used as garage door headers and girders.
  • A recent development is a glulam that uses fiber-reinforced plastic in the lower part of the beam to create a lighter, stronger and less expensive timber.


  • Composed of thin OSB or plywood web that is bonded to the top and bottom flanges of lumber or LVL.
  • Typically 9-1/4” to 30” deep and up to 60’ long.
  • Used as a structural component in roof and floor systems.
  • Some come with pre-drilled knockouts for easier plumbing and electrical installation.


  • Softwood paneling comes in either knotty grades (2 & Better Common and 3 Common) or clear grades (Superior, Prime, Select, C & Better Select or D Select).
  • Hardboard panelings have vinyl, printed or paper surfaces that make them look like genuine wood. Woodgrain finishes are the most popular, but other varieties are available in solid colors, marbleized patterns and novelty designs.
  • Another type is plywood wall paneling. On the back of these panels, a stamp will indicate information such as glue type, fire resistance, wood species used and structural description.
  • Comes in 4’ x 8’ sheets in thicknesses from 1/8” to 5/32”.
  • Have either smooth or V-grooved edges.
  • Perforated paneling is a hardboard that comes in 4’ x 8’ sheets in thicknesses of 1/8” or 1/4”. Thicker panels will support more weight.

Western Lumber

  • Known for its ease of workmanship and nailing as well as strength and dimensional stability.
  • Western lumber includes more than 15 commercially important Western softwood species.
  • Most common species are Douglas fir and Hem-fir.
  • Can be classified as High Quality Appearance, General Purpose Board or Radius-Edged Patio Decking Grade.
  • The Western Wood Products Association (WWPA) has a rigorous inspection and quality control process. Lumber with the WWPA logo indicates the lumber has passed that quality control process.
  • Lumber with only the “WWPA Rules” stamp indicates the lumber has been graded according to the WWPA rules, but not been inspected by WWPA.


  • Most redwood sold is heartwood and sapwood grade. Each type comes in several grades, from a fine finish appearance to a rougher, less attractive finish.
  • Heartwood contains natural barriers to termites and decay and is suited for applications that come into contact with the ground.
  • Sapwood contains cream-colored streaks. It should not be used in contact with the ground.
  • Architectural redwood is the strongest redwood. It is normally kiln-dried and used for structural and finish applications.
  • Garden redwood comprises lower grades that are not kiln-dried and are commonly used for decks, fences and other outdoor garden uses.

Southern Pine

  • Has high strength, resistance to wear and holds fasteners well. It is often used in homes and other structures.
  • Descriptions for this type of wood range from 1 through 4.
  • No. 1 has the highest quality and best appearance.
  • No. 2 is characterized by tight knots and is generally free of holes.
  • No. 3 is good, serviceable sheathing, usable for many applications without waste.
  • No. 4 contains usable portions at least 24” long.

Pine Shelving

  • Lumber 1” thick and of varying widths and lengths.
  • Most consumer inventories range from 1” x 1” to 1” x 12”, up to 12’ long.
  • From 1” x 1” to 1” x 6”, increments increase by 1”. Then, lengths increase in 2” increments from 1” x 8” to 1” x 10” and 1” x 12”.
  • Most consumer sales will be in 4’ and 6’ lengths.
  • No. 4 grade pine is commonly called “garage shelving”. Many consumers use it for basements and garages where looks are not important.

Treated Lumber

  • Lumber treated to resist weather, termites and fungus.
  • Treatment involves chemical preservatives forced deep into the cells in the wood under pressure.
  • Wood used for decks and other outdoor consumer use is generally treated with an inorganic chemical. In 2004, the EPA outlawed the use of arsenic as a method of treating wood. ACQ and copper azole are the current popular chemicals used.
  • Treated wood still absorbs water, and the treatment is not considered waterproof, but rather decay-proof.
  • Wood species typically used include Ponderosa pine, Lodgepole pine, Douglas fir, Hem-fir and Southern yellow pine.
  • Always wear respiratory protection when cutting treated lumber.

Wall/Ceiling Junction

  • The trim used where the wall and ceiling meet.
  • Common types include cove, crown, bed, attic and picture.
  • Available in many different widths, from 1/2” to over 5”.
  • Several types can be combined for more elaborate trim work.
  • Picture molding is placed below the ceiling and traditionally was used to support a wire that held picture frames. Today, they are used mostly decorative than functional.

Floor/Wall Junction

  • The trim used where the floor and wall meet.
  • The most complete is a combination of a base, base shoe and a base cap on top. Often, just a base is used.
  • Another popular type is the quarter round.
  • Most types are available in many different widths, from 1/2” to over 5”.
  • Combination of pieces often depends on the type of flooring in the house or preference of the owner.
  • The base shoe looks like a quarter round molding, but is not. It is not an even length on both sides.

Corner Bead

  • Used to protect and decorate the outside corners of an interior wall.
  • An alternative to clear plastic corners


  • Sometimes referred to as window or door casing.
  • Used around windows or doors for trim.
  • Styles include colonial, oval, R2E, ranch and molded.

