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C

Calcium Chloride – A chemical used to speed up curing of concrete during damp conditions.
Canopy – An overhanging roof.
Cantilever – A projecting beam or other structure supported only at one end.
Cant Strip – A beveled support used at the junction of a flat surface and a vertical surface to prevent bends and/or cracking of the roofing membrane at the intersection of the roof deck and wall. Used with a base flashing to minimize breaking of the roofing felts.
Cap – The upper member of a column, pilaster, door cornice, molding, and the like.
Cap Sheets – In roofing, one to four plies of felt bonded and top coated with bitumen that is laid over an existing roof as a treatment for defective roofs.
Cape Chisel – Tool used to clean out mortar joints on brick.
Carbide Bit – Tool used to drill holes in brick or block.
Casement Frames and Sash – Frames of wood or metal enclosing part or all of the sash, which may be opened by means of hinges affixed to the vertical edges.
Casing – Molding of various widths and thicknesses used to trim door and window openings at the jambs.
Caulk – (v) The application of sealant to a joint, crack or crevice. (n) A compound used for sealing that has minimum joint movement capability; sometimes called low performance sealant.
C/D Circuit – A circuit where electricity flows in one direction only, at a constant rate.
Cellulose Insulation – Ground up newspaper that is treated with a fire retardant.
Cement Mixtures – Rich – 1 part cement, 2 parts sand, 3 parts coarse aggregate. Used for concrete roads and waterproof structures. Standard – 1 part cement, 2 parts sand, 4 parts coarse aggregate. Used for reinforced work floors, roofs, columns, arches, tanks, sewers, conduits, etc. Medium – 1 part cement, 2 1/2 parts sand, 5 parts coarse aggregate. Used for foundations, walls, abutments, piers, etc. Lean – 1 part cement, 3 parts sand, 6 parts coarse aggregate. Used for all mass concrete work, large foundations, backing for stone masonry, etc. Mixtures are always listed Cement to Sand to Aggregate
Cement Types – Type I Normal – is a general purpose cement suitable for practically all uses in residential construction but should not be used where it will be in contact with high sulfate soils or be subject to excessive temperatures during curing. Type II Moderate is used where precaution against moderate sulfate attack is important, as in drainage structures where sulfate concentrations in groundwater’s are higher than normal. Type III High Early Strength is used when high strengths are desired at very early periods, usually a week or less. It is used when it is desirable to remove forms as soon as possible or to put the concrete into service quickly. Type IV Low Heat is a special cement for use where the amount and rate of heat generated during curing must be kept to a minimum. The development of strength is slow and is intended in large masses of concrete such as dams. Type V Sulfate Resisting is a special cement intended for use only in construction exposed to severe sulfate action, such as western states having soils of high alkali content.
Certificate of Occupancy – A document stating that a building is approved for occupancy. The building authority issues the Certificate of Occupancy.
CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) – The measure of volume of air. When testing systems, find the CFM by multiplying the face velocity times the free area in square feet. The face velocity is the amount of air passing through the face of an outlet or return. Free area is the total area of the openings in the outlet or inlet through which air can pass.
Chair Rail – A molding that runs horizontally along the wall at about 3 feet from the ground. In storefront, window wall, or curtain wall systems, a chair rail is an aluminum extrusion applied horizontally to the inside of the system 3 feet from the floor to create a barrier in floor-to-ceiling glazing applications.
Channel Glazing – The installation of glass products into U-shaped glazing channels. The channels may have fixed stops; however, at least one glazing stop on one edge must be removable.
Checking – Fissures that appear with age in many exterior paint coatings, at first superficial, but which in time may penetrate entirely through the coating. It produces a pattern of surface cracks running in irregular lines. When found in the top pour of an asphalt built-up roof, checking is the preliminary stage of alligatoring.
Checkrails – Meeting rails sufficiently thicker than a window to fill the opening between the top and bottom sash made by the parting stop in the frame of double-hung windows. They are usually beveled.
Chemical Injection Grouting – Leak repair technique usually used below grade in cracks and joints in concrete walls and floors that involves injection of sealant (usually urethane) that reacts with water to form a seal.
