Sweating a Joint? Space Balls? Home Improvement Terms for DIYers

Greg Stevens

All dwelling enhancement DIYers have an arsenal of gizmos and tricks in their toolkit for what ever arrives their way. But how several of us are actually up on the lingo that will come with these sorts of initiatives?

Imagine it or not, acquiring a sturdy vocabulary of building conditions will pay off in the very long operate.

“Before you begin a Diy undertaking, take time to find out any conditions and processes that are relevant to your challenge,” states Bailey Carson, household treatment skilled at Angi. “This will help you understand the whole complexity and scope of the challenge, which can enable you decide no matter whether or not you can total the undertaking on your own.”

Staying common with building conditions will also support you communicate far better with any contractors you conclude up hiring for greater home enhancement projects.

We’ve all read of “blueprint” and “HVAC,” but we invite you to take a look at your self on the subsequent odd-sounding renovation conditions.

1. Birdsmouth


“If you are encountering a birdsmouth slash, this is an incredibly sophisticated undertaking you’ve gotten yourself into,” claims David Steckel, a household professional with Thumbtack.

When constructing a roof, a birdsmouth cut is a sort of lower manufactured into a picket beam or rafter. Creating this cut in the bottom of a rafter permits the beam to rest solidly on the wall’s prime plate.

“It seems to be like a bird’s open beak, that’s why the identify,” says Steckel.

2. Chalk line


A chalk line is a thick piece of string operate by chalk that is utilized to develop a line to make a extensive cut.

It is stretched taut in excess of a floor and snapped down onto that area, leaving “chalk residue for you to use as your guidebook to make a slice,” claims Steckel.

3. Flux

Utilised in soldering copper joints collectively, flux is a paste that gets rid of oxide movie from the surface of the metals remaining soldered. Flux will allow the solder to movement extra freely about the joint.

Flux prices about $5 for an 8-ounce jar and can be uncovered at your community hardware store.

4. PEX

PEX is the frequent abbreviation for cross-joined polyethylene, a prevalent material utilized in household pipes.

“PEX has turn out to be a regular alternative for household plumbing together with the a lot more traditional copper pipes,” claims Steckel.

Plumbers like PEX piping owing to its “flexibility, length, and relationship technique that does not demand soldering. PEX also flexes a little bit, so it is a bit fewer most likely to burst thanks to a mild freeze,” suggests Steckel.

5. Ripping a board

Ripping a board is the method of slicing wooden parallel to the grain.

“You can do this with a wide variety of noticed alternatives, but there are some dangers to the course of action, so be absolutely sure you’re comfy with the equipment and the method right before making an attempt it on your have,” states Carson.

6. Place balls

Space balls
Space balls


No, we’re not chatting about the Mel Brooks movie from the 1980s!

House balls are rubber balls observed in cabinet doors to assistance reduce rattling and splitting in the panels. They increase and agreement with the wooden in the course of the seasons.

7. Pace square

Speed square tool
Velocity sq. device


Pleasurable truth: A speed sq. is in fact a triangular measuring instrument. Its shape allows the user conveniently obtain and mark angles and lines.

8. Sweating a joint

Sweating (or soldering) a joint is the system of becoming a member of two or much more pieces of copper pipe collectively. Perspiring a joint is typically used in plumbing to mend a crack or fault or to seal a new joint.

“This is a more highly developed and potentially dangerous course of action that is usually best still left to the pros,” says Carson.

9. Tack fabric

A tack fabric is a specialty rag developed to select up unfastened dust and particles before portray or staining a area. Tack cloths are designed from sheets of cheesecloth or gauze that are treated with a tacky material.

10. Teflon tape

teflon tape
Teflon tape

(Shell Lumber and Hardware)

Teflon tape is employed all over the finishes of a pipe to reduce leaking and produce a watertight seal.

But really do not allow the “tape” portion fool you. Chris Sikes, owner of Handyman Connection of Wilmington in North Carolina, claims this tape won’t stick or maintain everything alongside one another.

Teflon tape has its limitations and must not be made use of to resolve cracked or harmed pipes, Carson states.

“When in question, get in touch with in a local plumber for their knowledge,” he advises.

11. Torpedo amount

torpedo level
Torpedo level


A torpedo stage is a leveling software that is commonly used in little, cramped spaces—usually to make guaranteed a image frame or pipe is correctly straight.

“You can determine a torpedo level by its distinguished tapered edges,” says Carson.

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