Term Definition
Back 5 likes
The part or surface behind the front; the rear or opposite side from the face
The back surface of gypsum board that is usually concealed or in contact with the framing; it may be referred to as the Code Side
Back Blocking 4 likes
A small piece of gypsum wallboard laminated adhesively behind the joints between each framing member to strengthen the joint
Back Charge 4 likes
An offsetting charge against an invoice created by the owner against a prime contractor or a by prime contractor against a subcontractor as a result of defective work
Back Clip 3 likes
Specially designed clips connected to the back of gypsum board that fit into slots or other parts of the framing to secure the gypsum board often used in demountable partition designs
Back Gouging 4 likes
The forming of a bevel or groove on the other side of a partly welded joint to insure total penetration during later welding from that side
Back Mounted Tile 1 like
Mounted tile with perforated paper, fiber mesh, or other bonding material on the back or edges of the tile so that a large part of the tile area is exposed to the setting bed
Back Nailing 2 likes
The nailing of felts under the overlap to stop slippage of the felts during roofing
Back Pressure 2 likes
In the trap during plumbing, a higher air pressure at the sewer side than on the fixture side. In some situations, water can be forced out of the trap in the wrong direction towards the fixture
In a refrigerating system, the pressure on the low side; this is also called suction pressure or low-side pressure
Back Priming 4 likes
A coat of paint applied to wood and exterior siding to stop moisture from entering the wood
Back Saw4 likes
back saw
Jointcutting small toothed saw with a metal back strip to maintain the saw in the right line
Back Seam 3 likes
Carpet seams created when the carpet is face-down are called back seams, rather than face-seams that are created when the carpet is face-up
Back Siphonage 3 likes
The flow of water or other substances into the distributing pipes of a portable water supply from sources other than its intended course, as a result of negative pressure in the pipe
Back Splash5 likes
back splash
A protective panel mounted on the wall behind a counter, sink or toilet
Back Vent 2 likes
A branch vent to protect fixture traps from siphoning; these vents are not installed to allow circulation between the vent stacks and soil or waste stacks
Back Wall 2 likes
The wall facing the entrance to a room
Back-Mopping 4 likes
Mopping the back or underside of roofing
Back-Plastering 4 likes
Plaster applied to one face of a lath system following application and hardening of plaster on the opposite face that is used mainly in construction of solid plaster partitions and specific exterior wall systems
Backband 3 likes
A simple decorative molding installed around the outer edge of plain rectangular casing
Backboard4 likes
A vertical structure that protects against the loss of thrown objects, often viewed in the design of athletic playing fields and surfaces
Backcheck 3 likes
A backcheck valve that only allows liquid to flow in one direction. It prevents backflow
Backer Board 3 likes
See Backing Board
Backfill 4 likes
Earth used to fill the excavation around a foundation or the act of filling around a foundation
Replacing excavated earth into a trench around or against a basement/crawl space foundation wall
Backfill, Hand 3 likes
A person with a hand shovel excavates earth in a trench or back against the foundation of a structure
Backfire 3 likes
In welding, a quick pop of the flame from the torch tip followed by immediate reappearance or termination of the flame
Backflow 4 likes
The unintentional flow of water into the supply pipes of a plumbing system from a non-supply source; one type of backflow, back-siphonage, usually results from temporary negative pressure in the pipes
Backflow Connection 2 likes
Any arrangement of pipe or fixtures which can cause backflow
Backflow Preventer4 likes
backflow preventer
Backcheck valve stops sewage from flowing back into a building’s plumbing system
Background Noise 4 likes
The sound level in a room or area above which speech, music, signals, or sound must be raised in order to be heard or clearly distinguishable
Backhoe 3 likes
An excavating machine with a bucket secured to a hinged stick on a boom that is drawn toward the machine in operation
