Squeeze bottle or syringe used to accurately apply small amounts of adhesives, as in making wallcovering repairs. Rinse out applicator with hot water immediately after use or the adhesives will dry and you'll have to throw it away
Used to provide a weather-tight seal around window and door frames. Make certain that the surface is clean and dry without any loose particles before applying weatherstripping or it will adhere well.
Used to provide a weather-tight seal around window and door frames. Make certain that the surface is clean and dry without any loose particles before applying weatherstripping or it will adhere well.
Material that is packed into holes and tamped smooth to repair asphalt surfaces. Wait for a warm, sunny day to make asphalt repairs. Wear Clothing, gloves and boots that you do not mind having stained when you work with asphalt products, because they will get stained and the stains do not come out.
Applied to asphalt surface to maintain and refurbish them from effects of weather and use. Wait for a warm, sunny day to seal asphalt.
Any loose materials, such as sand, gravel, or pebbles, added to cement to make concrete and plaster and to add texture to paints. Most commonly used on exterior walls.
Also known as a ventilation brick, often inserted beneath timber floors and roof spaces to enable air to flow.
Term used in construction and roofing for a triangle of brickwork, often at the end of a building to support a roof.
The process by which disputing parties instigate the involvement of a third party to settle a disagreement.
Wooden or composite decorative moulding, commonly used to surround windows and doors to cover any gap between the frame and the wall.
A squared building stone cut with sufficient precision to allow fine and highly accurate mortar joints. Also used in carpentry to describe a short stud between joists and sloping rafters, particularly near the eaves.
Used on Reverse pressure compression stem faucets or taps. Should be installed so the bevelled side faces the stem body.
Used for mixing powdered products with water bonding agents as well as general use in plumbing, painting and wallpapering work. A wide, shallow bucket can come in very handy in plumbing work. It will fit in areas a taller bucket won't, such as under a sink for catching water when opening up drain pipes.
System, which maintains the circulation of fresh air from the outside in heating appliances such as boilers.
A roofing term, refers to a board, often carved, hanging from the end of a sloping roof to protect roof timbers from the rain.
A small board or strip of wood used for various building purposes to cover joints between boards, reinforce certain doors, or to keep sheet materials in place.
Normally made of wood, commonly used to cover the expansion gaps in solid wood and laminate flooring.
British Standards Institute - Government body, designed to develop standards and ensure that products and services meet them.
Inserted behind door hinges to adjust elevation of latch bolt. Use the hinge as a template for cutting cardboard shims. Do not cut shims from corrugated cardboard. Always use a sharp knife when cutting cardboard, and be certain that you cut on a stable work surface - always take care when cutting tools.
High Strength wood glue used on joints where wood is glued to wood. A thin, even layer of carpenter's glue spread on the entire surface to be joined works best. Do not use too much or pool it one area.
Piece of leftover carpet used when making carpet repairs. If you don’t have any carpet remnants try cutting a piece for your repair from an inconspicuous spot, such as in a closet.
Bonds seam between pieces of carpet for small repairs. Be Careful when working with adhesive as it cannot be removed from carpet fibre it impregnates. Use this adhesive in a well-well-ventilated area.
Easy-to-use product for filling small cracks in masonry materials. Wait for a dry day when the temperature will be between 50 and 80 degrees. Fahrenheit when making concrete repairs
Used as wallcovering in bathrooms and kitchens. Try to find tiles that match the ones you're replacing. Ceramic tile that dates before the 1960s was set in a masonry base, and repair should be done by a professional.
Cleans and provides a protective finish on wood with one application. Apply two coats when doing this for the first time to provide a durable surface that will help protect the wood
A clear liquid applied to concrete surfaces to protect from them weather and use damage. Plan ahead: temperature should be above 45-degrees Fahrenheit and dry for at least 24 hours after application. Wear gloves and boots so you do not get sealer on your skin.
A caulk-type adhesive that forms a very strong bond between a wide variety of building materials. This adhesive sets very quick - be sure you are ready for installation of pieces before applying adhesive to any surfaces. Do not get this adhesive on your skin surfaces as it is very difficult to remove.
Chips of wood compressed into sheets, used as an inexpensive way to deck flat roofs Also used in certain types of furniture especially kitchens.