Circuit Breaker – Simple switch-like device which automatically opens a circuit when the rated current is exceeded as in the case of a short circuit.
Cleat – A wedge-shaped piece (usually of metal) which serves as a support or check. A strip fastened across something to give strength or hold something in position.
Coal Tar Pitch – A bituminous material, which is a by-product from the coking of coal. It is used as the waterproofing material for tar and gravel built-up roofing.
Coating – A layer of any liquid product spread over a surface for protection.
Cohesive Failure – Internal splitting of a compound resulting from over-stressing of the compound.
Cold Applied – Products that can be applied without heating. These are in contrast to products which need to be heated to be applied.
Cold Patch – In roofing, a roof repair done with cold-applied material.
Collar – In roofing, a conical metal cap flashing used in conjunction with vent pipes or stacks usually located several inches above the plane of the roof, for the purpose of shedding water away from the base of the vent.
Collar Beam – In carpentry, a tie that keeps the roof from spreading. They serve to stiffen the roof structure. Connects similar rafters on opposite sides of roof.
Column – In architecture: A perpendicular supporting member, circular or rectangular in section, usually consisting of a base, shaft, and capital. In engineering: A vertical structural compression member which supports loads acting in the direction of its longitudinal axis.
Combination Doors or Windows – Combination doors or windows used over regular openings. They provide winter insulation and summer protection and often have self storing or removable glass and screen inserts. This eliminates the need for handling a different unit each season.
Compatible – Two or more substances, which can be mixed or blended without separating, reacting, or affecting either material adversely.
Component – Any one part of an assembly associated with construction.
Composite Board – An insulation board, which has two different insulation types laminated together in 2 or 3 layers.
Compound – A chemical formulation of ingredients used to produce a caulking, elastomeric joint sealant, etc.
Compression Gasket – A gasket designed to function under compression.
Compression Set – The permanent deformation of a material after removal of the compressive stress.
Concrete Plain – Concrete either without reinforcement, or reinforced only for shrinkage or temperature changes.
Condensation – The appearance of moisture (water vapor) on the surface of an object caused by warm moist air coming into contact with a colder object. In a building: Beads or drops of water (and frequently frost in extremely cold weather) that accumulate on the inside of the exterior covering of a building when warm, moisture-laden air from the interior reaches a point where the temperature no longer permits the air to sustain the moisture it holds. Use of louvers or attic ventilators will reduce moisture condensation in attics. A vapor barrier under the gypsum lath or dry wall on exposed walls will reduce condensation in them.
Conductor – (1) In roofing, a pipe for conveying rainwater from the roof gutter to a drain, or from a roof drain to the storm drain; also called a leader, downspout, or downpipe. (2) In electrical contracting, a wire through which a current of electricity flows, better known as an electric wire.
Conduction – The flow of heat from one part of a substance to another part. A piece of iron with one end placed in a fire will soon become warm from end to end, from the transfer of heat by the actual collision of the air molecules.
Conduit – A pipe, usually metal, for protecting and routing electrical wiring.
Construction, frame – A type of construction in which the structural parts are wood or depend upon a wood frame for support. In codes, if masonry veneer is applied to the exterior walls, the classification of this type of construction is usually unchanged.
Construction Loan – A loan provided by a lending institution specifically to construct or renovate a building.
Control Joint – A control joint controls or accommodates movement in the surface component of a roof.
Convection – A method of transferring heat by the actual movement of heated molecules, usually by a freestanding unit such as a furnace.
Cooling Tower – A large device mounted on roofs, consisting of many baffles over which water is pumped in order to reduce its temperature.
Coped Joint See Scribing.
Coping – A construction unit placed at the top of the parapet wall to serve as a cover for the wall.
Copper Pipe Types – Type K has the heaviest or thickest wall and is generally used underground. It has a green stripe. Type L has a medium wall thickness and is most commonly used for water service and for general interior water piping. It has a blue stripe. Type M has a thin wall and many codes permit its use in general water piping installation. It has a red stripe.