Backhoe/Loader 3 likes
An excavation machine that combines a bucket on a hinged stick on a boom on one end, and a bucket or scoop at the other end
Backing 3 likes
Anything that creates a back, including wood blocking behind plastering that supports the load of lighting fixtures, cabinets, and hardware connected to a wall or ceiling
Any material used as a base over which a finished material is to be added
Material backing up the joint during welding to facilitate a sound weld at the root
The part of a wall behind the face brick
The carpet foundation that secures the pile yarns and provides strength and dimensional stability
Frame lumber between the wall studs to provide more support for drywall or an interior item such as handrail brackets, cabinets, and towel bars; items are mounted into solid wood rather than weak drywall that could cause the item to break away from the wall
Backing Board 4 likes
Gypsum board that serves as the first layer in a multilayer system; it also called Backer Board
Backing Board 5 likes
Backing ring, usually used in the welding of piping
Backing Filler Material 4 likes
Filler metal ring, strip or consumable insert, fused in a single-welded joint
Backing Off 4 likes
See Featheredging tile
Backing Rod 4 likes
A foam plastic rod inserted in a joint to be sealed that regulates the depth of sealant
Backing Up 4 likes
Constructing the inner section of a brick wall after the facing brick of the wall has been laid header high
Backing, Carpet 2 likes
Keeps the pile fabric in place
Backlog 5 likes
Incomplete work
Backnailing 3 likes
In roofing, the process of blind nailing (in addition to hot- mopping) all the plies to a substrate to stop slippage on slopes of 1-1/2 inch or more for steep asphalt, 1/2 inch or more for coal-tar pitch and dead-level asphalt
Backout 3 likes
Work the framing contractor does after the mechanical subcontractors complete their work before insulation to insure the home is ready for a municipal frame inspection; the framing contractor usually repairs any disturbances caused by others and finishes all framing required to pass a Rough Frame Inspection
Backset of a Hinge 5 likes
Distance from the edge of the door to the hinge
Backset of a Lock 3 likes
Distance from the centerline of a tubular door lock or cylinder to the edge of the door, measured on the high side of a beveled door
Backstep Sequence 5 likes
Longitudinal sequence in which the weld bead increments are placed opposite to the progress of welding a joint
Backstop 2 likes
To support, bolster or strengthen
Backup 3 likes
The part of a masonry wall behind the exterior facing
Backup Bar 4 likes
A small rectangular strip of steel applied beneath a joint to provide a solid base to start a weld between two steel structural members
Backup Block 3 likes
Concrete block used as a non-exposed structural wall and backs a finished surface to provide a complete wall system
Backwash 4 likes
A way to clean the swimming pool filter by reversing the water flow
Backwash Pipe 1 like
See Filter Waste Discharge Piping
Bacteria 4 likes
Microorganisms present in all water supplies and swimming pools
Bacteriacide 3 likes
Any of a number of chemicals including chlorine used to kill bacteria
Bad Debt 2 likes
An uncollectable debt
Baffle 4 likes
Plate or vane used to direct or control movement of fluid or air within a confined area.
Bain-Marie3 likes
A kitchen tool, also known as a steam table that has a hot water compartment under an upper compartment to keep food warm
Bake Oven5 likes
bake oven
Cooking device where food is baked by dry heat
Bakelite 3 likes
Trademarked; various thermosetting resins or plastics made from formaldehyde and phenol
Baking Finishes 3 likes
Baking at high temperatures improves various coatings used on metal articles such as automobiles and refrigerators; baking may be accomplished in an oven, under infrared lamps or by induction heating; the article that is coated must be able to withstand the temperature required to create the finish
Baking Japan 4 likes
Enamel to which artificial oven heat is usually applied to obtain the maximum film hardness or toughness
Balance4 likes
An instrument that measures mass consisting of a central pivot, a horizontal beam, and two scales
Balance Box 6 likes
A loaded box at the far side of a crane from the jib and the load that counterbalances them
Balance Sheet 2 likes
