Kitchen Glossary

We know that definitions are never a favourite topic but when it comes to something as big as a kitchen renovation it’s best to be as well informed as you possibly can. Knowing what everything means when your spending your hard-earned money is a very important thing and can be the difference in spending extra money that you don’t need to. Below is a list of terms that should help you towards becoming an educated consumer.

Accent lighting: Lighting designed in enhances architectural amenities or display areas

Ambient lighting: basic, overall room illuminations.

Appliances: An appliance is an instrument or device designed to carry out a specific task or function within a home kitchen.

Backsplash: The backsplash is the wall protection at the back of the countertop; which is designed to seal the counter and protect the wall from spills and damage; it can also be integral to the counter or applied directly to the wall.

Batten: a narrow strip of wood used to fasten or reinforce the joint between two pieces of lumber.

Beam spread: the area brightened by the light a fixture casts in a room.

Bevel: the angle of a line that meets another at any angle other than 90 degrees.

Bottom-mount units: freezer below the fresh-food compartment.

Bridge faucet: traditional-style faucet; deck or wall -mount, with handles and spout linked by an exposed tube.

Btu (British thermal unit): The amount of heat needed to raise 1 pound of water 1 degree Fahrenheit. Heating and cooling equipment commonly is rated by the Btus it can deliver or absorb.

Building code: A local ordinance governing the manner in which a home may be constructed or modified. Most codes deal with fire and health, with sections relating to electrical, plumbing, and structural work.

Built-in unit: refrigerator sized to fit flush with the countertops.

Bullnose tile Also called cap tile, shaped to define an edge of a surface, such as a countertop.

Butt-Joint: a joint that is formed by two surfaces placed squarely together.

Canter racks: wine storage with a permanent incline to keep corks moist.

Cartridge: component that controls flow can be single or dual-control, ceramic-disk cartridges on better-quality models block water flow when pressed together.

Ceramic tileMade from refined clay, usually mixed with additives and water and hardened in a kiln. Can be glazed or unglazed.

Ceiling-mount fixture: overhead lighting that provides general illumination.

Concealed Hinge: a hinge that is attached to the door and inside panel of a cabinet.

Convection: a setting that circulates heated air with fans, cutting cooking times by 25 percent.

Countertop cutout: an opening in the countertop that accepts and sometimes supports the sink.

Crown or crown molding: A contoured molding sometimes installed at the top of a wall or cabinet.

Cycle: the wash program you select according to type, amount, and dirt level of items loaded.

DimmerA switch that lets you vary the intensity of illumination emitted from a light fixture.

Disposers: built-in grinders and filters that remove food waste during the wash.

Double-File Kitchen: a kitchen form that has two rows of cabinets at opposite walls, one with the kitchen, and the other with the sink and stove.

Downdraft vent: a range or cook top ventilator that pulls cooking fumes down instead of up; ideal for island and peninsula installations.

Dovetail: a tight interlocking joint formed by one or more tenons and mortises.

Dowel: a piece of wood or round pin that fastens or aligns two adjacent pieces.

Downlight: Recessed or attached to the ceiling, a spotlight that casts light downward.

Drawer slides: The metal tracks or wood cleats mounted to drawers and the inside of cabinets for suspending drawers and enabling them to open and close.

Drop-in/self rimming sink: sink with a raised rim or lip that rests on the countertop; lip helps support the sink within the countertop cutout.

Dual-fuel ranges: all-in-one range that combines a gas cook top and electric oven.

Dual thermostat: separate temperature controls for the refrigerator and freezer compartments.

Edge treatment: special shaping or materials applied to the front edge of a countertop, usually to provide a rounded contour or to hide the exposed edge of the substrate.

Electric-coil heating elements: a traditional circular coil that provides radiant heat.

Engineered wood: laminated wood layers, tough as solid wood but more stable.

Exotic wood: species from Asia, Australia, and South America that are often noted for their hardness and intense colors.

Extractor Hood/Exhaust Hood/Kitchen Hood: is a device containing a fan that removes the airborne grease and other combustion products from the air above the stove.

Face frame: The front structure of a cabinet made of stiles and rails; it surrounds the door panels or drawers.

Farm sink: single, large rectangular bowl with exposed apron front; popular for cottage and European-style kitchens.

Fixture: (1) Any electrical device permanently attached to a home’s wiring: (2) Any of several plumbing devices that provide either a supply of water or sanitary disposal of liquid or solid waste.

Floating floor: The tongue-and-groove laminated and or the engineered-wood sections connected to each other but not fixed to the floor beneath.