Top of Paneling

  • When paneling goes only part way up the wall, it is called wainscot.
  • The raw edge at the top is finished with this piece of molding.
  • Several styles are available, including wainscot cap, ply cap or Dado cap.


  • Used to conceal joints when plywood panels or boards meet.
  • Many plywood panels are v-grooved and hide the joint. If they’re not, use this trim.

Corner Blocks

  • Installed at the corners where two runs of molding meet.
  • Makes installation easy, as installer doesn’t have to cut a miter joint.
  • Styles include rosettes and plinth blocks.

Loose-Fill Insulation

  • Comes compacted in bags and is poured or blown into walls and between joists of the attic floor.
  • Good for retrofitting insulation into previously uninsulated homes.
  • Each bag is labeled according to federal specifications for both mineral wool and cellulose. Left column lists the R-value, second column tells how many bags are needed to cover 1,000 square feet of attic floor area, the third column gives the minimum thickness after completing the job.
  • Some manufacturers have two columns on thickness for loose-fill and cellulose insulation. The second of these is labeled “settled density”. This is important since cellulose settles quickly.
  • Types include fiberglass rock wool and cellulose. Cellulose is made from waste paper that has been treated to be fire retardant. It is also less likely to cause skin irritation.

Roll Insulation

  • Comes in continuous rolls that vary in width and thickness.
  • Usually installed between open ceiling joists and wall studs.
  • Has a vapor barrier that should be installed with the vapor barrier toward the interior or heated area. Mend torn vapor barriers with tape.
  • Available in R-values of R-11, R-13, R-19 and R-25. Thicknesses range from 3-1/2” to 8”.

Batt Insulation

  • Sold in either pre-cut or perforated into shorter lengths.
  • Use is similar to roll insulation, but best for use where there are many cross beams or other obstructions.
  • Available in R-values of R-11, R-13, R-15, R-19, R-21, R-22, R-30 and R-38. Thicknesses range from 3-1/2” to 12”.
  • Batts installed in wall should not be compressed to fit. Also, do not stuff behind wires. Rather, cut to fit around them.

Encapsulated Insulation

  • Batt and roll insulation encapsulated for easier handling.
  • Encapsulation enables the insulation to breathe and prevents condensation build-up.
  • Easier to handle by reducing dust and other irritants associated with insulation installation.
  • The non-woven type tends to stay in place better than plastic-wrap insulation. This product must meet all building code requirements for flame spread resistance, as it is flammable.

Rigid Insulation

  • Can be used on the interior or exterior of the house, or on basement walls.
  • Usually comes in board form in a variety of sizes ranging from 8” squares to 4’ x 12’ sheets.
  • Some types are made of fiberboard and are popular because of their durability and low cost. Fiberboard repels water, while the asphalt coating eliminates the need for building paper.
  • Another type is made of extruded polystyrene. It is very resistant to moisture and is most highly recommended for below-ground use.
  • Molded polystyrene board is another type that dissipates water well.
  • Another type is polyisocyanurate sheathing that is available with aluminum foil or glass fiber mat facers. This type has the highest R-value per inch of thickness of all insulation products.

Foam Insulation

  • Comes in a liquid spray form that quickly foams and hardens.
  • May have a higher insulating value than blown-in materials, but is more expensive and still subject to shrinking.
  • For use only on closed, properly vented exterior wall cavities. It should be sealed from exposure to the interior with vapor- and fume-resistant paints.
  • Also suited for sealing cracks around windows, doors and constructions seams.
  • Best for professional installation.

Foam Sealant

  • Installs similar to foam insulation, but comes in an aerosol can and is best for do-it-yourself use.
  • Best used for permanently sealing irregular gaps around the home, such as plumbing feed-thrus, electrical outlets, vents, etc.
  • After curing, it can be trimmed, sanded and painted.
  • When installing, only fill the area about 33 percent and the expanding foam will fill and seal the rest of the area.
  • Formulations include triple-expanding for general-purpose sealing and insulating; minimal-expanding for windows and door frames; and fast drying for multi-step projects such as filling a crack before painting.
  • Wear gloves and eye protection when applying.
  • Remove wet foam with acetone or acetone-based nail polish remover. Cured foam is difficult to remove from skin and clothes.

Reflective Foil Insulation

  • Radiant BarrierOne type is made of foil and poly to trap air between the sheets of foil, generally using bubble pack.
  • A second type expands when installed between stud spaces. The resistance to heat flow depends on the heat flow direction. This type of insulation is most effective in reducing downward heat flow.
  • Comes in long rolls of various widths.
  • May be used in conjunction with many different building materials and cut to fit any shape.
  • Typically installed between roof rafters, floor joists or wall studs.
  • When a single reflective surface is used alone and faces an open space such as an attic, then it is called a radiant barrier.

Pipe Insulation

  • For insulating water pipes from freezing in the winter. It also helps control heat loss when pipes carry hot water and controls condensation and dripping.
  • Available in preformed insulating tubes that fit over the pipe.
  • Another type comes in batt form, which can be wrapped around the pipe.