Statement of financial situation pertaining to a specific period of time
Balanced Construction 3 likes
A method of constructing manufactured wood products so that moisture content changes are uniformly distributed and do not cause warping
Balanced Cuts 5 likes
Cuts of tile at the perimeter of a space that will not take full tiles; the cuts on opposite sides of such an area are the same size
The same sized cuts on each side of a miter
Balanced Door 3 likes
A door swung on an arm and pivot that is spaced out from the jamb so that some of the wind impacting the door will help in opening the door
Balancing Valve 3 likes
A pipe valve used to control the flow of a liquid rather than to shut it off
Balcony 3 likes
A platform that distends from the wall of a building
Baldachin 3 likes
An ornamental canopy over an altar
Ball 4 likes
A round object
Ball Bearing 6 likes
A bearing with two halves separated by a ring of small metal balls to reduce friction
Ball Bearing Hinge4 likes
ball bearing hinge
A hinge with ball bearings placed between the protruding, cylindrical parts of the hinge, to inhibit friction
Ball Check Valve 5 likes
Valve assembly that allows flow of fluid in one direction
Ball Clay 4 likes
Secondary clay of organic matter, high dry strength, high plasticity, long verification range, and a light color when fired
Ball Cock6 likes
ball cock
An automatic valve controlled by a spherical float at the end of a lever, such as on a flush toilet
Ball Milling 3 likes
A method of grinding and mixing material in a rotating cylinder or conical mill partly filled with grinding media such as balls or pebbles
Ball Peen Hammer4 likes
ball peen hammer
A hammer which has a rounded head at its opposite end, often used in machine shops
Ball Valve 4 likes
A valve in which a ball controls the opening by rising and falling due to fluid pressure, a spring, or its own weight
Ball, Tree 3 likes
See Root Ball
Ballast5 likes
A transformer that steps up the voltage in a florescent lamp
Ballast Replacement 4 likes
Replacement of the device that controls the current in a fluorescent lamp
Balloon 3 likes
A loan with monthly payments has the remaining balance (balloon) as a large lump sum payment at the end
Balloon Frame 3 likes
A wood building frame consisting of closely spaced studs which are continuous from the sill to the top plate of the roof line
Balloon Framed Wall 4 likes
Framed walls usually over 10 feet that run the entire vertical length from the floor sill plate to the roof to remove the need for a gable end truss
Balloon Payment 4 likes
A lump sum final payment of an installment loan in which the earlier payments were considerably smaller
Ballrace 4 likes
Round or straight retainer to secure ball bearings in their proper operating place
Ballroom 3 likes
A large room designed for dancing, balls, and festivities
Balusters3 likes
Vertical parts in a railing used between a top rail and bottom rail or the stair treads. Also known as ‘pickets’ or ‘spindles’
Balustrade 5 likes
Rail, posts and vertical balusters along the edge of a staircase or elevated walkway
Bamboo3 likes
Giant tropical woody grass with hollow stems used in floors and furniture
Band 6 likes
A low, flat molding
A group of bars distributed in a slab or wall or footing
Band Joist 4 likes
A wooden joist perpendicular to the joists in a floor framing system, closing off the floor platform at the outside face of the building
Band-Aid Approach 3 likes
See Quick Fix
Banding 3 likes
Metal or plastic strapping to secure bundles of building products in a shipping unit
Bandsaw3 likes
A machine saw with a narrow ceaseless blade that runs over pulleys
Banister 3 likes
A light baluster that supports a stair handrail
Banjo Taper4 likes
banjo taper
A mechanical device which dispenses tape and taping compound at the same time
Bank 3 likes
A financial establishment that specializes in money and finance
Bank Gravel 3 likes
Gravel in natural deposits usually mixed with fine material such as sand or clay or combinations of them
Bank Measure 3 likes
Volume of earth in its natural site
Bank Run Gravel 3 likes
Excavated material that is usually ¼ inch to 6 inch maximum
Bank, Duct 4 likes
See Duct Bank
Bankruptcy 3 likes
A legal proceeding where a debtor can avoid legal and financial obligations
Baptistry 3 likes
Part of a church, or previously a separate building for baptism
