When building a new home, it’s essential to understand the different types of home construction you can choose from. With this guide, you can make informed decisions when building your home.
As you drive or walk through a neighborhood the first thing you notice on is the exterior architecture of its homes; from there you’re able to form fairly quick opinions about the homes. You immediately recognize the color scheme and decide if it suits you.
The size is easy to determine so you know whether or not it will fit your needs of your family. And you can tell what style the home is: Art Deco, Cape Cod, Colonial, Craftsman, and Mid-Century Modern to name a few.
The home’s architecture gives it obvious personality and helps you select one that you’ll be happy living in for years to come.
Hidden behind that styling is a very important component of the building its skeleton, often referred to as its construction.
Many types of home construction have been used throughout history as our knowledge has advanced and more innovative materials have become available.
Home construction is important because it affects safety and energy efficiency as well as cost.
Research into new building technologies continues as builders and home owners seek safe, efficient, affordable residences.
Why Type of Home Construction is Important
Your home’s internal structure is responsible for its strength and stability.
It affects things like how well it will withstand extreme weather events such as hurricanes and earthquakes, and also how prone your home is to pests.
Insurance companies use this information to help them calculate your premium.
First responders such as firefighters must familiarize themselves with local types of home construction and techniques because it gives them an idea of a building’s ventilation and collapse patterns.
A home’s type of construction indicates what kind of repairs a homeowner can expect.
For example, the needs of a wood framed home will be different than that of a concrete block one.
Type of construction also determines characteristics like how well sound is transmitted through the building.
Such information would be important to someone who doesn’t like to hear outside noises inside their home, or to a family with small children who wants to keep those sounds from traveling throughout the home.
3 Common Types of Home Construction
Different types of home construction have different advantages and disadvantages.
Below is a description of the most common styles you’re likely to encounter when building a new house. With this guide, you can accurately determine which type of construction is best for your new home.
Brick is one of the oldest semi-manmade building materials in existence, dating back to 3500 BC. Traditionally each block was formed by hand from mud or clay then dried in the sun; as technology advanced the pieces were eventually cured in ovens.
The process was labor intensive and slow, plus the size and shape of the bricks were rarely uniform making them frustrating to work with.
The walls of early 19th century brick homes consisted of several layers of brick stacked in front of each other. Layers, or wythes, were attached to each other with metal brackets to keep them from separating.
Solid brick homes are very strong and can withstand hundreds of years of service. However, problems occur as you increase the height of your structure.
Brick is heavy and the wythes tend to fall the higher they are built. Their performance also depends on the quality of the bricks and the mortar used to adhere them.
Brick Houses Today
Today, brick homes aren’t constructed of solid brick. Instead, they’re largely veneers; a thin covering of material layered atop another stronger or less expensive material.
The frame of the house is typically concrete block or wood, then one layer of brick is affixed to the outside.
These brick homes are easier and quicker to build than their traditional counterparts without sacrificing their character.
Modern building codes and techniques ensure that these homes of brick-facade can withstand inclement weather.
They also require minimal maintenance, and are abundantly safe for its inhabitants.
Five different concrete systems exist but most homes use either blocks or liquid poured into an existing form.
The resulting structure is durable, able to withstand pests and weather, plus energy efficient because it’s easy to heat and cool, and resists extreme temperature changes.
Concrete blocks are fabricated from cement and quartz aggregates into a variety of standard sizes. They generally measure 16 inches long by 8 inches wide by 8 inches high and can be solid or hollow.
Hollow blocks have two or three voids that can be reinforced with rebar rods or liquid cement.
The other method for creating a concrete home involves pouring liquid concrete into a removable form. Once the concrete has cured the forms are removed leaving a monolithic slab.
Interior and exterior walls can be poured at the same time.
Interior walls of both methods can be left bare or furred for drywall. And the exterior of the walls can accommodate veneers, siding, or stucco.
Most homes in Canada, Japan and the United States are of wood-framed construction.
Wood has been used as a building material for centuries because it’s traditionally inexpensive. It is also easy to procure, sustainable, and working with it is straightforward.
Modern iterations can be adapted to form nearly any shaped structure and are reinforced with other materials to increase their overall strength.
Every wood-framed home consists of vertical studs within the walls and sheets of sheathing covering it to form the wall inside the home.
Siding on the outside surface of the wall protects it from the elements and adds a decorative touch. Horizontal joists support the floors. Angled pieces that support the roof are called rafters.
These types of home construction aren’t typically highly fire-proof though engineered woods are being developed that could be used in its place. Wood frames stand up well to earthquakes due to their light weight and numerous joints.
Even though there are infinite possibilities for the exterior styling of a home, there are only a limited number of techniques to construct them.
That internal structure is key to the home’s stability and is an important characteristic.
Different types of home construction have their own set of benefits and disadvantages, but as our technologies change and grow our homes will continue to become safer, more energy efficient, and less expensive to build.