Like most industries, the plumbing industry has its own language. The
terms can make selecting or installing plumbing a challenge until you
understand the terminology. We’ve compiled a list of the plumbing
terms that you will find on Shop 4 Classics into our Plumbing Glossary.
We hope you will find this information useful as you browse Shop 4 Classics.
acrylic - A glassy, thermoplastic
material that is vacuum-formed to cast and mold shapes that form the
surface of fiberglass bathtubs, whirlpools, shower bases, and shower
here for acrylic bathtubs.
aerator - An
apparatus that mixes air into flowing water. It is screwed onto the end
of a faucet spout to help reduce splashing.
angle stop - A shutoff
valve in which the inlet connects to the water supply pipe
in the wall and the outlet angles 90 degrees upward toward the
faucet or toilet.
anti-scald - A valve that restricts water
flow to help prevent burn injuries. See pressure
balancing valve and thermostatic
valve. In some areas, plumbing codes require anti-scald valves. Speak
to a professional in your area for more information and help with code
here for items featuring anti-scald valves.
anti-siphon - A
device that prevents waste water from being drawn back into supply lines,
possibly contaminating the water supply. See backflow
- B -
backflow - When
water traveling from one system backs into any part of the main water
supply system. Backflow is usually caused by siphoning.
preventer - A device to prevent backflow.
In some areas, plumbing codes require a backflow preventer for handheld
showers, pullout faucet spouts, kitchen sprayers, etc. Speak to a professional
in your area for more information and help with code requirements.
siphonage - The backflow of contaminated or waste
water from a plumbing fixture or vessel into a potable water
supply due to negative pressure in the pipe.
backsplash - A
raised integral portion of a wall mount sink or lavatory located at the
rear to protect the wall.
basket strainer - Basket shaped
strainer with holes allowing water to drain while catching food
or other solids. Can also be closed to fill the sink with water.
bottom mount faucet - See widespread.
- A pipe fitting for joining pipes with different
diameters. A bushing is threaded on the inside (see FIP)
and outside (see MIP).
cast iron - Heavy metal formed
by casting on molds. The metal is covered with a porcelain enamel coating
to make fixtures such as the cast iron tubs found here at Shop 4 Classics. Click
here for cast iron bathtubs.
centerset - A style of faucet
that is installed on a lavatory with 4" center-to-center faucet
holes and that has the spout and handle(s) combined into a single
here for centerset faucets.
ceramic disk valve - A type of valve that
relies on two-part revolving disks in a sealed cylinder. Each disk has
a port in it that, when aligned with the other, will allow water to pass
compression fitting - A pipe connection
that seals without soldering. As a nut is tighten on one fitting, it
compresses a washer or gasket around the second pipe, forming a watertight
compression valve - A type of valve
that works by raising or lowering a stem. Water passes through the valve
by turning the faucet handle, which causes the stem to drop or rise.
console lavatory - A table-like
lavatory in which the basin is attached to a wall at the back and
by table or piano legs at the front. Click
here for console lavatories.
coupling - Straight, sleeve-like
fitting with female connections at both ends.
- D -
diverter - Valves which have a
single inlet and direct water to one of two outlets. Diverters
are used with handshowers, shower risers, tub & shower combinations,
and kitchen faucet sprayers.
DWV - (Drainage, Waste & Vent) The
pipes in a plumbing system that remove waste water.
- E -
elbow - An angled
fitting that alters the direction of the water line.
ell - See elbow.
- A trim piece or decorative flange that fits beneath
the faucet handle to conceal the faucet stem and the hole in the fixture
- F -
female IPS - Pipe
connection where the threads are on the inside of the fitting. See FIP.
threads - See FIP.
- (Female Iron Pipe) Standard threads that
are on the inside of a pipe fitting.
fitting - A
general term that usually refers to faucets, shower valves, tub fillers,
or various piping parts such as tees or elbows.
flow rate - The rate by which water is
discharged from an outlet. For example, the standard flow rate of a showerhead
is 2.5 gallons per minute.
flex hose - A flexible pipe or
tube usually made of braided stainless steel. Commonly used with widespread or
Roman tub faucets to provide variable centers.
- G -
GPM - (Gallons
Per Minute) The unit of measurement by which flow
rate of faucets and showerheads are measured and regulated.
- (Gallons Per Flush) The unit of measurement
by which flow
rate of toilets are measured and regulated. Current U.S. regulations
for toilets require a maximum of 1.6 GPF.
- H -
bibb - An outdoor faucet with hose threads on the
spout. Also commonly used to supply washing machines and wash basins. Click
here for outdoor faucets.
- I -
ID - (Inside
Diameter) The diameter measurement taken from the inside of a pipe.
