10 Construction Supply Terms Everyone Should Know

In this article, we will educate you on 10 terms frequent in construction supply. We hope you decide to use this handy glossary to improve your vocabulary, even if the chances are slim that you will ever set foot on a construction site.

Term 1: Fence

A barrier consisting of posts or boards erected close together and typically attached with wire in a raking pattern so that they can be securely joined at the top or face by string or wire, used for enclosing an area, providing security, preventing trespassers from getting into premises etc.

Term 2: Fire-resistant

A material that is not flammable and has the ability to reduce heat transfer through it. In construction, fire-resistant refers to a material that is slow to burn. Fire-resistant building materials are often used in applications where bonfires can be a hazard, such as outdoor furniture and playground equipment.

Term 3: Framing nail

Framing nails have larger heads than common nails for use with heavy framing lumber while common nails have smaller heads and are used on lighter weight boards when there is no danger of the boards splitting. Framing nails also have large shanks for creating more holding power with less wood penetration.


Number one is always better. People who set up a shop and ask for a price of $120 per hour should not be referred to as number one. Anyone that’s going to be setting up a business, and can provide the materials to do so, should always be referred to as “number one” regardless of price.

The most important is the quality. Get good quality construction supply / materials and make sure you’re not overpaying for them. Know your buyer’s requirements so that you will know what kind of prices you can charge for your goods/services.

The easy way to look at it is to think of the cost of your services and materials as a ratio compared to what you will be selling. If you’re charging clients $50 per hour and each project costs an average of $500 in supplies, then you’ve made the profit margin that you need.

Term 4: Greenwashing

Coined in 1987 by authors John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton, greenwashing is a term used describe companies who use misleading or unsubstantiated statements in order to give consumers the perception that their company’s products are more environmentally friendly than they actually are. The term is a play on words from whitewashing, which is used for hiding organizational, institutional or individual “dirty laundry”.

Term 5: Head

The head of a nail is the part that is visible above the wood after it has been hammered in. The shank of the nail is the portion below the wood line and has more holding power than a partially exposed head. Nails can be made with solid heads, but they are also available with ringed heads, which have ridges that make them easier to pull out when they are no longer needed.


Term 6: Joint compound

A putty-like substance used to fill voids and cracks in walls or ceilings. Joint compound dries to a sandpaper-like texture when it is completely dry.

Term 7: Kickback

A serious danger for circular saws, wood chippers and any other such power tools the kickback occurs when the device is cutting faster than it can handle. The result is that the tool tries to push the material back out rather than continue cutting it. In an effort to push back, the tool could actually shoot wood or metal at you with enough speed that it could cause serious injury or death.

Term 8: Long-nose pliers

Long-nose pliers are in a unique category of their own. Long-nose pliers have a different grip than opposable-thumb pliers. They are just thumb and forefinger pliers that are rounded on the ends. The long-nose plier is better used in situations where you do not need the exact precision of the regular pair of modelers, but rather just more flexibility. For example, if you want to remove a splinter from a wall or door, then use a long-nose plier.

Term 9: Lumber

Lumber is any wood that comes from the tree when it’s cut down and processed for lumber mills or mills in general. Lumber, aside from being a building material, is also a verb. When you are lumbering a tree trunk you are cutting it into planks that will be used to make furniture or other wood items.

Term 10: Lumberjack

A lumberjack is an axe-wielding professional, usually a man of great physical strength and endurance. These men are responsible for the felling of trees and the subsequent processing (planning, sawing…) of the logs provided by lumber jacks in order to create planks used in construction supply projects.

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