Can You Identify These Basic House Features Actual Adults Should Know?



By: Todd Betzold

6 Min Quiz

Image: Eric Schaeffer / Moment / Getty Images

About This Quiz

While HGTV has made all of us think that we need to renovate or buy a new house, some of us should stick to renting because we don't have a clue about basic house features. We may learn a lot about renovations and flipping a house on HGTV, but is it enough to learn about the basics every home should have?

That's where this quiz comes into play, as we are going to test your knowledge of some typical home features. While these terms may be basic to you, they may seem like a foreign language to other people. You may know what some home features look like, but do you know their names or what uses they have beyond the obvious? We will test you on everything from construction to bathroom features, from exterior items to interior decor.

Maybe you want a pantry or an island in the kitchen, but can you recognize either in a photo? Similar items will be included in this big test today, so try and make your way through the entire quiz and identify the household features you are looking at in the photos. It may not be as easy as you think, so the pressure is on!

The things that can get caught in these is crazy, so clean them every year. What are they?

Gutters collect leaves, dirt, branches and dead animals over time. Because of that, get out the ladder and hose and start clearing these things out every year, or hire a professional to do it.


This helps wash your body, but do you know how to change it?

After a while, the shower head will get moldy and rusty, so it will need to be replaced. You can use a wrench to loosen the head and remove it, then install a new one in its place after cleaning off the shower head stem with some vinegar or alcohol.


Adjusting this during an emergency could be very important, but do you what it is or where it is located?

When there is a plumbing issue, the first thing to do is turn off the water. All water flow can be stopped at the water shut-off valve, which varies in location from house to house. Knowing where that valve is can prevent a lot of damage, so if you don't know, find out!


Some homes have these in the Ionic, Doric or Corinthian style, reminiscent of ancient Greece and Rome. What are they?

Columns are a hallmark of classical and neoclassical style. The Doric column is simple, while the Corinthian can be quite ornate. All are found in ancient Greek and Roman ruins, like the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill.


If this starts leaking, the dripping may cause you to go insane. What is it?

Of course, plumbing problems vary depending on the model of sink and faucet you have, but basic faucet leaks are usually all the same. To repair, you would need to replace a faulty or worn-down O-ring, washer or stem inside the faucet head.


You should change this every three months to keep your air fresh and avoid fires, but what is it?

We all want clean air in our lives, which is why the furnace filter should be changed every three months in your house. If you have a smoker in the house or a pet that sheds a lot, then you need to change the filter even more frequently.


It looks like winding stairs, but it is called what?

Spiral staircases may seem hazardous or make you dizzy, but they're also stylish and convenient in tight spaces. Some of the first spiral staircases were used in castles in the Middle Ages.


You can find this in a breakfast nook, covered with a cozy cushion and lots of pillows. What is it?

A banquette is an alternative to a typical dining table with chairs or benches. It can be a great space saver if square footage is limited.


If your door is scraping or getting caught, you may need to tighten these. What are they called?

If the door moves up or down when it's open, it means the screws in the door hinges are loose. Here's a tip: remove the loose screws and then use a wooden matchstick dipped in carpenter's glue to help fill the hole.


What feature, when added on, will make sure your books don't go tumbling down?

Bookcases or other heavier standalone objects in your house should be anchored to the wall, in case anything happens that could make them tip over. Many types of anchors are available, and they must be attached to wall studs.


This basic tool will help you determine where your bookshelf anchor goes. What is it?

If you are mounting something on the wall or need to secure a bookcase to the wall, a stud finder is a great tool to have. It will help keep things in place and keep you from having 12 nail holes in the wall!


What is the opening in a chimney called?

The pipe, duct or opening in a chimney is called the flue. A flue is used to get rid of exhaust gases from the fireplace, furnace or water heater. Be sure your chimney flue is clean before lighting a fire in your fireplace.


What is this special type of window called, that projects outward from the house?

The bay window is often the centerpiece of the home, both from the inside and the outside. It may look upon a delightful vista or may be a key gathering space in the home.


This plays a crucial part in cooling down the attic, but what is it?

This may come as a shock to some, but roofs need ventilation. An attic can get very hot, so roof vents allow some of that heat to escape.


A new one of these can make a world of difference, but what is it?

A loose toilet seat can be a simple fix, as you may just need to open up the plastic snap-shut lid at the back of the toilet seat. Tightening those bolts may fix the issue. Otherwise, a new toilet seat may be needed, and that's an easy replacement also.


Every house has these and they play a crucial role, but what are they called?

A downspout is a tube that is connected to the gutters. This downspout is what directs the water down from inside the gutters and away from the home's foundation.


All the power in the house runs through this, but what is it called?

The breaker box is also known as the electrical panel. Electricity runs into the breaker box and then it is split into separate circuits throughout the house.


In your basement or crawl space, what do we call these pipes?