Felt Weather Strip

  • Least expensive type of weather stripping, but also has the shortest life.
  • Installs by gluing, nailing or stapling to the frame or molding around doors so the door will close snugly and quietly against it.
  • A good choice when appearance is no concern.
  • Available in a variety of widths, thicknesses and quality.
  • Reinforced felt weather strip is sturdier and designed to last longer.

Adhesive-Backed Foam Tape

  • Installed by pressing into position and sticking permanently.
  • Requires no nails or tools.
  • One type, pressure-sensitive sponge rubber tape, is suited for larger problem areas.
  • Another type, pressure-sensitive vinyl foam or felt, is for average sealing.
  • Closed-cell PVC foam compresses to fill irregular gaps and can be used outdoors.
  • Open-cell foam is for inside use only.
  • High-density foam is extremely durable and long lasting.

V-Type Weather Strip

  • Once the door is closed, the open ends of the V shape close together, with one end of the V touching the door and the other adhered to the door.
  • Forms an airtight seal.
  • Spring-metal tension strips are more difficult to install than adhesive-backed tension strips made of vinyl, but are the best permanent type.

Caulking Cord

  • Temporarily fills large gaps around windows.
  • Consists of soft, rope-like strands of weather strip with the consistency of modeling clay.
  • Easily applied by hand and remains pliable so it can be removed when the weather warms.
  • Paintable and will not harden or dry out.

Vinyl Gasket Weather Strip

  • Weather stripping that cushions as it seals.
  • Can be used in places with warping or irregularities.

Door Jamb Weather Strip

  • Used to seal the sides and top of a door to shut out drafts and insects.
  • Available in a variety of forms, including roll-formed and extruded aluminum with vinyl bulbs or flaps.

Door Sweep

  • Seals the bottom of an exterior door, preventing drafts, water, noise, light and insects.
  • Usually made of aluminum extrusions with vinyl flaps.
  • Screws into the lower part of the door.
  • Some types lift automatically when the door is raised.
  • Another type is an aluminum extrusion with a rain-drip flange to prevent the flow of water off a door from collecting on a threshold and flowing under a door.
  • Another type is an adhesive-backed plastic door sweep.

Door Shoe

  • Made of extruded aluminum and vinyl.
  • Attached to the bottom of a door to help form a seal between the door and the threshold.
  • Used primarily in conjunction with a smooth top aluminum threshold to form a proper seal.
  • More durable and provides a better weather seal than a door sweep.


  • Male threaded on one end with a smaller diameter female thread on the other.
  • Inserted inside a coupling to reduce the size of the pipe.
  • With a Reducer Bushing, any number of reductions can be made to reduce and couple to another size of pipe.
  • As Adapter Bushing connects different types of pipe, such as PVC to CPVC.


  • Attaches directly to pipe threads to reduce pipe size.
  • Female threaded.
  • Can refer to couplings, tees, or elbows.



  • Three female openings in a T shape.
  • Straight tees have the same size openings.
  • Reducing Tees have two openings of the same size and one of a different size.
  • Sanitary Tees are used in waste lines. They have a curved branch designed for a cleanout plug and are designed to prevent obstruction of waste.
  • A Cross has four female openings of equal size.
  • A Wing Tee has lugs for fastening the fitting to a wall or stud.
  • A Compression Tee uses compression fittings on two or more ends.
  • A Test Tee has a threaded opening to be used in conjunction with a threaded plug for a cleanout opening on a drain pipe.

Wye Bend

  • Also called a Y Bend.
  • Has three female openings. Two are straight in a line; the third is at a 45∫ angle.
  • A Reducing Wye has two openings of the same size and the third Y opening of a different size.
  • A Double Wye has four openings.


  • A three-part fitting that connects any standard size pipe where it may be necessary to disconnectt later, such as on a water heater.
  • Connects to male threaded ends.
  • Also known as a ground joint union.
  • A Transition Union joins different types of tubing, such as CPVC to brass.


  • Connects a pipe to a wall, floor or any flat surface.
  • Flanges are threaded onto pipe and tightened. Four screw holes allow the flange rim to attach to a flat surface.
  • A Closet Flange is made to connect toilets to drain and vent systems.
  • Another type is the Offset Closet Flange that is used when the drain pipe has been incorrectly positioned.
  • The adjustable ring on some closet flanges allows for easier toilet alignment.

Saddle Tee

  • Joins a smaller drainpipe to a larger one, such as a 1-1/2″ pipe to a 3″ pipe.
  • Used when installing a drain on existing plumbing. Saves the labor of cutting and rejoining the main pipe.
  • Some types are made for joining a PVC pipe to a cast iron drain.

Drop Ear Elbow

  • Provides a rigid installation for mounting an elbow to a wall.
  • Usually used for installing a shower arm or washer hose valve.
  • Some variations include fittings that can transition from plastic to brass or copper.
  • Also known as a wing elbow.

