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Glossary - D

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Dado: A rectangular groove across the width of a board or plank. In interior decoration, a special type of wall treatment.

Damper: An air valve that regulates the flow of air inside the flue of a furnace or fireplace.

Dampproofing: A process used on concrete, masonry or stone surfaces to repel water, the main purpose of which is to prevent the coated surface from absorbing rain water while still permitting moisture vapor to escape from the structure. (Moisture vapor readily penetrates coatings of this type.) "Dampproofing" generally applies to surfaces above grade; "waterproofing" generally applies to surfaces below grade.

Darby: A flat tool used to smooth concrete flatwork immediately after screeding. See Bullfloating.

De-Humidistat: A control mechanism used to operate a mechanical ventilation system based upon the relative humidity in the home.

Dead Load: The constant, design-weight (of the roof) and any permanent fixtures attached above or below.

Decay: Disintegration of wood or other substance through the action of fungi.

Deck: An elevated platform. "Deck" is also commonly used to refer to the above-ground floors in multi-level parking garage.

Deck Paint: An enamel with a high degree of resistance to mechanical wear designed for use on such surfaces as porch floors.

Decorative: Ornamental; not required for the operation of essential systems and components of a home.

Deflect: To bend or deform under weight.

Deflection: The amount of bending movement of any part of a structural member perpendicular to the axis of the member under an applied load.

Density: The mass of substance in a unit volume. When expressed in the metric system, it is numerically equal to the specific gravity of the same substance.

Describe: Report in writing on a system or component by its type or other observed characteristics to distinguish it from other components used for the same purpose.

Design Pressure: Specified pressure a product is designed to withstand.

Designer: One who designs houses, interiors, landscaping or other objects. When used it the context of residential construction it usually suggests that a designer is not a licensed architect. Most jurisdictions don't require an architectural license for most single family construction.

Determine: To arrive at an opinion or conclusion pursuant to examination.

Dew Point: Temperature at which vapor condenses from the atmosphere and forms water.

Dimension Lumber: Yard lumber from 2 inches to, but not including, 5 inches thick and 2 or more inches wide. Includes joists, rafters, studs, plank, and small timbers.

Direct Gain System: Passive solar heating system in which sunlight penetrates and warms the house interior directly.

Direct Nailing: To nail perpendicular to the initial surface or to the junction of the pieces joined. Also termed Face Nailing.

Dismantle: To open, take apart or remove any component, device or piece that would not typically be opened, taken apart or removed by an ordinary occupant.

Disposer: A device that grinds food sufficiently to enter drains for disposal without clogging them.

Distortion: Alteration of viewed images caused by variations in glass flatness or in homogeneous portions within the glass. An inherent characteristic of heat-treated glass.

Diverter: Valves which have a single inlet and direct water to one of two outlets. Diverters are used with handshowers, shower risers, tub & shower combinations, and kitchen faucet sprayers.

Diverter Valve: A device that changes the direction of water flow from one faucet to another.

Dolly Varden Siding: Beveled wood siding which is rabbeted on the bottom edge.

Doorjamb (Interior): The surrounding case into which and out of which a door closes and opens. It consists of two upright pieces, called side jambs, and a horizontal head jamb.

Dormer: A converted attic with windows projecting through a sloping roof.

Double Coverage: Application of asphalt roofing so that the lapped portion is at least 2 inches wider than the exposed portion, resulting in two layers of roofing material over the deck.

Double Hung Window: A window with sashes that slide vertically and allow opening from the top and bottom.

Double Plate: When two layers of 2x4s are placed on top of studs in framing a wall.

Double Strength: In float glass, approximately 1/8" (3 mm.) thick.

Double Tree: Refers usually to a precast roof deck panel poured with two fins in its underside to impart flexural rigidity.

Double-Glazing: In general, any use of two lights of glass, separated by an air space within an opening to improve insulation against heat transfer and/or sound transmission. In insulating glass units, the air between the glass sheets is thoroughly dried and the space is sealed, eliminating possible condensation and providing superior insulating properties.

