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Construction deterioration & building durability glossary

Article & glossary hosted by A. Sebastian Engineering and Investigation Services

Function: noun (or verb)
Mixture of a pigment which is dispersed into a liquid (called a vehicle) designed for application to a substrate when spread in one or more thin coats. These layers dry out to a solid film, adherent to the substrate. Paint is designed to protect and/or decorate the surface it is applied to.

1. The act of applying a coating or paint film.
2. Coating of a tunnel or mine roof with a coal-tar paint that seals the bottom strata of the roof to prevent air from entering the crevices of the roof.

panel wall
Exterior, non-loadbearing wall wholly supported at each story. Panel walls are required to be self-supporting between stories. They must resist lateral forces such as wind pressures and must transfer these forces to adjacent structural members. See curtain walls

Restrictive factor. In engineering, a parameter may be a constant value in an equation or one of a set of measurable factors (such as humidity, temperature, color, or acidity) that define a system and determine or limits its behavior.

parging/ 'pärj-/
Function: (forms of) transitive verb parge
Inflected Form(s): parged; parg·ing
Date: 18th century

The process of applying a coat of cement mortar to masonry. Often spelled and/or pronounced pargeting.

Function: noun (or verb)
Date: 14th century
1. plaster, whitewash, or roughcast for coating a wall
2. plasterwork especially in raised ornamental figures on walls

par·geting /'pär-j&t-/
Function: (forms of) transitive verb par·get
Inflected Form(s): -get·ed or -get·ted; -get·ing or -get·ting
Etymology: Middle English "pargetten", from Middle French "parjeter" to throw on top of, from "par-" thoroughly (from Latin "per-") + "jeter" to throw; root of jet; see more at per-
Date: 14th century

The process of applying a plaster (as ornamental or waterproofing) or cement mortar coat to substrate such as masonry. Often spelled and/or pronounced parging.

A paved or unpaved airfield surface used for fixed wing aircraft parking. The area includes parking lanes, taxi lanes, exits, and entrances. Aircraft move under their own power to the parking spaces, where they may be parked and secured with tie-downs. Parking designed to distribute aircraft for the purpose of increased survivability (dispersed hardstands) are included in this category code. For inventory purposes, only the prepared surface is included.

partition/ pär-'ti-sh&n, p&r-/
Function: noun
Date: 15th century
Interior dividing wall, one story or less in height.

The motion of a spray gun or roller in one direction only.

To make a surface such as steel inert, usually by chemical or electrochemical means.

The semi-fluid product of a dispersion process

a: in coatings it is usually high in viscosity and may require dilution prior to application; a concentrated pigment dispersion used for shading;
b: lime putty;
c: caulking putty

pat·tern/ 'pa-t&rn/
Function: noun
Date: 14th century
1. The shape or stream of material coming from a spray gun
2. frequent or widespread incidence
synonym: model
- pat·terned /-t&rnd/ adjective
- pat·tern·less adjective

/ 'pAv/
Function: transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): pavement, paved; paving
Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French "paver", from Latin "pavire" to strike, pound; perhaps akin to Greek "paiein" to strike
Date: 14th century
To lay (or cover with) asphalt or concrete that forms a firm level surface for parking, taxiing, or travel
- "pav·er" noun
- "pave the way": to prepare a smooth easy way; to facilitate development

A film of paint or coating lifting from the surface due to poor adhesion or to moisture that travels through or on the substrate and accumulates under the paint where it expands when the temperature rises.

Function: prefix
Etymology: from Latin "per-", through, throughout, thoroughly, detrimental to
1. throughout : thoroughly

a : containing the largest possible or a relatively large proportion of a (specified) chemical element
b : containing an element in its highest or a high oxidation state

Function: noun
Date: 15th century
1. a : the execution of an action 1. b : something accomplished; 2. the fulfillment of a claim, promise, or request; 3. the ability to perform

per·me·abil·i·ty/ "p&r-mE-&-'bi-l&-tE/
Function: noun
Date: 15th century
1. The quality or state of being permeable/'p&r-mE-&-b&l/; capable of being permeated: pen·e·tra·ble; especially : having pores or openings that permit liquids or gases to pass through

2. The degree to which a membrane or coating film (including paint and damp-proofing) will allow the passage or penetration of a liquid or gas.

per·vi·ous/ 'p&r-vE-&s/
Function: adjective
Etymology: Latin "pervius", from "per-" through + "via" way -- see more at per-
Date: 17th century
Permeable . Also:
- per·vi·ous·ness noun

Indicator of acidity and alkalinity; a pH range of 1-7 signifies acidity and pH 7-14 alkalinity.

