10 Need to Know Terms when Remodeling your Wheaton Home


Although it’s exciting (and often necessary), it’s no secret that taking on a home remodeling project comes with its challenges. You need to make seemingly endless decisions around design, construction, budget, and everything in between, but if you’re new to the renovation scene, those decisions are made extra tough when you factor in a new language of terms that you’ve never heard before.

From miter cut to plumb, we’ve put together this list of the most important terms to know when remodeling your home so that you can make every renovation decision comfortably and with confidence.


Subcontractors are the people or businesses your remodeling contractor will hire to complete your renovations. That’s why it’s a good idea to ask questions about the background and experience levels of the subcontractors hired, as they’ll be the ones doing a lot of the work in your home.

Miter Cut

A miter cut is a cut that occurs at any angle, aside from 90 degrees, along the length of the width of a workpiece. In other words, making a miter cut means making an other-than-square cut on the face of a piece of wood.

Load-Bearing Wall

In renovation there are generally two types of walls: load-bearing and non-load-bearing. Non-load-bearing walls, also called “curtain walls”, are simply used to divide a room, while load-bearing walls are responsible for holding up the structural weight of a home.


GFCIs, or ground-fault circuit interrupters, are devices that will automatically shut down an electric power circuit when it detects current flowing down an unintended path, such is through water or onto a person. These are really important safety devices as they reduce the risk of electrical shock.


Caulking is the material used to seal necessary seams in your home, such as window frames and pipes. When caulking is applied effectively, it’ll improve the efficiency of your home and decrease energy costs in the long-term. 

Punch List

A punch list is completed before the end of your construction project and it lists all of the work that doesn’t conform to the specifications outlined in your remodeling contract. It can include incomplete installations, incidental damages, materials, and structures that the contractor needs to complete before receiving your final payment. 


Essentially, a rough-in means plumbing, mechanical, and electrical lines are brought into your space, but the final connections haven’t been made yet. In plumbing, for example, a rough-in would mean the pipes in the walls and floors are installed but they’re not yet hooked up to corresponding fixtures.

Lead Time

Lead time just refers to the amount of time that exists between the initiation of your project (ideas, design decisions, contract signatures) and the actual execution of your project (when construction begins).


Plumb is best understood in relation to level. If something is level (like a picture on the wall) it’s straight and even from side-to-side; when something is plumb, it’s straight up and down. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a great example of something that’s NOT plumb.

Ram Board

A ram board is temporary floor protection designed to protect your floors from any damage construction might cause, such as spills, cuts, and scratches.

We hope this article will help you as you begin working with your remodeling contractor. Of course, the best way to stay informed throughout your remodeling process is to work with a contractor that will take the time to thoroughly explain everything to you. A good contractor will encourage lots of questions and help guide you through the process.