- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 05 Apr 2018
What are walls made of?
What walls are made from is largely determined by what basic category they fall into – whether framed wall or solid wall.
Framed walls transfer structural loads to the foundation through columns, studs or posts. In addition to the structural element, they also include insulation and finish elements or surfaces, such as cladding panels.
Solid walls are constructed from a single skin of a solid material, such as masonry, concrete, brick, timber, rammed earth, straw bales, etc. They do not include a cavity between the interior and exterior.
A cavity wall is not framed, but is constructed from two skins of masonry, the outer skin of which can be brickwork, blockwork, or stone, and the inner skin of which is generally of blockwork. These skins (or leaves), are separated by a cavity to prevent the penetration of moisture and to allow for the installation of thermal insulation.
For more information, see Cavity wall.
Internal, or partition, walls can be constructed in a number of ways. They are typically constructed from brick or blockwork, or framed, sometimes referred to as stud walls. Stud walls can be constructed from timber, steel or aluminium frames clad with boarding such as plasterboard, timber, metal or fibreboard. They may also be glazed.
Exterior walls can be finished with a wide array of materials and techniques. The term 'cladding' refers to components that are attached to the primary structure of a building to form non-structural, external surfaces. This is as opposed to buildings in which the external surfaces are formed by structural elements, such as masonry walls, or applied surfaces such as render, screed, paint, plaster, natural stone, structural insulated panels (SIPs), and so on.
- Stainless steel.
- Tensile fabric coverings.
- Brick slips.
- Tile hanging.
- Shakes and shingle.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
There are many ways of classifying types of building. Have a look at our range of building articles.
BSRIA have launched the 'major update' of the go-to design framework guide for building services.
How to get results with building life cycle assessment.
Government publishes a prospectus inviting proposals for new 'garden communities'.
The Morandi motorway bridge in Genoa collapses during rainstorm while undergoing maintenance works.
'Developed design' is a phrase coined by the RIBA for their 2013 Plan of Work. But what does it actually mean?
New green paper published aiming to rebalance the relationship between landlords and residents and tackle stigma.
RIBA calls for a comprehensive ban on combustible materials.
Lump sum contracts can be referred to as ‘fixed price’ contracts, although strictly this is not correct. Find out more here.
Ramboll offer guidance to civil engineers on how to make projects 'off-site ready'.
Government announces its Rough Sleeping Strategy, with further funding for social housing.