The man is a social animal but even so, we need to keep ourselves safe and protect our families. This has been the earliest concept of a home. But, what does it comprise? Early men started to live in caves before they used naturally sourced materials to build their homes. This was essentially a roof above their head and a wall they protected themselves in. The wall was a matter of protection and privacy. For the early civilizations, walls and forts were the only thing that protected them from the enemies. Strongly constructed, barricaded and guarded, the walls were the only thing between being safe and falling prey to the enemies. Thankfully, we have moved past the age. Today, we have become more sociable but the walls are very important part of our lives. Today, they don’t just need to offer us protection but also look good!
Thanks to technology and engineering evolution, we are constantly coming up with new materials and designs to integrate into our walls. If you are planning to build a home or any kind of construction, a working knowledge of how walls are put together and why will allow you to be creative while coming up with something highly functional. In general, building walls are either single skinned or have a cavity. There’s a difference to construction depending on the kind and amount of load you would want the wall to bear. Lastly, of course, is the finishing you hope to achieve.
Walls And Wall Construction
What are Walls?
Wikipedia defines walls as “a structure that defines and area, provides shelter or security and carries a load”. The purpose could be defensive (as in forts), retention (holding back dirt and dust from outside), be an interior section (divisions inside a building), fencing (boundary), or even doors and windows that form a small part of the partition.
The function of walls, as stated above is primarily to protect and defend the occupants from outside elements. Walls are also a means of achieving privacy and defining your personal territory. Structurally, they are also needed to hold the ceiling in place such that you have a roof above your head!
Depending on the purpose, walls can be of several types:
- Load Bearing – If the main purpose of the wall is to bear the load of the ceiling and the rest of the construction, it’s called a load bearing wall. Mostly, they are constructed with bricks and acts as a part of the overall structure. Consequently, the thickness wall depends on the amount of load it is supposed to support.
- Non-Load Bearing – These walls are mainly to separate a part of the section of construction to achieve privacy. While the main purpose is not load-bearing, it can also be an addition to the ceiling support.
- Partition – Walls meant just for partition and may not be connected to the ceiling. It’s just like boundary fencing that separates a compound from the rest of the neighborhood.
- Panel – Secured by studs, these partition panels are non-load bearing and could be movable. The best example is sliding doors that can be operated according to the need of the hour.
- Cavity – In this kind of wall construction, a cavity or hollow space is left between the vertical sections of the wall to prevent moisture from penetrating to the indoor space. Hollow or cavity walls are also perfect for better insulation (temperature regulation).
- Veneered – Veneer walls are an external and non-structural layer of masonry can be made from bricks, stone or concrete. Like cavity walls, the veneer walls act as a separating panel from the main wall to provide air space and drainage. They are basically meant for weatherproofing buildings.
- Retaining – Retaining walls are any vertical construction that is mean to keep away climatic elements like dust, dirt or even air from entering the interior premises of a home. Consequently, glass windows or door too can be said to be retaining walls of a construction.
Different Materials Used In Wall Construction
Internal: With internal wall materials, the ingredients need to be safe, be easy to maintain and clean and also comply with the indoor lighting scheme and décor of the home/office. Common internal materials include plasterboards, bricks, mortar, tiles, and wallpaper.
External: External wall materials need to be sturdy and resilient as their prime functions. However, they also need to have a clean finish to it to make homes and offices look good from the outside. Common external wall materials include breeze blocks, metal cladding, besser blocks, stone cladding, vinyl/plastic cladding, logs, mud bricks, and mortar.
Building Eco-Friendly Walls
Walls have always been an important component for building eco-friendly home. Depending on the construction and materials used, they can be used to enhance the insulation, achieve better daylighting, offer fresh air and be made from materials like clay that are non-polluting.
Clay bricks have emerged as a very useful and beneficial green building construction material and are growing in terms of usage at an increasing rate. On an average, buildings made up of clay bricks get sold for more value when compared to buildings that are made of other materials. And unlike other materials, its benefits last considerably longer.
As already said a roof above your head and walls around make your home. It is necessary that you choose your design wisely and come up with a home that keeps your family safe and healthy.
Curated by editor at Wienerberger India