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    Glossary



    S


    Sarking

    The practise of covering the roof rafters with boards before fixing the felt.

    Sash

    A window comprised of sliding sections.

    Scalpings

    Shards of stone cut-offs or quarry waste used instead of hardcore or other aggregate.

    Scarf joint

    A diagonal joint used for joining two lengths of timber together, employed in creating long runs of skirting board, dado rails or picture rails.

    Scratchcoat

    A first coat of plaster or render which is scored to create a key for the top coat of plaster.

    Screed

    A thin layer of mortar applied to the surface of a concrete floor to give it a smooth finish.

    Scribe (also score)

    Using a sharp, pointed tool to mark a line that is often used as a cutting guide. Also, to replicate the profile of an obstacle onto a sheet of material that is to be butted against it.

    Sealant

    A flexible, waterproof substance used for sealing along joints. Normally applied using a cartridge applicator.

    Second-fix

    Completing the final stages of construction. For example, fitting the skirting boards after plastering or fitting the light switches after wiring up all of the electrics.

    Service cable

    The supply cable bringing electricity into your house.

    Service duct

    A tube or shaft housing mains cables or pipes in modern houses.

    Settlement

    This relates to the amount of subsidence that occurs with a new foundation or structure.

    Sheath

    The outer insulation covering electric cable or flex.

    Shim

    A small wedge of wood used to pack out a small gap e.g. between the door lining and the opening in the wall.

    Shoe

    This is the curved outlet at the bottom of a drainpipe that directs water away from the building.

    Shuttering

    A timber framework that encloses an area that is to be concreted. The shuttering contains the wet concrete.

    Skew

    To fix nails or screws into timber at an angle.

    Skim

    To apply a thin top coat of plaster.

    Skin

    This relates to brick walls. Single skin walls are one brick thick. Double skin walls are two bricks thick.

    Skirting board

    Timber panelling that runs around the base of walls covering the joint between walls and floor.

    Sleeper wall

    A low wall for supporting ground floor joists.

    Soakaway

    A drainage pit below ground filled with hardcore to channel away rainwater.

    Soffitt

    This is the underside surface of an archway or of the eaves of a roof.

    Softwood

    Timber from coniferous trees like cedar, redwood and pine. This type of timber is not always softer than hardwoods e.g. yew is a softwood yet extremely hard.

    Soil stack

    This is the main waste drainage pipe recognisable by its large diameter.

    Sole plate

    This is the horizontal timber beam that runs across the floor to which the vertical studs are fixed in a stud wall.

    Solvent

    The base of a substance, usually a liquid. For example, water is the solvent for emulsion paint. The solvent of a substance is also the cleaning agent.

    Spacers

    Plastic X-shaped dividers for spacing tiles evenly.

    Spalling

    Flaking on the surface of masonry usually caused by moisture freezing and expanding in cold conditions.

    Spigot

    This refers to the end of a pipe which fits into a socket to create a joint with another length of pipe.

    Spindle

    Another word for a baluster which forms part of the balustrade.

    Spur

    An extension on a ring circuit from a socket or junction box.

    Square

    Positioning of an object that is directly parallel, level or at a right angle to another.

    Stack bond

    Method of building a block wall where the joints are not staggered.

    Stay

    The metal arm attached to a casement window, which hooks over a pin on the frame to prop the window open securely.

    Stile

    The vertical side section of a door or sash window.

    Stippling

    Creating a series of indentations to texture a surface, usually with paint or concrete.

    Striker and latch

    Metal components fixed to a gate to keep it closed. The latch is fixed to the gate and the striker to the gatepost.

    String

    The timber sides of a staircase supporting the treads. The string on the open side of a staircase is called the outer string; the wall string is positioned against the wall.

    Stud

    A timber or metal upright used to construct a frame for an interior wall or stud partition.

    Sub-floor

    A floor material fitted under decorative flooring. For example, hardboard below carpets or plywood under ceramic floor tiles.

    Subsidence

    Serious ground movement around or under a building that may cause structural damage.

    Surveyor

    A building surveyor is an expert on all aspects of property and can offer advice on design, construction, maintenance, repair, refurbishment and restoration.