Glossary: P


PadAn approximately level building area.
PanA metal form used to form the cavities between joists in cast-in-place concrete floors and roofs.
PanelboardA panel that includes fuses or circuit breakers used to protect the circuits in a building from overloads.
Panelized ConstructionConstruction that uses preassembled panels for walls, floors, and roof.
Parallel Strand LumberLumber made from lengths of wood veneer bonded to produce a solid member.
Parapet WallExtension of an exterior wall above and/or through the roof surface.
PargingThe application of a portland cement plaster on masonry and concrete walls to make them less permeable to water.
ParticleboardA sheet product manufactured from wood particles and a synthetic resin or other binder.
PartitionA non-load-bearing interior wall.
Party WallA wall built on the dividing line between two adjoining parcels, in which each owner has an equal share of ownership.
Passive Solar SystemA heating or cooling system that collects and moves solar heat whiout using mechanical power.
PaverA thin brick used as the finished floor covering.
Penny (d)Suffix designating the size of nails, such as 6d (penny) nail, originally indicating the price, in English pence, per 100 nails. Does not designate a constant length or size, and will vary by type (e.g., common and box nails).
Performance SpecificationStates how a building element must perform as opposed to describing equipment, products or systems by name.
PerliteA lightweight material made from volcanic rock.
PermA unit of measurement of Water Vapor Permenance (ASTM).
PhenolA class of acid organic compounds used in the manufacture of various resins, plastics, and wood preservatives.
PhenolicA synthetic resin made by the reaction of a phenol with an aldehyde.
Photovoltaic CellsThin, flat semiconductors that convert light energy into direct-current electricity.
Physical PropertiesThe properties associated with the physical characteristics of a material, such as thermal expansion and density.
PierA column designed to support a load.
PigAn ingot of cast iron.
Pig IronA high-carbon-content iron produced by the blast furnace and used to produce cast iron and steel.
PigmentsPaint ingredients mainly used to provide color and hiding power.
PilasterProjecting, square column or stiffener forming part of a wall.
PileA wood, steel, or concrete column usually driven into the soil to be used to carry a vertical load.
Pile CapA concrete slab or beam that covers the head of several piles, tying them together.
Pile HammerA machine for delivering blows to the top of a pile, driving it into the earth.
PillarColumn supporting a structure.
Pit, ElevatorThe part of the hoistway that extends below the floor of the lowest landing to the floor at the bottom of the hoistway.
Pitch(1) The slope of a roof or other plane surface.(2) Related to carpets, the number of tufts in a 27-inch width of carpet.
Pitch of RoofSlope of the surface, generally expressed in inches of vertical rise per 12″ horizontal distance, such as “4-in-12 pitch.”
PlasterA cementitious material, usually a mixture of Portland cement, lime or gypsum, sand, and water. Used to finish interior walls and ceilings.
Plaster BaseAny material suitable for the application of plaster.
Plaster of PartsA calcined gypsum mixed with water to form a thick, pastelike mixture.
PlasticAn organic material that is solid in its finished state but is capable of being molded or of receiving form.
Plastic BehaviorThe ability of a material to become soft and formed into desired shapes.
Plastic DeformationThe deformation of a material beyond the point at which it will recover its original shape.
Plastic LiimitRelated to soils, the percent moisture content at which the soil begins to crumble when it is rolled into a thread 1/2 inch (3mm) in diameter.
PlasticityThe ability of a material to be deformed into a different shape.
PlasticizerLiquid material added to some plastics to reduce their hardness and increase pliability. Also, an additive to concrete and mortar to increase plasticity.
Plate“Top” plate is the horizontal member fastened to the top of the studs or wall on which the rafters, joists or trusses rest; “sole” plate is positioned at bottom of studs or wall.
Plate GlassA high-quality glass sheet that has both surfaces ground flat and carefully polished.
PlatformFloor surface raised above the ground or floor level.
Platform FrameA wood structural frame for light construction with the studs extending only one floor high upon which the second floor is constructed.
Platform FramingTechnique of framing where walls can be built and tilted-up on a platform floor, and in multi-story construction are erected sequentially from one platform to another. Also known as “Western” framing.