Supply lines bring water into your house. Some of it gets sent directly to the water heater and then it is returned to the supply lines for you to use.


What do you call that cozy little sitting area around a fireplace?

The inglenook was made popular during the Middle Ages, but gained popularity again in the late 19th century. It is an area near a fireplace, often including a bench, which gave the person cooking or tending the fire a chance to sit down.


This little-noticed item keeps your door from slamming into the wall. Do you know what it's called?

The door stop prevents a door from slamming into the wall when it's opened forcefully. Door stops come in all shapes and sizes - they can blend in or be decorative.


Do you know this area of a bathtub, which can get filled with hair?

You never realize how much hair comes off of you until you see it all in the drain, which causes it to clog up. That's why you need to bring out a snake and pull that gunk out every once in a while.


What items are placed on a roof to prevent leaks?

Shingles are often made of asphalt because of its waterproof properties. Other roofing materials are slate and wood. Flashing is placed under shingles at roof intersections for extra security.


This is a necessary part of the kitchen, especially if you are a bad cook. What is this device called?

A range hood is also known as an exhaust hood or extractor hood. It contains a mechanical fan and hangs above the stove. The purpose of the range hood is to remove fumes, smoke and heat while cooking.


Found on interior walls, what are these wooden or vinyl strips called?

Baseboards can be found covering the lowest part of a home's interior walls. They are normally made of wood or vinyl. They cover the joint between the wall surface and the floor.


There's a fire! What do you use to get out?

Apartment buildings, especially in major cities, are required to have fire escapes for tenants on upper floors. Fire escapes were introduced during industrialization to keep tenants safe in new, large apartment buildings. Even if you don't have or need a fire escape, having a plan in case of an emergency is important! Also, install smoke detectors.


If your house doesn't have a basement, it most likely has this area, which is called what?

You can find a crawl space under some homes, below the first floor. There is no basement in these homes, so this one- to three-foot-high area allows someone to crawl around and access plumbing and electrical lines.


This area over the fireplace might hold stockings or picture frames. What is it called?

The mantel sits above the fireplace and can be a great decorative centerpiece of a home. But did you know that it was originally created to catch smoke from the fire, the way hoods now do in kitchens?


Usually right off the kitchen, this room can help when cupboard space is low. What is this room called?

A pantry is an area used to store food that doesn't need to be refrigerated, and sometimes dishes, cleaning products and linens. It's usually a closet of sorts.


What metal was often used as a ceiling?

Tin ceilings had elaborate patterns and used to be sold door-to-door by traveling salesmen. Copper ceilings were also popular. You can still find these ceilings in some homes today, though they are rarely seen in new construction.


What window, sometimes found above a front door, is in the shape of a common Japanese item?

A fanlight happens to be that semicircle window that is sometimes found above a door or other windows. The name comes from the resemblance of the fanlight to a geisha accessory.


You may have seen this on a rooftop, but do you know what it's called?

A small gable is also called a gablet, and it normally appears at the peak of a roof with four sloping sides. A gablet is also the triangular top set over a dormer window.


Let's talk window treatments. What's the name of that thing that goes over the window to hide the blinds or curtain rod?

A valance is used to hide the window blinds when they're pulled up or to cover unsightly curtain rods. It's a small detail that can add some sophistication to a home.


We all know what a sink is, but what's that rubbery layer on the edge of it called?

That area where the sink meets the wall or floor is sealed with caulk - it's the gel or rubbery line. This helps prevents leaking. Caulk wears out over time, though, so edges need to be re-caulked every few years.


The top of a door or window has a name. Do you know what it is?

The lintel is a support for a door or window that can also serve as decor. The lintel spreads a load out to the surrounding walls as well.


A small kitchen near another kitchen? Yes, but what is it called?

A scullery is essentially a small kitchen - a room in the house that is normally used for washing dishes or clothes. It is considered to be an overflow kitchen.


What household feature, rarely in use anymore, once played an important role in feeding a household?

Milk boxes used to be a standard in suburban homes across the United States. The box was constructed in a wall of the home and had an opening on the outside, where the milk would be delivered.


This sometimes decorative stone is what supports an arch. Do you know what it's called?

The keystone sits at the center of an arch, supporting the curved structure. While it isn't always larger than other stones or decorated, many architects make it a focal point of their design.


These items hold up your ceiling, but do you know what they're called?

Ceiling joists are those long pieces of wood that connect the outside walls together. They have multiple purposes, as they also help secure the bottom ends of the rafters and support the ceiling materials for the rooms below.


This alarm helps detect an otherwise invisible, odorless gas that can kill. What's it called?

Carbon monoxide is a gas that can be hard to detect because it has no odor. It can build up in a home due to a running car engine or a faulty heating system.


Often seen in churches, some homes are equipped with this feature. What is it called?

In some homes, you may see a clerestory, which is a bank of windows above eye level. They are usually added to enhance the home's natural light and add some warmth to the interior.


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