top of page


Structural house framing methods

The building structure has the important task of holding up the walls and the roof while keeping the building standing in strong weather conditions and transferring the loads onto the foundation. 


Traditional Maori houses had already used timber for posts, weaving together different natural materials to protect each other from the elements (1). While many more building materials are available today, the basic principle of the structural walls remains the same.


In New Zealand, structural walls tend to be made out of the following options: timber or steel framing, structural insulated panels (SIPs), timber logs, masonry, earth walls or straw walls. We will examine the differences so you can make a choice that fits in with your values.


(1) Teara, 'Story: Building materials', , Author: Jeremy Salmond, 11.03.2010

Timber & Steel Framing

Timber and steel frames are the most commonly used in New Zealand's residential built environment. 

Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs)

Structural insulated panels are complete sets of wall that are joined together. 

Log House

Log homes have been used for hundreds of years. Essentially logs are placed on top of each other and joined together. 

Masonry Walls

Masonry walls are usually concrete bricks, that are joined together with concrete. 

Straw-bale Wall

Strawbale walls are renewable, strong and super insulating. Plastered strawbale homes have great character.


Earth Wall

Earth walls are a mixture of clay, sand and water (often also straw) that can be made into walls in several ways. Earth walls last, can often be sourced locally and are fully able to be recycled.

bottom of page