Your DIY glossary


Many of us enjoy a spot of DIY here and there. Or at least, we aspire to get into it. However, sometimes some of the terminology can be confusing. Do you know your caulk from your grout?

When you think of DIY, you would assume that as the term suggests, you should be able to do it yourself. But that is difficult to do of you do now know the jargon. Never fear, we’re here to clear away the confusion and get you on your way.

Architrave: The covering for your door frame, which is usually made of wood and has an ornamental finish.

Caulking: Sealing joints by applying a flexible sealant.

Chipboard: A manufactured building board that is made from compressed and glued wooden particles.

Clamps: Tools that hold wooden parts together while being glued, until the glue has set.

Colour retention: The ability of paint to keep its original colour.

Cornice: The decorative moulding at the joint between an interior wall and a ceiling.

Cross grain: Wood grain that isn’t in line with the main axis of a length of wood.

Distressing: Treating wood to make it look old and worn.

Emulsion: Water-based paint that is mostly used on walls and ceilings.

Filler: Putty or gel-like material that can be used on gaps and cracks in wood, plaster and other surfaces.

Grout: Putty-like material that is used to seal gaps between tiles once the tile adhesive has set.

Gloss paint: Oil or water-based paint that is suitable for indoors or outdoors.

Knotting: A liquid that is used to seal knots in wood before painting.

Matte paint: Shine-free paint that is good for hiding imperfections.

MDF: Otherwise known as medium-density fibreboard, it is building board composed of compressed wooden fibres, and used for interior joinery and building tasks.

Melamine board: Manufactured board that is covered with a melamine finish. Melamine board is often used for counter tops or other structures that need to be more aesthetically pleasing than simple chipboard.

Ragging: The practice of dabbing a crumpled rag onto a painted surface while wet to achieve an effect.

Sponging: The practice of dabbing a sponge onto a painted surface while wet to achieve an effect.

Stencilling: The process of creating patterns by covering an area with a stencil, and painting the ‘cut outs’.

Patina: The rich, faded appearance of a surface that comes with age.

Primer: Some surfaces like metal and certain wood are unsuitable for painting, unless a primer is first used.

Timber: Just another name for wood.

Varnish: A hard, protective finish that gives a shiny, glossy finish, typically on wood.

Wainscot: Also known as dado, this is wood panelling or boarding on the lower part of an internal wall.


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