Acrylic Stucco

A mixture of petroleum-based thermoplastics, which creates a textured paint like finishing material that hardens to a dense composition. Drawbacks include water retention, cracking in where any shifting or impact occurs, requires frequent and prompt maintenance.

Air Barrier

Gypsum board, exterior sheathing plywood or OSB, and supported flexible barriers are typically effective air barrier systems if joints and seams are sealed. Spray foam systems can also act as effective air barriers.

Asphalt Coating

Commonly referred to as bituminous dampproofing, is intended to keep soil moisture away from exterior foundation concrete. Asphalt coating can be either sprayed on or hand applied to the outside of the wall.

ASTM (American Society of Testing and Materials)

ASTM is an international standards organization that develops and publishes voluntary consensus technical standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems, and services. They are often used as a benchmark for the quality or resistance to climate that a product can provide.

Backwater Valve

A backflow prevention device used to prevent outbound water through a dwelling’s drain pipes from re-entering or ‘back flowing’ into a home. The valve contains a flap that allows water to exit the home, but closes to prevent the back flow into the home.

Band Joist

A band joists sit on top of a sill plate (which sits flat on a foundation wall) and runs perpendicular to the floor joists butting up to the ends of the floor joists.

Cellulose Insulation

An insulation material made from recycled wood or paper-based fibers and fire-retardant materials. Sprayed or blown into walls and roofs.

Cementitious Coating

A protective spray coating that contains cement as one of its components is a fire resistive material used to prevent or delay building structural failures in the event of a fire.


Chimney Flue

A chimney flue is a vent, pipe, or opening in a chimney to exhaust gases from a fireplace.

Chimney Spark Arrestor

A device fitted to the top of a chimney which prevents floating embers from setting fire to any flammable roofing surface (shingle, thatch, or bitumen-felt) or from falling to the ground.


The likelihood of a material to catch fire and burn easily.

Concrete Splash Pad

Splash pads convey roof water and groundwater past the foundation excavation zone and away from the foundation walls. They minimize soil erosion and water recycling through the foundation drainage system. The recommended standard concrete splash pad is 30 cm x 107 cm.

Cripple Wall

Cripple walls are short wood-frame walls that are situated between the foundation and the first floor framing. They are commonly found in wood-frame structures that have a basement or crawlspace.


Typically, a wind-driven effect in which air is drawn into the building on the high-pressure windward side and then drawn out of the building on the low-pressure leeward side. Wind can also drive single-sided ventilation and vertical ventilation. Cross ventilation, often referred to as natural ventilation, moves and cools air through planned openings such as louvres, doors, and windows.

Damp Proofing

Moisture control that is applied to walls and floors to prevent damp from setting in or spreading in a building. Damp problems are among the most frequent problems encountered in buildings, particularly older buildings which may have been constructed without a damp-proof membrane. Common damp proofing techniques include; surface coating, cavity wall systems, pressure grouting, and water-repellent treatments.


Deflection occurs when the weight acting on a building or structural component is beyond the building design limits. Deflection may be visible or invisible, depending on how excess the weight is acting upon the building or structural component. Visual signs include sagging, bending and/or fracture lines. All structural components are expected to deflect a certain amount but when deflection past design limits occurs is when there is risk of building or structural failure.

Drainage Plane

A combination of ventilation space and layered materials designed to moves moisture downwards and outwards out of the building envelope. Drainage planes are water repellent materials such as building paper, house wrap, or sheet membranes.


The part of a roof that projects out horizontally beyond the face of a wall. Eaves prevent rain, snow and other debris from entering where the roof meets the wall, by redirecting it out and away from the building.


An eavestrough or gutter collects rainwater runoff from roofs, directing it to the ground through a downspout.

Exterior Insulation

The application of thermal insulation to the external walls of buildings. Exterior Insulation is used for the effective insulation and moisture control.

Extruded Or Expanded Polystyrene Insulation

Extruded or expanded polystyrene insulation are lightweight and rigid foam insulation panels. There are three kinds of rigid foam panels, each created by varying the manufacturing process, polyisocyanurate (PIR), extruded polystyrene (XPS), expanded polystyrene (EPS). They are typically 4’x8′ or 2’x8′, and each type of panel has a different level of thermal resistance. They also come in different thicknesses such as 2″ and 4″, to achieve different levels of thermal resistance.

Fiberglass Batt Insulation

An insulation material made from fine glass fibers, which comes in batts and rolls. This is typical insulation between the stud walls of a residential home.

Fibre Cement Board Cladding

Fibre cement board cladding is cement combined with sand, water and cellulose wood fibers to create a durable exterior cladding material.