Fluorescent light: An energy-efficient light source that uses an ionization process to produce ultraviolet radiation. This becomes visible light when it hits the coated inner surface of the bulb or tube.

Flush: On the same plane and/or level with the surrounding surface.

Fractional freezing: an icemaker feature that drains residual water and eliminates impurities.

Framed Cabinets: cabinets with a front frame around the cabinet opening to which the door is attached.

Frameless Cabinets (European Style Cabinets): cabinets that have no front frame. The cabinet doors are attached directly to the sides of the cabinet.

French-door unit: Usually these are side-by-side refrigerator doors above a freezer drawer.

Frieze: a plain or decorative horizontal band along the upper part of a wall.

Gallery: A kitchen layout characterized by two parallel runs of cabinetry on opposing walls.

Garbage Disposal: an appliance used for disposing garbage and other refuse.

Gas heating element: an element that heats by controlled flame

Glazing: A protective and decorative coating that is fired onto the surface of some tiles.

Gooseneck or high-arc faucet: tall, arched spout that makes it easy to fill large or deep pots and tall vases.

Grain: The direction of fibres in a piece of wood; also refers to the pattern of the fibres.

Granite: A quartz-base stone with a tough, glossy appearance; granite is harder than marble.

Grout: Grout is the material that is used to fill as well as seal the joints between ceramic tiles.

G-shaped: A U-shaped kitchen configuration with the added element of a peninsula joined perpendicularly to one end of the U.

Halogen heating element: an element that heats via halogen bulbs in ceramic-glass cook tops and quick-cooking wall ovens.

Hardwood: Lumber derived from deciduous trees such as oaks, maples, and walnuts.

High speed: a setting that combines traditional heat with convection, microwave, halogen, or infrared technology to produce quality results in as little as one-third the time; available in wall ovens only.

Honed finish: This is a satin finish instead of a high-gloss finish which is obtained by removing the highly polished surface.

Humidity control: mechanism to adjust humidity levels in crisper drawers to prolong produce life.

Hutch: A two-part case piece that usually has closed storage on the bottom and open shelves on the top.

Impervious tile: Tile least likely to absorb water.

Induction heating elements: a surface that conducts heat magnetically to iron or steel cookware.

Incandescent bulb: A light source with an electrically charged meal filament that burns at white heat.

Indirect light: Light directed toward, then reflected from, a surface such as a wall or ceiling.

Inlaid vinyl: colored vinyl chips that create heat-fused patterns and provide color throughout the entire thickness, not just on the surface.

Inset Drawers/Inset Doors: drawer and door fronts that are recessed to fit flush with the cabinet frame.

Island: An independent segment of cabinetry that doesn’t touch any walls and is typically centrally located within the kitchen floor plan.

Laminate: A hard plastic decorative veneer applied to cabinets and shelves. Can refer to a material formed by building up layers, such as flooring, or to the process of applying veneer to a surface, such as a countertop.

Lamp: another word for bulb.

Layout: A plan showing where cabinets, appliances, and fixtures will be located.

L-Kitchen: a kitchen form where the cabinets occupy two adjacent walls.

L-shaped: A kitchen layout characterized by two perpendicular runs of cabinetry that form an L-shaped.

Marble: A hard and durable limestone characterized by varied patterns and colors of veins.

MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard): an engineered wood manufactured from pressure cooked wood fiber, wax, and resin.

Microwave: an appliance using electromagnetic waves to cook food.

Mineral Streak: a discoloration in hardwoods caused by injury during growth.

Miter: two angles joined together to form a continuous surface.

Moisture settings: a warming-drawer feature that keeps heated foods moist or crisp.

Mosaic tile: (1-or 2-inch) vitreous tiles mounted on sheets or joined with adhesive strips.

Muntin: a strip of wood or metal set between two rails in a door or in paneling.

Ogee: a molding with the shape of an S-shaped curve.

Onlay: something applied or laid over something else.

Oven: an appliance used for heating, roasting, or baking food.

Overlay: something that covers or is laid over something else.

Patina: The Patina is a natural finish on a wood or a metal surface that is due to age and polishing.

Pendant: fixture that hangs from the ceiling via a stem, wire, or cable to provide task and/or general illumination; one fixture may have more than one pendant.

Peninsula: A typically short section of cabinetry joined perpendicularly to one end of an L-shape or U-shape kitchen configuration.

Plank flooring: boards 3 inches and wider.

Pot-filled faucet: wall spigot that delivers cold water only, mounted near the range or cook top so cooks needn’t carry heavy, water-filled pots from the sink.

Professional-grade: high-performance appliances designed for residential use; often stainless steel with more features.

Pullout faucet: two piece spout functioning as both a faucet and a pullout sprayer.

