See The Definitions Of Common Renovation Terms

It's easier to work with contractors when you have a clue what they're talking about.

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Diana Fujii

No one is born knowing what HVAC stands for. And while you might be perfectly happy to pay other people to have that knowledge for you, it's much easier to work with contractors when you have an inkling of what they're referring to. Check out the list of common remodeling terms below, and before you know it, you'll want to break out a reference to rebar-reinforced concrete at a cocktail party. Really, you might want to do that!

Blueprints

The architect- or designer-produced technical drawings that provide the plan for a remodel. The blueprints show how the project will be built and include dimensions, materials, and types of fasteners.

Building Inspector

A person who works for the town's building inspector office who's responsible for issuing building permits. The inspector reviews blueprints and job progress to ensure the remodel meets building codes and ordinances.

Change the House Footprint

The footprint is the overall dimensions of the house, including attached garages and the porch. Changing the footprint means altering the dimensions, which usually happens when building an addition.

Demolition

Knocking out and removing old items, materials, wall coverings, or walls inside the home. It's the first step of the remodel, which opens up and clears the space for the renovations and upgrades.

Design Build

A remodeling or new home construction company that handles both the design work, such as creating architectural drawings, and performs the actual remodeling or construction work. This allows homeowners to work with a single company for all phases of their project.

Footings

Rebar-reinforced concrete that sits under the foundation to provide support for the overall structure. Footing size and depth are guided by building codes.

General Contractor

The person responsible for the day-to-day oversight of the remodeling project. Most states require the general contractor to be licensed, bonded, and insured. This is usually your point person for questions and communications.

Gut a Room

Remove everything from a room, including the wall covering, until all that's left are the framing, subfloor, and what's inside the walls.

HVAC

An acronym standing for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. An HVAC contractor handles these systems to ensure the house is properly heated, cooled, and ventilated.

Mechanicals

The systems inside the walls and ceilings such as electrical, plumbing, and HVAC that essentially power the home.

Move a Wall

Removing a wall, usually an interior one, and building a new one in a different location. This extends a room or opens up the floorplan.

Pull a Permit

Getting a building permit from the local building department that ensures a building inspector has reviewed the blueprints and will inspect the project to make sure it's up to code.

Subcontractor

A specialty contractor, like a plumber or electrician, who's hired by the general contractor to perform specific work.

Subfloor

The wood flooring that's installed over the joists to provide stability. The floor covering like carpeting, tile, or plank flooring is installed over the subfloor.

Tradespeople

People who specialize in a skilled trade, such as roofing, tile, or electrical work. These folks are usually hired as subcontractors on projects.

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