Restoration Glossary

Term Definition
Valley

A valley is formed when two roof planes meet to form a concave angle. This connection is often vulnerable to water penetration and should be bridged with flashing.

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Vapor Barrier

A vapor barrier is a waterproof material used to prevent or retard moisture from traveling between an interior and an exterior surface. Vapor barriers are installed on interior walls to protect them from condensation or, in new construction, beneath a concrete slab or underneath siding as a wind and moisture break.

A major source of ambient moisture in historic houses is dirt cellar floors: installing a vapor barrier on a dirt cellar floor will reduce moisture throughout the building. Polyethylene sheeting is recommended. Seams should overlap six inches and outside edges should extend six inches up the wall. Placing bricks along the floor at the foundation will secure the vapor barrier. Opening cellar windows, using screens to prevent small animal and insect intrusion, will provide further ventilation during good weather.

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Veneer

A veneer is a thin layer of material adhered to a backing of a less expensive material. For example, wood veneer is a thin layer of wood adhered to a backing (of plywood or a similar material) used to imitate solid wood. Stone veneer is similarly a thin layer of stone covering a layer of a less costly material (such as poured concrete or concrete block) and is intended to imitate solid stone.

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Veranda

An open, roofed porch, usually enclosed on the outside by a railing or balustrade, and often wrapping around two or more (or all of the) sides of a building.

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Vernacular

In architecture, vernacular is used to describe construction without those stylistic elements of design that are used for aesthetic purposes beyond functional requirements. Vernacular architecture is characterized not only by the lack of a specific “style” but also by its use of locally available resources and materials, and building techniques that are part of local tradition

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Victorian Era

The reign of Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, which commenced upon the coronation of Queen Victoria on June 20, 1837 and concluded upon her death on January 22, 1901 (Victoria was also crowned the Empress of India on May 1, 1876). These years marked the height of both the British Empire and the Industrial Revolution, when the United Kingdom became a global power, and its culture, including its architecture, assimilated influences from all over the world.

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