Racks: Multiple storage levels, which are often adjustable, The rack provides the best position dishes for both washing and drying.

Rails: The horizontal members of a face frame.

Radiant heating element: an element that provides continuous electric heat from beneath ceramic-glass surface.

Receptacle: An outlet that supplies power for appliances and other plug-in devices.

Recessed fixture: general and/or task lighting that installs unobtrusively in the ceiling (only the bulb and lens are visible)

Resilient: These are vinyl, linoleum, cork, and rubber tiles and sheets cushioned for comfort and flexibility.

Restaurant/commercial-style units: large, built-in, often stainless-steel refrigerators.

Resurfacing: the placing of a supplemental surface on an existing surface to increase its strength or improve its conformation.

Roof Sheathing: the sheet material or boards that are fastened to the roof rafters, onto which roof covering is laid.

Rotogravure vinyl: vinyl flooring with colour and pattern printed only on the surface.

Rout: to hollow out, groove, or furrow using a router.

RTA (Ready to Assemble): items that are targeted towards do-it-yourselves.

Sensors: electronic devices that evaluate the size and condition of each load, usually by measuring water contamination, and determine times and temperatures to best clean dishes.

Side-by-side unit: refrigerator configured with frozen-food compartments on the left and fresh-food compartment on the right.

Single-File Kitchen: a kitchen form that has the kitchen cabinet, sink, stove, and refrigerator all along one wall.

Sink: a water basin that has a drainpipe and a piped supply of water.

Single-hole or post-mount faucet: faucet that needs just one hole in sink deck or countertop useful where space is limited.

Soffit: the underside of a structural component, such as the area between the top of the wall cabinets and the ceiling.

Steam cooking: a method of cooking without oil or fats; retains food’s colors, textures, and nutrients, available in wall ovens only.

Stiles: The vertical members of a face frame.

Stone tile: Marble, granite, limestone, and slate are some examples. Dimensioned (or gauged) stone is cut to uniform size. Hand-split (or cleft) varies in size.

Stove: a gas or electrical appliance used for cooking or warmth.

Strip flooring: boards less than 3 inches wide.

Substrate: the structural material, often either particleboard or plywood, to which a finished surface material, such as tile or laminate, is applied.

Task lighting: fixture that brightens a specific area or surface for certain tasks.

Temperature zones: temperature settings in wine refrigerators for cooling different types of wine appropriately.

Tenon: a projection at the end of a piece of wood shaped for insertion into a mortise to form a joint.

Thermal oven: conventional oven with two gas or electric heating elements-one on the top for broiling and one below for baking and roasting.

Toe-kick the indentation at the bottom of a floor-based cabinet. Also known as toe space.

Top-mount unit: frozen-food compartment above the fresh-food compartment.

Tongue and Groove: a joint made by fitting a tongue on the edge of a board into a corresponding groove on another board.

Traffic flow: The route followed to enter and exit a kitchen and move through the work core.

Track lighting: ceiling-mount electrified bar that houses movable and directional lights for task or accent purposes.

Trash Compactor: a device used to compress garbage and refuse into smaller packets for easier disposal.

Trim panels: a method to cover appliance fronts to help them blend with surrounding cabinets or present a different finish.

Trim tile: Tile that is shaped to turn corners or decline the edges of an installation. Includes cove, bullnose, V-cap, quarter-round, inside corner, and outside corner.

Under cabinet fixture: compact strip or track that installs under a wall cabinet to provide bright light for a countertop, eliminating shadows; most use halogen lamps, which show a food’s true colour.

Under mount sink: rimless sink, recessed below tile, stone, or solid surfacing countertops.

Uplight: A light fixture that casts light onto the ceiling.

U-shape: A kitchen layout characterized by three runs of cabinetry joined perpendicularly to form a U-shape.

UV-resistant glass: glass tinted to block damaging ultraviolet rays.

Veneer: a thin finely grained wood glued to the base of an inferior material.

Ventilation System: a mechanical system used to circulate air.

Wash arm or level: the primary water source, along with spray jets and wash towers, which determines a machines effectiveness.

Wear layer: visible surface of synthetic coating factory-applied to resilient flooring.

Wood Grain: the alignment, texture, and appearance produced in wood.

Work triangle: The triangle formed by drawing lines from the sink to the refrigerator to the cooktop and back to the sink.

Zones: Interrelated centres, or stations, laid out to make your kitchen more organized and comfortable.

Please remember that if you have come here looking for specific terms and you have not found them on the list someone else probably has as well, and if no one tells us about them we won’t add them, so please send us the term so that we can add it to the kitchen glossary for future visitors.