Plenum(1) The space above a suspended ceiling.(2) Chamber in which the pressure of the air is higher (as in a forced-air furnace system) than that of the surrounding air.
PlyOne of a number of layers in a layered construction.
PlywoodA glued wood panel made up of thin layers of wood veneer with the grain of adjacent layers at right angles to each other or of outer veneers glued to a core of solid wood or reconstituted wood.
Plywood Stressed-Skin PanelA structural panel constructed with outer skins of plywood applied over an internal frame of wood members forming a rigid panel.
Plywood, Cold-PressedInterior type plywood manufactured in a press without external applications of heat.
Plywood, ExteriorPlywood bonded with a type of adhesive that is highly resistant to moisture and heat.
Plywood, InteriorPlywood manufactured for indoor use or in locations in which it would be subject to moisture for only a brief time.
Plywood, MarinePlywood panels with the same glue as exterior plywood but with more restrictive veneer specifications.
Plywood, MoldedPlywood that is glued to the desired shape either between curved forms or by fluid pressure applied with flexible bags or blankets.
Plywood, PostformedPanels formed when flat plywood sheets are reshaped into a curved configuration by steaming or the use of plasticizing agents.
Pole ConstructionConstruction using large-diameter log poles in a vertical position to carry the loads of the floors and roof.
PolycarbonateA polyester made by linking certain phenols through carbonate groups.
PolyesterA linear polymer mad by linear linking of oxybenzoyl units.
PolyethyleneA thermoplastic resin made by polymerizing ethylene.
PolyimideA polymer based on the combination of certain anhydrides with aromatic diamines.
PolymerA chemical compound formed by the union of simple molecules to form more complex molecules.
PolymerizationA chemical reaction in which molecules of a monomer are linked together to form large molecules whose molecular weight is a multiple of that of the original substance.
PolyolefinA polymer composed of open-chain hydrocarbons having double bonds.
PolypropyleneA polymer produced by the linking of repeated propylene monomers.
PolystyreneA clear, colorless plastic resin made by polymerizing styrene.
PolyurethaneA thermoplastic or thermosetting resin derived by the condensation reaction of a polyisocyanate and a hydroxyl.
Polyvinyl ChlorideA thermoplastic resin derived by the polymerizatoin of vinyl and acetate.
PondingThe collection of waters in shallow pools on the top surface of a roof.
PorcelainA strong vitreous material bonded to metal at high temperature.
Porcelain EnamelAn inorganic metal oxide coating bonded to metal by fusion at a high temperature.
Portland CementHydraulic cement produced by pulverizing clinker consisting essentially of hydraulic calcium silicates, usually containing one or more forms of calcium sulfate as an interground addition.
Post, Plank, and Beam FramingA wood-framing system using beams for horizontal structural members that rest on posts, forming the vertical members.
PosttensioningA method used to place concrete under tension in which steel tenons are tensioned after the concrete has been poured and hardened.
PowerThe rate at which work is performed, expressed in watts or horsepower.
PozzolanA siliceous or siliceous and aluminous material blended with portland cement that chemically reacts with calcium hydroxide to form compounds possessing cementitious properties.
Pozzolan CementA cement made from volcanic rock that contains considerable silica.
Precast ConcreteConcrete cast in a form and cured before it is lifted into its intended position.
Prescription SpecificationTraditional procedure used on building projects to describe by name products, equipment or systems to be used.
Pressure-Treated LumberLumber that has chemicals forced into it under pressure to slow decay and provide resistance to fire.
Prestressed ConcreteConcrete that has been pre-tensioned or post-tensioned.
PretensioningA method used to place a concrete member under tension by pouring concrete over steel tendons that are under tension before the concrete is poured.
PrimerA base coat in a paint system. It is applied before the finish coats.
Property LineA legal boundary of a land parcel.
Proportional LimitThe upper limit at which stress is proportional to strain.
PurlinHorizontal member in a roof supporting common rafters, such as at the break in a gambrel roof. Also, horizontal structural member perpendicular to main beams in a flat roof.