Mosby’s Remodeling Glossary of Terms

Here at Mosby, we take care of all your remodeling needs, everything from a bathroom remodel to installing new siding. We want to make remodeling your home a positive experience. We put together a glossary to explain some of the terms we may use throughout the site. Contact us to learn more about our home remodeling services.

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Adjustable Shelves

Most wall cabinets over 12 or 15 inches in height have shelves that can be adjusted to various heights depending on what you plan to place in the cabinets. The shelves in base cabinets are usually fixed in place.


A professional who designs buildings or assists in the renovation and planning of commercial or residential spaces. An architect also oversees and advises on creation of the design. An architect must complete a course of study and pass a test to be licensed by the state. Architects are often needed any time you do structural changes to a building, like removing or adding walls.


Asbestos (or magnesium silicate) is a material which was previously used in construction and insulation products. Asbestos was an attractive material due to its stability and fire-resistance. Exposure to asbestos over long periods of time has been proven to cause various types of lung cancer.


The upright surface, often made of tile, behind a kitchen counter, sink, or stove, that protects the wall from damage from splatter due to kitchen activities.

Bathtub Jet

In a bathtub, one of several spouts that shoot water, air, or both into the tub at fast speeds to provide a massage effect.

Blind Corner Cabinet

A blind corner cabinet is designed so that wall or base cabinets from a 90 degree intersecting wall can butt up against part of their face. Blind corner cabinets normally have a deep interior space that can only be accessed from the section that is exposed.

Breakfast Bar

A breakfast bar can be created by placing a kitchen island or prep station against a framed knee wall and adding a second countertop at a higher level. The second countertop should extend out far enough to provide room for bar stools and knees.

Cabinet Box

A cabinet box is the interior frame and outer shell of a wall or base cabinet. Cabinet boxes normally have sides, a top and bottom panel and in most cases, a rear panel. Doors and drawer faces can normally be replaced to change the style or appearance of a cabinet box.

Cabinet Crown Molding

Cabinet crown molding is the same as crown molding often found in other rooms of the house, but it matches the kitchen cabinet finish. It is normally installed at the top of wall cabinets to add a decorative touch and is available in various widths. It may be installed even if the cabinets don’t reach the ceiling.

Cabinet Doors

Many wall and base cabinets have a hinged door that allow access to the interior of the cabinet. Cabinet doors normally have all-wood construction although some styles may feature wood veneer over plywood or composite board. The cabinet doors may contribute more to the overall style of your kitchen cabinets than any other component.

Cabinet Depth

Almost all kitchen and bathroom cabinets are 23 ½ inches deep, but when placing two cabinets together, such as a linen cabinet and vanity, it can be a good idea to verify that they are the same depth prior to placing your order.

Cabinet Face

This is the front of a wall or base box. The cabinet doors are normally hinged to the face of wall and base cabinets. The face is often, but not always, in the same finish as the cabinet box and doors.

Cabinet Hardware

The hardware installed to facilitate the opening and closing of your cabinet doors and drawers is called the cabinet hardware. Cabinet hardware can consist of pulls, knobs, handles, or a combination of all three. Cabinet hardware can complement the look of your cabinets and can range from budget friendly to very expensive depending on the style and material.

Cabinet Layout

A cabinet layout is a design or footprint of your kitchen or bath showing the proposed locations of your cabinets. Each cabinet is normally designated by its width and style such as base, wall, or vanity. Specialty cabinet locations are also shown. Cabinet layouts may be provided by a kitchen designer or cabinet supplier or you may do your own.

Cabinet Valance

A cabinet valance is a decorative trim piece used to span a space between two wall cabinets. They are often used when there is a window over the kitchen sink. Valances are available in numerous styles and normally match the finish of the kitchen cabinets.

Casement Window

A single-window unit, the casement window is usually hinged on the side, and opens outward.


The trim or molding that forms the frame around doors and windows.


Used to seal gaps between surfaces, typically in a kitchen, bathroom, or outdoor siding. Caulking helps to prevent water leaks and acts as a seal in general against the elements.

Corner Cabinet

A corner cabinet is designed to anchor your wall or base cabinets in a 90 degree kitchen corner. Corner cabinets normally have a 45 degree face with a hinged door or they may be set up for a blind corner configuration.


The interior area between the 1st floor subfloor and the ground surrounded by a poured or block foundation. Most crawlspaces should be at least 18 inches high.

Crown Molding

A decorative finish that adds interest to the area where the top of a window meets the wall, or lines the area where the wall meets the ceiling.

Custom Cabinets

Custom cabinets are units that can be built outside of the standard sizes or configurations that a manufacturer normally offers. This can be a valuable option when purchasing cabinets for an older home or a kitchen with a unique shape.


