Glossary of Terms

Baluster - A small molded shaft, square or circular, in stone or wood, supporting the coping of a parapet or the hand rail of a staircase.


Balustrade – a railing supported by balusters, especially an ornamental parapet on a balcony, bridge, or terrace.


Bracket – A structural or decorative member. It can be made of wood, stone, plaster, metal, etc. It projects from a wall, usually to carry weight and strengthen an angle.


Broken Pediment – a pediment, over a doorway or window, having its raking cornice interrupted at the crown or apex.


Coping – The capping or covering of a wall.


Cornice – Upper section of an entablature, a projecting shelf along the top of a wall often supported by brackets.


Dentils – one of many small, rectangular blocks resembling teeth and used as a decoration under the soffit of a cornice.


Fronton – French word for pediment.


Keystone – The architectural pieces at the crown of a vault or arch and marks its apex, locking the other pieces into position.


Mullion – Vertical bar of wood, metal, or stone which divides a window into two or more parts.


Parapet - a low wall built up above the level of a roof, to hide the roof or to provide protection against falling, and similar structures associated with balconies, bridges, etc.


Pediment – the triangular-shaped portion of the wall above the cornice which formed the termination of the roof behind it. The projecting moldings of the cornice which surround it enclose the tympanum, which is sometimes decorated with sculpture.


Quoin / Quoining - The cornerstones of brick or stone walls. Quoins are also common in some brickwork corners that are alternately recessed and expressed.


Raking Cornice – Either of two straight, sloping cornices on a pediment following or suggesting the slopes of a roof.


Spandrel – The almost triangular space between one side of the outer curve of an arch, a wall, a ceiling or framework.


Spandrel Band – The space between two arches or between an arch and a rectangular enclosure.


Torch Corbel – a pieces of stone, wood, or metal jutting from a wall to carry a superincumbent weight, a type of bracket. A corbel is a solid piece of material in the wall, whereas a console is piece applied to the structure.


Tympanum – semi-circular or triangular decorative wall surface over an entrance, door or window, bounded by a lintel and arch.


Water Table – Masonry feature that consists of a projecting course that deflects water running down the face of a building away from lower courses or the foundation, though often decorative.


Window Head -  The main horizontal part forming the top of the window frame on a double-hung window.


Window Jamb – The main vertical parts forming the sides of a window frame on a double-hung window.


Window Sill – The main horizontal part forming the bottom of the frame of a window on a double-hung window.