Caulking is a key homeowner skill because it’s used in so many parts of the house, and you’ll need to caulk year after year. Caulking is the material used to fill gaps where building materials meet. On your home’s exterior, you caulk around doors and windows where they meet the siding. Inside you caulk around sinks, and where the baseboard meets flooring.
The biggest challenges with caulking are buying the right caulk and cleaning up the surface before caulking, to get a good clean seal. For more caulking tips, visit our homeowner library or download Fine Home Building.com’s terrific PDF on Caulks & Sealants.
Cancellation of Debt (COD) – When you’re unable to repay your mortgage and the lender forgives your debt, it’s called a cancellation of debt with tax consequences.
Canopy A projection over a window or door protecting them from weather.
Cant Strip A beveled strip used under flashings to modify the angle at the point where the roofing or waterproofing membrane meets any vertical element.
Cap Sheet A granule-surfaced, coated felt used as the top ply of a built-up roofing membrane.
Capillary action/Capillarity The rising of water above the horizontal plane of the water table.
Carbon Footprint A measure of your impact on the environment terms of the amount of greenhouse gases produced. Carbon footprint refers to the overall carbon emissions a building creates including construction and operation.
Carbon Neutral A company, developer, or action that claims it does not make any carbon emissions or that if it does it offsets the emissions elsewhere.
Carbon Offsetting – The process of reducing carbon emissions by donating money to organizations that will plant trees or create renewable energy technology. An example would be taking a flight and paying an organization to plant trees that will equal out the amount of carbon emissions used by the flight.
Carpet & Rug Institute – A national trade association that does research on behalf of members/manufacturers to improve carpet products, and test cleaning solutions and tools.
Cationic Emulsion – An emulsion in which the emulsifying system establishes a predominance of positive charges on the discontinuous phase.
Caulk – To fill a joint with mastic or asphalt cement to prevent leaks.
Caulking – A composition of vehicle and pigment, used at ambient temperatures for filling joints, that remains plastic for an extended time after application.
Cavity – The empty space between studs or joists to place insulation batts.
CCA (Chromated Copper Arsenate) – A historical and widely used pressure-treated wood preservative in residential construction prior to 01/01/2004.
Ceiling Insulation – A loose fill or blanket material cellulose, vermiculite, rock wool, or fiberglass arecommonly used) placed against the winter warm side of the ceiling (between ceiling joists or roof rafters) to reduce heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer. (Note:Ventilation space is necessary between the insulation and the roof sheathing to allow air to circulate through the attic, preventing moisture build-up.)
Certificate of Occupancy– A certificate issued by a local government agency, stating a building is approved for occupancy.
Checkerboard Floors – You’d recognize them because of their black and white squares, and now you know they’re called checkerboard floors.
Chimney Flashing The material (often sheet metal) used to provide a water-tight joint between the chimney and the roof. (Note: Flashing is used at roof intersections and around other roof projections to make them watertight.)
Clapboards or Beveled Siding – Wedge shaped boards with a thick lower butt and a thin upper edge, overlapped to provide an exterior covering which will shed water. (Note: Brick and stone are also commonly used exterior sidings in Michigan.)
Class “A” – The highest fire-resistance rating for roofing as per ASTM E-108. Indicates roofing is able to withstand severe exposure to fire originating from sources outside the building.
Class “B” – Fire-resistance rating that indicates roofing materials are able to withstand moderate exposure to fire originating from sources outside the building.
Class “C” – ASTM fire-resistance rating that indicates roofing material is able to withstand light exposure to fire originating from sources outside the building.
Closed Cut Valley – A method of valley treatment in which shingles from one side of the valley extend across the valley while shingles from the other side are trimmed 2 inches from the valley center line. The valley flashing is not exposed.
Closing – Also referred to as settlement. The process of finalizing all dealings in the purchase of a property, including signing of papers, disbursement of money, preparation of deed, and transfer of ownership.
Closing Costs – Costs associated with finalizing the purchase of a home or property, including property insurance, property taxes, title insurance, mortgage insurance premium, points, and filing fees.