A professional (typically non-licensed) who designs houses or elements of a residence, including interior design, landscaping and more.

Double Bowl Vanity Cabinet

A vanity cabinet wide enough to accommodate two sink bowls is called a double bowl vanity. Most double bowl vanities are at least 60 inches wide. It is possible to create a double bowl vanity cabinet configuration by installing two single vanity cabinets rather than a single wide cabinet.

Drawer Base Cabinet

Standard base cabinets normally have one or two drawers at their top and doors that allow access to their lower compartments. A drawer base cabinet has a stack of drawers that make up the entire cabinet – the drawers often vary in height with larger units being at the bottom.

Drawer Fronts

Standard base cabinets normally have one or two drawers at their top and doors that allow access to their lower compartments. A drawer base cabinet has a stack of drawers that make up the entire cabinet – the drawers often vary in height with larger units being at the bottom.

Drawer Slides

This is the hardware that allows the drawer boxes to open and close. There are various types of drawer slides and they can normally be replaced without having to purchase a new drawer or cabinet.

Double Door Cabinet

Wider base and wall cabinets often have double doors that meet in the middle rather than a single large door. Double door cabinets normally require less room to access the cabinet interior which can be a consideration if you have a small kitchen.

Double Hung Window

A window made up of two panels that slide vertically to open. This window style is a classic design and is typically constructed of wood.


A pipe for draining water from roof gutters. Also called a leader.


The edge of a roof that connects with the wall of the building. Usually this part of the roof comes out further than the wall.

European Style

European or Euro-style as it is sometimes called is a clean, contemporary look without a lot of frills. Euro-style cabinets and furniture are normally much easier to keep clean than styles with many nooks and crannies.

Expansion Joint

A joint that allows for expansion and contraction during temperature changes.

Fiber Cement

A building material made with cellulose fiber, concrete, and recycled materials, such as glass.


Pieces of sheet metal used on roofs to cover joints, such as where the roof meets the wall, or around a chimney or skylight, to protect them and prevent water leaking through.

Flush Cabinet Door

A cabinet door that has a front all on one plane is called a flush door. This door style is often used in kitchens where a contemporary or modern look is desired. It may also be referred to as Euro-style.

French Drain

An outdoor buried drain line that leads water away from the house. Water runs through a trench filled with gravel into a perforated pipe underneath, which leads the water downhill to a safe area.


  1. Hydrous mortar whose consistency allows it to be placed or pumped into small joints or cavities, as between pieces of ceramic clay, slate, or tile.
  2. Various mortar mixes used in foundation work to fill voids in soils, usually injected through drilled holes.

Kitchen Countertop

The food preparation and work surface that is placed on top of your kitchen base cabinets is called the countertop. There are almost countless materials that can be used as a countertop. They can range from budget friendly choices such as Formica to elegant but more expensive granite and marble.

Kitchen Designer

A person who specializes in kitchen and bath design is often called a kitchen designer. He/she may have a background in interior design or architecture or they may have attended classes in kitchen design. Many cabinet suppliers have a kitchen designer on staff to help customers with their selections.

Kitchen Island

A kitchen island is a stand-alone arrangement of base cabinets that is separate from the room’s perimeter cabinets. They provide additional work space and can make for a more efficient cooking environment, as long as the room is large enough to accommodate the island.


A small kitchen area, such as in hotels or studio apartments, usually consisting of a mini fridge, hotplate or microwave, small sink, and some cabinets.

Lazy Susan Cabinet

A cabinet that features a rotating interior tray is called a Lazy Susan cabinet. The rotating tray makes it easy to reach items that would otherwise be in the rear of the cabinet. This feature is often offered as an option in corner base cabinets and can sometimes be added into existing cabinets.

Linen Cabinet

Linen cabinets are similar to kitchen pantry cabinets in that they are tall and set up for storage. If you don’t have a built-in linen closet in your bathroom, a linen cabinet can be the ideal solution for storing clean towels and cleaning supplies.

Load Bearing Wall

A wall which is supporting its own weight and some other structural elements of the house such as the roof and ceiling structures.

Natural Finish Cabinet

Cabinets that are shipped without a finish are considered natural finish cabinets. Natural finish cabinets offer the flexibility of finishing the cabinets in your own unique style if you don’t mind the extra work.

Oven Cabinet

An oven cabinet is designed to hold a built-in oven when a kitchen is designed for a separate oven and cooktop, rather than a range. Oven cabinets are normally designed for a single oven, but units for double ovens are also available. Single oven cabinets may sometimes be converted on the job site to hold a double oven. Always check to ensure the cabinet you’re ordering will accept your oven model.

