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Glossary - R

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R-Value: The thermal resistance of a glazing system. The R-value is the reciprocal of the U-value. The higher the R value, the less heat is transmitted throughout the glazing material.

Rabbet: A rectangular, longitudinal groove cut in the corner edge of a board or plank.

Radial Saw: A circular saw which hangs from a horizontal arm or beam and slides back and forth. The arm pivots from side to side to allow for angle cuts and bevels. When sawing finish plywood, the good side should face up as the saw cuts on the down stroke.

Radiant Heating: A method of heating, usually consisting of a forced hot water system with pipes placed in the floor, wall, or ceiling, or with electrically heated panels.

Radiation: Any heated surface loses heat to cooler surrounding space or surfaces through radiation. The earth receives its heat from the sun by radiation. The heat rays are turned into heat as they strike an object which will absorb some or all of the heat transmitted.

Radiator: A heating unit which is supplied heat through a hot water system.

Radon: A naturally-occurring, radioactive gas which is heavier than air and is common in many parts of the country. Radon gas exposure is associated with lung cancer. Mitigation measures may involve crawl space and basement venting and various forms of vapor barriers.

Radon System: A ventilation system beneath the floor of a basement and/or structural wood floor and designed to fan exhaust radon gas to the outside of the home.

Rafter: A sloping roof member that supports the roof covering which extends from the ridge or the hip of the roof to the eaves. A common rafter is one which runs square with the plate and extends to the ridge. A hip rafter extends from the outside angle of the plate towards the apex of the roof. They are 2" deeper or wider than common rafters. A valley rafter extends from an inside angle of the plates toward the ridge of the house.

Rafter Tail: The portion of a rafter that extends past the building to form the eaves.

Rafter, Hip: A rafter that forms the intersection of an external roof angle.

Rafter, Valley: A rafter that forms the intersection of an internal roof angle. The valley rafter is normally made of double 2-inch-thick members.

Raggle Block: A specially designed masonry block having a slot or opening into which the top edge of the roof flashing is inserted and anchored.

Rail: Cross members of panel doors or of a sash. Also the upper and lower members of a balustrade or staircase extending from one vertical support, such as a post, to another.

Railroad Tie: Black, tar and preservative impregnated, 6"x8" and 6'-8' long wooden timber that was used to hold railroad track in place. Normally used as a member of a retaining wall.

Rake: Trim members that run parallel to the roof slope and form the finish between the wall and a gable roof extension. The angle of slope of a roof rafter, or the inclined portion of a cornice.

Rake Edge: The overhang of an inclined roof plane beyond the vertical wall below it.

Rake Fascia: The vertical face of the sloping end of a roof eave.

Rake Siding: The practice of installing lap siding diagonally.

Ranch: A single story, one level home.

Random-Tab Shingles: Shingles on which tabs vary in size and exposure.

Rankin: Thermometer scale on which unit of measurement equals the Fahrenheit degree.

Raw Linseed Oil: The crude product processed from flaxseed and usually without much subsequent treatment.

Ready Mixed Concrete: Concrete mixed at a plant or in trucks en route to a job and delivered ready for placement.

Rebar: Reinforcing bar used to increase the tensile strength of concrete.

Receptacle: An electrical outlet. A typical household will have many 120 volt receptacles for plugging in lams and appliances and 240 volt receptacles for the range, clothes dryer, air conditioners, etc.

Recording Fee: A charge for recording the transfer of a property, paid to a city, county, or other appropriate branch of government.

Redline, Red Lined Prints: Blueprints that reflect changes and that are marked with red pencil.

Reducer: See bushing.

Reflective Glass: Glass with a metallic coating to reduce solar heat gain.

Reflective Insulation: Sheet material with one or both sun faces of comparatively low heat emissivity, such as aluminum foil. When used in building construction the surfaces face air spaces, reducing the radiation across the air space.

Refrigerant: A substance that remains a gas at low temperatures and pressure and can be used to transfer heat. Freon is an example and is used in air conditioning systems.

Register: A fixture through which conditioned air flows. In a gravity heating system, it is located near the baseboard. In an air conditioning system, it is located close to the thermostat.

Reglaze: To replace a broken window.

Reglet: A horizontal slot, formed or cut in a parapet or other masonry wall, into which the top edge of counter-flashing can be inserted and anchored. In glazing, a reglet is typically a pocket or keyway extruded into the framing for installing the glazing gaskets.

Reinforced Concrete: A combination of steel and concrete using the best properties of each. The steel consists of rebar or reinforcing bars varying from 3/8 " to 2 1/4 " in diameter and is placed before concrete is poured.