A common method for sizing pipe.
inlet - An
opening providing a means of entrance or intake.
IPS - (Iron
Pipe Size) Pipe thread sizing system. Also measurement of the outside
diameter of a pipe.
- L -
lavatory - Bathroom
or washroom sink.
- M -
male IPS - Pipe
connection where the threads are on the outside of the fitting. See MIP.
threads - See MIP.
- A smaller variation of a widespread faucet
with separate spout and handles designed small enough to fit 4" center-to-center
MIP - (Male Iron Pipe) Standard
threads that are on the outside of a pipe or fitting.
valve - A valve that mixes hot and cold water in
the valve to obtain a set temperature prior to delivery.
nipple - A short pipe installed
between fittings. A pipe coupling that is threaded on both ends.
size - Size used for identification only; not literal
- O -
O-ring - Round
rubber washer or gasket that is compressed to create a watertight seal,
typically in a compression
OD - (Outside Diameter) A
measurement of the diameter of a pipe as taken from the outside edge.
A common method for sizing pipe. offset - A
tubular component which permits the offsetting of a drainage run in the
same basic direction.
- P -
"P" trap - P-shaped
section of drain pipe that prevents sewer odors from escaping into
your home. Water is trapped in the pipe blocking gases from escaping
through the drain.
pedestal lavatory - A lavatory in which
the bowl is supported by a single pedestal leg. Click
here for pedestal lavatories.
pop-up drain - A drain mechanism
that relies on a lever or rod to lift or pop up the drain stopper.
potable - Water that is safe to
powder coat - A technique for applying
paint to metal surfaces. The metal is covered with a powder of dry paint
particles and is baked in an oven. This causes the powder to melt and
harden into a tough, colorful finish.
pressure balancing valve
- A mixing
valve that maintains a constant water temperature by balancing incoming
hot and cold water supplies. Fluctuations in either hot or cold water
pressure may cause overall outlet pressure to drop but the temperature
is regulated to remain consistent. Click
here for items featuring pressure balance valves.
PVD - (Physical
Vapor Deposition) A very durable titanium or zirconium coating that
resists tarnish, scratches, and corrosion. It is used mostly to protect
faucets with a brass finish.
- R -
reducer - See bushing.
- An upright or vertical pipe that feeds water to
a fixture such as a showerhead.
rough-in - The
unfinished ends of drain or supply lines marking where fixtures and drains
will eventually be installed.
- S -
seat - The
fixed part of a valve. The stem
assembly will move up and down against the seat to open and close
self rimming - A style of bathroom
lavatory or kitchen sink with a finished lip or rim that installs on
top of a counter without requiring a metal sink rim.
valve - The valve that allows water supply to be
cut off to one fixture without affecting the water supply to the entire
house or building. Common for use with clawfoot tubs, sinks, and toilets.
joint - A connection made with compression
spud - A short section of
pipe or a threaded fitting that completes a connection.
assembly- The moving part of a valve that controls
the amount and temperture of water released by moving up and down against
the seat to
open and close the valve.
stem - A small
shaft or rod that projects through the faucet valve and to which the
handle is installed.
stop - See shutoff
straight stop - A shutoff
valve that is installed on a supply line between the floor
and the faucet or toilet. Unlike an angle stop, a straight stop
does not change the direction of water flow.
stub - See rough-in.
- T -
tailpiece - The
tubular part of a lavatory drain that runs from the drain flange to the
tee - A T-shaped fitting with three
thermostatic valve - A mixing
valve that automatically maintains the temperature setting by regulating
fluctuations in water temperature at the water inlets and immediately
adjusting the ratio of hot and cold water that is discharged by the valve. Click
here for items featuring thermostatic valves.
top mount faucet
- See centerset.
kit - Refers to the outside decorative parts that
conceal a faucet rough-in.
undercounter - A style of lavatory
which is positioned under the cutout of the countertop.
nut - A fitting that joins two sections of pipe.
vacuum breaker - A anti-siphon
device that prevents waste water from being drawn back into supply lines,
potentially contaminating the water supply. A type of backflow
valve - A device that regulates
vitreous china - A non-porous
ceramic that is coated with a ceramic glaze to form toilets and lavatories.
- W -
Waste & Overflow
waste & overflow - A bathtub
drain assembly that has an outlet at the top to remove overflow
water when filling the tub and an outlet at the bottom to remove
waste water when the tub is drained.
water closet - Toilet.
widespread - A style of lavatory
faucet where the spout and handles are separate. Flex
hoses are used between the spout and handles to allow adjustable
centers, although this style of faucet is typically used on 8" or
12" centers. Click
here for widespread faucets.