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Glossary

There's a good chance you'll come across these terms during the homeownership. Here's what they mean.

A

ASHRAE

American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers. A professional association establishing standards for heating, air conditioning and refrigeration.

Aerator

Located at the end of the kitchen and bathroom faucets. It mixes air with the water in order to provide a smooth, splash-free flow of water. Occasionally, debris may collect in the aerator and restrict the flow of water. If this happens, unscrew the aerator and remove the debris.

B

Baseboard

The strip of molding or trim at the bottom of walls. The baseboard adds an attractive finish and protects the wall from scuffs and damage from furniture or vacuum cleaners.

Berm

A small ridge of soil which may direct the flow of rain and irrigation water toward drains or sewers.

Builder Check List

This form is used to record the condition of your home at the time of your orientation.

Buyer Affidavit of Acceptable Completion

This form is used to verify that all items on the Homeowner Orientation Form have been completed.

C

CC&R’S

These are the covenants, conditions and restrictions that govern your subdivision.

Caulking

This material is used as a sealant around sinks, tubs, and showers. Other applications for caulking include sealing windows, door frames and baseboards.

Cementitious Finish

The mortar-like material that covers the foundation and/or exterior walls of your home. This is commonly referred to as “stucco” in the building industry. Typically in residential construction this is a two (2) step process. This material is relatively brittle so you should avoid sharp blows to the walls. Its use is strictly cosmetic. Any references in our documentation to “stucco’ is meant to describe this two (2) step process cementitious veneer.

Circuit

The electrical system in your home is separated into individual units referred to as circuits. Depending upon the layout of your home and electrical codes in your area, each circuit may be designed for a room, an area of the home or a single appliance.

Circuit Breakers

Prevent electrical overload or shorting. The circuit breaker opens the circuit when an overload or short occurs, thereby breaking the flow of electricity. It can be reset manually by moving the circuit breaker lever to the “off” position and then to the “on” position once the source of overload has been corrected.

Common Areas

Many neighborhoods have areas that are common property, which are owned by a homeowners’ association or other entity. These areas may include streets, parking areas, walkways, slopes and recreational areas. In some cases, these common areas are maintained, and their use is governed by the homeowners association.

Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL)

A compact fluorescent lamp, also called compact fluorescent light, energy-saving light, and compact fluorescent tube, is a fluorescent lamp designed to replace an incandescent lamp; some types fit into light fixtures formerly used for incandescent lamps. The lamps use a tube which is curved or folded to fit into the space of an incandescent bulb, and the compact electronic ballast in the base of the lamp.

Condensation

The conversion of moisture in air to water, as on the warm room side of a cold wall; the forming of water on a surface can usually be prevented by insulating the inner wall so that its surface is kept warmer.

Condenser

The unit of a heating and air conditioning system that is located outside the home.

Cultured Marble

This is a man-made product that has much of the durability and beauty of natural marble.

D

Deflection

Bending of a beam or any part of a structure under an applied load.

Drywall

The interior walls of a home are usually constructed of drywall. This material also is called gypsum board or sheetrock. The material is functional and can be textured and painted to complement the style of any home.

E

Efflorescence

The white, powdery substance that sometimes accumulates on stucco, masonry, concrete, and brick. Excessive efflorescence can be removed by scrubbing with a strong vinegar solution or a commercial product.

Erosion

The flow of water from irrigation systems or rain can erode landscaping and change the drainage pattern of the yard. Most erosion can be prevented by maintaining the original grading of the yard.

Expansion Joint

A break or space in construction to allow for thermal expansion and contraction of the materials used in the structure.

F

Flatwork

A concrete surface usually four to six inches thick used for patios, walkways, driveways, etc.

Fluorescent

The lighting fixtures that provide even, soft illumination in kitchens, bathrooms and other areas of the home.

G

GFCI

Abbreviation for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (also GFI - Abbreviation for Ground Fault Interrupt Device). Similar to a circuit breaker in that it is designed to interrupt the flow of electricity. GFCI’s are usually located in the kitchen, bathrooms, garage and exterior. In the event of a short circuit, the GFCI is designed to break the electrical circuit immediately and reduce the chance of serious electrical shock.

Graphite

A carbon-based powdered substance that is used as a lubricant for applications in which oil can be damaging. Graphite is usually recommended for use on your aluminum windows and doors.

Grout

Grout is the cement-like material visible between squares of ceramic tile.

