House Framers Use Different Words On East Coast

When I first started working as a house framer in Southern California, there were more terms for more different things than you could possibly ever imagine. Some of these contractors got their training on the East Coast or Midwest and eventually migrated to the west coast.

The first time that I heard a carpenter asked me to install some dead wood, I had to ask the carpenter what he meant. After he explained to me that deadwood was another word for backing, I now had another word for my construction vocabulary arsenal. My first four years working in the construction industry, were often confusing as carpenters seem to go out of their way using different words to confuse me.

If you're reading a book and they show you an illustration or picture of something and then use a different word to describe it, you can at least get a visual on what someone's talking about. As a young framer, there weren't very many pictures or illustrations for the carpenters to use, that I was working under and could only describe and point to what they were talking about.

Some carpenters refer to a drop ceiling as a soffit or drop, floor beams or girders, floor sheeting, sheathing or underlayment. The building plans are otherwise known as blueprints, drawings, documents or plans. Lumber on the West Coast is referred to as 1x or 2x and back east in the Midwest it is referred to in quarters. In other words a 2 x 4 on the west coast that is an inch and a half wide on the East Coast might be 1 inch and a quarter wide, often referred to as five quarters.

There is no need to be confused, if you live on the west coast of the United States, try to find a book that was written by someone who lives on the East Coast and if you live on the East Coast, try to find a book about home building that was written by someone on the West Coast to get a better understanding of some of the different words that are used in the construction industry.