Bar 3 likes
A barrier of any shape or size
A straight piece of wood or metal employed as a lever, support, fastening, or barrier
Unit of pressure; one bar equals 0.9869 atmospheres (one million dynes per square centimeter)
A steel member used to reinforce concrete
An area in a room where food and beverages are served
A small shop or stall serving food and beverages
A special department in a store, such as a shoe repair bar
Bar Chart 3 likes
A graphic technique that demonstrates the start and end times for the various tasks in a job
Bar Hanger 3 likes
Curved or straight metal bar that enables the mounting of a ceiling outlet box between ceiling joists, or an outlet box or switch box between wall studs; an adjustable hanger can be made to fit the various distances between floor and ceiling joists or rafters to secure electrical outlet boxes and devices
Bar Hook 3 likes
A 180 degree or a 90 degree turn at the steel reinforcing bar free end to anchor concrete
Bar Joist3 likes
bar joist
A truss-like floor joist or rafter fabricated from steel bars
Bar Lap 3 likes
How steel reinforcing bars must lap to bond sufficiently to transfer their full load capacity
Bar Number 2 likes
A number describing the approximate bar diameter of a steel reinforcing bar in eighths of inches; for example, a #7 bar is approximately 7/8 inch in diameter; a #11 bar is approximately 1 3/8 inch in diameter (11/8). The bar numbers are on the bar
Bar Spacing 4 likes
The distance between parallel reinforcing bars from center to center of the bars perpendicular to their longitudinal axis
Bar Support 5 likes
A rigid device used to support or secure reinforcing bars in position to prevent displacement before or during concrete positioning; wire, plastic or concrete device, to support, hold and space reinforcing bars
Bar, Parallel3 likes
bar, parallel
A pair of parallel bars on a support that are adjustable in height and spacing, used for gymnastic exercises
Bar, Reinforcing 2 likes
See Reinforcing Bar
Barbed Nail 3 likes
A nail with a barbed shank to resist withdrawal
Barbed Wire3 likes
barbed wire
Twisted wire with barbs or sharp points
Barbican 3 likes
The outer defense of a city or castle; it is usually part of several barrier walls which has a double tower over a gate or drawbridge
Bare Electrode 1 like
A filler-metal electrode used in arc welding made of metal wire without coating other than that incidental to the drawing of the wire
Bare Solid Wire 4 likes
Un-insulated wire used as an electric conductor
Bare Stranded Wire 3 likes
Un-insulated group of fine wires employed as an electric conductor
Barge 3 likes
Horizontal beam rafter that reinforces shorter rafters
Barge Board 3 likes
A decorative board covering the projecting rafter of the gable end. At the cornice, it is a fascia board
Barium Sulphate 3 likes
Heavy, white extender pigment made from the mineral, barite that is not affected by acids or alkalis
Bark 3 likes
A tree’s tough outer layer
Bark Pocket 3 likes
An opening between a tree’s annual growth rings which contains bark
Barn 4 likes
A large farm building that stores hay, grain and equipment and lodges farm animals
A large building that stores a fleet of trucks or trolleys
Barometer5 likes
An instrument that measures atmospheric air pressure, calibrated in pounds per square inch, inches, or millimeters of mercury in a column
Baroque 6 likes
Flamboyant, ornate, extravagant architecture, art and music of the 17th and 18th centuries
Barracks 3 likes
A building or building complex that lodges soldiers
A large basic building
Barratry 3 likes
The dogged incitement of litigation
Barrel 2 likes
Unit of weight for cement; 376 lbs. net, equal to four U. S. bags of Portland cement
Barrel Ceiling 3 likes
Round or semi-circular ceiling
Barrel Shell 5 likes
A scalloped reinforced concrete roof structure which traverses one direction as a barrel vault, and traverses the other as a folded plate
Barrel Tile 4 likes
Ceramic or castroofing tile
Barrel Vault 4 likes
A part of a cylinder that spans as an arch used as a structural technique to hold a ceiling or roof where the components act in compression as an arched ceiling; this cylinder was used extensively in ancient buildings and into the 19th century as it doesn’t require structural steel or timber
Barricade3 likes
A barrier or obstruction to inhibit access
Barrier 5 likes
