Plumbing & Hardware Glossary
Plastic used in the manufacture of drain, waste and vent pipes.
A glassy, thermoplastic material that is cast and molded into shapes. A common material for bathtubs, whirlpools and shower bases, acrylic has a naturally glossy finish and is lightweight.
Mechanism that allows adjusting to fit the distance from the door's edge to the center of the knob on pre-drilled doors.
A small device at the end of a faucet spout that mixes air into the flowing water.
A shutoff valve between water pipes and a faucet or toilet. The inlet connects to the water supply pipe in a wall, the outlet angles up 90 degrees to the faucet.
Device that prevents water from flowing back into supply lines, possibly contaminating the water supply.
A device used to prevent backflow. In some areas, plumbing codes require a backflow preventer.
An escutcheon, typically larger than a rosette, on which a knob or pull sits.
The distance from the edge of the door to the center of the drilled knob or deadbolt hole. 2-3/8" is the most common backset, followed by a 2-3/4" backset.
A fill valve device in a toilet tank.
Circular vessel with sloping sides used to hold water for washing.
Used for washing posterior areas of the body. It is floor mounted, usually next to a toilet.
The diameter of the drilled holes in a door. 2-1/8" is the most common diameter bore.
Pipe fitting used for joining pipes with different diameters. A bushing is threaded on both the inside and outside.
Iron that has been liquefied and poured into a mold to make a tub, sink or other item.
Style of faucet that has the spout and handles combined into a single part. Usually installed on a lavatory sink with 4" center-to-center faucet holes.
Ceramic disk valve:
Type of valve that relies on two-part revolving disks in a sealed cylinder. Each disk has a port in it that, when aligned with the other, will allow water to pass through.
Valve used for regulating water flow.
A band, sometimes threaded, that can be used to accommodate doors of different thicknesses when installing an entrance set or deadbolt.
Pipe connection that is sealed without soldering. As you tighten a nut on one fitting, it compresses a washer around the second pipe, forming a watertight closure.
Works by lowering or raising a stem. Turning the faucet handle causes the stem to drop or rise, allowing water to pass through the valve.
Concealed hinges are not visible when the cabinet door is closed. These can be European style cup hinges or knife hinges, although knife hinges do leave a visible slot on the edge of the door.
A sink in which the basin is situation on a table with front legs with its back mounted to the wall.
Straight fitting with female connections (inner threading) at both ends.
The top portion of a toilet seat or the top lid on a toilet's tank.
Demountable hinges come in single and double varieties. Single demountables demount from the cabinet door only (requires a special slot be cut into the door for new installations) and screw directly to the edge of the face frame. Double demountables demount from both the door and the frame (both require machining for new installations).
Valves with one inlet that direct water to one of two or more outlets. Diverters are normally used with shower risers, hand showers and kitchen faucet sprayers.
The way a door swings. Determines how latches and bolts need to be installed for proper operation. Left and right handing are most common for homes.
The thickness of a door where hardware is to be installed. Most common door thicknesses are 1-3/8" (interior doors) and 1-3/4" (entrance doors). About 10% of entrance doors are 2-1/4" thick.
Often found on bi-fold and French doors, a dummy knob is used to open or close a door that has no latch. These knobs and levers do not require a standard hole to be drilled in the door.
Drainage, Waste & Vent. Pipes in a plumbing system that remove waste water.
Angled fitting for a pipe that changes the direction of a water line.
Another term for Interconnect Device, which allows a quick exit from your home in case of fire or other emergency. When installed on a single-cylinder entrance set, the deadbolt and latch retract with the turn of the interior knob or lever.
An opaque, vitreous composition applied to the surface of metal fixtures such as cast iron tubs and sinks.
Decorative, ring-shaped trim used behind a knob, lever or over a keyhole, or used to hide pipe connections to the wall. [[image: http://www.signaturehardware.com/product843]]
Pipe connection where the threads are on the inside of the fitting.
Glass in a fibrous form used in making the body of bathtubs.
Decorative tips found on door hinges, curtain rods and other hardware.
Female Iron Pipe. Standard threads that are on the inside of a pipe fitting.
A hard, dense and durable material that is molded primarily from clay and other minerals, then glazed. Used for sinks, fireclay is fired at a higher temperature than vitreous china, and has greater resistance to extreme heat.
General term that usually refers to faucets, shower valves, tub fillers, or various piping parts such as tees or elbows.
Broad term that encompasses sinks, tubs, toilets and basins.
