Choosing the right construction methods to build a home can be challenging due to the variety of options. Stick-built homes that are created entirely from wood, traditional earthen-block construction and light gauge steel-framing are just a few options that you can choose from.

Every new home owner has different needs, so it is important to know exactly the material and building methods that you want to use. To help you make the right choice, we have created a list of the most popular building practices that will help you learn more about structural engineering.

What you should know about construction methods?

Each and every building, regardless of its purpose, should be built starting with a frame that offers the structure and support for the building. Heavy framing and light framing are the two categories that form framing. Many residential buildings are constructed with the light framing principle.


The most important thing that you should know about heavy framing is that it involves construction methods like post-and-beam construction, which can also be referred to as timber framing. In this construction method, the dimensional lumber is replaced by big, heavy timber beams. Another method used in large commercial building is heavy steel framing. Dimensional lumber or light-gauge steel are typically used in light framing. The structure of the building made with the light framing method is made out of wood and steel components, which are carefully assembled piece by piece.

Homes can also be built by combining different construction methods, like masonry, reinforced or unreinforced concrete, Structural insulated panels and rammed-earth blocks. However, the majority of these methods can be used in combination with a frame in the Canada and the United States.

The principles behind commonly-used residential construction methods

Platform/Stick framing with wood

Also known as “stick-built”, the construction method that uses “platform” or “stick” framing is by far the most used method to build a home in the United States and Canada. The frame of the home is created by assembling piece by piece the dimensional lumber used in platform framing. The first part of the house built in this construction method is the foundation, followed by the walls of the first level of the home. Next on the list is the additional platform for the second-story floor that has the walls anchored into the second platform. A concrete foundation holds the entire framed structure. This foundation is practically constructed before the building commences. The wooden frame is constructed entirely on site, piece by piece.

The walls in platform framing are created by studs which are placed every 12, 16, or 24 inches. In structural engineering, the studs that are placed evenly ensure that walls intended to act as structural supports can sustain the weight they need to carry. However, this technique places limitations on elements such as the number and size of windows in a home.

Platform-Stick framing with wood

Once the initial steps have been completed, it is time to move on to wiring, insulation and paneling. The final touch consists on finishing exterior and interior elements.

The principles that guide the workers in structural engineering should be safety and structural stability.

Constructing homes with different architectural elements is really a challenge because they need to follow strict codes which regulate all important aspects of platform framed wood homes.

Engineered Wood Products (EWPs)

The framed home construction method involves the use of materials manufactured by binding particles, fibers or veneers of wood together with adhesives. These materials are also known as Engineered Wood Products. Plywood and oriented strand board (OSB) are the most popular and most widely used EWPs. Compared to the beams that are cut from timber, engineered posts and beams are much stronger, and they are another form of EWPs.

Structural insulated panels

SIPs, or Structural insulated panels are another form of EWPs. To put it simply, SIPs are practically panels that are created from an inner layer of insulating foam core which is covered on both sides with sheets of EWPs, usually OSBs. They can be used in a variety of methods, especially in framing. Compared to the standard platform framing, they are more powerful and come in different sizes.

Steel Framing

Starting with the 19th century, a new material was introduced in the construction field, namely steel. The most important types of steel are “hot-rolled” and “cold-formed”. The industrial process that uses high heat is used to produce the hot-rolled steel, which can also be found under the name of “structural steel”.

cold framed steel structure

Having the advantage of being able to be formed into thinner pieces, cold-formed steel is known for its strength. It is can also be found under the name of light-gauge steel. The platform-framed wood and steel-framed homes are built using the same principles and methods. The quantity of on-site customization required is practically the most important difference between the wood platform framing and steel framing.


The use of concrete in residential home construction is much higher compared to commercial buildings and civil engineering projects. Reinforced with embedded steel bars, concrete can support a big amount of weight due to its strength.

Concrete Construction Methods-Structural engineering

The use of concrete in residential home construction is much higher compared to commercial buildings and civil engineering projects. Reinforced with embedded steel bars, concrete can support a big amount of weight due to its strength.

Certain cities in the United States use insulated concrete forms for home construction. ICFs are created out of polystyrene foam and are made by pouring concrete in between rigid panels.

Other construction methods

With structural engineering, home builders can use construction methods that are customized especially to meet the owner needs. A stand-alone construction method is masonry, which can be done with brick, stone and concrete. In dry climates, engineers use rammed earth construction that are formed by layers of compressed earth blocks to form the structure of a home.


Even though other techniques are starting to earn ground, wood framing is still the most important building method for residential construction. A combination of techniques and materials are used in order to produce comfortable environments in modern-day homes, even though every construction method has its own benefits.