Hello. Have you ever wanted to speak like a highly skilled tradesperson but could never quite find the right words? Conversational Tradespeak 101 will help you talk-the-talk with no trades experience necessary. Each week we will look at some common, and not so common, trade terms. We will define the term before putting it to use in everyday conversation. We will also misuse the term for no particular reason other than a mild form of entertainment.
Term: Balloon Wall
Definition: In carpentry terms any wall that is taller than a normal 8′ or 9′ wall such as a two-story foyer or stair opening.
Proper Usage: Balloon walls are usually used in modern carpentry for a gable wall with a cathedral ceiling contained in that room.
Improper usage: “Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me. I’m never gonna buy a balloon wall online again. It’s a total rip off. I thought it would be awesome for Jimmy’s birthday party but when the lion came out he ripped that balloon wall to shreds. Jimmy’s still crying.”
Trade: Painting / Decorating / Masonry
Definition: A deposit of salts that remains on the surface of masonry, brick or plaster when water has evaporated.
Proper Usage: “It sparkles. It’s white, sometimes with a greyish tint,” Wendy explained.
Improper Usage: “Dude, did you check out his shiny suit? It was full of efflorescence. And so were those crazy shoes, but boy could he dance.”
Term: Fitch Brush
Trade: Painting / Decorating
Definition: A small long-handled brush used for intricate work
Proper Usage: A fitch brush can be a real help for painters with short legs and short arms.
Improper Usage: “I bet I can jump that fitch brush. I made top 10 in regionals doing the high jump. My record of 26 feet three inches still stands.”
Term: Constant Air Volume
Definition: A system designed to provide a constant air flow. This term is applied to HVAC systems that have a variable supply-air temperature but constant air flow rates.
Proper Usage: Most residential forced-air systems are small Constant Air Volume systems with on/off control.
Improper Usage: “Ever notice how Randolph never stops talking about his new swimming pool? It’s like Constant Air Volume.”
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