A blockade or other obstacle that prevents advance or access
Barrier Coating 2 likes
Shield or blocking coating or film
See Transition Coating
Barrier, Vapor4 likes
barrier vapor
Plastic sheet that eliminates drafts and prevents moisture from damaging a building or structure
Barroom 0 likes
A room or establishment in which the main feature is a bar alcohol is served
Bas-Relief 2 likes
Sculpture or carving in which the figures project marginally from the background surface with no undercutting
Basalt 2 likes
A dark volcanic rock that can form columns
Basalt Ware 2 likes
A black, unglazed, vitreous, ceramic ware that looks like basalt rock
Base 4 likes
The lowermost part of a column.
A molding or board along the bottom of a wall next to the floor; also called Baseboard
A wood, vinyl, or metal trim at the floor line to protect the wall
One or more rows of tile above the floor
The bottom part or the lowest main division of a building, column, or wall
The lowest part of any vertical pipe
Base Bead 2 likes
See Base Screed
Base Bid 2 likes
A specified construction sum based on the contract documents
Base Cabinet3 likes
base cabinet
Case, box, or piece of furniture with drawers or shelves with doors, mainly used for storage on the floor
Floor-mounted cabinets, usually with a counter, sink or appliance
Base Cap 2 likes
A finish fitting for tile
Base Coat Floating 3 likes
The final process of spreading, compacting, and smoothing base coat plaster to a somewhat true plane
Base Course 1 like
The lowest row of masonry in a wall, foundation, or footing
In asphaltic concrete paving, the layer of material immediately below the surface or intermediate course; consists of crushed stone, crushed slag, crushed or uncrushed gravel and sand, or combinations of them; it may be held together with asphalt
Base Flashing 3 likes
A waterproof membrane connected to a roof and bent up the side of a chimney
A waterproof membrane connected at a joint between any vertical part and a roof
Base Grouting 3 likes
Grout that fills voids in subfloor slabs, concrete slabs, or foundations
Base Layer 3 likes
The first or interior layer of gypsum board in a multilayer system
Base Line 2 likes
The main traverse or surveyed line running through a proposed construction from which he buildings, property and street lines are found and plotted on the plan.
Base Lines 4 likes
Part of a governmental land surveying grid system spanning the country, with base lines running east and west and meridians running north and south; townships are located with reference to a specific base line and meridian; for example, T4N R11W, MDBM is read Township 4 North, Range 11 West, Mount Diablo Base Line and Meridian
Base Metal 1 like
The metal that is welded, cut or brazed
Base Molding3 likes
base molding
A wood strip that trims the upper edge of a baseboard
Base of Structure 2 likes
The level which earthquake motions are assumed to impact a building; this does not necessarily equal the ground level
Base Ply 3 likes
The first layer in a built-up roof
Base Screed 3 likes
A metal screed with perforated or enlarged flanges; provides a base for plaster and separates areas of unlike materials
Base Shear 3 likes
Complete shear force at the base of a structure
Base Sheet 3 likes
First ply in some multi-ply built-up roofing membranes; usually a saturated or a coated felt
Base Shoe3 likes
base shoe
Molding used next to the floor on interior base board; also called a carpet strip
Base Shoe Molding 1 like
See Base Shoe
Base, Column 2 likes
Plate underneath a column that spreads the load
Base, Manhole 2 likes
Cast iron frame in which a manhole cover fits
Base, Mogul 3 likes
Screw-in style base for an incandescent lamp of 300 watts or more
Base, Stone 1 like
Beginning stone of a fieldstone wall
Base, Terrazzo 1 like
A subfloor slab or foundation using a marble flooring material or other stone chips set in Portland cement and polished when dry
Baseboard2 likes
A trim wood board against the wall next to the floor in a room
Baseboard Heater2 likes
Heating strips at the juncture of the wall and floor, either recessed or surface-mounted; generally along outside walls
Baseboard Radiator 2 likes
A heating unit along a baseboard, usually for hot water or steam
Basecoat 2 likes
Plaster coat applied before application of the finish coat
Basement 4 likes
Part of a building that is totally or partially below ground level; also called a cellar
