Can You Name More Than Half of the Items on This Construction Equipment Quiz?

By: Bambi Turner

Can You Name More Than Half of the Items on This Construction Equipment Quiz?
Image: skynesher / E+ / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Can you tell the difference between a jackhammer and a hole saw? Know the difference between a rip saw and one that is crosscut -- and what the heck is a miter saw for, anyhow? If you can answer all these questions, you just might have what it takes to ace this construction basics quiz!

Got building skills? If you have a natural knack for putting things together or performing basic home and building repairs, a career in construction could be just right for you. This field not only allows you to stay active and work on a wide variety of projects, but it's also quite lucrative; tradesmen like carpenters and electricians earn a median annual salary of $45,000 to $55,000 as of 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and those who work their way up into construction management roles pull in a median of $91,000. 

Ready to start swinging that hammer? First, you'll need to brush up on basic math skills and make sure you have the soft skills -- like timeliness, sales and basic marketing -- that are often needed for this field. While a college degree isn't usually required, many contractors rely on training programs and apprenticeships offered by local unions to learn on the job and build their careers.

Think you've got what it takes? Take our quiz to show off your construction basics IQ!

rebar What do you call those steel rods used to strengthen concrete?
beams
joists
posts
rebar
Concrete is super strong in terms of compressive strength, but not so good at putting up with tensile forces -- or forces trying to pull it apart rather than compress it. Adding steel bars called rebar goes a long way toward making the concrete stronger and more stable.

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bearing wall What do you call a wall that serves as part of a home's structural system?
roaring wall
leaning wall
dogging wall
bearing wall
A bearing wall is one that supports the weight of building components above it -- like the ceiling. These walls shouldn't be demolished or modified without advice from a structural engineer.

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gable roof A gable is a style of...
floor
wall
roof
When you see a child's picture of a house, with a simple square shape and a triangle placed on top, you're looking at a basic gable roof. This common sloped roof style is found on many homes. More complex designs include a hipped roof or a barn-style gambrel roof.
wall

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pitch Which of these terms describes the slope of a roof?
throw
void
square
pitch
The angle or slope of a roof is known as the pitch. It represents how many inches the roof rises vertically over each foot it extends horizontally.

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knob and tube Which of these is NOT a type of foundation?
knob and tube
The foundation a home is built on helps to distribute the weight of the structure evenly over the ground. While many homes use a slab on grade, a crawlspace or a basement, there's no such thing as a knob and tube foundation.
slab on grade
crawlspace
basement

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wall stud What is the name of the vertical framing members used to give structure to walls in the home?
stud
The framing of a typical house consists of wooden studs, which are arranged vertically to give strength and support to walls. Some homes and many commercial structures opt for metal studs rather than wood because they last longer and require less maintenance over time.
clamp
gambrel
joist

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lintel Where are you most likely to find a lintel?
in a bag on beans
on the roof
over a window
A lintel is any horizontal framing member used to add support over a door or window. It can be made of wood, stone or metal, and is sometimes used simply for decoration rather than for structural needs.
on the stairs

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joist Which of these is a horizontal floor framing member?
stud
gambrel
gable
joist
A joist is a framing member that runs parallel to the roof or ceiling. It is placed horizontally, and may be supported by additional framing members known as beams or timbers.

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measuring 2x4 If you put a tape measure to a 2x4, it will actually measure...
2 by 4
1.5 by 3.5
A 2x4 is a piece of lumber measuring 2 inches by 4 inches -- at least on paper. This 2x4 label is the nominal dimension, while the lumber actually measures 1.5 by 3.5 inches.
2.5 by 4.5
it depends on the brand

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joint compound Which of these is used to cover the seams on drywall?
mortar
joint compound
Drywall is great for building smooth walls -- except at the joints. To cover up the joints and blend them in with the surrounding surface, they are taped, coated in joint compound and sanded to an even finish.
epoxy
sand

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pine Which of these is a softwood?
oak
maple
hickory
pine
The terms hardwood and softwood technically have nothing to do with hardness or softness. Instead, hardwood refers to wood that comes form deciduous trees, like maple, oak and walnut, while softwood comes from evergreens like pine, fir and spruce.

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drywall What is the main material used to make drywall?
gypsum
Gypsum is a naturally occurring material that is used to make drywall. It's compressed between sheets of heavy paper, then used to form the walls and ceilings in a home or building.
sawdust
sand
concrete

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windows 1 Where might you use a mullion?
on the roof
in the garden
on a window
A mullion is any bar used to divide the panes in a window. This term may also be used for a vertical member placed between a pair of doors.
while wiring the house

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ventilation What does the "V" stand for in HVAC?
variable
vacuum
ventricular
ventilation
HVAC stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Sometimes, it's written as HVACR, where the R at the end stands for refrigeration.

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concrete What does the "C" in ICF stand for?
concrete
Insulating concrete forms, also known as ICFs, are a new method of placing cast-in-place concrete. The forms are made of sheets of foam insulation, and the concrete is then poured in between for an insulated and structurally sound building.
cold-rolled
corrosive
cardboard

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bathroom drywall Where are you most likely to find green board?
outside
bedroom
bathroom
Some drywall is specially designed for certain applications. White drywall is general purpose, while blue board is designed for use with veneer plaster. Green board is moisture-resistant drywall, and is used in wet areas like the bathroom.
halls

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GFCI A GFCI is a special type of...
light fixture
receptacle
Many building codes require ground fault circuit interrupters, or GFCI receptacles in areas like the bathroom. These specialized electrical outlets help reduce the risk of fire an electric shock.
flooring
wallpaper

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p-trap Where might you find a p-trap?
sink
A p-trap is a plumbing device used under the sink. It's shaped like a letter p turned on its side, and is used to catch debris and keep sewer gases from entering the home.
furnace
solar panel
oven

