Half-timbered houses: what is it, construction technology

Travelers, without going into details, dubbed old houses with protruding gingerbread houses. In fact, these buildings are built in the style of half-timbered houses, which has an interesting and long history. It began in the 13th century. The first buildings appeared in Bavaria, over time, fashion captured the whole of Germany and flowed to Europe.

half-timbered houses what it is

With the gradual development of technologies and materials, new opportunities for frame construction began to open. And the appearance of double-glazed windows of increased thermal insulation made it possible to equip buildings with transparent walls, located not only in the middle lane, but also in the north.

Half-timbered houses

So, half-timbered houses - what is it? The German word "fachwerk" literally translates as "frame." Half-timbered construction is a spatial structure of interconnected vertical posts, horizontal beams and inclined brass made of needles or oak.The areas between the elements were filled with various building materials: brick, straw composition with clay, reinforced with a wicker grid or natural stone.

In the Middle Ages, when building a half-timbered house, they didn’t particularly care about sheltering a wooden frame, rather for economic reasons. But it was precisely this feature that gave the exterior and interior appearance of the building individuality and charm. In a short time, it became clear that German technology was available and fast, since the construction of a half-timbered house took about a month.

The new style was appreciated and provided by the Germans, because the exterior of the house was attractive, the wooden frame gave the building lightness and solidity. At the beginning of the XVI century in the cities began to rebuild two-story residential buildings with aligned and whitewashed walls. During operation, the tree grew darker, creating a contrast on the snow-white background. So there was a German half-timbered house.

half-timbered houses photo

Gradual technology changes

In Europe, too, we learned what it is - half-timbered houses, and quickly appreciated all the advantages of Bavarian technology:

  • unusual appearance;
  • the use of cheap and affordable materials;
  • short term construction;
  • self-erection;
  • simple base of the house;
  • warm walls, saving the optimum temperature inside the house.

When the technology reached the north, then there began to lay the distance between the beams with stone, and on top of it - to apply clay. For warming the frame was sewn up with wood. Gradually, every nation made its own amendments, depending on the available building materials and weather conditions.

Architectural changes

Over time, the wooden frame began to cover with stain and paint. Thus it was possible to make it more noticeable on a white background, as well as protect it from destruction.

glazing of half-timbered houses

The architects also made changes to the traditional half-timbered style, combining it with the modern, and began to apply modern materials:

  • Glass was added to the tree. Now it is possible to perform glazing of half-timbered houses, that is, to insert glass between the beams.
  • Metal beams appeared. With their help, it was possible to open the inner space, remove partitions and unnecessary supports.

Features of the frame construction in the style of fachwerk

So what is it - half-timbered houses? You already know the answer to this question.It's time to deal with the features of this technology:

  • Light and warm frame houses. These include open-frame constructions and panel models, when a heater is laid in the intervals between the supports and cladding is performed on both sides. Such houses can be erected on any soils, including flooded ones. For reliability, it is enough to fill in a support-column or light pile foundation. Filling of the tape base is possible only in areas with deep freezing of the earth.
  • For modern houses it is necessary to make a project and carry out complex calculations. All this is costly. But costs can be significantly reduced if you resort to standard design. In this case, in order to give originality to the facade of the house, you will need to turn on a fantasy or invite a designer. Examples of half-timbered houses (photo) can be viewed below.
  • The main knots of the half-timbered structure are strapping in the lower part around the perimeter and at the junction of each level. Any layout of the house can be easily changed by rearranging the partition to your own taste, and the cables and pipes can be disguised in the walls.

construction of half-timbered houses

Features of the architectural style fachwerk

Constructions in the German style fachwerk very diverse. In modern projects different materials are used, but the style adheres to all the nuances that were outlined in the 16th century:

  • frame made of wood and painted in brown or brown;
  • sections intersect diagonally by slats and form various shapes of triangles;
  • rectangular shape of the building;
  • gable roof with mansard;
  • railings on the balconies, made of the same beams as the frame (most often they are made to protect the space above the entrance and the windows, simulating the visor);
  • the perimeter of the second floor is larger than the first and hangs over it, protecting the wall from raindrops;
  • the walls of the house can be made of brick or plastered (in modern projects, very often glazing of half-timbered houses is carried out, especially on the first floor, in the living room area).