Basement Soil 1 like
See Subgrade
Basement Window Inserts 0 likes
The window frame and glass unit in the window buck
Baseplate 1 like
A steel plate between a column and the foundation to level the column and distribute the load of the column to a bigger area of the foundation
Basic Lead Carbonate 0 likes
White lead pigment
Basic Lead Sulphate 0 likes
White lead
Basilica 1 like
An ancient Roman public hall with an apse and colonnades, used as a law court and place of assembly
Building employed as a Christian church
Basin 1 like
Hollow round depression
Wide open shallow container
Sheltered area of water where boats are safe
Round valley
Basin Wrench2 likes
basin wrench
Plumbers tool for installing tough to reach fittings
Basis for Acceptance 1 like
Method of ascertaining whether specifications are acceptable
Basket 3 likes
Wire assembly that supports and spaces dowel bars and expansion joints in concrete slabs on the ground
Basketweave Bound 1 like
Module groups of brick laid perpendicular to those adjacent
Bastard File 1 like
A rough file for rough shaping of metal or wood
Bastard Granite 0 likes
Almost any stone which is not true granite, especially gneiss
Bastard Sawn 0 likes
Timber, mainly hardwoods, in which the annual rings make angles of 30 to 60 degrees with the surface
Bat 2 likes
A half-brick
Batch Disposal 0 likes
Placement of fresh mixed concrete or masonry
Batch Mixer 1 like
Machine that mixes batches of concrete or mortar
Batch Plant 2 likes
Manufacturing property for creating asphalt paving mixtures that insures the correct ratio of the ingredients in weighed batches and adds asphalt material by weight or volume
Operating installation of equipment including batchers and mixers for batching or batching and mixing concrete materials; also called mixing plant where equipment is incorporated
Bath 1 like
A tub for bathing
Liquid used for cleaning, plating, or ensuring a specific temperature
Bath Accessory1 like
bath accessory
Bathroom equipment such as towel bars, grab rails, soap dishes, toilet paper holders, and medicine cabinets
Bath Faucet2 likes
bath faucet
Valve that draws water into a bathtub
Bath Tub3 likes
bath tub
Tub in a bath room
Bath Tub Door3 likes
bath tub door
For a shower over the bath, a folding or sliding door installed on the bath tub rim to keep water spray within the tub
Bath Vanity 1 like
Bathroom cabinet with a toilet installed in the counter top
Bathhouse 2 likes
Building with baths and dressing rooms for public use
Bathroom 1 like
A room containing a bath tub or shower and usually a toilet; also a toilet room
Bathroom Lock1 like
bathroom lock
A keyless privacy lock that is locked from the inside by push-button and opened from the outside by a small device; a privacy lock
Batt 1 like
Section of fiberglass or rockwool insulation 15 or 23 inches wide by four to eight feet long and varying thickness; faced (having a paper covering on one side) or un-faced (without paper)
Batten 3 likes
Narrow wood strips employed to cover joints, or as decorative vertical parts over plywood or wide boards
Batten Seam 1 like
Sheet metal roof seam
Batten Siding 3 likes
Vertical siding with narrow strips of metal or wood covering the joints
Batter 1 like
A slight receding upward slope to the outer building wall face or a retaining wall
Stepping or sloping masonry back in successive courses; the antithesis of corbel
Batter Board 2 likes
Temporary framework to assist in finding the corners when laying a foundation; also used to secure proper elevations of structures, excavations and trenches in construction below the ground
Batter Pile 0 likes
Pile driven at an angle to secure a structure against horizontal or lateral thrust
Battery1 like
One or more cells connected together to produce electric current by the interaction of metals and chemicals
Battery of Fixtures 1 like
Any group of similar adjacent plumbing fixtures that discharge into a common horizontal waste or soil branch
Baudelot Cooler 0 likes
Heat exchanger in which water flows over the outside of the tubes or plates
Bauxite 1 like
Claylike mineral consisting of varying amounts of alumina, the main source of aluminum
Bay 2 likes
Space in a building plan divided by columns, piers, or division walls
Bay Window 5 likes
Any window space projecting out from the building walls, either square or polygonal
Product of the day

