To build your own house, it is necessary to understand the choices of building methods and materials that are available and appropriate to your project. The majority of home building is done with standard stick built construction methods, using conventional framing lumber and materials that are locally available. The home is then built on a concrete foundation appropriately designed for the climate it is being built in. This is often an appropriate choice for many reasons – besides the materials being readily available, it is the method that the majority of subcontractors and lenders are familiar with.
Building Methods and Materials
Using conventional framing to build your own house also allows for much flexibility and is easily adaptable to some form of prefabrication. Appropriately designed, standard stick building can be creative, energy efficient, and cost effective. The following list provides some alternative home building methods and materials to also consider:
- Post and beam construction – uses heavy timbers for the primary structure, which becomes part of the interior décor and is often finished with structural insulated panels (SIPs).
- Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) – uses foam forms to build a structure that is filled with concrete. It provides excellent longevity and is very energy efficient.
- Log home construction – this classic American building method is continually upgraded to provide a reasonable 21st century option for do-it-yourself home building.
- Steel home building – using long lasting recycled content materials, building with steel is growing in popularity with many green home builders.
- Straw bale – using this fast growing insulating material, this building method provides an alternative resource for a growing number of owner builders.
- Adobe and rammed earth – in an appropriate climate these earth based methods are another feasible alternative using readily available and sustainable materials.
- Cob and earth bags – also using earth as a primary building material, these two methods offer incredibly creative flexibility to build your own house.