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Technical glossary

  • Acid graffiti – Graffiti vandals use Hydrofluoric Acid (HF) to burn their “tags” into glass surfaces, including windows and car windshields, as well as mailboxes, and anything else the acid will etch.
  • Acrylic – The term “acrylic” is used for products that contain a substance derived from acrylic acid or a related compound. Many different products are made from acrylic, including shower doors, bath enclosures, windows, and skylights.
  • Arch former – Arch Formers are a quick, convenient and versatile way to create non- loadbearing, perfectly shaped brickwork arches in a range of styles.
  • Architrave – Originally used to refer to the lintel or beam resting on columns in classical architecture, nowadays the word refers to a style of mouldings (or other elements) framing the surround to a door, window or other rectangular opening.
  • Arris – The sharp edge formed by the intersection of two surfaces, e.g. corner of a masonry block structure.
  • Awning – A sheet of canvas or other material stretched on a frame and used to keep the sun or rain off a shop window, doorway, or ship’s deck.
  • Balustrade – A railing supported by balusters (spindle or stair stick), especially one forming an ornamental parapet to a balcony, bridge, or terrace.
  • Bathroom pod  – A portable bathroom ‘box’ consisting of walls, floor and ceiling, which contains all sanitary ware, lighting, fittings and decoration. Completed in a factory and delivered to site, the pod is simply craned into position before being plumbed and wired in.
  • ‘Blown’ chipboard – When chipboard (also known as particle board) has suffered from water penetration, it swells and expands – or ‘blows’.
  • Bollard – A short post used to divert traffic from an area or a road. Also defines parking bays.
  • Cant brick – A brick with an angled edge or edges, typically used in feature brickwork or on corners, capping, reveals, where sharp, crisp lines are required.
  • Cementitious – Describes the nature of cement and products based on cement such as some renders.
  • Chatoyancy – A chatoyant stone or gemstone, such as the cat’s-eye: means ‘to shimmer’.
  • Cladding – A covering on a structure such as wall and roofing – often in the form of timber, steel, aluminium and even concrete.
  • Coping stone – The highest stone in a building, wall or structure – sometimes referred to as a capstone.
  • Corium – Developed in the UK and patented around the world, Corium offers a facing brick finish for projects where a cladding system is required rather than traditional masonry – also used for sinks.
  • Corbel – A number of brackets or projections jutting out from a wall to support a structure above it. Corbels can be brick, stone, metal or continuous courses of masonry.
  • Cornice – An ornamental moulding round the wall of a room just below the ceiling.
  • Curing – The setting process of cement, sealants, adhesives or fillers.
  • Dust coat – Also known as mist coat or sizing – whereby watered down paint is applied to a freshly plastered wall as the first coat.
  • Efflorescence – Formation of white powdery deposits on brick or concrete surface while, as they dry out, are very difficult to move or conceal.
  • Façade – The front face of a building, often separate from its structure.
  • Fascia – A frieze or band running horizontally and situated vertically under a roof edge. Fascia panels nowadays are made from timber, GRP or uPVC.
  • Feather out – The process of tapering one surface into another, especially in repair work.
  • Fibre-glass – Contains flexible fibres of glass that are used to reinforce resin materials and form shower trays, mouldings and other building components.
  • Float glass – Modern window glass that is manufactured by floating the hot glass on a molten metal production bath.
  • Formers – A temporary construction of boards or sheets used to contain and shape bricks or concrete in, for example, an arch. Also known as formwork or shuttering.
  • Formica – A trade name for a form of laminated plastic often found in kitchen units and cubicles.
  • French Polishing – A coating that is built up in layers to give a high polish to furniture, made from shellac dissolved in methylated spirit.
  • Galvanised steel – Steel coated with a layer of zinc in order to prevent corrosion.
  • GRC – Glass reinforced concrete.
  • Grouting – The process of pressing material into the joints and gaps between tiles or other components to make a surface complete.
  • GRP – Glass-reinforced plastic, glass-reinforced polymer.
  • Header – A brick laid lengthwise across a wall so that the shorter end or ‘head’ is seen on the surface of the wall.
  • IPS (Integrated Plumbing System) – A series of pre-plumbed panels often used to form cubicles in commercial washrooms.
  • K-Rend – A proprietary form of render often seen on new flats and houses.
  • Laminate – To press and bond together layers of different materials to create a new material (vb) the building up of a structural member from small pieces of timber glued together. High pressure laminates often have decorative finishes and are used for flooring and cladding.
  • Lintel – A steel or precast concrete beam that carries the load over an opening such as a door or window.
  • Louvre – A ventilation inlet that is protected from the rain by horizontal slats slanted downwards. Doors of this design are also used on cupboards.
  • Masonry – The craft of working with stone or construction based on stone, brick, concrete and similar materials derived from rock or earth.
  • Modern Methods of Construction – Where by building elements – such as walls, floors, roofs and dormers or bathroom pods – are manufactured in the factory. Also known as MMC or off-site construction.
