'Build' Your Construction Vocabulary: 5 Important Terms to Know

'Build' Your Construction Vocabulary: 5 Important Terms to Know

By: Technic

Whether you’re thinking of building your own home or carrying out a renovation project, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the many terms and phrases thrown around in the construction industry. These words often aren’t found in everyday conversation, so it pays to understand what they mean to avoid confusion or misunderstanding.

The key to a successful construction project is having a solid understanding of the details involved, requiring familiarity with the terminology used. Here are five crucial construction terms and concepts to add to your vocabulary:


Before you begin a construction project, a soil engineer must test your soil and ensure it is stable enough to prevent your home from moving. Your foundation is the base of your home, and it must work with the ground beneath it to keep your home stable and preserve the building’s structural integrity.

There are a few additional terms to know in tandem with foundation. Footings support the foundation and distribute the structure’s load to the soil beneath it. Grade beams are larger concrete footings that are deeper beams with reinforcing steel bars. There are also a few foundations to know. These include slab on grade, concrete slab foundations put directly on the ground; mat slab, a thicker foundation; and caissons, used on hillside foundations.


If you’re thinking of adding a patio to your home, you’ll need to have a hardscape plan complete with a proper drainage scheme that directs water away from it. You’ll also have to consult with a soil engineer, who may dictate layers in your plan, depending on their findings. These layers include the subgrade, which is the soil that must be compacted and tested by a soil engineer; the subbase, which is a gravel or aggregate layer; the base, which is the material on top of the subbase; and the finished flatwork, which are the tiles or pavers on top of the base.


Most liquid mixtures ‘dry’ once the water content evaporates, but this does not apply to concrete. Although it has its liquid form that eventually hardens, it does not dry. Instead, a chemical reaction takes place that allows it to solidify, effectively ‘curing’ it. The water in the concrete does not evaporate since it reacts and becomes part of the concrete itself, which is why it never ‘dries.’ Additionally, concrete continues to set and cure for many years while becoming more robust over time.


Rough-in concerns the electrical, plumbing, and mechanical aspects of construction. It is the phase that occurs once the workers complete the framing, involving the installing of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing lines before insulating the walls and closing them. The wiring runs along the service panel to the outlet receptacles, while the electrical and plumbing supply and waste lines are installed through the stud bays and under the floors. The HVAC ducts are then installed for heating and cooling. Once this phase is complete, it’s time to bring in an inspector to approve the work before installing the drywall.

Flashing and Waterproofing

You’ll need to protect your home from the elements, which is where flashing comes in handy. It is your home’s primary defense against water, typically made of galvanized metal, although it doesn’t stay sturdy on oceanfront homes. Flashing can be used to waterproof your home, although this highly depends on your climate. Regardless, it’s best to consult house builders in Irvine to make sure you get suitable material to waterproof your home. 


The construction world is full of many terms, but these are some of the most important ones that you’ll frequently encounter. By familiarizing yourself with these words and concepts, you’ll sound like a construction pro in no time.

Technick is a team of custom home builders and home improvement contractors that builds inspiring, innovative residential and commercial spaces. We can help you with various construction needs, such as kitchen and bath design and build, room addition, open floor plans, general remodel, and whole-house renovation. Contact us today to get started on your dream home!

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