Differs from conventional boilers by heating water as required, eliminating the need for a storage tank. Has the added benefit of improved water pressure, compared with other types of boilers.
When moist air meets a cold surface and appears as drops of water. Can be a cause of dampness or rotting in wooden window frames.
An agreement (verbal or written) between a contractor and a client. It is advisable to draw up a contract before any work is carried out with details of payment terms, time frames, etc. An estimate is not a binding legal document.
A signatory of the contract who undertakes to carry out those works detailed in the document.
A decorative finish to a wall, usually in stone, used to prevent rain damage to the surface of the wall.
A decorative, normally concave piece of moulding found at the top of a building or room to soften the junction between roof/ceiling and wall.
Automatic valve in toilet tanks where movement of the float arm affects a diaphragm to control water entry into the tank.
Replacement parts for a diaphragm ballcock. Only use this kit if the rest of the ballcock is sound, otherwise replace the entire unit.
Weatherstripping used on door bottoms to seal the door and threshold joint. Make certain new sweep will clear floor covering and not scrape or bind on carpet, etc.
Adhesive surfaces on both sides stick carpeting to the floor surface. Make certain that surfaces are clean and dry without any loose particles before applying the tape or it will not adhere well.
Two "heads" enable secure nailing of material in place while making easy removal possible. Always wear protective eyewear when using striking tools.
The bent portion of the drain system located at a fixture such as a sink, tub or toilet that "traps" water to seal and prevent passage of sewer gases. Drain traps come in 1 ¼" or 1 ½" pipe sizes. Make sure you obtain a drain trap that matches your existing pipe size.
Wall hanger for light loads pounded into the wall surface like a nail. Turning the self-contained screw expands a winged flange behind the wall, holding the hanger securely in place. It is best to drill a pilot hole slightly smaller than the shank of the molly bolt when using it on plaster walls. Always wear protective eyewear when using striking tools.
Wall hanger for medium loads shaped like a stake that is driven into the wall surface. Retaining clips keep the anchor secure in the wall. Always wear protective eyewear when using striking tools.
Insect pest, found in old hardwoods where an onset of fungus is already in existence. Can be a serious problem in structural timbers.
Windows with 2 panes of glass, separated by a vacuum of air for improved noise and heat insulation.
Guttering which provides an outlet from roof guttering traditionally made in plastic but on period properties can be found in cast iron.
A layer of impermeable (water proof) material to prevent dampness from rising from the ground into concrete floors and walls. (Also known as DPM (Damp-Proof Membrane).
An abrasive material, also known as emery cloth, used to clean and remove burrs from metal surfaces and edges. A piece of emery paper can be used many times, even after it has been soaked with water—don't throw it away until you feel it is not working well anymore.
Refers to the earthed connection in electrical circuitry. Signified by a green and yellow wire in all modern, U.K. plugs.
A growth of salt crystals on a surface caused by evaporation of salt-laden water. Most common in coastal areas.
Replacement cartridge for repair of disc-type faucets; the entire cartridge is replaced instead of replacing washers and O-rings. Take the old unit with you when you purchase a replacement to ensure you find the right one.
Replacement cartridge for repair of sleeve-type faucets; the entire cartridge is replaced instead of replacing washers and O-rings.
General purpose repair kit containing replacement washers, O-rings, screws and other materials for a variety of faucet brands.
Used to help scrub difficult stains and dirt from walls.
Fibreglass meshes material that is used with fibreglass resin to make durable repairs on metal surfaces. Use sharp scissors to cut this material. Wear gloves when handling fibreglass, and use care when operating cutting tools.
Cotton candy-like material used for attic and wall insulation, and also for stuffing into cracks and holes as a support base for caulking repairs. Use sharp scissors to cut this material. Wear gloves when handling fibreglass, and use care when operating cutting tools.
Package contains fibreglass fabric and resin. Resin sets up fairly quickly so have everything ready before you spread it. Wear gloves when working with fibreglass products and work in a well-ventilated area when using resin.
Liquid brushed onto fibreglass fabric which impregnates the fabric and produces a very strong surface when dry. Resin sets up fairly quickly so have everything ready before you spread it. Wear gloves when working with resin and work in a well-ventilated area.