Countertop Lavatory

  • Offers the advantage of storage space under and next to the sink.
  • The mounting for vanity sinks can be self-rimming, flush-mounted, undermounted or integral. Integral sink basins are typically made of solid surfacing or cultured stone, and any damage to the sink will mean replacing the entire unit.
  • In addition to cultured stone and solid surfacing, bath sinks are made of enameled steel, vitreous china, glass, cast iron and stainless steel. Vitreous china is the most common material, since it provides a high-gloss finish and is durable and sanitary.
  • For bath vanities, 34″-36″ is a more comfortable height for adults than the typical height of 30″-32″.

Pedestal Lavatory

  • The bowl rests on a pedestal and does not have storage space underneath.
  • The most common type of pedestal is made of vitreous china, but manufacturers offer other high-end types as well.
  • More difficult to install than countertop vanities.

Utility Sink

  • Also called a laundry sink.
  • Provides an extra deep, multi-purpose single bowl for pre-washing laundry or washing out items like paint brushes not suitable or other more expensive sinks.
  • Sturdy, durable and often made of fiberglass.

Garbage Disposal

  • Uses a high-speed rotating table powered by a sealed motor, it flings kitchen waste against a stationary shredder, cutter or grinder.
  • This action, together with a full flow of cold running water that must be used while the disposal is operating, reduces the garbage to fine particles and flushes them down the drain to the sewage system.
  • Fits standard 3-1/2″ to 4″ sink drain openings and are installed under the sink drain.
  • Cold water congeals grease and prevents it from coating the drain line. Hard particles, such as bone and eggshell, actually scour the drain line as they whirl down and help keep it clean.
  • One type is the Continuous-Feed disposals. Garbage can be fed while the machine is in operation. These disposals are controlled by a wall switch and operated with a continuous flow of cold water.
  • A flexible splashguard at the disposal opening stops backsplash and helps to catch non-food items that may accidentally fall into the opening.
  • Batch-Feed disposals grind or pulverize food waste one load at a time. The hopper is filled and cold water added. When the cover is put in place, the unit begins operating. Some models have a magnetic switch control in the cover; others require a locking turn of the cover to activate the unit. No other switch is necessary. The safer design of batch-feed disposals makes them more attractive to homeowners with children.
  • A sealed motor requiring an electrical hook-up powers most garbage disposals.
  • The typical disposal has an overload switch that shuts off the motor if something is jammed.
  • Disposals will grind most garbage–from the sink and the dishwasher–but they are not intended for glass, crockery, leather, metal, newspaper, paper cartons, rubber or plastic.


  • The standard Drop-In tub installs within a tile or solid-surface surround within three walls of the bathroom, while the old-fashioned Clawfoot tubs are freestanding.
  • Standard size for tubs is 60″ wide, 30″ deep and 14″ high.
  • Whirlpool and deep tubs are designed for soaking and relaxation. These tubs can be separate or incorporate a shower combination.
  • Cast iron tubs are the most durable and do not stain or scratch easily.
  • Acrylic is a better insulating material so the water takes longer to cool, and its light weight and flexibility makes it a better choice for larger tubs.
  • Fiberglass tubs are easy to install, but are more apt to fade and scratch.
  • Tub and shower combinations are typically made of reinforced fiberglass with a polyester finish.

Tub Surround

  • Attaches to drywall, plaster or most any solid surface.
  • Comes in three or more pieces that snap or caulk together for a leak-free fit.
  • Inexpensive alternative to tile and good solution for keeping bathroom walls around the shower easy to clean.
  • Don’t forget the caulk!

Shower Stall

  • Some units come in one piece, mainly for new construction or major remodels.
  • Some units come in multiple pieces that snap or caulk together to be a leak free.
  • Easy to clean and some manufacturers claim they will not chip, crack or peel.
  • Don’t forget caulk.

Towel Bar/Towel Ring

  • Often sold in a style that matches other bathroom accessories, and some manufacturers will match them to light fixtures.
  • Mount on the wall or shower door.
  • Fancier models are stand alone and heated.
  • Sold in a variety of finishes.

Soap Dish

  • Often sold in a style that matches other bathroom accessories such as towel bars.
  • Comes either stand-alone or wall-mounted.

Grab Bar

  • Installed for safety around tubs to help prevent falls.
  • Also used as a handrail to help anyone who may have trouble sitting down or standing up.
  • Never use a towel rod in place of a grab bar.
  • Never install diagonally, as a person’s hand might slide if footing isn’t secure.

Fiberglass Asphalt Shingle

  • Has a base mat of glass fibers covered with ceramic-coated mineral granules.
  • Some types may use a polyester or fiberglass blend for the base mat.
  • An inorganic shingle.
  • Features a better fire rating and often has a longer warranty than other types of shingles.
  • Does not absorb water and resists cracking.
  • Most come with seal-down strips. These are most effective when applied in warm weather, which allows the asphalt in the strip to soften and adhere to the next shingle.
  • An inorganic-based shingle usually has a Class A fire resistance rating from the Underwriters Laboratories (UL). UL also tests for shingle performance in high winds. To qualify for the wind-resistance label, shingles must withstand test winds of at least 60 mph for two hours without a single tab lifting.