A synthetic resin used for heat or water resistance.

Steel pretreatment by a chemical solution containing phosphates and phosphoric acid to (temporarily) inhibit corrosion.

pick and dip
A method of laying brick whereby the bricklayer simultaneously picks up a brick with one hand and, with the other hand, enough mortar on a trowel to lay the brick. Sometimes called the New England or Eastern method.

Steel pretreatment for the removal of rust and mill scale by immersion in a hot acid solution containing an inhibitor.

pier/ 'pir/
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle & Old English "per", from Medieval Latin "pera"
Date: 12th century
1. Intermediate support for two adjacent bridge spans
2. Marine structure (such as a breakwater) extending into navigable water for use as a landing place, promenade, shore protection or to form an actual harbor
3. Structural mount (as for an antena or telescope) usually of concrete, stonework, or steel
4. Vertical structural support: as

a: the wall between two openings
b: pil·lar, pi·las·ter
c: a vertical member that supports the end of an arch or lintel
d: an auxiliary mass of masonry used to stiffen a wall
e: an isolated column of masonry
f: a (horizontally short) bearing wall, not bonded at the sides into associated masonry

pi·las·ter Pronunciation: pi-'las-t&r, 'pI-"las-/
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle French "pilastre", from Italian "pilastro"
Date: 16th century
Upright member that is rectangular in plan and is structurally a pier but architecturally treated as a column and that usually projects less than a third of its width from the base wall. This projection can occur from either or both wall faces. Structurally it serves as a vertical column and/or beam (for horizontal loads).

pil·lar/ 'pi-l&r/
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English "piler", from Old French, from Medieval Latin "pilare", from Latin "pila"
Date: 13th century
1. a : post; firm upright support for a superstructure
b : a usually ornamental column or shaft; especially : one standing alone for a monument
2. Solid mass of rock, coal, or ore left standing to support a tunnel or mine roofrock, 3. Body part that resembles a columnrockrock.
- "pil·lar·less" adjective
- from pillar to post : from one place or one predicament to another

Finely ground natural or synthetic, insoluble fine powder adding color and/or opacity or corrosion inhibition to a coating film.

pigment / binder ratio
Ratio of total pigment to binder solids in paint.

pigment grind
The action of dispersing pigment in the liquid vehicle.

pigment volume concentration (PVC)
The percent by volume occupied by pigment in the dried film of paint.

Film defect characterized by small, pore-like flaws in a coating which extend entirely through the film.

Function: noun
Date: 1925
A chemical added materials such as mortars, rubbers and coating resins to impart flexibility, workability, or stretchability.

plumb rule
This is a combination plumb rule and level. It is used in a horizontal position as a level and in a vertical position as a plumb rule. They are made in lengths of 42 and 48 in., and short lengths from 12 to 24 in.

Finishing a mortar joint after the masonry units are laid.

polyester resin
Group of synthetic resins which contain repeating ester groups. A special type of modified alkyd resin.

Substance of molecules which consist of one or more structural units repeated any number of times.

Chemical reaction in which two or more small molecules combine to form large molecules containing repeated structural units.

Group of thermoplastic or thermosetting polymers containing polyisocyanate; they may be hard and glossy forms; drawn into fibers; elastomeric or rubbery and flexible, or rigid foams. Used as rubber, for coatings, as fibers and foams; also used complexed in other polymers.
Synonym: ostamer; spandex; urethane rubber (or elastomer).

polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
A polyvinyl resin used extensively in the manufacture of plastics. It is also used as a rubber substitute. Residues are present in human body tissues.
Chemical name: Ethene, chloro-, homopolymer

The presence of numerous minute voids in a material; condition ( of a solid substance) of having pores or open spaces

port·land cement/'pOrt-l&n(d)-, 'port-/
Function: noun
Etymology: Isle of Portland, England; from its resemblance to a limestone found there
Date: 1824
A hydraulic cement made by finely pulverizing the clinker produced by calcining to incipient fusion a mixture of clay and limestone or similar materials. Also defined generically as cement

pot life
The length of time a paint material is useful after its original package is opened or a catalyst or other curing agent is added.

potable water
Water fit for human consumption; drinking water.

practical coverage
The spreading rate of a paint/coating calculated at the recommended dry film thickness and assuming 15% material loss.

preservation technology
In a 1988 report that also included recommendations for establishing a
National center for preservation technology as part of the National Park Service, the U.S. Congress’ Office of Technology Assessment defined preservation technology as "any equipment, methods, and techniques that can be applied to the discovery, analysis, interpretation, restoration, conservation, protection, and management of prehistoric and historic sites, structures, and landscapes". In my book, the definition should apply also to any building or cultural artifact (new or otherwise) that one sees fit to spend time, energy and money on preserving. As for those who'd rather get paid themselves, try presevation jobs and presevation fellowships, training, internships, ...

