70 Essential Construction Terms Every Aspiring General Contractor Should Know

Like any industry, the construction industry comes with its own set of lingo and terminology unique to the field. A working understanding of this builder’s glossary (although by no means exhaustive) will help you begin to understand and communicate construction concepts on the job site and across teams.

Construction design terms

On job sites, terms like “architectural drawings” and “blueprints” are ones you’ll hear often, especially if you are in construction management. Understanding their basic parts will help engineers, contractors, designers, and builders to execute the construction accurately.

Structural Terms

Understanding the structural terms in construction is the key to understanding the “why” behind blueprints and many of your actions on the job site. If you love this terminology section, you may want to look into a career in construction engineering!

Polyurethane adhesives, AKA general construction adhesives

Polyurethane glue entered the American market until 1994 when the Gorilla Glue company began selling polyurethane glues. (For many Americans, Gorilla Glue is the more familiar name for polyurethane than its chemical one.) Over the last two decades, it has become one of the most common go-to construction adhesives that contractors depend upon for all sorts of jobs. Popular brands include Titebond and Loctite.

Similar to cyanoacrylates, polyurethane adhesives require a chemical reaction in order to cure, and that reaction is set off by moisture.

If you’re gluing concrete to wood, no problem—concrete has moisture; wood’s got moisture. When one of the substances is non-porous, however, some extra moisture is required. Jordan recommends moistening one side of your joint using just a little spritz bottle—then apply glue to the other side and stick them together tight.

See the strength of polyurethane glue in action in Chapter 8, in which Jordan uses it to lift a car.

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