Below, we explain the terms used on the Maintaining My Home website.

Glossary terms

Acceptable Solution
Acceptable Solutions give an example of how the performance requirements of a Building Code clause can be met. It is not mandatory to use an Acceptable Solution, but if you do, a building consent authority must accept the work as complying with the Building Code.
Apron Flashing
The flashing that covers the joint between a vertical surface and a sloping roof, as at the lower edge of a chimney; or the flashing that diverts water from a vertical surface into a gutter
A moulding used as a surround to a door or window opening to cover the gap between the wall and the joinery
Sharp intersection of two surfaces (for example, the face of a piece of wood). An eased arris is one that has been slightly rounded
Art Deco
A style of housing introduced to New Zealand in the 1930s, often associated with parapets, flat roofs and plaster finishes to exterior cladding. Some architects continued using the style into the 1940s and even 1950s
A fibrous mineral used many years ago in roof and wall claddings, pipe insulation, flooring and textured ceilings. When inhaled, asbestos fibres can cause fatal illnesses. Asbestos removal work is tightly regulated.
Vertical support for a staircase handrail or railing at the edge of a balcony or veranda. Balusters are usually timber
The handrail and balusters beside a staircase, or at the edge of a balcony or veranda
Barge Board
The flat board at the edge of a gable roof, sometimes shaped or decorated
A piece of sawn or dressed timber of rectangular section usually between 20 mm and 40 mm thick and 25 mm to 75 mm wide
Building consent authority; an organisation empowered to issue building consents, inspect construction and certify completion of building work. All territorial and regional authorities (local councils) are accredited as building consent authorities.
A structural member supported at two or more points. Exposed beams are sometimes used as decorative members and not necessarily required to act in a structural or load-bearing capacity
A beam supported on jack studs, foundation walls, piles or piers and carrying joists, jack studs or subfloor framing
An angle that is not a right angle
Weatherboards that taper to a thin upper edge
Wood-boring insects in the larval stage which tunnel into wood
Bottom Plate
A plate other than a wall plate placed under the bottom end of studs
Building Act 2004
The legislation governing building work in New Zealand
Building Code
Regulations to the Building Act that prescribe the minimum performance objectives that building work must meet. Compliance with the Building Code is mandatory to the extent required by the Building Act
Building Consent
Approval given by a building consent authority to undertake building work
A style of housing taken from the west coast of the United States and Canada, often with timber cladding and a lower-pitched roof than a villa. The bungalow was the most common style of house built in New Zealand from the end of World War 1 to the Great Depression in the 1930s
A part in a mechanical linkage which rotates or slides
Member fixed at one end and unsupported at the other
A side-opening sash
Wood preservative that contains copper, chromium and arsenic
An ornamental timber or plaster moulding along the junction between wall and ceiling
Curvature across the width of a plank or board
The degree to which a structural element is displaced under a load
Splitting apart into layers
Windows that slide open vertically, sometimes also called sash windows, where each sash window is offset by a weight in the window surround
Damp proof membrane
Sounding like a drum; often applies to plaster or concrete
Short piece of timber tightly fixed between the vertical studs in wall framing. Also called noggin
An Acceptable Solution (design/construction solution) for Building Code clause E2 External moisture, published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). Where construction follows E2/AS1 exactly, a BCA must accept it as being compliant for E2.
The lower part of a roof projecting beyond the face of a wall
Crystallising water-soluble salts on a masonry surface as moisture evaporates from it
Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems – a type of wall cladding where polystyrene sheets are typically plastered with a reinforced polymer modified cement-based plaster and then painted.