Three-Dimensional Asphalt Shingle

  • Also known as a laminated asphalt shingle, or architectural shingle.
  • An inorganic shingle.
  • Characterized by a more rugged texture than a standard three-tab shingle.
  • Weighs and costs more than standard shingles.
  • Made of two or more layers that are laminated to create the three-dimensional look, giving it the appearance closer to wood or slate roofing.

Roll Roofing

  • Less expensive than shingles.
  • Used on lower-slope roofs or as a supplement to shingles.
  • Comes with either a smooth or mineral-covered surface on a heavy felt base that has been saturated with asphalt and then coated on both sides with more asphalt.
  • Easy to install.
  • A typical roll roofing, known as 90-lb. granule-coated, will cover 100 square feet.
  • A 45-lb. smooth roofing, without granules, will also cover 100 square feet.
  • A properly applied roll roofing should last from 10 to 20 years.

Metal Roofing

  • Steel panels designed to cover the roof in place of shingles.
  • Designed with either exposed or hidden fasteners.
  • Metal roofing can be coated with zinc or a mixture of zinc and aluminum for rust prevention. The best steel panels are manufactured with zinc.

Clay Tile

  • A roofing material known for its durability, as it can last up to 50 years.
  • May be flat or rounded in shape, and may even have a glossy surface.
  • Can be made of clay or concrete.
  • Colors include reddish brown as well as blue and green.

Wood Shingle

  • Typically made of cedar, although composite wood shingles are available.
  • Flat shape and a smooth texture.
  • Usually 1/2” thick.
  • Wood shakes are similar, but have a rougher texture. They are usually 1/2” or 3/4” thick.
  • More difficult to install than asphalt shingles.
  • Features may include a fire-retardant coating, which only reduces, not eliminates, its flammability.


  • Strips of sheet metal or roofing material.
  • Used to make waterproof joints on a roof.
  • Some flashing may be called a “boot”. This kind is specially made to fit around a vent pipe. They are often made of plastic. It fits snugly over the pipe and then slides under the shingles for a waterproof joint.
  • Seals with flashing sealant, usually sold in a tube and applied with a caulk gun.

Drip Edge

  • L-shaped weather-resistant metal.
  • Installed at exposed roof edges (eaves) to help shed water and to protect the roof’s wood parts.

Felt Paper

  • Also called building paper.
  • Installed under shingles.
  • Composed of a tough, fibrous base saturated with asphalt.

Reinforcing Fabric

  • Used with roof cement to add strength and flexibility to surface repairs.
  • Used with cold-applied roof coatings, meaning they can be applied direct from the container with little to no heating required for application.

Plastic Roof Cement

  • A trowel-grade, general-use sealing compound.
  • Makes flashings, seams or patches in roofs and gutters water-repellent.

Cold Process Adhesive

  • Also called lap cement roof adhesive.
  • Designed to form a water-resistant and waterproof bond with most coated roll roofing products.

Ridge Vent

  • Vents exhaust from the attic and extends the life of the roof.
  • Typical widths are 9” and 12”.
  • Helps keep the attic cool and reduces air conditioning costs.
  • Helps prevent ice dams.
  • Shingle-over ridge vents incorporate shingles that match the roof and are nailed over the vent.
  • Pre-drilled holes make installation easy.
  • Most types feature baffles because ridge vents without baffles can allow wind and moisture to enter the attic.

Soffit Vent

  • An air intake on the soffit or eave.
  • Helps balance the flow of air into the attic from the ridge vent.
  • Usually made of either aluminum or PVC.
  • Reversible soffit vents can be flush or recessed mounted.

Gable Vent

  • Designed to complement most brands of vinyl siding.
  • Installs before or after the siding.
  • Requires little maintenance.
  • Features open louvered joints and built-in screens to keep out bugs and birds.
  • Comes in a variety of shapes, including octagon, pentagon, round, square, half-round or rectangular.

Power Ventilator

  • Turbine vents that consist of a turbine mounted on a sheet metal cylinder.
  • Installed like roof line vents along the face of the roof.
  • When the wind blows, it spins the turbine, which in turn draws air up out of the attic.
  • Their effectiveness depends on whether the wind is blowing or not.

Foundation Vent

  • Used to ventilate basements and crawl spaces.
  • May be constructed of steel, aluminum or plastic.
  • Used with brick, block or frame construction.

Roof Louver

  • Used for bathroom fan exhausts, kitchen duct outlets and attic ventilation.
  • Usually made of aluminum or plastic.
  • One type, wall louver, has louvered vanes and can be flush or recessed mounted.
  • Another type, the midget louver, helps contain moisture in sidewall construction or other areas.

Dryer Vent

  • Provides an exhaust for the dryer.
  • Most models feature flaps or louvers that remain closed when not in use.
  • Available in a kit that includes the vent, ductwork and dryer attachment.

Mounting Block

  • Offers a waterproof surface for installing outlets, lighting and plumbing fixtures with new siding.
  • Used with wood, aluminum, vinyl, stucco, brick or shake siding.


  • Changes the direction of a run of gutter.
  • An outside mitre is used for an inside turn of a gutter.
  • An inside mitre is used for an outside turn of a gutter.