Fire ratings: UL 790 or ASTM E 108

Class “A” – The highest fire-resistance rating for roofing as per ASTM E-108. Indicates roofing is able to withstand severe exposure to fire originating from sources outside the building.

Class “B” – Fire-resistance rating that indicates roofing materials are able to withstand moderate exposure to fire originating from sources outside the building.

Class “C” – Fire-resistance rating that indicates roofing materials are able to withstand light exposure to fire originating from sources outside the building.

Fire Stopper

Fire stopping is sealing any openings to prevent fire (including smoke and heat) from passing through multiple locations in a building. A firestop is a fire protection system made of various components used to seal openings and joints between walls or floors. Some of these components, such as those in a vent, do not seal the opening until heat or a fire alarm triggering them to close off.


Flashing is a sheet of thin, impervious material used to prevent water penetration or seepage into a building. Flashing is particularly important at junctions to deflect the flow of moisture away from the building. The most common flashing materials are metal, plastic, or rubber.

Floor Joist

Floor joists span between beams to hold up a subfloor.

Freeze-thaw Cycles

Freeze-thaw weathering is a process of erosion that happens in cold areas where ice forms. A crack in a material can fill with water which then freezes as the temperature drops. As the ice expands, it pushes the crack apart, making it larger. When the temperature rises again, the ice melts, and the water fills the newer parts of the crack. The water freezes again as the temperature falls, and the expansion of the ice causes the further expansion to the crack. This process continues until the material breaks.

Gable End Roofs

A gable is the generally triangular portion of an exterior wall between the sloped sides of your roof – show diagram?

Hail Ratings: [UL 2218 impact resistance of prepared roof covering materials”

Class 1 – 1.25” diameter steel ball dropped 12 ft – no crack

Class 2 – 1.50” diameter steel ball dropped 15 ft – no crack

Class 3 – 1.75” diameter steel ball dropped 17 ft – no crack

Class 4 – 2.00” diameter steel ball dropped 20 ft – no crack

Heat Trace Cables

Heat trace cables line are a network of cables or cut-to-length cables that provide regulated heating for pipe freeze protection, roof & gutter de-icing applications, and general surface snow and ice melting.

High Density Polyethelene Membrane

High-density polyethylene membrane, or HDPE membrane, serves as a protection course but may also act as a vapour barrier in waterproofing applications.

Ice Dam

A ridge of ice that develops at the edge of a roof or around drains that prevents snow or water from melting off the roof. Heat escaping from the interior of a house in combination with poor attic air circulation is the primary cause of ice dams.

Ice Damming

An ice build-up on the eaves of sloped roofs of heated buildings. This results from melting snow reaching the eave and then freezing there. Freezing at the eave impedes the drainage of meltwater, which adds to the ice dam and causes a backup of the meltwater. This may cause water leakage into the roof and consequent damage to the building and its contents if the water leaks through the roof.

Impact Resistant Glass

Impact resistant glass is a type of laminated glass consisting of two or more panes of clear glass bonded together with a clear plastic-like film (usually polyvinyl butyral) sandwiched in between.

This lamination, tends to hold the glass together upon impact. If cracked or broken, the glass fragments tend to adhere to the plastic interlayer thus preventing water, wind or wind-borne debris from entering the structure.

Masonry Chimneys

A chimney constructed of individual stone, brick or concrete block units which are bound together by mortar.


A native Alberta plant that is not invasive. Milkweed forms a tall, bushy clump of grey-green leaves topped with clusters of starry, pale pink flowers in late summer and fall. Pollinators can use milkweed as a food source in late summer and fall.

Mineral Stone Wool Insulation

Insulation made from stone or slag (industrial waste) spun into a fibre-like structure. Benefits of mineral stone wool include high heat tolerance, high thermal insulating properties, and it allows moisture to travel across the wall which helps to dissipate damp.


A material that has small spaces or holes through its composition from which liquid or air may pass through.

Ridge And Off-ridge Vents

Ridge vents are installed at the peak of a sloped roof, and off ridge vents are installed to one side of the ridge of an open attic. Both vent systems help to release moisture and warm air from the attic area.

Roof Underlayment

Roofing underlayment is a water-resistant or waterproof barrier material that is installed directly onto the roof sheathing. Roof underlayment is used to add extra waterproofing and cold protection.

Roof Valleys

When two roof surfaces meet, a valley is created. The valley creates a channel that allows moisture to run off the roof. The roof valley is one of the most common areas for a roof to leak. Non-permeable materials such as metal sheets or roof rolls are placed over these joins to seal out moisture.