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wooden shingles Where might you use a shake?
roof
Wood shakes are naturally split wooden shingles that have been used for hundreds of years. They are used as both roofing and siding, and have a rustic, natural appearance.
floor
bathroom
kitchen

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staircase What are the structural supports at the sides of a staircase called?
gables
stringers
A staircase rests on a pair of stringers. The horizontal part of the steps are known as treads, while the vertical sections are called risers.
peaks
mullions

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plywood How large is a standard sheet of plywood?
2 by 4
3 by 6
4 by 8
A standard sheet of plywood measures 4 by 8 feet. Made of thin sheets of wood glued together, plywood serves as a common material for building walls, floors and ceilings.
8 by 10

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laminate Which of these gets its appearance from a printed picture, rather than real wood?
laminate
Laminate flooring is made by pressing layers of material together under high pressure. It includes a base layer topped with a printed image -- which can resemble wood, stone or tile -- then topped with a clear wear coat.
hardwood
engineered wood
softwood

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insulation Which of these does R-value measure?
thermal resistance
R-value is a measure of thermal resistance, and is often used to rate insulation materials. The higher the r-value. the better a material resists thermal transfer.
moisture resistance
sound resistance
fire resistance

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roofing How is roofing material measured?
square
Roofing material is sold by the square. One square of roof shingles will cover 100 square feet of roof area.
cubic yard
inch
diameter

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EIFS EIFS is essentially a modern form of this.
stucco
Exterior insulation and finish system, or EIFS, is roughly the modern equivalent of stucco. While stucco relies on organic materials like cement and lime, EIFS is made with polymers and other advanced materials.
hardwood
vinyl
drywall

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miter saw Which of these saws would you use to cut crown molding?
miter saw
Anyone who has ever tried to install crown molding knows that creating angled ends that perfectly align is no easy task. A miter saw is designed to cut these types of angles, and is typically used to cut molding and trim.
chop saw
reciprocating saw
hacksaw

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concrete block
CMU stands for concrete masonry unit. These blocks, which come in standard sizes based on how thick of a wall they can build -- an 8-inch block is used to build an 8-inch wall, for instance -- are often used in high-traffic structures like schools and warehouses.
floor covering
roofing material
type of drywall

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pouring concrete How is concrete measured?
square inch
square foot
cubic inch
cubic yard
Concrete is measured in terms of cubic yards.One cubic yard of concrete will cover an area measuring 3 feet by 3 feet by 3 feet.

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terrazzo floor Which of these is most likely to be built from terrazo?
floor
Terrazo is an old-school building material that is commonly used to construct floors. It's made from chips of marble, glass and stone mixed with cement and polymers.
roof
porch
wall

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windows 2 Which of these commonly comes with a U-factor rating?
refrigerator
asphalt shingles
vinyl tile
windows
U-factor is a rating that measures heat transfer through a window. The lower the U-factor, the more effective the window is at insulating.

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brick Which of these might require tuckpointing?
carpet
hardwood
brick
Tuckpointing, or pointing, is a process used to restore the mortar between bricks. It involves chipping out the old mortar and replacing it with a freshly mixed batch to minimize water infiltration and structural issues.
drywall

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exit door The rating on a fire-rated door refers to...
degrees
weight
cost
time
Fire-rated doors help to slow the spread of fire, giving occupants more time to escape during an emergency. They are rated by how long they can handle the heat, with ratings typically ranging from 20 minutes to 3 hours.

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nails What does the "d" used to categorize nails stand for?
inches
feet
penny
Nails are designated using the letter d, which stands for penny. An 8 d, or 8 penny nail measures 2.5 inches long.
dollar

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SIP panels What is a SIP used for?
painting
building a wall
Structural insulated panels, or SIPs, are modern wall-framing components. They consist of two sheets of particle board filled with insulation, and can be used to construct walls in place of traditional sheathing.
refinishing the floor
digging a footing

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mixing concrete Mixing concrete at 1:4:8 involves these three components:
gypsum, cement and water
cement, sand and aggregate
Concrete is mixed in ratios, so a ratio of 1:4:8 means you should mix one part cement, four parts sand and eight parts aggregate. Ratios can change based on where the concrete will be placed.
mortar, aggregate and epoxy
resin, water and sand

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vinyl tile Where would you install VCT?
floor
Vinyl composite tile, or VCT, is a flooring material used on high-traffic areas. It's similar in appearance to linoleum, but tends to be durable and require less maintenance.
walls
roof
ceiling

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vinyl siding Which of these is most common on American homes?
wood siding
wooden shingle siding
brick
vinyl siding
The U.S. Census Bureau named vinyl siding as the most common material used on new homes in 2017. The next most common is stucco, while wood siding is relatively rare.

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STC - sound What does the "S" in STC stand for?
seismic
sound
There's nothing worse than being forced to deal with noise from loud neighbors, or from busy roads near your home. The STC, or sound transmission coefficient rating, on various building materials lets you know how well those products are able to stop sound waves.
simple
sideways

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dig hole How deep can you generally dig a hole without shoring?
1 foot
3 feet
5 feet
OSHA requires you to shore up a hole to prevent it from collapsing -- and thus possibly burying yourself alive -- anytime you dig deeper than 5 feet. Of course, if you don't do a lot of digging, it's best to have someone qualified to keep an eye on things as you start shifting dirt.
10 feet

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polystyrene Which of these materials is the most effective for insulating walls?
fiberglass
wool
cellulose
polystyrene
Inch per inch, polystyrene foam is about twice as effective at insulating walls than a standard fiberglass batt, wool or cellulose. Other composite materials can be even more effective in some applications.

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