Building Methods for Residential Construction

Here I’ll lay out and describe some of the more popular building methods and some of the not so popular. I’ll describe each and then rate each on several scales grading them on feasibility, sustainability and danger among others. Then we’ll add up the grades and see who wins…

  • Stick Framing – Wood framed walls on concrete foundations built to standard room heights and topped with joists, trusses or both to create either a roof or a second platform from which to build upon as in the first. Current standard by which most American housing is measured. Also refereed to as Platform Framing, this is a method of building homes and small buildings out of a fast growing, soft wood and then stacking various cladding in layers to achieve desired R-Value and aesthetic appeal.
  • Balloon Framing –
  • Log Homes – 
  • Timber Frame Homes –
  • Light-Gauge Steel Framing – 
  • Steel Metal Buildings – 
  • Pre-Cast Concrete Panels – 
  • Modular Construction – 
  • Pre-Manufactured Homes
  • Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF’s) – This is one of the author’s favorites systems… ICF are the superhero of building systems. near fire proof, storm proof, sustainable, super energy efficient, lightning fast erection times, easy to build and substantial enough to stand the test of time… There’s not much we can find fault with here, however… Let’s look at them closer.
  • Structural Insulated Panels (SIP’s) – 
  • Concrete Construction – 

From here things go further off the beaten path into areas which cannot be measured on the normal scales because these methods have not been used to the extent the others have, so it’s not fair to judge them without taking those factors into consideration. We’ll try to judge them as fairly as possible given the limited research materials available.

  • Strawbale Construction – 
  • Adobe Construction – 
  • Cob Construction – 
  • Rammed Earth Construction –  
  • Alt Recycled Material Construction – 
  • Earth Bag Homes – 
  • Shipping Container Homes – 


  • Feasibility 0-10
  • Fire 0-10
  • Flood 0-10
  • Wind 0-10
  • Sustainability 0-10
  • Speed 0-10
  • Cost 0-10
  • Viability 0-10
  • Lifespan 0-10
  • Difficulty 0-10
  • Unique Factor 0-10
  • Flexibility 0-10