Find Your Glossary Term


A thermoplastic used on the surface of bathtubs and whirlpools. Generally comes in sheets and is formed to the shape of the mold (tubs/showers) in the factory. Generally fiberglass is added to the back for strength.
Americans with Disabilities Act - Effective in 1992, this act places a number of construction demands on the plumbing industry. For faucets, handles must require no pinching or grasping, and must require less than 5 lbs. of force to operate. In addition, metering faucets must run for at least 10 seconds. The Act is administered on a state-by-state basis.
Adjustable Hot Limit Stop
Restricts hot water output in single control faucets and showers to protect against scalding by limiting the swing to the hot side.

A part at the end of a faucet spout which mixes air into the dropping water, thereby aerating the water.

A device screwed into the end of a faucet spout that mixes air into flowing water, and controls flow to reduce splashing. It sometimes contains a baffle to reduce flow to 2.5 gpm.

Device for oxygenating water, filling the water flow with air bubbles. On kitchen faucets, it enables a faucet to provide different flows of water, from stream to spray.

Air Gap

Air-filled space allowing contaminated water to discharge freely, preventing the contaminated water from ever siphoning back into the potable water supply.

A device mounted at the back of a kitchen sink, connecting to the drain line between a dishwasher and disposer to allow the dishwasher to discharge freely into the disposer while preventing contaminated water from siphoning back into the dishwasher. Can be any unobstructed vertical opening between the lowest opening of a waste line and the flood level of the device into which it empties to relieve pressure and prevent backflow contamination.

Air Switch
A button that activates a continuous feed garbage disposal. It's installed in lieu of a standard wall switch. It typically fills a standard hole drilling on a sink or countertop.
Angle Stop
An "emergency" stop (valve) that is usually installed before the water supply line (below) to toilets and faucets. Angle stops are to be shut off in case of an emergency or repair and are generally not designed for daily on and off useage. The difference between a "straight stop" and an "angle stops" is that the "angle" stop changes direction by 90 degrees while a straight stop is like most valves and does not change direction.

An acrylic panel can be used in place of tile or marble. When an acrylic tub is mounted in a 3-wall installation.

The apron, or skirting, a decorating portion of a bathtub that covers the rough-in area from the floor to the top rim of the tub. It is often sold separately from the tub.

The mechanism that controls the flow of water into a gravity-operated toilet tank. The ballcock is controlled by the float mechanism floating in the water in the tank. When the toilet is flushed, the float drops and opens the ballcock, allowing water to enter the tank and/or bowl. The float rises as the water level in the tank is restored, and shuts off the ballcock when the tank is completely filled. Also referred to as a float valve.
Ball Passage
Refers to the size of a ball that can pass through the trapway of a toilet. Standards are established based on minimum-sized ball passage. Ball passage also relates to trapway size. Generally speaking, the size of the trap will be 1/8 larger than the maximum-sized ball that can pass through it.
A circular vessel with slopping or curving sides for holding water for washing.
Basket Strainer
Basket-shaped strainer with holes and a slot that fits the sink drain to allow water to run out but to catch food or other solids before they can enter the sewage system. Can also be closed to fill the sink with water.
Batch Feed
Type of garbage disposer in which garbage is fed into unit one load at a time, then activated by placing the stopper into the drain opening.
A personal hygiene plumbing fixture similar in appearance to a toilet bowl used for washing genitals and posterior areas of the body. It is mounted on the floor next to a toilet and consists of a washing basin, a hot and cold faucet, and sprayer.
Shower component used in conjunction with a showerhead to deliver flow of water. It is commonly used in multiples to create a custom showering space.
Typically refers to a valve cartridge. It is a single-piece unit that replaces the use of separate seats, stems, and seals for water-flow control.
Cast Iron
Heavy metal made of casting on molds to make fixtures such as sinks, tubs and lavatories, covered with a porcelain enamel coating. Casting is made of a series of alloys primarily of iron, carbon, and silicon.
Style of bathroom faucet having combined spout and handles, with handles 4 inches apart, center-to-center. Also a single-handle faucet installed on 4 inches center-to-center faucet holes.
Ceramic Cartridge
A self-contained cartridge housing two ceramic discs. Full-on / full-off with 1/4 turn of the handle.
Ceramic Valve
Single cartridge, washerless valving system which uses ceramic discs to control water flow. Considered the hardest, most reliable valving material in the industry.
A system of directing light sequences on or around the body to promote relaxation.
Console Lav / Table
A table-like fixture with an integral lavatory. The back is fixed to a wall and the front is supported by brackets or legs.
Continuous Feed
Wall switch activated type of garbage disposer in which garbage is fed into the unit while running.
CXC (copper by copper)
This is a type of installation that requires the installer to solder the two pipes together instead of threading them on like IPS (Iron Pipe Size).
Deck Mounted Faucet
Term used to describe a faucet that is mounted on the deck of the bathtub enclosure, rather than on the rim of the bathtub or on the wall. Also known as a Roman spout faucet, or Roman Tub faucet.
Disposer Flange
The exposed ring in the sink which a garbage disposal attaches. Typically disposals come with a stainless or chrome flanges, but custom finishes are available.
Valves which direct water to various outlets. They are used in showers, tub & shower combinations, bidets, Roman tub fillers and kitchen faucet sprayers.
Double Basin
Sink which offers two separate basins.
Drop In
Style of bathtub or whirlpool bath which includes an integral mounting rim as part of the overall structure.
Ell / Drop Ell
Short for elbow. A plumbing fitting used to change the direction of rigid pipe or tubing.
The shape of the front of a toilet bowl. Generally 2" longer than the standard "round front" bowl.
This part covers the faucet stem and the hole in the fixture or wall. Any decorative, threaded flange below or behind a faucet handle. Also an ornamental plate used at the base of a faucet to cover additional holes on a lavatory.
Faucet Trim
All of the decorative parts to your faucet, such as handles, wall plate, spout, etc.