Ring-shaped trim with a raised rim or lip that connects a pipe to another surface, offering stability.
Flexible pipe usually made of braided stainless steel.
The rate which water is discharged from an outlet.
Full inset hinge:
Inset means that the cabinet door is actually recessed into the cabinet opening. With full inset hinges, the front of the cabinet door is flush with the outside of the cabinet face frame when the door is closed.
Gallons per Flush. Unit of measurement which flow rates of toilets are measured and regulated.
Material used to form the surface of some fiberglass bathtubs or showers; a colored, polyester resin.
Showerhead designed with a handle that is attached to a water supply with a flexible hose.
A joined device or flexible piece on which a door, gate, shutter, lid or other attached part turns, swings or moves.
hinge types: concealed, demountable, full inset, mortise, overlay, partial inset, self-closing, semi-concealed, wrap
Outdoor faucet with hose threads on the spout.
Opening providing an entrance or intake.
Another term for Emergency Egress. Allows a quick exit from your home in case of fire or other emergency. When installed on a single-cylinder entrance set, the deadbolt and latch retract with the turn of the interior knob or lever.
Iron Pipe Size. Pipe thread sizing system. The measurement of the inside diameter of a pipe.
The wood frame around the door. The latch catches on a boring in the jamb, often called the dustbox. Hinges are attached on one side to the door and on the other side to the jamb.
The protective covering for the deadbolt or mortise latch housing, located in the door jamb.
Bathroom or washroom sink.
Used to determine latch mechanism placement for lever sets and mortise lock sets. A door has left handing when the hinges are on the left side and the door swings inward. Always stand on the outside of the door to determine handing.
Used to determine latch mechanism placement for lever sets and mortise lock sets. A door has left-reverse handing when the hinges are on the left side and the door swings outward toward you. Reverse handing is most commonly used for restaurants and other businesses. Always stand on the outside of the door to determine handing.
Male iron pipe. Standard external threads on pipe and fittings.
Mini widespread faucet:
Lavatory faucet with separate spout and handles, small enough to fit 4" center-to-center faucet holes. An alternative to a centerset faucet.
Mixes hot and cold water in the valve to set water temperature before delivery.
A threaded cylinder used specifically for the mortise lock assembly.
Mortise lock set:
A box-style lock that is installed directly into an opening that has been mortised in the side of the door. A mortise lock houses both the latch and the deadbolt, making bore spacing particularly important. We recommend that mortise lock installation be done by a locksmith.
Typically in a compression fitting, this round rubber washer is compressed to make a watertight seal.
OD (outside diameter):
A common method for sizing pipe, this is a measurement of the diameter of a pipe as taken from the outside edge.
A fitting or combination of fittings consisting of elbows or bends that bring one section of pipe out of line with, but into a line parallel with, another section of pipe. Often used for drains and water supplies.
Style of toilet seat where there is an open space at the front. Often it is considered more sanitary in commercial applications.
In a bathtub or sink, a hole and/or drain in which excess water escapes. The overflow drain helps to prevent overflowing and possible water damage to a floor.
Partial inset hinge:
Inset means that the cabinet door is actually recessed into the cabinet opening. If it is partially inset, the recess distance must be measured accurately to determine size needed (3/8" inset is a common partial inset hinge). To determine this dimension, measure the inside step of the recess cut (the part of the door that would extend into the cabinet opening when the door is closed).
Passage sets are used on doors where no lock system is needed. Interior door sets often have passage function.
Piece of hardware that connects two knobs through a door, allowing them to turn freely.
A short pipe that is threaded on both ends and installed between fittings.
Privacy sets are used on interior doors where a lock system is needed. Commonly found on bathroom and bedroom doors, privacy function sets typically lock on only one side and have an emergency release hole on the other.
Piece of hardware that attaches two knobs through a door, allowing them to turn. Privacy spindles allow turning on one side, while holding the other side stationary to enforce the privacy lock.
Section of drain pipe that water is trapped in, blocking gases from escaping through the drain. This P-shaped pipe prevents sewer odors from escaping.
A lavatory or sink in which the bowl is supported by a single column or leg.
Mechanism that relies on a lever or rod to lift the drain stopper.
Technique for applying paint to metal surfaces. The metal is covered with a powder of dry paint particles and is baked in an oven.
P.O. plug (plug outlet):
Style of drain outlet that is closed by a rubber stopper or plug. Used for lavatories.
Typically white, non-porous material made by heating specific types of refined clay.
