Windows are a key component of every home. They provide natural sunlight, fresh air and views of the outdoors. Find definitions for different types of windows and window technology in our homeowner glossary. We also define new building codes, materials and other functional improvements, like updates for energy efficiency and windows that tilt for cleaning. For more information about windows …
Wainscoting – Wainscoting describes the decorative paneling that lines the lower half, typically three or four feet, of an interior wall. Wood is the most common material used although tile or other materials different from the rest of the wall, may be used.
Wall Insulation – Insulation is typically made of loose fill or blanket like materials (cellulose, rock wool, or fiberglass are common) placed between the wall studs to slow down air movement between a home’s interior and the outdoors. Less air movement saves the energy needed to replace conditioned air, either heated or cooled. In older homes, insulation may be absent or minimal.
Wall Sheathing – Beneath house siding there are sheets of plywood or oriented strand board (OSB) nailed to the outside face of the wall studs that serve as a base for exterior siding.
Wall Tile – Glazed ceramic tiles are most common for interior walls. They do not have to withstand excessive impact from walking or conditions found outside due to extreme weather like freezing and thawing. Interior tile exposed to extreme weather will crack and need to be replaced.
Water Absorption by Tile – Along with tile hardness, an important characteristic of porcelain tile is moisture absorption. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has a rating system for moisture absorption. By boiling the tile in water and measuring the weight gain, tile can be classified as to how much moisture it is likely to absorb on an ongoing basis. Tile with a low absorption rating are important for exterior applications and where food or beverage stains are more likely, i.e. in kitchens. Ceramic tiles are classified based on their water absorption levels as follows:
- Non-vitreous = tiles with > 7% water absorption
- Semi-vitreous = tiles with between 3% and 7% water absorption
- Vitreous = tiles with between .5% and 3% water absorption
- Impervious = tiles with < .5% water absorption
Water Repellent System – An exterior coating system for above grade concrete or masonry that temporarily repels water but is not intended to prevent the passage of moisture under hydrostatic pressure.
Warranty – A guarantee or protection provided to the purchaser regarding the condition of appliances and certain fixtures remaining with a home when sold. New homes often have more extensive warranties covering not only fixtures and appliances but the overall structure as well.
Waterproofing – Prevention of moisture flow due to water pressure.
Wear Layer – The portion of a floor covering that contains or protects the pattern effect.
Wear Resistance – Measures the hardness of the glaze on ceramic tiles.
- PEI 1 = Light Residential Applications/Light Traffic
- PEI 2 = Heavy Residential Applications/Light-Medium Traffic
- PEI 3 = Light Commercial Applications/Medium-Heavy Traffic
- PEI 4 = Heavy Commercial Applications/Heavy Traffic
- PEI 5 = Light Commercial Applications/Extra Heavy Traffic
Weather Stripping – Materials (rubber, metal, wood, plastic, etc) installed around door and window openings to prevent air infiltration.
Weld Rods – Thin, round rods that are melted with a specialized tool to seal seams on sheet floors. Vinyl floors use vinyl rods; linoleum floors use linoleum rods; in color-coordinated shades that blend with or accent seams.
Weather Resistive Barrier – Often called housewrap, weather resistive barriers go over the sheathing and under the siding. Tar paper was the original material but is now being replaced by materials lighter and wider than traditional asphalt, enabling builders to install the material faster. The barrier prevents rain from getting inside the wall assembly while allowing water vapor to pass to the exterior.
Weep Holes – Provide a way for water trapped inside and/or behind home features to drain.
Width – The width of the individual wood boards that make up the floor. “Strips” are narrow boards measuring less than 3 inches wide. “Planks” are wider boards measuring more than 3 inches wide.
Window Casing (Window Trim) – The decorative strips surrounding and finishing the exterior and interior sides of the window or door opening.
Window Glazing – refers to the process of using a putty or glazing compound to attach window glass to the window frame.
Wood Species – The primary species from which the wood floor is made.
Wood Stain – A type of paint that is very “thin,” or low in viscosity, and formulated so that the pigment penetrates the surface rather than remaining in a film on top of the surface. Stain is predominantly pigment or dye and solvent with little binder.
Woven Valley – Method of valley construction in which shingles from both sides of the valley extend across the valley and are woven together by overlapping alternate courses as they are applied. The valley flashing is not exposed.
Weep Holes – To allow water to drain, small holes are placed at the bottom of walls, windows or along the edge of flat roofs or decks.
Wood Rot Testing – A sponge test can help you identify wood rot in window sills, decks, bathroom cabinets, and any wood used in your home, that is exposed to water/moisture.