A variation of vitreous china having greater amounts of quartz and feldspar in the clay material beneath the vitreous surface. Fireclay is heavier (30%), denser, and thicker than regular clay. These properties insure smooth, flat surfaces on large fixtures which is not achievable with standard vitreous china.

Fireclay sinks are made from a mixture of clay and minerals, similar to vitreous china, which is molded, glazed and fired at intense temperatures.

Broad term in plumbing/kitchen/bath that could be an entire toilet, sink, tub, etc OR it could be the devices that provide a supply of water.
Floor Flange
Cast iron, PVC, ABS or metal ring located flush to the floor and is connected to the drain pipe which the toilet is fastened to. (Offset floor flange allows waste pipe to remain at existing rough but will move flange out approximately 2".)
Flushometer Valve
System used in our pressure assisted toilets Air trapped inside an enclosed tank is compressed as water refills the tank after it is flushed.. When the toilet is flushed, the air releases like a tightly wound spring, surging the water into the bowl at high velocity. The crest of this torrent empties bowl contents in less than 4 seconds, and pushes them through the drain line.
Flush Valve
The valve located at the bottom of a gravity-operated toilet flush tank that opens when the trip lever is actuated and closes when the tank has drained to the desired level. It usually contains an overflow tube as well.
Refers to thickness of stainless steel and is commonly used in reference to quality grades on certain types of lavatories and sinks. 18- and 20-gauge stainless steel sinks go through a number of polishing and buffing operations to ensure a beautiful finish.
GPF (Gallons Per Flush)
Volumetric flow rate in Gallons Per Flush. Today's toilets, per federal law, are only allowed to deliver 1.6gpf or less. In many years past, toilets flushed as much as 7-8gpf.
Volumetric flow rate in Gallons Per Hour.
Volumetric flow rate in Gallons Per Minute.
Gravity Fed Toilet

Water in the tank is quickly released into the bowl and its weight and gravity create a siphonic action to withdraw waste and water from the bowl.

A toilet that relies on the natural downward pressure (or "head") of water in a toilet tank to flush the toilet effectively.

Hand Shower
A showerhead designed with a handle that is connected to a water supply via a flexible hose.
Hard Water
Natural water containing impurities in various proportions. Traditional hardness is a measure of calcium or dissolved solids in a solution, measured in parts per million. Hard water generally ranges from 100 to 250 ppm.
The use of water for healing purposes, many times through water massage.
Inlet Spud
Located on top of the china. It is the connection from the flush valve to feed the water to the urinal or commercial toilet. A water supply tube fits inside the inlet spud, and a compression nut is secured on top to make a watertight connection. An escutcheon covers the compression nut and inlet spud.
IPS (Iron Pipe Size)
Standard pipe threads. Female IPS is internal pipe threads, male IPS are external pipe threads. Also known as "NPT" or "NPS".
An orifice or other feature of both a toilet and whirlpool; a toilet jet is designed to direct water into the trapway quickly, to start the siphon action; a whirlpool jet is designed to direct air and water throughout the whirlpool to create flow and/or bubbles.
A fixed bowl or basin with running water and drainage for washing. Many use the word "Lavatory" as meaning a bathroom.
Mini-Wide Spread
A special style of bathroom lavatory faucet having separate spout and handles. But designed small enough that it will fit 4" center-to-center faucet holes.
Neo Angle
A shower that fits in the corner of the room, either with a straight or round-front.
One Piece Toilet
A toilet in which the tank and bowl are manufactured as a single vitreous china fixture. Typically, one-piece toilets have a lower profile than two-piece toilets.
Overflow Tube
The vertical tube inside a toilet tank (usually part of the flush valve) that directs water into the bowl in case the ballcock malfunctions. If the ballcock does not shut off properly, water will drain through the overflow tube into the bowl, and flow harmlessly over the dam and out the drain. This prevents potential water damage caused by the tank overflowing and indicates to the user that there is a problem by a "constant running" condition. On most toilets, the overflow tube also has a refill tube flowing into it. The refill line directs water from the ballcock through the overflow tube to the bowl after the siphon break.
Pedestal Lavatory
A stand-alone fixture with a lavatory resting atop a narrow base; similar to the shape of a birdbath.
Pop-Up / Drain Assembly
The drain mechanism of a faucet installed on a lavatory. The drain stopper "pops" up and down.
Porcelain Enamel
Vitreous enamel. Many times the words "porcelain enamel" refers to pressed steel (not recommended by us) products with a porcelain glaze. When purchasing "fixtures" we like to recommend either a porcelain glaze on top of ceramic, or porcelain glaze on top of cast iron.
Pressure Balance Valve
A shower mixing valve that automatically maintains balance between hot and cold water supplies by immediately regulating fluctuations in pressure. As a result the outlet temperature remains constant. Also known as an "anti-scald valve".
Pounds per square inch. Measures the pressure of the water supply as it enters a building.
P Trap
A curved section of drain line that prevents sewer odors from escaping into the atmosphere. All "fixtures" that have drains must have a "P" trap installed. A toilet is the only plumbing fixture that has an "S" trap instead of a "P" trap.
Reverse Osmosis
A water treatment method whereby water is forced through a semi permeable membrane which filters out impurities.
A vertical assembly of pipe and fittings that generally distributes water upward.
Round Front
The standard shape of the front of a toilet bowl. Generally bout 2" shorter than the optional "elongated" bowl.
Rough In Dimensions
The distance from a finished wall or floor to the center of the waste or supply opening or mounting holes on a plumbing fixture. (99% of one and two piece toilets are 12" rough. Most flush valve toilets are 10" rough.)

