Most homes stand out because of their exterior styling, which can help a home match the owner's personality or represent a traditional style or building. However, house construction, or the internal construction of the building, is limited to a few building techniques that use different materials and processes to provide the basis for any sort of home.
Timber frame construction is one of the most straightforward types of home construction. It is a form of wood frame construction that relies on large wooden beams for its basic construction, with more narrow timber beams in between them. Timber frame homes often leave a portion of the timber frame exposed so it can be a design choice as much as an engineering decision.
Unlike timber frame homes, wood panel homes use prefabricated panels that sandwich rigid foam insulation between thinner pieces of wood. Like timber frame house construction, wood panel homes are susceptible to warping and rot from water, or damage from termites and other insects. But wood frame homes make use of a renewable resource (timber trees) and are relatively inexpensive to construct.
Manufactured, or prefab, homes use components that have been constructed elsewhere in large numbers. While some wood panel homes may be considered partially prefabricated, other homes make much heavier use of manufactured components using plastics, fiberboard and fiberglass. Mobile homes are one example of house construction that uses entirely prefabricated parts. Manufactured homes, which buyers can have delivered to a lot anywhere and placed without a permanent foundation, also use prefab components.
Insulated Concrete Form, or ICF, construction is a growing type of home construction. This process uses concrete forms to provide superior structure and rigidity, all while removing the need to harvest trees or manufacture prefab plastic components from petroleum, making ICF an environmentally sound option. While ICF home construction is expensive, it partly pays for itself by saving the homeowner money on heating and cooling bills over time. ICF construction is also highly resistant to fire and insects.
Steel stud construction is popular with commercial buildings, but some home builders also use it in construction residences. It uses many of the same building techniques as wood frame construction but replaces the wood beams with steel. Screws, rather than nails, hold the components together and help form the basic structure, which may be indistinguishable from wood frame construction when the building is complete. Steel stud construction is resistant to fire and insects, which is why some people choose it over a wood frame method.