Flexible mesh tape with a sticky surface for covering seams in wallboard prior to applying taping compound. Make certain that surfaces are clean and dry without any loose particles before applying the tape or it will not adhere well
Plug used with flat, 2-wire cords. Avoid a potential shock hazard by not stripping too much insulation away from the cord wire.
Balls at end of float arm on plunger valve and diaphragm ballcocks. The float ball screws onto threads at the end of the float arm
Toilet flushing ballcock-like valve that uses a float that moves up and down around the valve's assembly instead of a float ball at the end of a float arm as found on traditional ballcocks. Take the old parts with you when you purchase replacements to ensure you find the parts you need.
Adhesive used with vinyl sheet floor coverings and floor tiles. Clean applicators in solvent immediately after use, or use throwaway applicators—once dry the adhesive is extremely difficult to remove. Work in a well-ventilated area when using adhesive.
Nail with spiral flutes for securely holding flooring in place and with less chance of the flooring loosening. These nails are very difficult to pull out so make certain you drive them only where you want them. Always wear protective eyewear when using striking tools.
Piece of leftover flooring used when making flooring repairs. If you don't have any flooring remnants, try cutting a piece for your repairs from an inconspicuous spot, such as in a closet or under a large appliance.
A strip of wood or, increasingly commonly, PVC adjoined to rafters and to which guttering is attached.
Where a trade, e.g. plumbing/electrics, logically fits into two stages, the first fix refers to all the work which takes place before plastering.
Roofing and building term used to describe the plugging of potentially leaky areas in a roof joint with a metal such as zinc, copper or lead.
Elbows are used to connect ground pipe extensions to the ends of downspouts to help direct runoff away from the foundation. Make certain you purchase a gutter elbow that will fit your kind of gutters.
This is a large-size O-ring. Take the old gasket in with you so that you purchase a replacement that is the right size.
Metal brackets used to hold window panes in the window frames. When installing glazing points, make certain you exert pressure only towards the sash, not onto the glass. Wear heavy-duty gloves when doing work with glass.
Used to protect hands when performing heavy-duty work. Gloves worn when handling sharp materials should be made of leather.
Safety eyewear worn for striking, cutting, sanding or spraying tools. Make certain you purchase good quality safety goggles that fit (or that fit over your eyeglasses!) Always wear protective eyewear when using striking, power cutting or power sanding tools.
Lubricating material used in locations where you do not want a layer of grease which will attract dirt, etc., such as in window tracks.
Wall hanger for medium-weight loads that is screwed into the wall surfaces and then accepts a screw connection for holding the object to the wall.
Connected to downspouts help to direct runoff from the foundation.
Material used to fill the seams between ceramic tiles. Comes either pre-mixed for small repairs or as a powder to be mixed with a bonding liquid for larger projects. Purchase powdered grout that you mix with a bonding liquid if you have more than a few tiles to replace—it is much less expensive when doing large repair areas.
Used to channels water off roofs. Use a section of gutter matching your existing gutter when making repairs.
The triangle of brickwork that forms the roof, found at the end of buildings with conventional pitch roofs.
Used with a seam iron to hold two sections of carpet together with an invisible seam. Cut the entire seam length before beginning the tape applications. You cannot easily stop once you have started the heat-activation tape process. Use care when operating the hot seam iron, and always rest it in its cradle when not in use.
Lubricating material that will not break down under the heat generated by hot water, used on moving parts in faucet assemblies.
Lamp component that holds light bulbs and connects the lamp cords to the switch. Always unplug the lamp fixture before attempting any repairs.
Mixed with a powdered patch or grout product to produce a strongly bonded material. It is important to mix while adding small amounts of liquid to the powdered material or you can easily get a mixture that is too soupy.
Products used for small wood repairs that dries quickly and cleans up easily. Always apply latex wood patches in layers no thicker than 1/8" to minimise cracking.
Rough wood strips approximately ¼" x 1 ½" that come in varying lengths. Used as a support surface for plaster walls, as shimming material and tack strips for temporarily holding down plastic and building paper.
Any permanent ceiling or wall-mounted lighting device. Choose light fixtures that match the amp rating of the circuit on which you are installing them.
