Decoding Contractor Lingo

Decoding Contractor Lingo Lifestyles

Just like any other business segment, the contracting industry has developed a large number of specialized words to make communication easier and faster.

This lingo is well understood by those in the industry but may confuse outsiders to a certain degree.

Here is a short list of the most common terms that anyone looking to hire a contractor should know:

  • Bond – A certain amount of money – prescribed by local law – placed in escrow by a company to pay out any claims against them in case they do not follow through on a project.
  • Change order  The most carefully crafted construction plans rarely go off without a hitch. If something needs to be altered, a “change order” is produced. It details what needs to be changed and what the cost will be for the alteration.
  • Cost plus  Generally, a general contractor will not present his client with a bill for their services. Instead, they will obtain their payment by adding a percentage to the “time and materials” bills of the subcontractors – ergo, a “cost plus” bill.
  • Cutting in – Painters use this term to refer to the time consuming – and quite skilled – the process of painting the edges of a surface. In other words, it is essentially everything not done with a paint roller or sprayer.
  • Drywall – Also know as sheetrock or plasterboard, this is the material that will cover the walls and ceiling of your home. It comes in various grades depending on where it is intended to be placed.
  • GC – Rarely will you hear a contractor refer to themselves as a general contractor although this term is usually spelled out in any contract. Instead, the abbreviation “GC” is usually used.
  • Home run – Specifically an electrical term, these two words indicate the running of the first power line into the living space of the home from the main junction box.
  • HVAC  An acronym for “heating, ventilation and air conditioning,” this term refers to the equipment – and its associated components – that will either heat or cool the living spaces in the home.
  • Load-bearing  Any wall that supports an upper structure is considered to be “load-bearing.” Removing or renovating one is far more difficult and costly than dealing with a nonload-bearing wall.
  • Mud – Not particularly specific, this term can apply to any of the various spackles, stuccos or concrete mixtures that are used to finish off a wall or floor.
  • R&R  This term describes a simple remodeling project that involves the removal and replacement of various things such as cabinetry, fixtures or appliances without any substantial structural or mechanical changes.
  • Stud – These wood or metal structural items connect the floor and ceiling plates to each other. They are also what the sheetrock is attached to create the walls of the house or office building.
  • Sub – This term refers to the workmen who do the actual construction on a construction project. They are known as a subcontractor or “sub” because they work for the general contractor.
  • Walkthrough – Conducted at various stages throughout the project, a “walkthrough” allows the client to examine the quality of the work and to communicate any concerns about the project to the general contractor.

For further information on these terms and any other contractor-related questions, you may have, please contact us at Lifestyle Cabinetry and Millwork. You can visit us online or reach us directly at 833-782-2227.