Corbel Out – To build out one or more courses of brick or stone from the face of a wall, to form a support for timbers.
Core – A small section cut from any material to show internal composition.
Corner Bead – A strip of formed sheet metal, sometimes combined with a strip of metal lath, placed on corners before plastering to reinforce them. Also, a strip of wood finish three-quarters- round or angular placed over a plastered corner for protection.
Corner Boards – Used as trim for the external corners of a house or other frame structure against which the ends of the siding are finished.
Corner Braces – Diagonal braces at the corners of frame structure to stiffen and strengthen the wall.
Cornerite – Metal-mesh lath cut into strips and bent to a right angle. Used in interior corners of walls and ceilings on lath to prevent cracks in plastering.
Cornice – A horizontal projecting course on the exterior of a building, usually at the base of the parapet. In residential construction, the 0verhang of a pitched roof at the cave line, usually consisting of a facie board, a soffit for a closed cornice, and appropriate moldings.
Cornice Return – That portion of the cornice that returns on the gable end of a house.
Corrosion – The deterioration of metal by chemical or electrochemical reaction resulting from exposure to weathering, moisture, chemicals or other agents or media.
Corrugated – Folded or shaped into parallel ridges or furrows so as to form a symmetrically wavy surface.
Cost Breakdown – A breakdowns of all the anticipated costs on a construction or renovation project.
Counter Flashing – The formed metal secured to a wall, curb, or roof top unit to cover and protect the upper edge of a base flashing and its associated fasteners. This type of flashing is usually used in residential construction on chimneys at the roofline to cover shingle flashing and to prevent moisture entry.
Coupling – In plumbing, a short collar with only inside threads at each end, for receiving the ends of two pipes which are to be fitted and joined together. A right/left coupling is one used to join 2 gas pipes in limited space.
Course – A single layer of brick or stone or other building material.
Cove Molding – A molding with a concave face used as trim or to finish interior corners.
Covenants – Rules usually developed by a builder or developer regarding the physical appearance of buildings in a particular geographic area. Typical covenants address building height, appropriate fencing and landscaping, and the type of exterior material (stucco, brick, stone, siding, etc) that may be used.
Crawl Space – A shallow open area between the floor of a building and the ground, normally enclosed by the foundation wall.
Crazing – A series of hairline cracks in the surface of weathered materials, having a web-like appearance. Also, hairline cracks in pre-finished metals caused by bending or forming. (see brake metal)
Cricket – A small drainage-diverting roof structure of single or double slope placed at the junction of larger surfaces that meet at an angle, such as above a chimney.
Cross-Bridging – Diagonal bracing between adjacent floor joists, placed near the center of the joist span to prevent joists from twisting.
Crown Molding – A molding used on cornice or wherever an interior angle is to be covered.
Cupola – A small monitor or dome at the peak of a pitched roof.
Curb – A short wall or masonry built above the level of the roof that provides a means of flashing the deck equipment.
Curing – In concrete application, the process in which mortar and concrete harden. The length of time is dependent upon the type of cement, mix proportion, required strength, size and shape of the concrete section, weather and future exposure conditions. The period may be 3 weeks or longer for lean concrete mixtures used in structures such as dams or it may be only a few days for richer mixes. Favorable curing temperatures range from 50 to 70 degrees F. Design strength is achieved in 28 days.
Curing Agent – One part of a multi-part sealant which, when added to the base, will cause the base to change its physical state by chemical reaction between the two parts.
Curtain Wall – A thin wall, supported by the structural steel or concrete frame of the building independent of the wall below. Also a metal (most often aluminum) framing system on the face of a building containing vision glass panels and spandrel panels made of glass, aluminum, or other material.
Cutback – In roofing, basic asphalt or tar which has been “cut back” with solvents and oils so that the material become fluid.
Cut-in Brace – Nominal 2-inch-thick members, usually 2 by 4’s, cut in between each stud diagonally.
Cut Off – A piece of roofing membrane consisting of one or more narrow plies of felt usually moped in hot to seal the edge of insulation at the end of a day’s work.