Door knob and latch used on passage doors. Most lock sets are adjustable and will fit any standard door. To be certain that a replacement will fit your door, measure its thickness and the distance from the edge of the door to the centre of the circular hole that held the old Lock Set. Take these measurements with you and check that the replacement Lock Set will fit.
A simulated wood product with an inner core made of melamine resin and fibres, which have been laminated together.
Often caused by a heavy downpour of rain, a landslip is a sudden downhill shift of soil / earth.
Used in external and interior windows and door panels for a decorative, often latticed effect.
A wall which is structurally integral - i.e. a wall which supports another wall floor or roof.
General purpose adhesive tape, that comes in various widths for painting, quick temporary repairs, holding materials in position, etc. Adhesive backing allows it to be easily removed from most materials after use.
Special plug that will accept a screw inserted into an appropriately sized pre-drilled hole in hard materials like masonry surfaces. Come in various sizes to accept a wide range of screw sizes.
Repair product for filling in cracks, holes and broken areas in masonry structures. Wait for a dry day when the temperature will be between 50 and 80 degrees. Fahrenheit when making masonry repairs. Avoid skin contact with masonry patching materials; wash skin thoroughly if there is contact.
Product made from plastic or metal that is installed in gutters to keep them from filling up with leaves. If you use metal mesh leaf guards, wear heavy-duty gloves and use care in cutting and handling of the material.
Weather seal used around doors and windows. Always wear protective eyewear when using striking tools. Use care when working with cutting tools.
Used for thinning and cleanup of oil-based paints and as a cleaning/dissolving solvent for some adhesives. Wash thoroughly skin areas that have come in contact with mineral spirits.
Wall hanger for medium-weight loads that is inserted into an appropriately-sized hole in the wall surface, then the self-contained screw bolt is turned which expands a flange behind the wall surface, holding the hanger securely in place. Come in various diameters and lengths. Be sure to choose a molly bolt that will fit the thickness of your wall (they come sized to fit either 3/8"-, ½"-, 5/8"- or ¾"- thick walls.
Material used in masonry building projects to bond individual pieces, such as bricks, together. Mix mortar so that when you take a clump of it in your hand (while wearing a glove!) and squeeze it, it will hold the shape it is squeezed into without crumbling or sagging. Avoid skin contact with masonry patching materials; wash skin thoroughly if there is contact.
Cleaning agent for masonry surfaces. Wear gloves, eye protection and clothing that cover arms and legs when working with acid.
An additional floor integrated between the floor and the ceiling, typically found in rooms with high ceilings.
Used in carpentry to describe a joint formed by a mortise (a hole in one piece of wood) and a tenon (the piece which fits into it). This is often strengthened by the use of a wood glue.
Any of the variety of pointed fasteners can be used when a specific type of nail is not required. Always wear eye protection when using striking tools.
Large balusters found at the top and bottom of a staircase. Also refers to the central pole in a spiral staircase.
A self-forming string-like material used on older faucets instead of O-rings. Installed by winding it around the valve stem under the packing nut.
A form-fitting material in the shape of a washer, that fits under the packing nut on older faucets.
Use to dissolve paint and varnish. Always use in a well-ventilated area and keep away from open flames.
Protective, renewable finish covering for wood. Apply wax in a thin rather than thick layer—this will make buffing easier and it doesn't change the thickness of the finished layer of wax.
Product used for making repairs to plaster surfaces. Mix the plaster stiff enough so that it will not sag when you apply it. This is particularly important when your repair area is in the ceiling.
Thin, tough plastic membrane with an adhesive side for sticking over cracks. Two coats of paint cover the membrane to complete the repair.
Used for marking on a variety of surfaces.
Use to penetrate seized connections encrusted with rust or mineral deposits, enabling them to be loosened. Apply oil to the area three or four times over a few minutes to allow the oil to penetrate fully.
Plugs that fit into appropriately-sized pre-drilled holes that will hold screws in wallboard and other surfaces which will not otherwise hold screws. Come in a variety of sizes.
Plastic material comes in a variety of thicknesses and is used as drop cloths and protective coverings. Use thicker plastic (3 mils or thicker) that will be more durable.
Automatic valve's in toilet tanks where movement of the float arm affects a plunger (very similar to a stem in a compression faucet) to control water entry into the tank.