Plain unmoulded or moulded finish trim, such as an architrave, applied to openings and angles of a building
The board that runs along the edge of the roof at the eaves. Guttering is usually attached to the fascia
A projecting flat rim, collar, or rib on an object, to help strengthen it or attach it to something
Galvanised steel or other impervious material used in parts of a building to prevent penetration of moisture where different components meet
A thin layer of zinc on an iron sheet or element to help protect the iron from corrosion
Grub Screw
A small headless screw, used typically to attach a handle or cam to a spindle
Gully Trap
A gully trap receives wastewater piped from fixtures in bathrooms, kitchen and laundry before they go into the sewer
Head Flashing
A flashing designed to prevent water leaking over the top of a window or door
A ‘high-efficiency particulate air’ filter that traps small particles and is commonly found in good commercial or domestic vacuum cleaners. These are not sufficient for extracting hazardous dusts
Hydrostatic Pressure
The pressure exerted by a fluid at equilibrium at a given point within the fluid, due to the force of gravity
A material that gains or loses water according to changing humidity levels. Timber is hygroscopic because it expands or contracts depending on humidity levels.
Insulating Glass Unit (IGU)
Double-glazing or triple-glazing – two or three sheets of glass spaced apart in a frame. The space between the panes may contain dry air or argon or krypton gas.
Vertical side member of a door frame, door lining or window frame
Horizontal framing member to which is fixed floor decking or ceiling linings and which is identified accordingly as floor joist or ceiling joist
Latex Paint
A water-borne coating that includes polymers of acrylic, vinyl acrylic or a mix of both.
A floor covering made of ingredients that may include linseed oil, pine resin, wood, cork and others on a backing made of jute
A horizontal member spanning an opening in a wall
The intersection of two pieces meeting together at an angle
Mortice And Tenon Joint
A timber joint made up of a shape (the mortice) cut out of a piece of timber into which is fixed the similarly shaped end (the tenon) of another piece of timber
Nib Wall
A short section of wall that juts out at 90 degrees
The rounded projecting edge of a stair tread
A sheet panel manufactured by bonding together particles of wood
Intermediate support, as in a bridge, where there is more than one span
Building: A block or column-like member used to transmit loads from the building and its contents to the ground. Painting: The thickness of the fabric on a paint roller
A render or mixture for spreading onto walls to form a smooth surface. It may be a cement
A timber supported by a wall or bearers or joists, to support and distribute the load from floors, walls, roofs and ceilings
An assembled product made of up to two or more plies or veneers bonded together with the direction of the grain in alternate plies, usually at right angles
Repairing or replacing mortar in masonry
An electrostatically-applied paint finish to metal
Roof framing timbers that are fixed over the rafters and which the roof cladding is fixed to
A framing timber normally parallel to the slope of the roof and providing support for sarking purlins or roof covering
Horizontal member of the sash
Rectangular recess formed along the edge of a piece of material for the fitting of a frame, door, sash, or other component
Sides of a door or window opening between the frame and the face of the wall
Saddle Flashing
Flashing to the top of a parapet or cornice
Insulation paper or closely fixed boards, usually rough sawn, that are used as an undercover for roofing
A frame containing a pane or panes of glass and fitted in the window frame
A moulding used to cover an uneven gap
A natural wood sealer and finish made from resin secreted by small insects living on the lac trees of India and Thailand. Hardened resin flakes are mixed with methylated spirits to give a clear finish
A thin piece of split timber used for roofing, gable ends or the wall below bay windows. Called a 'shake' if hand split
A horizontal shelf of wood at the foot of a door or window
Skillion Roof
A pitched roof where the ceiling lining is parallel and close to the roof cladding
Flashing at exterior mitred angle and butt joint of weatherboards
The lower face or undersurface of anything, such as the underside of eaves of a roof
To break away at the edges of stone, or other masonry materials, through weathering, chemical action, or excess loading
Vertical side member of a sash other than an interlocker
Inclined support carrying the ends of the steps of a stairway
Horizontal framing timber on edge fixed to the side of a concrete or masonry wall to support the ends of joists or rafters
A structural timber framing member installed over the ceiling joists in the ceiling space to provide support to the joists from above
A vertical timber forming part of a load-bearing external wall frame or of an internal wall partition
The 'level below'; usually refers to the material or structure beneath a cladding, coating, finish or membrane
Fine chips or filings of metal, stone or other materials produced by a machining operation
Tough plastic sheathing
A horizontal timber member laid underneath rafters
A style of house built in New Zealand before the First World War, typically constructed almost entirely of timber with a metal roof.
Absorbing or drawing up moisture by capillary action