STRUCTURAL WALLS

The bones of your home

 

Walls are key components of a building and serve multiple functions.  Not only do they define a physical space, they also work as part of a building’s overall energy efficiency, carry the mechanics of a building, and become the dominant feature in the aesthetics of a space.  There are a variety of ways to construct walls, and several different components to consider including the structural assembly, the insulation components and finishing materials.  Each of these components have different options that can be combined in a variety of ways to create a complete wall system. In addition to the structural system and insulation components, a successful wall system must also include a water control layer, air control layer and vapour control layer.  Here we will be looking at the structural, insulation and finishing components of a wall system.

STRUCTURAL WALL SYSTEMS

 

The structural system of a wall can be skeletal or monolithic, and may need insulation and/or cladding to complete the wall system.  A skeletal wall structure is made up of individual posts carrying beams that support the loads from floor or roof systems.  This could be heavy timber frame construction, or light-weight frame construction which is the wall structure we are most familiar with.  Monolithic wall systems are solid walls that distribute loads evenly across the length of the wall.  They can be composed of materials that are poured or formed into a continuous mass, like concrete or rammed earth walls; or materials that are stacked or bonded into a continuous mass, like adobe or compressed earth blocks.  Below are some wall systems to consider:

WOOD FRAMING

STRAW BALE WALLS

RAMMED EARTH WALLS

CORDWOOD / STACK WALL SYSTEMS

ADOBE OR COMPRESSED EARTH BLOCK WALLS

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