Contain replacement parts (washers/O-rings) for repairing a plunger valve. Take the old parts with you when you purchase a repair kit to ensure you find one with the parts you need.
Can be used as an emergency cover over a roof vent opening (if you've had to remove the vent) or a damaged section of the roof.
Peel-and-stick product for making quick caulk seams. This material comes in only one thickness which will not span larger gaps—if you have larger gaps you need to use regular tub-and-tile caulk.
Material used for taping joints and making repairs on wallboard. A small amount of mixing of this product on your part will generally make the material smoother and easier to work with.
Appropriate clothing to wear when making repairs and building projects: eye and ear protection, gloves, long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and work shoes with good traction soles. Always wear appropriate protective clothing that is not loose or floppy when operating power cutting and sanding tools, working on a roof, working with acids or working with materials that will permanently stain.
Product used for small wood repairs that dries quickly and cleans up easily also known as wood putty or wood patch.
Law, which prevents the owner of a party wall from doing any work on it without their neighbour's consent.
A shallow rectangular feature projecting from a wall, having a capital and base and usually imitating the form of a column.
Consent required from local authorities to sanction the alteration of existing or construction of new buildings.
Smoothing out and removing excess mortar from between bricks and stones in building and bricklaying.
Electrical outlet used for cord plugs. Always disconnect power before attempting any electrical repairs.
Also known as roof cement or roof sealant. Used as a sealing "adhesive" for seams, holes and flashing connections on shingle roofs. Work in gloves and clothing that you don't mind being permanently stained!
Galvanised nails with wide, flat heads designed for attaching shingles to roof sheathing. Always wear protective eyewear when using striking tools.
Copper sulfate crystals used to kill roots that have penetrated a main drain.
Cord plug used with round 3-wire cords. Avoid a potential shock hazard by not stripping too much insulation away from the wire.
Used when working with things like caustic agents, stains and solvents.
Used as a cleaning solvent to remove soap residue from sinks, tubs and tile. Wear rubber gloves when using this product as alcohol dries out the skin.
Primer paint specially formulated for use on rusty surfaces once the surfaces have been brushed free of all flakes and loose material. Work in a well-ventilated area.
A mixture used to cover a wall - common types of render include pebble dash, plaster and other forms of textured finish.
Replacing the mortar between bricks, often to strengthen or to reduce the chances of damp developing.
A semi-circular tile used to cover the point where two sloping roofs meet. See also Hip Tile.
Where moisture, usually from underground, penetrates brickwork and timber to cause structural and cosmetic damage to plaster and decoration.
Used for removing and smoothing material—sandpaper is designated for use on either wood or metal. Come in various "grits" of rough and smooth.
Rope used to connect a sash with its counterweight in a double-hung window. Do not use nylon rope or any other rope that will stretch.
Small pieces of dimension lumber left over from other projects. Sometimes you can obtain these from waste containers at building sites or lumber yards.
Material made out of vinyl or aluminium used as a replacement for torn screen windows. Choose aluminium screen fabric instead of vinyl for screens that will receive abuse from children and pets. Wear gloves when working with aluminium screen fabric.
A pigmented stain-killer paint-like product for preventing stains from bleeding through finished coats of paint. Work in a well-ventilated area.
Used for filling seams, cracks and small holes in a variety of materials. Choose silicone or latex depending on the application—see manufacturer's directions. Work in a well-ventilated area when using silicone caulk.
Used for cleanup of various adhesives, paints and stains. Test on an inconspicuous area before using it on stains.
Products that clean gummy, dirty grease while providing lubrication to surfaces. Keep away from open flames.
Stone or plastic pad placed at terminus of downspouts or ground pipes to help keep runoff water away from foundations. These can be found in either concrete or in coloured plastic—choose what will blend in best in your circumstances.
Weather seal used around door frames. Don't cut the stripping too long: It is better to cut it a hair short so it doesn't bow or bind in the corners. Use care when working with cutting tools and sharp metal edges.
Use to remove stains from walls, carpets and other fabric coverings. Test on an inconspicuous area before using it on stains.
Used for general measuring, marking and guiding of cutting blades. Treat your straightedges with care or they won't remain straight edges.
Electrical lights fixture circuit switch. Always disconnect power before attempting any electrical repairs.
Normally used to describe the lowest ledge on a window. Also refers to the ledge at the bottom of an external door.
