Home Improvement Glossary: B

ballcock: The gravity-operated valve that controls the flow of water into the toilet tank.

baseboards: Baseboards are the finish strips between the floor and the wall and range in width from 3 to 18 inches.

batt insulation: Made out of insulating fibers that are woven together to create a continuous blanket of material with a moisture barrier (either paper or foil) that is glued to one side. Batt insulation is available in 16 and 24 inch wide rolls (or 8 foot strips) to fit between the framing in ceilings and walls.

Bauhaus: Bauhaus design (1919-1933) is based on unifying art and technology. Little ornamentation. Function, form, and materials (metal tubing, glass, and other technological, machine-made materials) most important.

bay window: A bay window is a large picture window that projects outside the walls of the building.

bead: A line of caulk that has been applied to a seam. Use a finger or tool to smooth out the bead to seal the surface.

beadboard: A form of paneling, traditionally made of wood, with tongue-and-groove boards running the height of the panels. Also called wainscoting.

boot: Boots, the rubber seals that are around the electric service and plumbing vent pipes, air vents, and exhaust fan flashing.

brad nails: A type of nail with a very small head used for securing molding.

building permit: Most towns or counties require a permit to build on or change a property. During different stages of the job and at its completion, the work is inspected to ensure that it meets the building codes.

butcher block: A thick block of wood made from laminating several strips of wood together. Butcher blocks are often used as a cutting surface.

butt end: The fat end of a shingle.

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