Pressure balancing valve:
Maintains a constant water temperature by using a mixing valve that balances incoming hot and cold water supplies.
Polyvinyl chloride. A white plastic used to manufacture water supply pipes.
Physical vapor deposition. Durable zirconium or titanium coating that resists scratches, tarnish and corrosion.
Easy to clean and incredibly durable, a stone-like material made of a poly-resin blend. Material is solid and the same color all the way through, similar to solid surface material.
Used to determine latch mechanism placement for lever sets and mortise lock sets. A door has right handing when the hinges are on the right side and the door swings inward.
Used to determine latch mechanism placement for lever sets and mortise lock sets. A door has right-reverse handing when the hinges are on the right side and the door swings outward toward you. Reverse handing is most commonly used for restaurants and other businesses.
Inside edge of a toilet bowl, or the edge of a lavatory or sink.
Vertical pipe that feeds water to a fixture.
An escutcheon, usually round, that a knob or lever sits on.
Unfinished ends of drain or supply lines marking where fixtures and drains will be installed. In the case of a standard toilet rough in, it refers to the distance from the finished wall to the center of the outlet pipe.
Self closing hinge:
Self-closing hinges close by themselves if the door is within a certain distance from the closed position. This feature has nothing to do with whether the hinges are concealed or non-concealed, overlay or inset.
Soft-close hinge and slide:
Soft-close hinges or soft-close slides allow the door or drawer to ease to the closed position, gently and quietly. This feature has nothing to do with whether the hinges are concealed or non-concealed, overlay or inset.
Style of bathroom lavatory or kitchen sink with a finished lip or rim that installs on top of a counter without requiring a metal sink rim.
With semi-concealed hinges, the hinge pin is visible when the cabinet door is closed. On some styles, the screws that mount the hinge to the cabinet frame are visible as well. If they are not visible, then the style is wrap, meaning it wraps around the frame and screws to the edge of the frame.
Style of basin that installs partially on top of the counter rather than fully into the counter. The portion that is above the countertop is completely finished, while the portion under the counter may not be finished.
A stationary basin connected with a drain and water supply for washing and drainage.
Connection made with compression fittings.
Hardware that attaches two knobs through a door. Spindles come in various lengths to accommodate different door thicknesses. Threading type determines what kind of knob will fit onto the spindle.
Section of pipe or threaded fitting that completes a connection.
Moving part of the valve that controls the amount and temperature of water released.
Part of the faucet that holds the handle on one end and the washer on the other.
Valve that allows water supply to be cut off to one fixture without affecting the water supply to the entire house or building. Common for use with clawfoot tubs, sinks, and toilets.
Shutoff valve that is installed between the floor and the faucet or toilet on a supply line, and does not change direction.
Attached to the door jamb and houses the latch when the door is closed. Often comes with a lip to protect the door jamb when a door is closed without turning the knob.
T-shaped fitting with three openings.
Mixing valve that automatically maintains the temperature setting by regulating fluctuations in water temperature at the water inlets and immediately adjusting the ratio of hot and cold water that is discharged by the valve.
A spiral edge on hardware or pipes that allows it to connect to another piece.
The outside decorative parts that hide a faucet rough-in; used to supply your sink or toilet with water.
Lever that opens and closes the drain on a bathtub's waste & overflow. The flush handle and actuating arm on a toilet tank.
Undermount sink (or Undercounter sink):
A type of sink that is installed beneath a cutout in the countertop.
Joins two sections of pipe using a fitting.
Anti-siphon device that prevents the backflow of water into the supply system.
A device that regulates water flow.
Fixed part of a valve. The stem will move against the seat to open and close the valve.
A storage cabinet beneath the counter usually found in bathrooms.
Style of basin that installs on top of the counter rather than inside of it.
A common material used for bathroom sanitary ware, such as sinks and toilets. A mixture of clay and other minerals, vitreous china is baked at high temperatures after glazing which creates a high gloss, stain-resistant surface.
Waste and overflow:
Drain assembly for a bathtub. The drain at the top (overflow) removes excess water during tub filling and the drain at the bottom (waste) removes water when tub is drained.
WC ("water closet"):
This faucet type measures 8" from each handle's center. It is recognized by its separate spout and handles.
A bathtub system that recirculates the tub water and mixes in air to create hydro therapy with jet inlets.
A wrap hinge wraps around the cabinet frame from the front to the edge and sometimes partially around the back of the frame. Like the closing styles, this feature has nothing to do with whether the hinges are concealed or non-concealed, overlay or inset.