Cellulose insulation, soundproofing, fireproofing and landscaping.



aeration (aération, f.) The adding of air.

air barrier (pare-air, m.) The combination of durable, structurally supported and impermeable materials incorporated into the building envelope, continuous around the interior conditioned volume of the building (inclusive of ceiling, exterior walls, windows, doors, foundation walls and floors), and sealed together to stop the indoor-outdoor movement of air.

air sealing (étanchéisation à l’air, f.) See air barrier. The application of weatherstripping, caulking and expanding foam, etc. to close off cracks and spaces at windows and doors and on walls and ceilings to seal joints in air barrier materials in order to reduce air leakage and resulting heat loss.

airtightness (étanchéité à l’air, f.) The ability of the house building envelope, or a component of the building envelope, to resist air leakage.

airway (passage d’air, m.) The space left between roof insulation and roof decking to allow free movement of air.

ASTM (pas d’équivalent en français) Abbreviation for American Society for Testing and Materials.

attic (vide sous toit, m., combles, m. pl) The space between the upper floor ceiling and roof or between a knee wall and a sloping roof. Also called roof space.

attic hatch (trappe d’accès au vide sous toit, f.) The opening to an attic.


baffle (chicane, f., déflecteur, m.) An object placed in an appliance or duct to change the direction, or retard the flow, of air, gas-air mixtures or flue gases.

berm (talus, m.) An earth embankment in the form of a linear mound; often combined with fencing or planting to create a visual or sound barrier.

blown insulation (isolant soufflé, m.) Low density, loose-fill, insulation material that is injected into attic spaces, walls and other areas usually with a blower device.

building envelope (enveloppe du bâtiment, f.) The elements of a building, including their structural support, that separate conditioned space from unconditioned space. Also referred to as “Building Enclosure”.


ceiling joist (solive de plafond, f.) One of a series of horizontal structural members typically used in conjunction with rafters or roof joists in the roof structure. They form the horizontal separation between the occupied space and the attic or roof space above, and support the ceiling. Ceiling joists may secure the lower portion of opposing rafters to prevent them from spreading and may support knee walls within the roof space.

cellulose fibre insulation (isolant cellulosique, m.) Loose-fill insulation made from shredded recycled newsprint that has been chemically treated to resist fire and fungal growth.


demising wall (mur mitoyen, m.) The partition wall that separates one suite from another or from the building’s common areas.

ditch (fossé, m.) A drainage channel generally with a concave profile, deeper than it is wide.

drainage swale (rigole de drainage, f.) A linear, depressed, landscape feature that captures, infiltrates and conveys stormwater. Swales are planted, often grassed and the depression is wider than it is deep, making them more subtle and attractive stormwater management strategies than ditches.


eave (débord de toit, m.) The part of a roof that projects beyond the face of a wall.

energy efficiency retrofit (amélioration thermique, f., rénovation éconergétique, f.) Changes made to an existing building and its existing equipment and systems to reduce energy consumption. May also refer to adding an energy saving feature to an existing building that was not already provided in the original construction.

erosion (érosion, f.) The uncontrolled detachment and removal of soil particles by the action of water, wind or gravity.


farm drain or French drain (drain agricole, m., tranchée drainante, f.) A system of draining water from the surface of fields or grass areas by the use of ditches filled with gravel; perforated pipes may also be used.

firewall (mur coupe-feu, m.) A wall of non-combustible construction that subdivides a building into limited fire areas or separates adjoining buildings to resist the spread of fire, and that has a prescribed fire-resistance rating and the ability to remain structurally intact for the required fire-rated time.

flat roof (toit plat, m.) A roof that is flat or one that is pitched just enough to provide drainage.

framing system (système d’ossature, m.) The integration of floor, wall and roof assemblies to make a structural unit.

furring (fourrure, f.) A strip applied to a wall or other surface as support for the finish material, or to increase its thickness. See strapping.


grass (gazon, m., herbe, f.) Category of plants typically used for landscaping and erosion control.


house-as-a-system (approche systémique de la maison, f.) An approach to house design, operation, and understanding of house performance that considers the cumulative effects and interaction of the envelope with the heating, cooling and other mechanical systems, and how the occupants use the house.


ice damming (barrière de glace, f., barrage de glace, m.) The formation of a layer of ice on a roof, typically at the eaves, which can cause water leakage through the roof, into the attic and the house below. The layer of ice can grow to the point where it can cause the melt water from the roof to back up under the shingles and infiltrate into the attic and house below. Tends to indicate a poorly insulated attic space and/or air leakage from the house into the attic space.

insulate (isoler, v.) The application of insulation. See insulation.

insulation (isolant, m.) A material with above-average thermal resistance that inhibits the flow of heat or other forms of energy.

ISO (ISO) Abbreviation for International Organization for Standardization.


joist (solive, f.) One of a series of horizontal or inclined wood members, usually 50 mm nominal thickness, used for support in floors, ceilings or roofs.



LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) (pas d’équivalent en français) A rating system for high-rise, commercial and residential buildings that rates environmental impact and performance. Buildings are assessed in six categories: sustainable site; water efficiency; energy and atmosphere; materials and resources; indoor environmental quality; and innovation and design process. (26-32 credits = certified; 33-38 = silver; 39-51 = gold; 52-70 = platinum).

loose fill (isolant en vrac, m.) Insulation made from a variety of materials, with particles ranging in texture from granular to fluffy. Loose fill is excellent for filling hard-to-access spaces, or where the space may be irregular or cluttered with obstacles.


mildew (moisissure, f.) Fungi that grow on damp materials, including building materials, plants, paper, leather and so on.

mold (moisissure, f.) A fungus that grows on surfaces or in materials as a result of damp conditions.




partition (cloison, f.) A non-load bearing interior wall 1 storey or part-storey in height.

plate (lisse, f. [1]; plaque d’appui, f. [2]; plaque, f. [3]) (1) The horizontal member at the base of a wood-frame wall. (2) A member placed on or in a wall or on a beam to support girders, rafters, etc. (3) A non-structural protective unit, such as a push-plate, kick-plate, etc.



rafter (chevron, m.) An inclined structural roof member, usually of 38 mm (1.5 in.) thickness, designed to support roof loads, but not ceiling finish.

rain penetration (pénétration de l’eau de pluie, f.) Rainwater that penetrates roofs, walls, windows, doors or foundations through openings.

renovation (rénovation, f.) The act of restoring, changing or improving a structure or room.

ridge vent (évent de faîte, m.) A metal or plastic linear vent installed along the ridgeline of a roof for attic ventilation.

rim joist or header joist (solive de bordure, f., solive de rive, f.) For floors framed with dimension lumber, a joist that runs around the perimeter of the floor joists, and to which the floor joists are attached.

RSI (résistance système international) Abbreviation for resistance system international. Coefficient of thermal resistance expressed in metric units. It indicates the ability of a material to resist heat transfer and is often used to characterize insulation materials.

runoff (ruissellement, m.) Excess surface water that flows over a site instead of percolating through the soil.

R-value (valeur R, f.) The coefficient of thermal resistance of a building material or assembly (R-value is the imperial measurement equivalent of RSI value). See RSI. See also Thermal resistance value.


sill plate (lisse d’assise, f.) A structural member anchored to the top of a foundation wall, upon which the floor joists rest.

site drainage (drainage du sol, m.) The removal of surface water from a site by natural run-off, percolation into the ground or through a storm sewer system.

soffit (sous-face, f., soffite, m.) The underside of a building element such as staircase, roof overhang, beam, etc.

sound transmission class (STC) (indice de transmission du son, m. [ITS]) A rating system used to describe the performance of wall, floor and other assemblies in reducing airborne sound.

spray-applied foam insulation (mousse isolante appliquée par projection, f.) Cellulose and polyurethane foam insulating material applied under pressure from a sprayer to wall surfaces or within attic, crawlspace and floor cavities. Cellulose can be mixed with water and adhesives to adhere to vertical surfaces within open cavities.

stile (montant, m.) A vertical piece of a sash, door, or piece of framing or panelling to which the ends of the rails are attached.

strapping (fond de clouage, m., fourrure, f.) A wood batten fixed to the faces of walls and ceilings to support siding, drywall, lath and plaster and other finishes. See furring.


thermal bridge (pont thermique, m.) A component, assembly or area of the building envelope that has noticeably higher thermal conductivity than the surrounding area. Examples include metal window frames, balcony slabs, shear walls and steel studs. Depending on the size of the thermal bridge (or bridges) and its thermal characteristics, a reduction in the overall thermal insulation value of the envelope can result. Thermal bridges can cause higher heat loss, increased space heating consumption, comfort problems and condensationrelated indoor moisture problems.

thermal envelope (enveloppe thermique, f.) The insulated assembly, including walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors, that encloses a building to reduce heat loss or heat gain and that protects it from exterior temperature variations.

thermal insulation (isolation thermique, f.) A generic name for all materials used specifically to control or reduce heat transfer. See Insulation terms. thermal resistance value (valeur de résistance thermique, f.) A precise measurement of a material’s resistance to heat flow. The higher the resistance value, the slower the rate of heat transfer through the material (expressed as a metric RSI or an Imperial R-value). See RSI, R-value.

thermal resistance value (valeur de résistance thermique, f.) A precise measurement of a material’s resistance to heat flow. The higher the resistance value, the slower the rate of heat transfer through the material (expressed as a metric RSI or an Imperial R-value). See RSI, R-value.

top plate (sablière, f.) The horizontal member nailed to the top of the partition or wall studs and usually doubled to transfer loads from above into the wall studs. See wall plate.

truss (ferme, f.) A rigid, open web, metal or wood framework used to support floors or roofs. Trusses can also be used in the walls of highly energy efficient houses as a way to provide increased wall thickness for insulation.



vapour barrier (pare-vapeur, m.) Material used in the house envelope to retard the passage of water vapour. (Called a vapor retarder in the U.S.)

vent (évent, m.) An opening for the passage, escape or pressure relief of fluid, gas, air or smoke.

vermiculite (vermiculite, f.) A mineral that once heated expands and fills with air which provides it with insulating properties. Vermiculite insulation is a loose, light weight granular material that is poured in place. As vermiculite insulation may contain asbestos, it can represent a health concern if disturbed.

VOC (volatile organic compound) (COV, composé organique volatil, m.) A large group of organic chemicals that can be emitted as a gas or vapour from many construction products such as oil-based paints and varnishes, caulking, glues, synthetic carpeting and vinyl flooring


wall plate (top or bottom plates) (sablière, f., lisse basse, f.) A horizontal member attached to the tops and bottoms of wood stud walls.

wind barrier (pare-vent, m.) A textile or fabric wrap located on the outside of a building envelope to protect insulation from the circulation of outside air.




Source: SCHL, Glossary Of Housing Terms [Online] http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/odpub/pdf/60939.pdf?fr=1389301555747, (consulted on Mai 21st 2015)