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Walls divide rooms but what do you call what divides stories?

Looking from below it would be the ceiling, looking from above it would be the floor. But when looking at it from the outside? Is there a common word?

I am looking for a word which describes structures that divide a space vertically as opposed to walls which divide the space horizontally.

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The problem with asking for a neutral term between ceiling and floor is that they aren't always two sides of the same coin. Especially in multi-story buildings, there's often a space between the ceiling and the floor above (cf. interstitial space). Of the two, the floor is definitely the more important and the better built--he floor has to be safe to walk on, while the ceiling is just there to conceal whatever is above (and under the floor)--so perhaps the answer below that suggests floor is the best for your purposes. –  Wlerin Aug 18 '14 at 16:37

7 Answers 7

up vote 21 down vote accepted

Believe it or not, the word you are looking for is floor.

It refers to both the space between and the actual divisions. But the space between can have other names like story ("storey" in British English).

If it were a house it would be the roof.

I think you could use "floor slab" or deck.

enter image description here

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Yes, this is the correct answer. energyefficientbuild.com/images/foundation-anatomy.gif –  ermanen Aug 18 '14 at 15:36

The actual word for a vertical partition between two stories is called a Party Structure.

Wanted to create a different answer because my other answer was related but different.

  • NOTE: This word is used more in the UK than it is in the US.

Party Structure Diagram

Vertical Partition

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@RomanReiner Hopefully this helps –  Adam Aug 18 '14 at 15:16
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Party structure also covers walls, fence walls etc. –  ermanen Aug 18 '14 at 15:20
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A party structure divides separate apartments--be they vertical or horizontal. And a detached single family home wouldn't have any party structures. –  DA. Aug 18 '14 at 20:08
    
this just sounds like a british-ism for "partition" to me –  sgroves Aug 19 '14 at 2:15
    
@sgroves have you tried googling 'partition'? –  Ollie Ford Aug 19 '14 at 3:14

You could use the word Partition. It is even more general and doesn't specify vertically or horizontally. It defines an object which separates something into parts.

So: For a building, a partition separates the building into floors, stories, rooms, or whatever your preference is. As TheFreeDictionary.com says,

partition: a division into parts; separation

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Thanks for the answer. However, I need a word which specifically describes vertical partitioning because I have both vertical and horizontal walls/partitions and need to distinguish between them preferably without using the words horizontally and vertically all the time. –  Roman Reiner Aug 18 '14 at 15:02
    
@RomanReiner Can it be a word to describe a vertical partition of something other than walls/a building? Like a word that describes a vertical partitioning of something else but you could redefine the word to others as that? –  Adam Aug 18 '14 at 15:11
    
It doesn't need to be walls/building specifically I just thought that would be a good image. The important things are that the word describes the structure dividing the space and not the divisions themselves and that there are separate words for horizontal and vertical walls. –  Roman Reiner Aug 18 '14 at 15:18
    
when i hear "partition" in regards to a building, i immediately think vertical. –  sgroves Aug 19 '14 at 2:14
    
I agree with @sgroves - but not only vertical, I think not-original (if house is older than a couple decades) and not-solid. 'Partition' is used for vertical.. partitions made from wood and plasterboard, the superset (IMO) 'wall' includes those made from masonry. –  Ollie Ford Aug 19 '14 at 3:13

A common English term is stories:

"This building is seven stories tall."

EDIT#1

and alternative is floor:

"All the bedrooms are on the fourth floor."

See 3-A

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A story would be the space between two [word I am looking for]s. [Word I am looking for] would be the structure between two stories. –  Roman Reiner Aug 18 '14 at 15:03
    
@RomanReiner See my EDIT#1 –  Gary's Student Aug 18 '14 at 15:06

If you look at Wiki, for architectural use, the phrase you're looking for is " "Interstitial space".

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I think this is usually used for the space between floors where things like pipework or other machinery goes. At any rate that's what Wikipedia seems to think –  Silverfish Jul 1 at 21:11

How about layer? Or dividing layer Or separating layer — something like that?

Stratum is related to layer, but I think layer is less scientific sounding.

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I think this may be what you're looking for: Definition from WhatIs.com searchdatacenter.techtarget.com/definition/plenum

In building construction, a plenum (pronounced PLEH-nuhm, from Latin meaning full) is a separate space provided for air circulation for heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (sometimes referred to as HVAC) and typically provided in the space between the structural ceiling and a drop-down ceiling, or between floors.

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but the word you suggests refers to the space and not to the division which the question asks for. –  gelolopez Jun 15 at 19:31
    
Plenum is not a hypernym for floor and ceiling. –  Edwin Ashworth Jun 15 at 21:26

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