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    The practise of covering the roof rafters with boards before fixing the felt.


    A window comprised of sliding sections.


    Shards of stone cut-offs or quarry waste used instead of hardcore or other aggregate.

    Scarf joint

    A diagonal joint used for joining two lengths of timber together, employed in creating long runs of skirting board, dado rails or picture rails.


    A first coat of plaster or render which is scored to create a key for the top coat of plaster.


    A thin layer of mortar applied to the surface of a concrete floor to give it a smooth finish.

    Scribe (also score)

    Using a sharp, pointed tool to mark a line that is often used as a cutting guide. Also, to replicate the profile of an obstacle onto a sheet of material that is to be butted against it.


    A flexible, waterproof substance used for sealing along joints. Normally applied using a cartridge applicator.


    Completing the final stages of construction. For example, fitting the skirting boards after plastering or fitting the light switches after wiring up all of the electrics.

    Service cable

    The supply cable bringing electricity into your house.

    Service duct

    A tube or shaft housing mains cables or pipes in modern houses.


    This relates to the amount of subsidence that occurs with a new foundation or structure.


    The outer insulation covering electric cable or flex.


    A small wedge of wood used to pack out a small gap e.g. between the door lining and the opening in the wall.


    This is the curved outlet at the bottom of a drainpipe that directs water away from the building.


    A timber framework that encloses an area that is to be concreted. The shuttering contains the wet concrete.


    To fix nails or screws into timber at an angle.


    To apply a thin top coat of plaster.


    This relates to brick walls. Single skin walls are one brick thick. Double skin walls are two bricks thick.

    Skirting board

    Timber panelling that runs around the base of walls covering the joint between walls and floor.

    Sleeper wall

    A low wall for supporting ground floor joists.


    A drainage pit below ground filled with hardcore to channel away rainwater.


    This is the underside surface of an archway or of the eaves of a roof.


    Timber from coniferous trees like cedar, redwood and pine. This type of timber is not always softer than hardwoods e.g. yew is a softwood yet extremely hard.

    Soil stack

    This is the main waste drainage pipe recognisable by its large diameter.

    Sole plate

    This is the horizontal timber beam that runs across the floor to which the vertical studs are fixed in a stud wall.


    The base of a substance, usually a liquid. For example, water is the solvent for emulsion paint. The solvent of a substance is also the cleaning agent.


    Plastic X-shaped dividers for spacing tiles evenly.


    Flaking on the surface of masonry usually caused by moisture freezing and expanding in cold conditions.


    This refers to the end of a pipe which fits into a socket to create a joint with another length of pipe.


    Another word for a baluster which forms part of the balustrade.


    An extension on a ring circuit from a socket or junction box.


    Positioning of an object that is directly parallel, level or at a right angle to another.

    Stack bond

    Method of building a block wall where the joints are not staggered.


    The metal arm attached to a casement window, which hooks over a pin on the frame to prop the window open securely.


    The vertical side section of a door or sash window.


    Creating a series of indentations to texture a surface, usually with paint or concrete.

    Striker and latch

    Metal components fixed to a gate to keep it closed. The latch is fixed to the gate and the striker to the gatepost.


    The timber sides of a staircase supporting the treads. The string on the open side of a staircase is called the outer string; the wall string is positioned against the wall.


    A timber or metal upright used to construct a frame for an interior wall or stud partition.


    A floor material fitted under decorative flooring. For example, hardboard below carpets or plywood under ceramic floor tiles.


    Serious ground movement around or under a building that may cause structural damage.


    A building surveyor is an expert on all aspects of property and can offer advice on design, construction, maintenance, repair, refurbishment and restoration.