Reinforced Masonry: Masonry units, reinforcing steel, grout and/or mortar combined to act together to strengthen the masonry structure.

Reinforcing: Steel rods or metal fabric placed in concrete slabs, beams, or columns to increase their strength.

Relative Heat Gain: The amount of heat gain through a glass product taking into consideration the effects of solar heat gain (shading coefficient) and conductive heat gain (U-value).

Relative Humidity: The amount of water vapor in the atmosphere, expressed as a percentage of the maximum quantity that could be present at a given temperature. (The actual amount of water vapor that can be held in space increases with the temperature.)

Release Tape: A plastic or paper strip that is applied to the back of self-sealing shingles. This strip prevents the shingles from sticking together in the bundles, and need not be removed for application.

Remote: Remote electrical, gas, or water meter digital readouts that are installed near the front of the home in order for utility companies to easily read the home owners usage of the service.

Resilient Flooring: A durable floor cover that has the ability to resume its original shape.

Resistance: The internal structure of wires even in the best conductors opposes the flow of electric current and converts some current into heat. This internal friction-like effect is called resistance and is measured in ohms. Resistance equals Voltage divided by Amperage.

Resorcinol Glue: A glue that is high in both wet and dry strength and resistant to high temperatures. It is used for gluing lumber or assembly joints that must withstand severe service conditions.

Retaining Wall: A structure that holds back a slope and prevents erosion.

Retentions: Amounts withheld from progress billings until final and satisfactory project completion.

Return: In heating and cooling systems, a vent that returns cold air to be warmed. In a hot air furnace system, it is located near an inside wall.

Ribbon (or Girt): Normally a 1"x4" board let into the studs horizontally to support ceiling or second-floor joists.

Ridge: The horizontal line at the junction of the top edges of two sloping roof surfaces.

Ridge Board: The board placed on edge at the ridge of the roof into which the upper ends of the rafters are fastened.

Ridge Cut: The end cut on a rafter that fits to the ridgeboard.

Ridgeboards: Horizontal support at the ridge of a roof to which opposing rafters are attached.

Rigid Metal Conduit: This conduit resembles plumbing pipe, protecting wires from damage.

Rise: In stairs, the vertical height of a step or flight of stairs.

Riser: Each of the vertical boards closing the spaces between the treads of stairways.

Road Base: An aggregate mixture of sand and stone.

Rock 1, 2, 3: When referring to drywall, this means to install drywall to the walls and ceilings (with nails and screws), and before taping is performed.

Roll Roofing: Roofing material, composed of fiber and satin rated with asphalt, that is supplied in 36-inch wide rolls with 108 square feet of material. Weights are generally 45 to 90 pounds per roll.

Roll, Rolling: To install the floor joists or trusses in their correct place. (To "roll the floor" means to install the floor joists).

Romex: A non-metallic sheathed cable consisting of two or more insulated conductors having an outer sheath of moisture resistant, non-metallic material. The conductor insulation is rubber, neoprene, thermoplastic or a moisture resistant flame retardant fibrous material. There are two types: NM and NMC - described earlier.

Roof Deck: See deck.

Roof Sheathing: The boards or sheet material fastened to the roof rafters on which the shingle or other roof covering is laid.

Roof System: General term referring to the waterproof covering, roof insulation, vapor barrier, if used and roof deck as an entity.

Roofing Tape: An asphalt-saturated tape used with asphalt cements for flashing and patching asphalt roofing.

Root Cellar: Food storage area with a dirt floor.

Rough: In hardware, metal fastenings on cabinets which are usually concealed, like staples.

Rough Flooring: Materials used to form an unfinished floor. Floor sheathing.

Rough Opening: The opening in a wall into which a door or window is to be installed.

Rough Plumbing: All plumbing that should be done before the finish trades (sheetrock, painting, etc), including all waste lines and supply water lines that are in the walls or framing of the building. See also: Plumbing, Sub Rough, and Finish Plumbing.

RPM: Revolutions per Minute.

Rubber Emulsion Paint: Paint, the vehicle of which consists of rubber or synthetic rubber dispersed in fine droplets in water.

Rubber-Tired Roller: A roller with rubber tires commonly used for compacting trimmed subgrade or aggregate base or clay type soils.

Run (Roofing): The horizontal distance between the eaves and the ridge of the roof, being half the span for a symmetrical gable roof. Also, the net width of a step or the horizontal distance covered by a flight of stairs.

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Stephen Stanczyk
 Licensed Home Inspector #221


Safe Haven Home Inspections
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