End Cap

  • Used to stop a run of gutter.

Spike & Ferrule

  • Used to hold a gutter to the eave of the roof.
  • The spike is inserted through the ferrule.
  • The ferrule helps hold the width of the gutter constant throughout the run.


  • Used to attach the gutter downspout to the side of the house.

Splash Block

  • Diverts water away from the foundation of the house.
  • Only works if the grade of soil is already pitched away from the house’s foundation.


  • Vinyl siding is available in a variety of colors, textures and profiles.
  • Benefits include easy installation and low maintenance. Color is solid throughout, so scratches don’t show. Available in widths up to 12” in lap.
  • Aluminum siding is used less frequently than vinyl siding. Has a baked-on enamel factory finish that fades over time and needs to be repainted. Can be installed over any structurally sound surface.
  • Must be grounded with a No. 8 or larger wire to the cold-water service or the electrical service ground.
  • Wood siding typically comes in redwood and cedar. Wood is a natural insulator and adds to the R-value of the wall. Not as popular as other types of siding as it is high maintenance. May be stained or painted.
  • Fiber cement siding looks, feels and installs similar to wood.
  • Created by mixing Portland cement, sand, clay and wood fiber and forming it into siding panels with various textures, including wood grain, smooth or stucco texture. Usually comes primed and ready to paint. Has a Class 1 (A) fire rating and resists rot and wood-boring insects.

Corner Post

  • Outside corner posts provide a more finished appearance at the outside corner of adjoined walls.
  • Inside corner posts provide a more finished appearance at the inside corner of adjoined walls.

Soffit & Fascia Panel

  • Soffit panels enclose the underside of an eave.
  • Fascia panels enclose the front of an eave.


  • Used to trim out the ends of siding panels where they meet a door or window.
  • Also used to cover cut edges of panels around windows and under the eaves.

Hollow-Core Wood Door

  • Has wooden or cardboard ribs inside for stability.
  • Primarily used as interior doors, as they will warp or disintegrate from weather.
  • Size is usually 1-3/8” to 1-3/4” thick, and usually 30”, 32″ or 36” wide.
  • Common height is 80”.

Solid Wood Door

  • Made of a tempered hardboard, wood or particleboard with or without a veneer, and from several kinds of solid wood.
  • Ash, birch, mahogany, hemlock and pine are commonly used for solid doors.
  • Comes in standard widths for front and rear entrances. Narrower widths are sometimes used between house and garage and/or breezeway.
  • More fire resistant than hollow-core doors. Particleboard is more fire-resistant than natural wood and it resists warping because of its higher density.
  • Available pre-hung, which means the door is hinged in a framework that includes the header and side jambs of the door and the casing trim. The door may also be predrilled for the lockset.

Steel Door

  • Typically galvanized steel facing with polystyrene, polyurethane, wood or particleboard cores.
  • Offers more insulation, durability, fire-resistance and security than wood doors.
  • The steel exterior provides structural strength and eliminates cracking and warping.
  • Usually used as exterior doors.

Fiberglass Door

  • Easy to maintain and requires less time to refinish.
  • Will not rot, crack or split.
  • Comes in a variety of styles including sidelights, transoms and glass.

Folding Door

  • One style is woven, which is used when ventilation is necessary and usually consists of natural wood or polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
  • Another style is laminated, the more durable of the two, which is usually PVC-laminated to steel.
  • The most common size is 32” x 80”.
  • Two units or an expansion set can be combined to fit larger openings.

Bifold Door

  • A door that comes in two sections.
  • Each section is hinged to its side of the doorway with a single fold down the center of each. When closed, they meet in the middle of the doorway.
  • Usually designed for an extra-wide doorway between rooms and on closets.
  • Constructed of metal, wood or composite wood. It can also feature decorative glass or mirrored glass for decorative effect.
  • Louvered bifold doors are an assembly of slats—or sometimes a combination of panels and slats—that slope downward to permit ventilation while preserving privacy.

Glazing Compound

  • Is a long-lasting material used for glazing wood or metal sash.
  • It remains semi-elastic under a smooth, firm, wrinkle-free film that forms when the material sets.
  • It does not dry rock-hard and is easier to remove when reglazing.
  • It resists cold, heat and moisture and is used for patching or sealing small openings or cracks.
  • Glazing can be tinted with oil color.

Drywall Joint Compound

  • Is used in drywall construction as a bedding compound for the joint tape and to finish seams between drywall.
  • It is available in powder or ready-mixed form and comes in quarts, gallons and 5-gallon pails. Some ready-mixed types may also be used as texture paint.
  • One pound is sufficient for four lineal yards of joint surfaces.

Patching Plaster

  • Is a fast-setting powder ready to use by adding water.
  • It dries hard to uniform, white color.
  • It repairs and covers large holes and deep cracks in plaster walls and ceilings.
  • Patching plaster may be drilled, sanded and painted and can be textured to match existing surface.

