Carpenters use a wide variety of building materials. Wood framing materials are most common in residential construction, although residential foundations are usually built of concrete and masonry blocks.
Carpenters working on commercial building projects are more likely to work with structures made of steel and concrete.
This module introduces the different types of building materials used in construction.
Although wood framing was the norm for many years, the use of metal framing has become increasingly popular in both commercial and residential construction.
Many kinds of lumber and wood building products suit different purposes, so it is very important for a carpenter to know all the types and grades of wood building materials, along with their uses and limitations.
When selecting lumber, a carpenter must …
know what type best fits the application; recognize defects in the material; know how to properly handle and store wood products to prevent damage
When ordering lumber, a carpenter must …
know how to specify amounts so as to place an order for the material (sometimes, material is sold by the board foot, or in sheets)
Terms Associated with Building Materials
The following is a list of some carpentry terms associated with building materials used in construction. Click on each to find out more:
The joint formed when one square cut edge of a piece of material is placed against another material.
A beam, truss, or slab (floor) that extends past the last point of support.
A substance that causes a reaction in another substance.
Protected from rusting by a zinc coating.
A chalky material that is a main ingredient in plaster and drywall.
Generally, equally-spaced framing members that support floors and ceilings.
Material Safety Data Sheets: Information that details any toxic, chemical, or potentially harmful substances that are contained in a product.
Manufactured wood products such as doors, windows, and moldings.
A punch-like metal tool used to recess finishing nails.
A sloping structural member of a roof frame to which sheathing is secured.
Protective natural or synthetic coatings.
Sheet material or boards to which roofing material or siding in which each board is secured.
A method of cutting siding in which each board is tapered and grooved so that the upper piece fits tightly over the lower piece.
A horizontal timber that supports the framework of a building on the bottom of a wall or box joist. It is also called a sole plate.
A joint made by fitting a tongue on the edge of a board into a matching groove on the adjoining board.
A high, open ceiling that generally follows the roof pitch.