  • Monocouche render – Single-coat render that is breathable, waterproof and decorative.
  • Mortar – A mixture used to lay bricks, blocks or stone work and to form the bond between them.
  • Mullion – An intermediate vertical member of the window frame that divides a window into separate lights. Historically, a stone pillar between windows.
  • Patina – A protective film of oxide or other compounds that form on metallic surfaces when exposed to air, considered an attractive aspect to ageing materials like brass. A gloss or sheen on wooden furniture produced by age and polishing.
  • Pelmet – A narrow border of cloth or wood, fitted across the top of a door or window to conceal the curtain fittings.
  • Pitting – Localised corrosion that leads to the creation of small holes in metal or other materials including marble.
  • Plate glass – Thick fine-quality glass, typically used for doors or store windows and originally cast in plates.
  • Plinth – The lower square slab at the base of a column.
  • Plywood – A type of strong thin wooden board consisting of three or more layers glued and pressed together with the direction of the grain alternating.
  • Polishing compound – Normally fine abrasive compounds used to complete the sanding process.
  • Portico – A structure consisting of a roof supported by columns at regular intervals, typically attached as a porch to a building.
  • Powder coated metal – Metal covered with a polyester or epoxy powder, which is then heated to fuse into a protective layer.
  • Primer – A substance used as a preparatory coat on previously unpainted wood, metal, or canvas, esp. to prevent the absorption of subsequent layers of paint or the development of rust.
  • Quoin – The external angle of a wall or building. (Also quoin stone) any of the stones or bricks forming such an angle; a cornerstone.
  • RAL number – RAL is a colour matching system used in Europe. In colloquial speech RAL refers to the RAL Classic system, mainly used for varnish and powder coating; most paints are also given a RAL number.
  • Reconstituted stone – An imitation stone material or masonry product made from a mixture of natural stone and cement.
  • Re-enamelling – The re-application of an opaque or semitransparent glassy substance applied to metallic or other hard surfaces for ornament or as a protective coating. Also the process of recovering worn out enamel on baths or other products.
  • Render – A first coat of plaster applied to a brick or stone surface, sometimes called a parge coat or scratch coat.
  • Rendered elevation – The wall to which render is applied.
  • Shower pod – A complete shower room manufactured in the factory, which is delivered to site fully fitted out.
  • Snagging list – The process of checking a new building for minor faults that need to be rectified.
  • Soffit – The underside of an architectural structure, such as an arch, a balcony, or overhanging eaves. Soffit boards beneath roofline fascias are mainly made from timber, GRP or uPVC.
  • Splashback – The area behind a sink, bath or shower lined with tiles or similar to protect the wall behind from water egress; also stainless steel protection behind cookers.
  • Stanchion – An upright bar, post, or frame forming a support or barrier.
  • Star crack – A crack resembling a star in shape, such as a chip in glass from a stone.
  • Stretcher brick – A brick that is laid so that only the long side shows as part of the wall face.
  • String course – A horizontal band of brick or stone that projects from a wall, which may serve as a decoration or to throw water away from the wall.
  • String Line – A nylon line used to mark out work, and particularly as a guide for the top edge of brick laying.
  • Stucco render – Fine plaster used for coating wall surfaces or molding into architectural decorations.
  • Terrazzo Flooring – material consisting of chips of marble or granite set in concrete and polished to give a smooth surface.
  • Toughened glass – Toughened or tempered glass is a type of safety glass processed by controlled thermal or chemical treatments to increase its strength compared to float glass.
  • Travertine – Travertine is a form of limestone deposited by mineral springs, and is used for tiles and pavers.
  • uPVC – Unplasticized polyvinyl chloride, commonly abbreviated uPVC or PVC-u, is the third-most widely produced polymer, after polyethylene and polypropylene, and is used for applications such as window profiles.
  • Veneer – A thin decorative covering of fine wood applied to a coarser wood or other material.
  • Wall ties – The normally stainless steel tie in a cavity wall is used to connect the internal and external walls (or leafs) constructed of bricks or cementitious blocks together.
  • Weathering – The process of wearing away or changing the appearance or texture of (something) by long exposure to the elements.
  • WRAP – WRAP is a Government initiative standing for Waste, Recycling and Processing.

Until you actually start looking at the situation of having to replace something like an IPS unit with all the disruption, and then see the ease with which Plastic Surgeon can sort it out, you don’t realize just what a good option repair is over replacement. The site manager was amazed at the range of items that Plastic Surgeon could put right.

BAM Project Surveyor, Hayley Gilmour.


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Our services are used by a diverse range of organisations throughout the UK, who all recognise the cost and time saving benefits of repairing over replacing.

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We repair everything from scratched shower trays and chipped worktops to damaged sinks and baths. Read FAQs and use our ‘Interactive Repair Map’.