Pantry Cabinet

A pantry cabinet is a specialty cabinet designed with numerous shelves and sometimes drawers to hold kitchen supplies and tools. Pantry cabinets normally sit on the floor like a base cabinet, but may extend up so that they’re even with the height of your wall cabinets. Pantry cabinets are available in several widths and configurations.

Pencil Drawer

A pantry cabinet is a specialty cabinet designed with numerous shelves and sometimes drawers to hold kitchen supplies and tools. Pantry cabinets normally sit on the floor like a base cabinet, but may extend up so that they’re even with the height of your wall cabinets. Pantry cabinets are available in several widths and configurations.


A metaphorical term for an extended kitchen counter space connected to the wall on only one side.

Penny Tile

A small type of tile, usually between 0.75 inches and 1 inch wide, used to decorate kitchens, bathrooms, and pools.


An arched structure with an open roof and cross rafters, supported by posts or columns, typically installed in a garden, park, or backyard, and usually covered with climbing plants or vines.

Picture Window

An opening in the wall consisting of one large pane of glass that does not open.

Plumbing Rough-Ins

Plumbing supply and drain lines that extend out of the wall or floor so fixtures can be attached are referred to as rough-ins. Your vanity cabinet that will contain your sink bowl should always be situated where the sink plumbing rough-ins are located.

Pre-finished Cabinets

Cabinets that are shipped from the factory with a stain or paint already applied are considered pre-finished. Most manufacturers offer a multitude of finish options for their products.

Radiant Flooring

A heating system using tubes or electric wires installed underneath the flooring.

Recessed Panel Cabinet Door

A recessed panel door has a raised outer edge and the center panel sits back on a different or “recessed” plane. The recessed panel is often wood veneer that matches the solid wood outer edge. Recessed panel cabinet doors can be more budget friendly than other door styles.

Refrigerator Panel

Trim panels that match your cabinet finish are sometimes available to cover the front panel of your refrigerator. Only certain models of refrigerators are set up to receive cabinet trim panels so verify that you have one of those types of appliances prior to ordering a panel.

Sash Window

A wall opening made of one or several movable panels (referred to as sashes) that serve as a frame for holding glass panes.

Sink Base Cabinet

A sink base cabinet appears to be a standard base cabinet, but has false drawer fronts to allow room for a kitchen sink bowl to extend down into the unit. Sink base cabinets are available in many widths and should always be situated in your kitchen design where a sink is planned. Sink base cabinets can also be used where a cooktop is to be located.

Specialty Cabinet

A kitchen or bath cabinet designed for a specific purpose other than being a standard base, wall, or vanity cabinet is often referred to as a specialty cabinet. Microwave, oven, and trash cabinets fall into this classification.

Standard Base Cabinet

Kitchen base cabinets are normally 34 ½ inches tall which allows adding a 1 ½ inch countertop to reach a total height of 36 inches. There are many different widths of base cabinets available as standard sizes from most manufacturers.

Standard Wall Cabinet

There are many standard heights and widths of kitchen wall cabinets available. Wall cabinets are normally installed so that their bottoms are 18 inches above the countertop, but shorter cabinets are installed over ovens, refrigerators, and sinks to clear the appliance or allow additional workspace. Most wall cabinets are 30, 36, or 42 inches tall, but other sizes are available.

Toe Kick

The recessed area at the bottom of kitchen base cabinets is called the toe kick area. Most cabinets have a black or brown toe kick, but trim to match the cabinet finish is sometimes available. Vinyl base can also be used to cover toe kick.

Under Cabinet Lights

Lights that mount on the underside of wall cabinets to illuminate the countertop are referred to as under-cabinet lights. The fixtures can be hardwired to your electrical system and operated with wall mounted light switches or you can choose plug-in fixtures that are controlled by individual switches.

Vanity Cabinet

A sink base cabinet located in the bathroom is normally referred to as a vanity cabinet. Most vanity cabinets have single or double doors, but wider models may also have a stack of drawers. Vanity cabinets are available in numerous sizes and finishes.

Vanity Cabinet Hardware

The pulls, knobs, or handles used to open your vanity cabinet doors and drawers are called the vanity cabinet hardware. They can often be matched to the finish of your plumbing fixture hardware.

Vanity Top

The surface installed on top of your vanity cabinets is referred to as the vanity top. The vanity top may have one or more pre-formed sink bowls already installed or it may have cutouts for under-mount or drop-in sink bowls. There are numerous vanity top materials available, but cultured marble may be the most popular due to its affordability and attractive appearance.

Wet Bar

A small bar, usually in a home or hotel room, that has a sink with running water.