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A big part of our job as a remodeling contractor is to shepherd our clients through the process, making sure there are open lines of communication and reliable methods for addressing concerns and questions. But as experienced construction professionals, we also use terms and industry lingo that is second nature to us, but might be foreign to homeowners. It’s our responsibility to make sure that there is no “language barrier” that undermines our ability to communicate effectively and deliver a successful project.

We’ve put together a short glossary of construction terms to help take the mystery out of our industry jargon and provide a better understanding of the remodeling process.

  • Demo: This term, slang (or short) for demolition, is an early stage of the remodeling process in which existing finishes and structural elements (like walls) are removed to make way for a new room arrangement, addition, or upgraded materials. The demo stage can be a bit messy (which we work hard to minimize), but it is necessary to clear the way and allow the project to proceed.
  • Punch through: When a new space or room is added to an existing house, there comes a time to create access between the two structures. Usually, the addition will be built nearly to completion before we punch through or cut an opening for a door, staircase, or other means of access to the existing house, thus formally connecting the two spaces.
  • Lead: Also called a site superintendent or lead carpenter, a lead is the remodeling company’s representative on the job site. He or she is there every day work is being done, managing the workers and the delivery of materials, and available to answer questions from the homeowner.
  • Per-square-foot basis: Estimating costs on a per-square-foot (or “per-foot”) basis is a timesaving method for developing a preliminary budget. A combination of standard industry formulas and a contractor’s experience, this calculation establishes a starting point from which we create a more refined and agreed-upon budget or negotiated price based on a homeowner’s needs and financial means.
  • Lien Releases: Also called lien waivers, lien releases are issued by materials suppliers and trade contractors working on a home once they have been paid in full by the remodeling contractor. We follow strict accounting procedures to pay our trade and materials partners and collect and verify lien releases upon the completion of each project, leaving no outstanding debt or loose ends for our homeowner clients to worry about.
  • Tape and texture: To hide nail heads and conceal the joints between panels of drywall (or gypsum wallboard) placed over the structural frame members, our drywall contractor applies tape and texture to create a smooth surface for a variety of finishes. A mud-like compound, applied to a fibrous tape, bridges the gap (or joint) between adjacent drywall panels. Once dry, the joint is sanded smooth before applying paint, wallpaper, or other finishes. A quality tape and texture job ensures that cracks or nail heads won’t show through surfaces and mar a home’s finished walls or ceilings.

Warm regards,

Todd Allen Miller, AIA

QMA Design+Build, LLC
5000 Boardwalk, Suite 2
Ventnor, NJ 08406

NJ New Home Builder License #037561
NJ Home Improvement Contractor #13VH01107300

(609) 822-4949 – phone
(609) 822-4429 – fax


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