The Truth Is

For the past year my 14-year-old cousins have been doing this thing on Facebook where they write on a friend’s wall ‘The truth is…’ and then complete the sentence. The truth is…I think you’re really cute. The truth is…you’re good at the clarinet. The truth is…you’re the second hottest person in class (this was legitimately said). You get the picture.

Except that I didn’t. And still don’t, really. No one told me about this new thing that apparently everyone is doing. And the truth is…for the first time in my life, I actually feel old.

OK, so not old. I’m 27, after all. But older. It’s the first time I’ve ever felt a generation out of the loop. These crazy kids have a new language all their own and fossils like yours truly just can’t keep up. 

(And while we’re at it...can we turn the music down just a little?)

But in some way or another, we all know what it’s like when someone is speaking a totally different language. Figuratively speaking, that is.

Consider contractors, for example. By understanding the jargon of their trade, apartment professionals can improve project management, and reduce errors and misunderstandings down the road.

1. Roofers speak in “squares.” (And often in circles, too.)

A square is a 10 x 10 square foot area or 100 square feet. When requesting a roofing estimate, a contractor will tell you how many squares of shingles are needed.

2. Carpet and padding measurements. Carpet and padding is generally sold by the square yard, not the square foot. These numbers can easily be confused. To determine square yards simply measure the square feet and divide by nine.

Which is where you’ve already lost me.

3. Electric service. The power lines running to the property generally attach above the roof through a weatherhead. These lines then feed into an electric meter and a circuit breaker panel. All of this taken together is called your electric service.

4. Circuit breakers and amps. Circuit breaker panels (and older fuse boxes) are often defined by amps. Amps are simply a measurement of the amount of power available. The lower the number, the less power you have available.

5. Proper vents. These are located in the attic. This does not refer to attic venting that has been installed “properly.” Rather, proper vents are actually an insulation product that allows ventilation from the soffit vent to the ridge vent.

6. Roof flashings. These are the items installed around the pipe penetration coming through the roof. Contractors will call them “pipe boots” or “roof jacks.” Also, if there is a leak, some will want to apply caulk, sealant or other mastics to make the repair on a cracked rain collar. Don’t let them do this—these items seal from the bottom, not the top.

The truth is…for more, you’ll have to check out IRO Insider in the August issue of units Magazine, which mailed Aug. 10.

Lauren Boston is NAA’s Staff Writer and Manager of Public Relations. Unsurprisingly, she writes a lot—most often for units Magazine and as a weekly blogger for APTly Spoken. She enjoys making people laugh, sharing embarrassing childhood stories and being the (self-proclaimed) Voice of the Apartment Industry. She welcomes feedback, unless it’s negative (in which case, please keep it to yourself).