Cloud on Title – An invalid legal claim to the title of a property that appears during the sale of the property, due to a recording mistake or other error and thus not apparent to the buyer or seller beforehand.
Collar (Also called a Vent Sleeve) – Strung between rafters on opposite sides of the roof; tie acts as a brace to prevent rafters from spreading.
Coating – A layer of viscous asphalt applied to the base material into which granules or other surfacing is embedded.
Cold Applied – Capable of being applied without heating as contrasted with hot-applied.
Cold Joint – A plane of weakness in concrete caused by an interruption or delay in the pouring operation, permitting the first batch to start setting before the next batch is added, with the result that the two batches have little or no bond.
Combination Base – A finishing molding piece used along the outer most edges of the floor where it meets the wall.
Community Home Builders – Also known as production builders, build hundreds of houses in master communities each year.
Comparative market analysis (CMA) – A comparison of sale prices of similar properties in a given area for the purpose of determining the fair market value of a property.
Compatibility – The ability of two or more substances to exist in harmony when mixed together or when brought into intimate contact without any adverse physical or chemical reaction.
Condominium – An individually owned living unit (typically, an apartment) that is part of a building with many such units. As an owner of a condo, you typically have an ownership interest in the common areas of the complex, such as the land, parking facilities, swimming pool, and so on.
Construction Joint – A butted joint formed in a structural slab, so that one pour can be ended and another started at a later time.
Construction Permit – A process where you apply to build a new house or remodel an existing one, that follows a process to insure work is done according to building codes.
Corner Trim – Ceramic trim installed on the wall. Upper and outer edges of the tile slopes inward toward the wall, providing transition or closure
Contingency – A provision that makes the occurrence of one event dependent on the completion of another. For example, the purchase of a home may be contingent on the seller repairing the structural damages.
Contract – A formal agreement between two or more parties that is typically legally binding.
Coping – A covering on top of a wall exposed to the weather, usually sloped to carry off water.
Co-signer – A person who assumes joint liability with another person by signing documents (e.g. loan promissory note). A co-signer is not necessarily a co-owner.
Corner Post – Vertical wooden members at the corner of the structure designed to support inner and outer covering materials.
Corner Bracing – Diagonal braces (or sheets of plywood in newer construction) placed at the corners of a frame structure to strengthen the walls and keep the frame square.
Corrosion – The major type of deterioration of metals. Often called oxidation, it is a chemical reaction of pure metal with oxygen or other elements.
Counterflashing – That portion of the flashing attached to a vertical surface to prevent water from migrating behind the base flashing.
Counteroffer – A rejection of an original offer, combined with a new offer stating different terms and conditions.
Coverage – Amount of weather protection provided by the roofing material. Depends on number of layers of material between the exposed surface of the roofing and the deck, i.e., single coverage, double coverage, etc.
CPL (Continuous Pressure Laminate) – The laminate surface and backing consist of multiple layers fused under heat and pressure into a laminate structure. Then in a separate process, they’re bonded with glue under heat and pressure to the core board.
Crawlspace Vent – An opening to allow the passage of air through the unexcavated area under a first floor. Ideally there should be at least two vents per crawlspace.
Credit Report – A report from an independent source outlining the credit history of an individual, including current and previous debts, payment amounts, late payments and past due amounts, defaults, and other related information on every credit source the individual has used.
Creep – The time-dependent part of a strain resulting from stress.
Cricket – A peaked saddle construction at the back of a chimney to prevent accumulation of snow and ice and to deflect water around the chimney.
Cross Bracing – A system of bracing by the use of ties. Typically used between floor joists to prevent them from twisting.
Cure – A process whereby a waterproof material attains its final performance properties. This process can occur through evaporation or heat or chemical reactions.
Curing Time – The period between application and the time when the material reaches its design physical properties.
Cutback – Solvent-thinned bitumen used in coldprocess roofing adhesives, flashing cements, and roof coatings.
Cutoff – A detail designed to prevent lateral water movement into the insulation where the membrane terminates at the end of a day’s work. Also used to isolate sections of the roofing system. It is usually removed before the continuation of the work.
Cutout – The open portions of a strip shingle between the tabs.