How to Fix Plumbing Noises In Your Home

plumbing fiberglass insulationTo diagnose loud plumbing, you must first determine whether the unwanted sounds occur on the system's inlet side - in other words, when water is turned on - or on the drain side. Noises on the inlet side have various causes: excessive water pressure, worn valve and faucet parts, poorly connected pumps or other appliances, incorrectly placed pipe fasteners, and plumbing runs with excessive tight bends or other restrictions. Noises on the drain side usually originate from poor location or, as with some inlet side noise, a layout with tight bends.


Hissing that occurs when a faucet is opened slightly generally signals excessive water pressure. Consult your local water company if you suspect this problem. They will tell you about the water pressure in your area and if necessary, can install a pressure reducing valve on the incoming water supply pipe.


Thudding, often accompanied by shuddering pipes when a faucet or appliance valve is turned off, is a condition called water hammer. The noise and vibration are caused by the reverberating wave of pressure in the water, which suddenly has no place to go. Sometimes opening a valve that discharges water quickly into a section of piping with a restriction, elbow, or tee fitting can produce the same condition. Water hammer can usually be fixed by installing fittings called air chambers or shock absorbers in the plumbing to which the problem valves or faucets are connected. These devices permit the shock wave produced by the halted flow of water to dissipate in the air, which unlike water, is compressible. Older plumbing systems may have short vertical sections of capped pipe behind walls on faucet runs for the same purpose; these can eventually fill with water, reducing or destroying their effectiveness. The solution is to drain the water system by turning off the main water supply valve and opening all faucets. Then open the main supply valve and close the faucets one at a time, starting with the faucet closest to the valve and ending with the one furthest away.

Chattering or Screeching

Intense chattering or screeching that occurs when a valve or faucet is turned on, and that usually disappears when the fitting is fully open, signals loose or defective internal parts. The solution is to replace the valve or faucet with a new one. Pumps and appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers can transfer motor noise to pipes if they are improperly connected. Link these items to plumbing with plastic or rubber hoses - never rigid pipe - to separate them.

Other Inlet Side Noises

Creaking, squeaking, scratching, snapping, and tapping are usually caused by the expansion or contraction of pipes, generally copper ones supplying hot water. The sounds occur as the pipes slide against loose fasteners or strike nearby house framing. You can often pinpoint the location of the problem if the pipes are exposed; just follow the sound when the pipes are making noise. Most likely, you will discover a loose pipe hanger or an area where pipes lie so close to floor joists or other framing pieces that they clatter against them. Attaching foam pipe insulation around the pipes at the point of contact should resolve the problem. Be sure straps and hangers are secure and provide sufficient support. Where possible, pipe fasteners should be connected to large structural elements such as foundation walls instead of framing; doing this reduces the transmission of vibrations from plumbing to surfaces that can amplify and transfer them. If attaching fasteners to framing is unavoidable, wrap pipes with insulation or other resilient material where they contact fasteners, and sandwich the ends of new fasteners between rubber washers when installing them. Correcting plumbing runs that suffer from flow-restricting tight or numerous bends is a last resort that should be performed only after consulting a skilled plumbing contractor. Unfortunately, this situation is common in older homes that may not have been built with indoor plumbing or that have been through several remodels, particularly by unprofessional contractors.

Drainpipe Noise

On the drain side of plumbing, the main goals are to eradicate surfaces that can be struck by falling or rushing water and to insulate pipes to contain unavoidable sounds. In new construction, bathtubs, shower stalls, toilets, and wall-mounted sinks and basins should be set on or against resilient under-layments to lower the transmission of sound through them. Water-saving toilets and faucets are less noisy than conventional models; install them instead of older types even if codes in your area still allow older fixtures. Drainpipes that do not run vertically to the basement or that branch into horizontal pipe runs supported at floor joists or other framing present especially troubling noise problems. These pipes are large enough to radiate substantial vibration; they also carry significant amounts of water, which makes the situation worse. In new construction, use cast-iron soil pipes (the large pipes that drain toilets) if you can afford them. Their immense size contains much of the noise made by water traversing them. Also, avoid routing drainpipes in walls shared with bedrooms and rooms where people gather. Walls containing drainpipes should be soundproofed as stated earlier, using double panels of sound-insulating fiberboard and wallboard. Pipes can be wrapped with special fiberglass insulation made for the purpose; these pipes have an impervious vinyl skin that sometimes containing lead. Results are not always acceptable.

hire a professional contractor


Our newsletter is packed with huge discounts and construction tips from experts. Be one of the first to have them delivered to your inbox.

Dig Deep Into Construction Resources