Process that removes the largest solid material and many microorganisms from wastewater, before it enters holding ponds for further purification. primer
First coat of paint/coating applied to a surface, formulated to have good bonding, wetting and inhibiting properties.  

The term used to describe the anchor pattern of a surface produced by sandblasting, acid etching or similar method.

Piece (as of timber or metal) fixed firmly in an upright position especially as a stay or support

prefabricated brick masonry
Masonry construction fabricated somewhere other than its final in-service location in the structure. Also known as preassembled, panelized and sectionalized brick masonry.

Small masonry assemblage made with masonry units and mortar. Primarily used to predict the compressive and flexural strengths of full scale masonry members.

pyroclastic flows
High-density fluid mixtures of hot, dry rock fragments and hot gases that move away from their source (volcanic vents) at high speeds. They may result from the explosive eruption of molten or solid rock fragments, or both, or from the collapse of vertical eruption columns of ash and larger rock fragments. Pyroclastic flows may also result from a laterally directed explosion, or the fall of hot rock debris from a dome or thick lava flow. They are a likely possibility in all metropolitan area of the North American north western seacoast (Anchorage, Vancouver BC, Seattle-Tacoma, Porltand-Vancouver) except perhaps for Greater Victoria, B.C.

Instrument used to measure surface temperatures.

queen closure (closer)
Cut brick having a nominal 2 in. horizontal face dimension; half brick used in a masonry course to prevent vertical joints from falling one above another

quadro riportato
The simulation of a wall painting for a ceiling design in which painted scenes are arranged in panels resembling frames on the surface of a shallow, curved vault.

An inherent or distinguishing characteristic of a material, product or assembly. Or, having a high degree of excellence. The qualitiy of a thing tends to be better the more care, thought (and often money) its maker puts into its making.

quality assurance
Techniques and systems ensuring that a high (or at least a predetermined) level of quality is maintained through various stages of a process at the owner, rather than at the provider, end of the business.

quality control
Techniques and systems ensuring that a high (or at least a predetermined) level of quality is maintained through various stages of a process at the provider rather than at the owner end of the business.

quality of life
The degree of emotional, intellectual, or visual/cultural satisfaction in a person's everyday life as distinct from the degree of material comfort.

An open pit mine from which stone is taken by cutting, digging or blasting. The most famous quarries for white marble are around Carrara, Italy. Others are Colombara, Polvaccio, Sponda, and Campiglia. In other countries, quarries for white marble include: Paros, Proconnesos, and Dokimeion in Greece, Aphrodysias in Turkey. In the US, marble is mined in Colorado and Georgia. Reknowned quarries for other stones: Seravezza in Italy for breccia; and Monsummano in Italy for limestone. US granite and limestone deposit are mostly on the eastern seaboard.

Unit of liquid measurement equal to 2 pints, or 32 ounces. To convert (US) quarts into liters, multiply them by 0.94635. Abbreviated qt.

In architecture, an ornament having four leaves, lobes, or foils. Also trefoil / ka"tre-foyl'/ tri-lobbed

Italian for 400 - The 1400s CE-- the fifteenth century. Especially used to refer to Italian architecture of that century; the time of the late Middle Ages.

Also of note: duecento (1200s-- thirteenth century), trecento (1300s-- fourteenth), cinquecento (1500s-- sixteenth), seicento (1600s-- seventeenth).

quick test
A shear test of a cohesive soil without allowing the sample to drain. See also: drained shear test

Lime, burnt lime, caustic lime.

1. Projecting right angle masonry corner.
2. a: Corner stones lending either strength or emphasis, distinguished from the rest of the surface by greater size, different color, rustication, or the imitation of same in brick or paint; b: A large square ashlar or stone at the angle of a wall to limit the rubble and make the corner true and strong; an exterior masonry corner. 3. The keystone of an arch. 4. A wedge to support or steady a stone.

quoin header
Corner header in the face wall which also serves as a strecher for the side wall; a large, sometimes rusticated, usually slightly projecting stone (or stones) that often form the corners of the exterior walls of masonry buildings.

quoin post
Heel post

Large squared stones such as butresses...

An accelerated testing device designed to evaluate the aging and color fading properties of a coating by exposure to high intensity, ultraviolet light.

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