New technology in the style of fachwerk

This style can be called the basis of all frame housing. The technology of construction of half-timbered houses is made of supports, transverse beams and slopes, like all modern frame construction.The only thing that has changed over time is the thickness of the beams (they have become much thinner).

half-timbered house technology

In a modern half-timbered house, it is difficult to recognize ancient European facades, as they became much more perfect and got what they lacked in the Middle Ages. This is primarily about protection and functionality. Now all constructions are sheathed with sheet material and provided with external protection through the use of technological finishing (siding, PVC panels, etc.).

From these changes, everyone just won - solid paneling gave the building strength, reliability and rigidity, that is, now there is no need to install powerful beams and racks. Exterior finish fully protects the house from weather effects, such as freezing, burnout in the sun and weathering, thereby prolonging the life of the material.


Facades with distinctive elements of a fakhverka (frame) are no more today, than the stylistic decision of the house. Of course, the clay walls for a long time no one does. Now the sinuses are filled with ecological or mineral wool, and not so long ago it became fashionable to use straw filler.

One of the most common solutions is frameless glazing of half-timbered houses. The technology involves the formation of a glass facade, with no noticeable components of the supporting frame. From the outside, only translucent panels and sealant strips are visible. The frameless glazing of half-timbered houses forms the illusion of the lightness of the whole structure.

How to build a one-story half-timbered house with your own hands?

Before you start drawing up a plan, you need to consider all phases of work:

  • preparatory impregnation of lumber;
  • frame installation;
  • "Stuffing" frame box insulating elements;
  • roof installation;
  • external and internal finishes.

half-timbered houses construction technology

You already know what it is - half-timbered houses. Now we find out how to build such a structure independently. It is not that difficult to build a structure in the style of fachwerk. Just professionals will need half the time - two weeks.

Step-by-step instruction

When purchasing a finished project, the customer receives all the component parts and parts of the house in numbered packages. Elements are connected by special pre-prepared seams.The whole process resembles the construction of the designer of wood, only later you get the perfect house. Stages of work are not very different from the usual frame structure, but there are some features:

  • Lightweight foundation casting. Since the technology of half-timbered houses does not imply the use of heavy materials, a shallow-depth ribbon base is sufficient.
  • Covering waterproofing piping. Over the basis the waterproofing layer surely keeps within. Ideally, it should be a ruberoid laid on bitumen grease.
  • Fastening strapping bar with metal anchors. This is very important to do before the construction of the frame.
  • Connection of vertical and horizontal elements with braces.
  • Installation of internal partitions from a bar of small size. They are attached to the floor with frame dowels.
  • Connection at the top of the skeleton frame with a truss system.
  • Fastening wall panels. The installation is carried out in such a way that the structural elements remain visible, that is, they fill the frame from the inside.
  • Installation of internal partitions.
  • Wall insulation
  • Installation of engineering communications.
  • Roof mounting.
  • Finishing a half-timbered house (photo examples can be viewed below).

modern half-timbered house

Half-timbered finish

Not everyone has the opportunity to build a house, adhering to the exact technology. But even the simplest frame structure will look like a "gingerbread house", if you make the right finish.

To perform the exterior finish in the style of fachwerk:

  • The use of plate material, for example, DSP is a practical and durable product that has a long service life. This material is also convenient because you don’t have to suffer with a sawing, because the tiles are perfectly cut by the grinder, and fastened to the walls with ordinary screws.
  • Plaster walls. This is not an easy job, but it must be done to increase the heat-saving properties of the house - a thick layer of plaster perfectly protects against wind and frost penetration.
  • During the construction of half-timbered constructions in the conditions of severe winters, it is recommended to replace the double-glazed windows with other materials. For example, you can use a decorative polyurethane panel and timber with a cross section of 150 * 150. The result is a perfect imitation of half-timbered style. No one will even guess that the technology has been broken.The panels are attached to the facade with liquid nails or building glue.

As you can see, it is not difficult to make a “gingerbread house” from a standard structure. The advantages of imitation are also in the fact that it is possible to build a structure from brick, stone, a vulture panel or blocks, and already the exterior finish is made in the style of fachwerk.


Summing up, it is possible to say with complete confidence that building a house using German technology is no more difficult than any other. Anyone who intends to build their own dwelling or cottage can make a dream of many people a reality - living in a house that looks at least externally European. In any case, the house in the style of fachwerk will absolutely stand out from the others with its originality.

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