H

Hardware

The hinges, locks, handles and other metal attachments to doors, cabinets and drawers are commonly referred to as hardware.

Header

The header is a relatively heavy, structural wood piece that spans open spaces such as doors and window frames. The header supports other structural lumber.

Heave

The rising of the concrete slab of an excavation in soft silt or clay.

Homeowner Maintenance

As a new homeowner you need to routinely maintain the various features of your home. This continuing maintenance is your responsibility.

Homeowner Orientation Form

This form is used to record the condition of your home at the time of your Walk-Through.

Homeowners Association

Many neighborhoods have an association made up of all the homeowners, which is governed by a board of directors. The association is usually formed by the builder and control is turned over to the homeowners at a specified time pursuant to the CC&R’s. The association collects dues that are to be used for maintenance of the common areas. It also oversees architectural and design guidelines and is responsible for the enforcing the CC&Rs.

I

Incandescent

Lighting fixtures that use traditional light bulbs are called incandescent fixtures. Incandescent lighting is used for lamps, spot lighting and exterior lighting.

M

Manufacturers Warranty

The appliances and certain other components of your new home are covered by warranties that are supplied by the original manufacturers. These warranties are passed on to you. They include components of the plumbing and electrical systems, heating and air conditioning system, water heater and other manufactured items.

Masonry

The stonework and brickwork on a home.

Mildew

Mildew results when moisture accumulates in a confined area. Excessive watering of landscaping can cause mildew. Due to humidity, mildew can also form on the underside of eaves, porches or box windows. Moisture can also cause mildew to form on bathroom walls.

N

Nail Pops

The natural expansion and contraction of wood can cause the nails that hold the wall surfaces in place to move or pop out of place.  The nails can be reset and, if necessary, touchup paint can be applied.

P

Porcelain Enamel

Your tubs and sinks may be constructed of porcelain enamel. Made of a silicate paint that is fired onto steel at high temperatures, it forms a durable smooth and shiny surface much like glass.

R

Return Air Vent

Because modern homes feature almost airtight seals, the heating and air conditioning systems require return air vents to draw air back to the heating and cooling system.

S

Scuttle

The opening in the ceiling that gives access to the attic space.

Settling

In the first months and for years after a new home is built, some settling can occur as the underlying soil gains and loses moisture. Minor settling is normal, particularly in the first months after a new home is built.  Small shrinkage cracks do not affect the structural integrity of your foundation.

Silicone

Any of a group of semi-organic polymers of siloxane, characterized by high lubricity and thermal stability, extreme water repellence, and physiological inertness.  It is used in adhesives, lubricants, paints, insulation, and synthetic rubber.

Spackle

The puttylike material that is used to fill surface irregularities in drywall. Its most common use is to fill nail holes in walls before repainting.

SPALLING

The cracking or flaking of particles from a surface.

STUCCO

STUCCO - The mortar-like material that covers the exterior of many homes is called stucco. It provides excellent durability, insulation, and beauty to the home. Stucco is relatively brittle so you should avoid sharp blows to the walls. Turn sprinklers away from stucco to prevent water stains.

Subcontractor

Most homes in our area are built by specialized trades people, or independent contractors, who contract with larger builders or developers to perform their area of specialization. This allows the builder to select those trades with the highest standards and the best reputation. Examples of subcontractors are plumbers, roofers and electricians.

Superintendent

The Person Who Oversees The Construction Of Homes Is Called The Superintendent. The Superintendent Is Responsible For Making Sure That The Subcontractors Perform Their Work On Time And To The Standards Established By D.R. Horton.

SWALE

SWALE - A swale is similar in purpose to a berm, but it is a depression in the ground. It is designed to channel rain and irrigation water away from structures and toward the designated drainage paths.

T

Tack Strips

The devices between the flooring and carpeting that are used to hold wall-to-wall carpeting in place.

Thermostat

The wall-mounted device that controls the heating and air conditioning units is a thermostat. By cycling the heating or air conditioning units on and off, it will maintain a desired temperature in the home.

Tuck Pointing

The filling in with fresh mortar of cut-out or defective mortar joints in old masonry.

V

Vitreous China

The kiln-fired, pottery material that is used in most toilet bowls and tanks. It is very durable and impervious to water but can be broken by sharp blows from hard objects.

W

Warp

Shape distorted by twisting, especially in too rapidly dried wood.

Weep Holes

Small holes in door, masonry and window frames that allow water to drain away are called weep holes. They should be kept free of dirt and debris.