illustration of contractor speaking gibberish to homeowner
Illustration: Gary Clement
If you've ever heard a contractor talking to his crew, you might think they're speaking a secret language. In a way, they are: Contractors often use tradesman terms that might be unfamiliar to the uninitiated. Use this helpful cheat sheet as a guide to some of the lingo so that you won't risk miscommunication on your next project.

If He's a GC...
What he said: "Once we put in a dutchman, you won't notice that this trim piece is a little. short."
What it means: He needs to add a filler piece, commonly called a dutchman in carpentry.

What he said: "I see a few holidays on that wall."
What it means: Someone missed several spots while painting with a roller.

What he said: We'll need to spackle over that catface."
What it means: He needs to cover an indentation in the wall left when a hammer missed a nail—commonly called a catface. Luckily, it's easy to patch.

What he said: "This wall's gonna come down, yes? Time for the persuader!"
What it means: Stand back! He's about to reach for a sledgehammer.
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