Wooden board, sometimes decoratively beaded, at the bottom of a wall where it meets the floor.
The final process of a job, in which a client assesses and details a list of defects, which he must rectify before full and final payment.
A brick or stone laid in a wall so that its longer edge is exposed or parallel to the surface.
This is a construction material made of aggregates combined with a binder and water, typically applied to the exteriors of homes or buildings
A wall made from a framework of timber and finished with plasterboard, designed for cosmetic rather than load-bearing purposes.
Rubber toilet tank element that seals the opening between the tank and the toilet bowl and, when raised by the handle, lets the tank water out to flush the bowl.
Adhesive specially formulated for bonding ceramic tile to walls and floors. Clean applicators in solvent immediately after use, or use throwaway applicators—once dry the adhesive is extremely difficult to remove. Work in a well-ventilated area when using adhesive.
Wall hanger for heavyweight loads that has spring-loaded wings which fold to fit through appropriately sized pre-drilled hole in wall surface. The wings open on the back side of the wall to provide strong support.
A toggle bolt with a hook replacing the bolt head for hanging objects from ceilings.
Special top hat-shaped rubber washer used on the end of the valve's stem in top hat compression stem faucets.
TSP or Trisodium Phosphate is a strong general-purpose cleansing agent for interior and exterior applications.
Sealer used to weather-proof new window panes. This material is worked with best in temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Dimension lumber purchased at any building centre that's nominal measurements are 2X4", actual measurements are 1 ½ x 3 ½".
A pattern used for cutting something to a specific shape for an exact fit‚ commonly used in kitchen work tops and bespoke glass and mirror sheeting.
A secondary layer of foundations is built beneath existing ones, usually to counteract or prevent the effects of subsidence.
Brass section inside a compression faucet where the washer at the end of the faucet stem "seats" to shut off the water. Take the old seats with you to ensure you purchase the correct replacements.
Vinyl cord used to hold window screen in its frame. Don't stretch the spline as you're installing it or it will pop back out.
Gutter installed between two pitch roofs to prevent standing water and the chances of leaks.
Gypsum panels use in drywall construction. If you don't have any wallboard pieces left over from a project, small scrap pieces can often be obtained for free at building centres or at construction sites.
Used (when necessary) to tack a piece of wallboard in position before driving wallboard screws. Don't use wallboard nails as the only method of attaching wallboard to studs, they do not hold as well as wallboard screws.
Screw with Phillips-slotted head designed for attaching wallboard to studs. Come in varying lengths to use with different wallboard thicknesses. Don't drive screws so that they break through the paper surface of the wallboard—they should just slightly dimple the surface.
Pieces of leftover wallcovering used to repair a damaged section on a wall. It is always a good idea to save any wallcovering material left over from a new wallcovering installation. This will give you the opportunity to make repairs with matching wallcovering.
Used for bonding most wallpapers to wall surfaces. Usually applied with a paint roller to the back of the wallpaper.
Very soft, pliable "dough-like" product for taking marks off wallpaper without damaging the wallpaper's surface.
Rubber or plastic washers of various sizes and shapes used to create flexible but water-tight seals in plumbing installations. Take the old washers with you to ensure that you purchase replacements that are the correct size.
A firm synthetic sponge with abrasive surfaces for sanding smooth wallboard compound without raising clouds of sanding dust.
Small finish nails, from ½" to 1 ½" long. Always wear eye protection when using striking tools.
Connectors used to connect multiple circuit wires of the same or different sizes. Always disconnect power before attempting any electrical repairs.
Cleaner that will remove soil from wood surfaces without staining or damaging wood surfaces. Work in a well-ventilated area.
Product designed to blend in a renewed wood area with the surrounding wood's finish. Work in a well-ventilated area.
Used for attaching pieces of wood. Come in a variety of sizes and head designs for use with different kinds of screwdrivers. Choose larger diameter screws (#8 or #10) for strength, but be sure you choose a length that won't come through on the other side.
Pieces of wood about 8" long and 1 ½" wide that taper from ¼" at one end down to a fine edge at the other. Used for shimming and wedging in a variety of situations.
Thin dowels that can be used to fill worn screw holes behind loose door hinges and to smooth caulk-type substances.