Construction Equipment and Materials Glossary 101: The Essentials You Need to Know

The construction industry is constantly evolving and with it, the language used within it. This can make it difficult to keep up, especially if you’re not in the industry full-time and unfamiliar with the basics. Terms like “masonry” or “mortar” might be common for those working in construction but can be confusing for outsiders.

Whether you’re an experienced contractor or a rookie trying to learn the ropes, there will be times when you need to know and understand specific terminology used within the construction industry so you can feel confident when talking shop with your construction material provider.

From air compressors to scaffolding, we’ve got you covered! Whether you’re just starting out your construction project or want to brush up on your knowledge, read on for a comprehensive glossary of key terms and definitions related to construction equipment and materials – to make sure you’re never left in the dark

Construction Equipment Glossary


A compactor is an essential construction equipment that is used to compact soil, gravel, or other materials. They say a building is only as good as its foundation. Compaction helps to stabilize surfaces and create a solid foundation for subsequent construction. Plate compactor and compactor roller are the most used types of compactors.

Expansion Joint

External Expansion Joint (EEJ) Waterstop, External Construction Joint (ECJ) Waterstop, and Internal Expansion Joint (IEJ) Waterstop are all construction joints that allow the expansion and contraction of building materials. Without expansion joints, materials would expand and contract irregularly due to temperature and weather conditions, leading to cracking and other damage.



Hoists are machines that are used to lift and move heavy objects. They are typically used in construction or manufacturing settings to move large pieces of equipment or materials. There are a variety of different types of hoists including hoist buckets, hoist baskets, chain hoists, winch hoists…


Scaffolding is a temporary structure used to support workers and materials during construction or repair work. It can be made from a variety of materials, including metal, wood, or plastic, and is often used to access high places.

It consists of metal tubes or poles that are connected by joints, and it can be assembled and dismantled quickly.


Construction Material Glossary


Additives, also known as admixtures, are substances mixed with certain construction materials(like concrete or asphalt) to enhance their physical and chemical properties, making them workable and durable. Additives come in two forms: powder or liquid.


Construction adhesives are specialized adhesives(heavy-duty glues) that are used in the construction industry to bond two or more surfaces together.

They can be used for various applications, including attaching tiles to walls, ceilings, and floors.


Aggregate is a construction material that is used to provide strength, stability, and other features to a structure. It can be made from a mixture of sand and crushed stone and is a major component of concrete.


Coating materials are materials applied to the surface of something else. In construction, coatings are often used to protect materials from weathering, water, corrosion, or other damage. They can also be used to improve the appearance of surfaces.

One type of coating is waterproofing coating, which is used to protect against water infiltration. Another type is an insulation coating, which is used to improve thermal insulation.


Concrete is a mixture of cement, sand, gravel, and water mainly used to build parking, garages, basement floors, sidewalks, patios, foundation walls, etc.

Epoxy Resin

Epoxy resin is used as a bonding agent in construction, most notably in concrete. It is highly resistant, making it an ideal choice for outdoor applications where durability is important. Epoxy Resin is also considered for its aesthetic aspect.


Fillers are materials that are used to fill gaps in constructions, such as cracks, holes, and joints. Fillers for gaps have a wide range of densities, breathability, waterproofing and adhesive qualities, flexibility, and color, depending on the required use.


Grout is a material used to fill seams between tiles or other existing structures, typically in a construction or renovation project. It is generally made from a mixture of sand, cement, and water, which is then forced into the gaps.

Grout is often used to hold bricks, blocks, and cement together when they are not able to bond on their own but is also used in a variety of applications, including crack repair, water-stopping, and soil stabilization.

Common types of grouts include epoxy grout for waterproofing, cement-based grouts(cementitious grouts), and non-cementitious grouts.


A surface hardener is a material(silicate liquid) that is mixed with concrete, epoxy resin, or other construction materials to increase their hardness. To reduce their permeability and to dustproof or bubble-proof them as they solidify.

In this way, the material is more durable and less likely to crack or crumble over time. Surface hardeners are also known as surface densifiers.

Read Also: The complete construction material checklist


Masonry is an ancient art and craft that involves bonding together individual units, usually of stone, brick, or concrete block, to build a wall, column, pier, or other structure.

Masonry is a skilled trade that requires a high level of craftsmanship and expertise.



Mortar is a compound composed of cement, water, and other ingredients. It’s used to join bricks, stone, and other materials, as well as to fill and seal gaps. It can also be used to adorn stone, brick, and even wood structures with decorative patterns.


A plasticizer is a low-volatility liquid or solid substance that is added to a polymer, such as plastic or rubber, to improve its flexibility, and reduce its viscosity.

Plasticizers increase the plasticity of a substance. They are commonly added to polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which otherwise is hard and brittle, to make it soft, stretchy, and pliable; which makes it suitable for shower curtains, vinyl flooring, flexible plastic tubing, and electric wire insulation/coating…



Primer is the first coat that is applied to a surface. It helps to create a smooth and even finish, as well as providing a good foundation for the topcoat. Primer are essential materials in constructions, they can be used on both interior and exterior surfaces. Primers are best used for:

  • Increasing corrosion resistance
  • Decreasing water absorption
  • Providing high adherence specially to minerals and concrete surfaces.
  • Offering high resistance to all weather conditions (-30°C /+120°C)
  • It’s easy application, transparent color, and low cost


Surface Retarder is a chemical treatment for concrete formwork systems, which reacts with the surface paste to retard the hydration of cement.



Sealants are substances used to seal and block gaps between building materials to create a watertight seal or airtight seal and prevent other contaminants and exteror elements from entering.

Joint sealants fill any irregularities that may exist between the two surfaces by sealing joints. Sealants can also be used to fill cracks fiberglass and other rigid building materials. Sealants are available as thick liquids, pastes or silicone sealants.


A solvent is a substance that is used to dissolve another material. Solvents can also be used as a coating or adhesive material.

Solvent free materials are materials that do not contain solvent whereas solvent based materials are materials with solvent in it.


A spacer is a material that is inserted between two materials to prevent them from coming into contact with each other. Spacers are typically made of a soft, low-friction material so that they do not damage the surfaces that they are spacing apart.


Swellstops (Swellable Waterstops)

Designed to seal poured-in-place concrete and precast concrete below-grade, Swellstop is a water-swellable waterproofing sealant.

When exposed to water, it begins to swell, sealing any exposed gaps in concrete joints. Swellstop adheres well to clean, dry concrete. It is designed specifically for non-moving joints. It is designed for all-weather use and can withstand a wide range of temperatures.

Swellstop remains flexible in cold weather without shrinking or hardening and can be applied without heating.





An attachment point for a hoist is the trolley, which allows it to be moved up and down beam.