Sink with no metal ring that has a built-in lip of the same material which supports it in the vanity top.

A style of bathroom lavatory or kitchen sink with a rolled and finished edge, or rim.

Shower Arm Diverter
Valves which direct water to various outlets. Typically used to divert the water from the showerhead to the attached Hand Shower.
Shower Receptor
Sometimes referred to as a shower pan, the shower receptor is the base of the shower that houses the drain, and is usually surrounded by custom walls.
Spout Height
Vertical measurement from the base of the faucet to the tallest point of the spout reach
Spout Reach
Horizontal measurement from the center of the spout/shank to the center of the aerator.
Thermostatic Valve
A pressure balancing shower mixing valve with automatic temperature control. When temperature or pressure fluctuations occur at the water inlets, a thermal actuator adjusts the hot and cold ratio to maintain the original temperature setting.
Three Handle
Three-handle faucets also use separate handles for hot and cold water, but have an additional handle to divert the water from bath spout to showerhead.
Installation where lavatory is fit flush with countertop.
Toilet Bowl
A water-containing receptor that receives liquid and solid body waste; two general bowl classifications are round-front and elongated.
Toilet Tank
The fixture reservoir for flushing water. On a conventional toilet, the ballcock, flush valve and trip lever are installed in the tank. A tank lid closes the top tank opening.
Triple Basin
Term used to describe a sink comprised of three compartments.
Trip Lever / Tank Lever
Located on either the left or right hand side of the toilet tank; A lever that is rotated to initiate the toilet flush cycle. Factory-installed trip levers have a Polished Chrome finish; optional trim kits offer trip levers in other finishes
Tub Waste
The drain assembly for a bathtub. The outlet at the top removes the "overflow" water during tub filling and the drain at the bottom removes "waste" water when the tub is drained.
Two Handle
Two-handle faucets feature separate handles to control hot and cold water temperature.
Two Piece
A toilet with a separate tank and bowl. Also referred to as "close-coupled".
The body of the sink attaches to the underside of the countertop. Depending on the design of the sink, faucets can be mounted on the countertop or the sink itself.
A plumbing fixture that receives only liquid waste and conveys the waste through a trapway seal into a gravity drainage system.
Vacuum Breaker
A device to prevent water standing in a basin or container from being drawn back into your water supply if there is a complete loss of water supply pressure. A siphon can occur if the end of a hose, hand spray or spout is below the liquid's surface, pulling contaminated water into the building's water supply pipes.
Valve Only
A shower mixing valve with manual temperature control. It also acts as an on/off switch but typically defaults to a high volume only.
A bathroom storage cabinet beneath the counter. Some plumbers also call a lavatory sink a vanity.
Vitreous China

A surface material on some plumbing fixtures derived from or consisting of glass. It is low in porosity and is translucent.

A term applied to plumbing fixtures that are comprised of ceramic materials, fired at a high temperature to form a nonporous body with exposed surfaces, and coated with ceramic glaze fused to the body.

Volume Control
A shower valve that operates volume and acts as an on/off switch. It requires a thermostatic valve to be plumbed inline to be fully functional. Often times one volume control is installed per shower device (showerhead, handshower, or body sprays) rather than a diverter or transfer valve for the more versatility.
Wall Elbow
A fitting with two openings that changes the direction of the line. Also known as an ell. It comes in various angles from 22 ½ degrees to 90 degrees; often referred to by their angles (i.e. 45, 90).
A style of bathroom lavatory faucet having separate spout and handles. Usually 8" from center of handle-to-handle. Some widespread faucets can be set with handles up to 12" apart.

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