Glossary of Architectural Terms

BALUSTER

One of a number of short vertical members, often circular in section, used to support stair handrails or a porch railing.

BALUSTRADE

A low parapet, a row of balusters with rail used on a terrace or balcony.

BAY

A subdivision of a façade.

BOARD AND BATTEN

A wood cladding usually consisting of vertically applied boards with a narrow raised strip or batten covering the joint.

BRACKET

Any overhanging member projecting from a wall or other body to support a weight acting outside the wall such as a cornice.

BUTTERED JOINT

A joint that recedes from the bottom to the top or mortar placed on the end of a brick.

CLADDING

The finish covering of an exterior wall of a frame building.

CLAPBOARD

A wood cladding or horizontally-applied overlapping boards, usually thicker and straight-cut along the lower edge.

CORBELLING

A horizontal projection on the face of a wall by more than one course of masonry, each projecting beyond the course below.

CROSS GABLE ROOF

Two intersecting gables at right angles to the roof ridge.

DENTIL

A band of small, square, tooth-like blocks.

DORMER

A small roof and wall projection in a sloping roof to accommodate a window.

EFFLORESCENCE

An encrustation of soluble salts, commonly white, deposited on the surface of masonry.

ENTABLATURE

A moulded or decorated projection crowning a wide, flat, moulded or decorated band.

FANLIGHT

A semicircular window over the opening of a door with radiating bars in the form of an open fan.

FENESTRATION

The arrangement and design of windows in a building.

FINIAL

A small roof ornament that terminates in a point.

FLASHINGS

Strips of waterproof material used to weather the joint between walls and roofs, walls and windows and walls and chimneys.

FLAT ROOF

A roof that is flat or nearly flat.

FLUSH JOINT

Any joint finished flush to the surface.

GABLE

The enclosing lines of a sloping roof.

GLAZING

The glass surface of a window opening.

HEAD

The top of a window.

HIPPED ROOF

A roof sloped on all four sides.

HOOD MOLDING

The projecting molding or arch over a door or window whether inside or outside.

INFILL

Construction of a new building within an already built-up neighbourhood.

LABEL

A projecting moulding by the sides and over the top of an opening.

LINTEL

A horizontal structural member that supports the weight of the wall above an opening in a wall.

MANSARD ROOF

A roof having a double slope, the lower slope being much lower.

MOULDING

A decorative band or strip of material used in cornices and as a trim around window and door openings.

MUNTIN

Small slender bars holding panes in a window or door.

PARAPET

Low wall along the edge of a roof.

PARGING

In masonry construction, a coat of cement mortar on rough masonry or basement walls.

PENDANT

An ornament suspended from the roof edge.

PIERS

Squared, freestanding, vertical members that are more substantial than posts.

PILASTER

Vertical, rectangular member projecting slightly from a wall.

QUOIN

A projecting cornerstone at the angle of a building, often a decorative masonry unit.

REGULAR STRUCK JOINT

A horizontal masonry joint in which the mortar is sloped inward and downward from the upper edge.

REPOINT

The removal of existing mortar from joints and replacement with new mortar.

RIBBON JOINT

A horizontal masonry joint with a small, ribbon-like appearance.

RODDED JOINT

A horizontal masonry joint produced by taking a small rod and striking the surface to produce a concave joint.

SASH

Any framework of a window; may be moveable or fixed.

SCROLLWORK

Ornamental work of any kind in which a scroll consisting of spirally-wound band, or line of scroll-like characters, are an element.

SEMI-RECESSED JOINT

A horizontal masonry joint where the mortar is pressed back 6mmfrom the face of the wall.

SETBACK

Required distance, established by a zoning by-law, from property line to the face of building foundation.

SHIPLAP

A wood cladding with a shallow groove formed by a notched edge fitting over the thin upper edge of a board below.

SILL

The bottom horizontal framing member connecting the wall studs to the foundation.

SPALLING

The flaking of brickwork due to frost, chemical action or movement of the building structure.

SPINDLE

In woodworking, a short, turned part such as in a baluster.

STEEP

Pitch the pitch rises more than fifty-five degrees.

STUCCO

A plaster, or mixture of lime, cement, sand and any other aggregate, applied with various textures to cover or sheath a surface.

THUMBED JOINT

A narrow, concave horizontal mortar joint.

TRANSOM BAR

A horizontal member that separates a door from a window, panel or louvre above.

TRANSOM LIGHT

A glazed light above the transom bar.

TUCKED JOINT

A mortar joint which is cleaned out and then filled with fine mortar, projecting out slightly.

VERGEBOARD

A board that hangs from the protecting end of a roof, covering the gables, often elaborately carved and ornamented.

VESTIBULE

Small entry room or interior space at entrance to a building.

VOUSSOIR

A flat or curved structural arch over a structural opening such as a door or window, composed of wedge-shaped pieces that are of the same height.