Safety Film

Window safety films are readily available at most home renovation stores in Canada. Such films usually do not make window glass unbreakable, but do make it harder to break (providing added security against break-and-enter and theft). Further, these films ensure that glass does not shatter into tiny fragments and enter a home with enough force to injure occupants.

Self-adhering Waterproofing Underlayment

An underlayment that assists in waterproofing by having the waterproofing membrane bonded directly to the structural component.

Shear Strength

The strength of a material or component against structural failure when the material or component is under twisting or cracking pressure.


Sheathing is the board or panel material used in flooring, wall and roof assemblies. Sheathing is used as both a protective layer of structural elements and as a surface for which other materials can be attached. For example, floor sheathing often referred to as subflooring, is used to create a smooth level surface for finished flooring. In another example, exterior roof sheathing is used to provide bracing of roof framing and provides a smooth surface to attach roofing materials. Sheathing materials include hardboard, particleboard, OSB(oriented strand board), plywood, gypsum and cement board.


The underside of the eaves, referring to the underside of the part of the roof that projects beyond the external wall of a building.


A relatively low maintenance flowering plant that blooms all summer long. Speedwells are edible, high in vitamin C, and they grow well in a large variety of places such as meadows, streambanks, forested areas and disturbed sites.


A type of continuous cladding attachment that consists of galvanized steel framing members attached vertically or horizontally to the structure. This provides a benefit, as the cladding is then attached to the sub-girt, which then leaves a space between the structure and cladding for exterior insulation.


A drainage swale is a shallow path-like trough cut into the land that directs water away from a property and towards a drainage system.

Tempered Glass

Tempered glass is one type of heat-treated glass in which the glass is first heated, and then the surface is rapidly cooled. This process compresses the surfaces and edges of the glass. This means that when broken, tempered glass fractures into small, relatively harmless fragments. This phenomenon, often referred to as “dicing,” greatly reduces the likelihood of injury to people.

Thermal Break

A thermal insulator used to reduce or prevent the flow of heat or cold between interior and exterior building elements. For example, a thermal break at a door frame would help prevent hot or cold temperatures from the exterior of the building to transfer to the interior.


Typically in the form of violent rotating columns of air extending from a thunderstorm with a narrow end touching the ground. Most tornadoes have wind speeds of less than 170 km/h and a width of 75m across. They typically travel several kilometers before dissipating. Extreme tornadoes can easily uproot trees, “cars and demolish houses with wind speeds of more than 480 km/h. They can stretch more than three kilometres across and travel more than 100 km.

UL (Underwriters Laboratory):

UL helps companies demonstrate safety, confirm compliance, enhance sustainability, manage transparency, deliver quality and performance, strengthen security, protect brand reputation, build workplace excellence, and advance societal wellbeing. Some of the services offered by UL include: inspection, advisory services, education and training, testing, auditing and analytics, certification software solutions, and marketing claim verification.

Uplift And Racking Forces

An uplift force is any upward pressure applied to a structure that has the potential to raise it relative to its surroundings. Uplift forces can be a consequence of pressure from the ground below, wind, surface water, and so on. Racking force is any tilting force to the structure forcing it out of plumb. This is most commonly caused by wind forces exerting horizontal pressure, but it can also be caused by seismic stress, or thermal expansion or contraction.

Vapour Barrier

Self-adhered modified bituminous membranes and sheet polyethylene which can be used as both an air barrier and a vapor barrier.

Vinyl Siding

A plastic exterior siding, which comes in different colours, textures, and profiles. Drawbacks include easily warped or dented panels, difficulty replacing individual panels, colour fading and cracking in cold weather. Due to its thin profile, vinyl siding may be more likely to ignite when exposed to heat as compared to other siding options. In addition, vinyl siding releases toxic fumes when burning and in some cases increases the likelihood of fatality from smoke inhalation.

Weather Barrier Membranes

A membrane that prevents the passage of moisture, rain and wind through critical areas of the walls and roof, protecting critical building components from deteriorating. Weather barrier membranes are thin layers of waterproof material applied in sheet or liquid layers.

Wind Ratings

(wind speed the material can withstand)

Class A – 60 mph (UL 997 or ASTM D3161)

Class D – 90 mph (UL 997 or ASTM D3161, ASTM D7158)

Class F – 110 mph (UL 997 or ASTM D3161)

Class G – 120 mph (ASTM D7158)

Class H – 150 mph (ASTM D7158)

XPS Insulation

Extruded polystyrene (XPS) is a lightweight and rigid foam insulation panel. It is one of three kinds of rigid foam panels each created by varying the manufacturing process.