Plaster of Paris

  • Is a quick-setting white powder used to repair wallboard, plaster walls and ceilings, set bathroom wall fixtures—towel racks, soap dishes, etc.—and for art projects.
  • It usually hardens within 30 minutes.
  • No more water than necessary should be added; when water evaporates, the plaster shrinks.

Rust Remover

  • Cuts through and dissolves rust from metal surfaces to form a metal shield that can be painted.
  • In jellied form, it clings well to vertical surfaces.
  • When brushed on, the rust dissolves quickly.
  • These products are extremely harsh on the skin; protective gloves should be worn.
  • The solution is applied with a stiff brush or aerosol spray and allowed to dry for 12 to 24 hours, depending on humidity (check manufacturer labeling and literature).


  • Fast acting thinner, cleaner and remover for resins, inks, adhesives and contact cement.
  • Also used for thinning and cleaning fiberglass.
  • A heavy degreaser, it can be used as a metal cleaner prior to painting.

Methyl Ethyl Ketone

  • MEKFast evaporating clear, colorless solvent.
  • Has solvent characteristics and strengths similar to acetone but is water soluble.
  • Primarily used to thin lacquers and vinyl acetate and vinyl chloride copolymers.


  • High solvency thinner for oil based paint, lacquers, varnish and adhesives.
  • Also used to thin certain primers and topcoats.
  • Soluble in alcohol and insoluble in water.
  • Dries quickly.
  • Also used to clean tools and equipment.

Naphtha (VM & P)

  • Fast evaporating, clear, colorless solvent.
  • Used primarily to thin oil paints, varnishes and enamels for spray applications where mineral spirits drying time is too slow.

Xylol (Xylene)

  • XyleneMedium evaporating, clear, colorless aromatic hydrocarbon solvent for thinning varnishes and rubber.

White Glue

  • Also known as polyvinyl acetate (PVA).
  • A non-waterproof adhesive used mostly for interior woodworking jobs where a waterproof joint is not required.
  • Usually packaged in plastic squeeze bottles, these inexpensive, milky-white glues dry clear and are fast setting.
  • Bonds paper, fabric, cardboard, cork and leather, as well as wood.
  • Can withstand a moderate amount of strain and cleans up easily with soap and water.
  • Non toxic and non flammable.

Woodworkers’ Glue

  • Carpenters' GlueAlso called carpenter’s glue.
  • Has a faster grab than white glue (set time is usually within 15 minutes).
  • Is usually tinted an off-white or yellow.
  • Woodworkers’ glue is used in applications where better water resistance, heat resistance and ease of sanding are desired.
  • Aliphatic wood glue, a general-purpose adhesive, is also popular among people who are doing woodwork, including those building or repairing furniture.
  • Non toxic and non flammable.

Instant-Setting Glue

  • Super GlueAlso called Super Glue (cyanoacrylates), this glue creates a strong, instant bond with a small amount of glue.
  • Regular cyanoacrylates will bond almost all non-porous materials such as ceramic, some plastics, rubber, metal or synthetics.
  • Comes in gel form.
  • Should be handled with extreme care and kept off of skin.


  • One of the strongest adhesives known, epoxy is designed primarily for the bonding of non-porous surfaces, but can also be used effectively on wood.
  • Available in clear, white or metallic finish.
  • Most epoxies come in two parts: a resin and a hardener (or “catalyst”) which must be mixed together before the adhesive is used. Once mixed, the material will set permanently in a specified length of time—most will permanently bond, even under water.
  • The bond will withstand most solvents when curing is complete.
  • Excellent for sealing gaps and will withstand vibration and shock.
  • Can be used on pipes, radiators, wood, metal, ceramic tile, china, marble, glass and masonry.
  • Since epoxy is toxic and flammable, use extreme caution when handling.

Polyurethane Glue

  • Is a one-part adhesive offering the strength of an epoxy without mixing.
  • Generally requires 4 to 24 hours to fully cure, but it does bond to most materials.
  • Cures in the presence of moisture, so wetting one or both materials to be joined is required.
  • Good for a bond between either similar or dissimilar surfaces an is commonly used in woodworking.
  • Waterproof, sandable, paintable and stainable.

Contact Cement

  • Can be used on many surfaces, but the joints it makes may come apart under a heavy load.
  • Good to bond laminates to countertops and cabinets, or to glue plastic foam, hardboard or metal to wood.
  • Instant adhesion makes contact cement difficult to use. It bonds immediately without clamping and resists water, temperature extremes and fungi.
  • Contact cement is most effective when one or both surfaces are porous or semi-porous.
  • Contains solvents that should be allowed to flash off before assembly. Non-flammable versions are available.

Resorcinol Glue

  • Is two-component adhesive of liquid resin and powdered catalyst.
  • Used in wood joints, it cures under pressure in 10 hours at 70° F.
  • Ideal for exterior structural applications because of its waterproof and weatherproof qualities.

Silicone Rubber Adhesive

  • Ideal for strong, flexible joints on wood, dissimilar surfaces such as metal, rubber, glass, ceramics, brick, wood and polystyrene foam.