Downspout: The pipe that carries water down from the gutter or scupper. Also called a leader.

Draw: The amount of progress billings on a contract that is currently available to a contractor under a contract with a fixed payment schedule.

Drawing Detail: A top view drawing of a building or roof showing the roof perimeter and indicating the projections and roof mounted equipment, drawn to scale.

Drawing Outline: A top view drawing of a building or roof showing only the perimeter drawn to scale.

Dressed and Matched (Tongued & Grooved): Boards or planks machined in such a manner that there is a groove on one edge and a corresponding tongue on the other.

Dressed Size Lumber: The dimension of lumber after shrinking from green dimension and after machining to size or pattern.

Drier Paint: Usually oil-soluble soaps of such metals as lead manganese or cobalt which, in small proportions, hasten the oxidation and hardening (drying) of the drying oils in paints.

Drip: (a) A member of a cornice or other horizontal exterior finish course that has a projection beyond the other parts for throwing off water. (b) A groove in the underside of a sill or drip cap to cause water to drop off on the outer edge instead of drawing back and running down the face of the building.

Drip Cap: A molding placed on the exterior top side of a door or window frame to cause water to drip beyond the outside of the frame.

Drip Edge: A device designed to prevent water from running back or under an overhang.

Drippage: Bitumen material that drips through roof deck joints, or over the edge of a roof deck.

Drop Siding: Usually ¾ inch thick and 6 and 8 inches wide with tongued-and-grooved or shiplap edges. Often used as siding without sheathing in secondary buildings.

Dropping a Stringer: In carpentry, "dropping" a stringer refers to cutting short on the bottom of a stairs to allow for thickness of the first tread.

Dry Glazing: Also called compression glazing, a term used to describe various means of sealing monolithic and insulating glass in the supporting framing system with synthetic rubber and other elastomeric gasket materials.

Dry Rot: See Fungal Wood Rot.

Dry Seal: Accomplishment of weather seal between glass and sash by use of strips or gaskets of Neoprene, EPDM, silicone or other flexible material. A dry seal may not be completely watertight.

Dry Sheet: A ply mechanically attached to wood or gypsum decks to prevent asphalt or pitch from penetrating the deck and leaking into the building below.

Dry-In: To make a building waterproof.

Drywall: A gypsum board material used for walls or ceilings.

Drywall Construction: A type of construction in which the interior wall finish is applied in a dry condition, generally in the form of sheet materials or wood paneling as contrasted to plaster.

Drywall Hammer: A special hammer used for nailing up gypsum board. Also known as an ax or hatchet. Edges should be smooth and the corners rounded off. The head has a convex round & checkered head.

Drywall Nail: Nails used for hanging regular drywall that is to be taped and finished later must have adequate holding power and a head design that does not cut the face paper. They must also be of the proper depth to provide exactly 1 inch penetration into the framing member. Nails commonly used are chemically-etched and are designed with a cupped head.

Duct: A cylindrical or rectangular "tube" used to move air either from exhaust or intake, and for distributing warm air from the heating plant to rooms, or air from a conditioning device or as cold air returns. The installation is referred to as "duct work."

Ductwork: A system of distribution channels used to transmit heated or cooled air from a central system (HVAC) throughout a home.

Due-On-Sale: A clause in a mortgage contract requiring the borrower to pay the entire outstanding balance upon sale or transfer of the property.

Dumbwaiter: An elevator with a maximum footage of not more than 9 sq. ft. floor area; not more than 4" headroom and a maximum capacity of 500 lbs. used for carrying materials only.

Dura Board, Dura Rock: A panel made out of concrete and fiberglass usually used as a ceramic tile backing material. Commonly used on bathtub decks. Sometimes called Wonder Board.

Durometer: A gauge to measure the hardness of an elastomeric material.

DWV (Drainage, Waste & Vent): The pipes in a plumbing system that remove waste water.
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Stephen Stanczyk
 Licensed Home Inspector #221


Safe Haven Home Inspections
PO Box 124
Kapowsin, WA  98344


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