Earnest Money– A sum paid to the seller to show that a potential purchaser is serious about buying.
Earthquake Strap– A metal strap used to secure gas hot water heaters to the framing or foundation of a house. Intended to reduce the chances of having the water heater fall over in an earthquake and causing a gas leak
Easement– A formal contract which allows a party to use another party’s property for a specific purpose. e.g. A sewer easement might allow one party to run a sewer line through a neighbors property.
Eaves- The horizontal exterior roof overhang.
Egress– A means of exiting the home. An egress window is required in every bedroom and basement. Normally a 4′ X 4′ window is the minimum size required.
Elbow (ell)- A plumbing or electrical fitting that lets you change directions in runs of pipe or conduit.
Electric lateral– The trench or area in the yard where the electric service line (from a transformer or pedestal) is located, or the work of installing the electric service to a home.
Electric resistance coils– Metal wires that heat up when electric current passes through them and are used in baseboard heaters and electric water heaters.
Electrical entrance package– The entry point of the electrical power including: (1) the ‘strike’ or location where the overhead or underground electrical lines connect to the house, (2) The meter which measures how much power is used and (3) The ‘panel’ or ‘circuit breaker box ‘ (or ‘fuse box’) where the power can be shut off and where overload devices such a fuses or circuit breakers and located.
Electrical Rough– Work performed by the Electrical Contractor after the plumber and heating contractor are complete with their phase of work. Normally all electrical wires, and outlet, switch, and fixture boxes are installed (before insulation).
Electrical Trim– Work performed by the electrical contractor when the house is nearing completion. The electrician installs all plugs, switches, light fixtures, smoke detectors, appliance “pig tails”, bath ventilation fans, wires the furnace, and “makes up” the electric house panel. The electrician does all work necessary to get the home ready for and to pass the municipal electrical final inspection.
Elevation sheet– The page on the blue prints that depicts the house or room as if a vertical plane were passed through the structure.
Entresol- a low floor between two higher floors, the lower one usually being a ground floor; mezzanine.
Equity– The “valuation” that you own in your home, i.e. the property value less the mortgage loan outstanding.
Escrow – The handling of funds or documents by a third party on behalf of the buyer and/or seller.
Estimate– The amount of labor, materials, and other costs that a contractor anticipates for a project as summarized in the contractor’s bid proposal for the project.
Escutcheon– An ornamental plate that fits around a pipe extending through a wall or floor to hide the cut out hole.
Estimating– The process of calculating the cost of a project. This can be a formal and exact process or a quick and imprecise process.
Evaporator coil– The part of a cooling system that absorbs heat from air in your home. Also see condensing unit.
Expansion joint– Fibrous material (@1/2″ thick) installed in and around a concrete slab to permit it to move up and down (seasonally) along the non-moving foundation wall.
Expansive soils– Earth that swells and contracts depending on the amount of water that is present. (“Betonite” is an expansive soil).
Exposed aggregate finish– A method of finishing concrete which washes the cement/sand mixture off the top layer of the aggregate – usually gravel. Often used in driveways, patios and other exterior surfaces.
Extras– Additional work requested of a contractor, not included in the original plan, which will be billed separately and will not alter the original contract amount, but increase the cost of building the home.