Plastic Resin Glue

  • Is powdered urea formaldehyde glue.
  • When mixed with water, it makes highly water-resistant bonds.
  • Frequently used for furniture repair, it is applied to clean, close-fitting surfaces and cured under pressure for at least 10 hours at 70° F.
  • The finished glue is non-toxic and impervious to most materials.

Construction Adhesive

  • Also known as mastic, which is a general term for any thick adhesive.
  • Used in heavy-duty bonding and construction, mastics are usually applied with a caulking gun or trowel.
  • Reduces the need for screws, nails and other fasteners.
  • Flexible and waterproof qualities make them ideal for outdoor applications.
  • Can be used to join flooring and sub-flooring, paneling, drywall and roofing, molding, tile, masonry and concrete, metal and wood.

Water-Based Caulk

  • Latex CaulkGenerally referred to as latex caulks and sealants, water-based caulks are the easiest to work with because they apply easily, are paintable, have little odor and clean up with water.
  • Ideal curing conditions are warm (above 40 degrees), dry weather.
  • Effective for filling gaps in baseboard and trim, as well as for caulking around interior window and door frames.
  • Generally available in cartridges ranging from 10-12 oz. as well as convenient squeeze tubes ranging from 4 oz. to 6 oz.
  • Vinyl Latex Caulk usually effective for five years and is most effective on small cracks in baseboards and little gaps around windows. Vinyl latex is non-flammable and paintable but not very flexible. It hardens over time.
  • Acrylic Latex Caulk is a general-purpose caulk—more flexible than vinyl latex caulks. It is water-based, easy to apply, non-flammable and cleans with water. It adheres to most surfaces—best on wood and masonry—and it can be painted shortly after application. It is available in pigments that allow it to match many surfaces. It remains effective for 10 to 15 years. However, it is not recommended for an area that is subject to excessive water collection. It is flexible and it maintains that flexibility over time. It should not be applied in temperatures of less than 40° F.
  • Tub and Tile Caulk is a specialty performance caulk with added mildewcide to protect against mildew growth in the areas prone to moisture (kitchens, bathrooms). Some tub and tile caulks are more flexible and crack-resistant. Many formulations include adhesives that combine a sealant and adhesive in one. Like other latex caulks, they apply easily, are non-flammable, clean up with water, and are paintable and mildew resistant. They are available in a variety of colors.

Siliconized Acrylic Caulk

  • Combines silicone with acrylic latex formulas for improved water resistance.
  • This medium-performance, water-based caulk can withstand greater movement than acrylic latex.
  • Can be used for interior or exterior with good adhesion, even to glass and ceramic tile.
  • It also comes in a variety of colors as well as clear formulas.
  • It applies easily (though best applied in temperatures above 40° F), is non-flammable, paintable, mildew-resistant and cleans with water.
  • It endures moderate temperature changes, with a life expectancy of about 25-35 years.

Silicone Caulk

  • Is good for use around bathtubs and sinks because it resists mold and mildew.
  • It is water resistant and provides excellent adhesion to smooth surfaces, such as metal, glass and tile, but it does not adhere to masonry.
  • Remains flexible after curing and is not affected by UV radiation.
  • Paint will also not stick to most silicones and it is difficult to apply.
  • Does not adhere well to wood.
  • Non toxic.
  • Can be applied at nearly any temperature.
  • Must be cleaned up with solvents.

Polyurethane Foam

  • Used for a variety of jobs, most often around electrical outputs, pipe penetrations and large voids or openings where the elements can infiltrate a structure.
  • It expands to fill gaps, holes and voids and is good for insulation purposes.
  • It is easy to apply, cures quickly, is paintable and offers good adhesion.
  • Available in different expansion rate formulas.

Butyl Rubber Sealants

  • Are solvent-based, with a life expectancy of two to 10 years.
  • Butyl rubber is good for sealing out water in lap joints, such as gutters. It is also a good choice for metals and masonry, as well as outside for chimneys.
  • Probably the best waterproofing sealant for below-grade applications, such as foundations.
  • Stringy, difficult to apply and slow curing, they are most efficient when applied to openings between similar surfaces.
  • Not recommended for openings wider or deeper than 1/4″ or in 90° corners.
  • These sealants offer low to moderate movement capabilities.

Synthetic Rubber Caulk

  • A relative newcomer to the caulk category, synthetic rubber caulk is perhaps the most flexible product on the market.
  • Cures clear and is ideal for exterior joints that typically expand and contract.
  • Can be applied in adverse weather conditions (wet and cold).
  • Stretches easily without breaking and recovers easily.
  • Great for use on roofs, wood siding and joints that frequently show movement.
  • Can be painted with latex paint.
  • Due to higher VOC content, can’t be used indoors in some parts of the country, although manufacturers have introduced low VOC formulations to the marketplace.

Modified Silicone Polymers

  • Delivers excellent performance on vinyl, fiber cement, aluminum and wood siding.
  • Combines the best characteristics of polyurethane, silicone and water-based products, offering permanent flexibility.
  • Great for applying in wet weather and low temperature applications for caulking around exterior windows, doors and vents.
  • Can be painted with latex paint.