Commercial and residential construction methods: What are your construction options?

When it comes to constructing a home, the types of construction methods span from the well-known to the widely used like stick-built homes to some techniques such as the light-gauge steel farming.

How do you select the material and building method that will go with your needs? First, let’s familiarize ourselves with the basics behind the top building practices.

Construction methods

Many buildings whether residential or commercial are built around the frame which offers the structure and support for the building. Framing will often fall into two types of levels. We have the heavy framing and light framing. However, light framing is common in most of the residential buildings.

Heavy framing comprises of methods such as the post and beam construction where there is the large and heavy timber beams applied rather than the dimensional lumber and the heavy steel framing common in most skyscrapers and many large commercial buildings.

Other methods of construction such as the masonry, reinforced or unreinforced concrete as well as the structural insulated panels with the engineered wood on two sides and insulation can be independently applied in home construction, but many of these methods work hand in hand with a frame in Canada and US.

Common Residential Construction methods

Platform/ Stick framing using wood

Without going farther, the most obvious method to construct a house in US and Canada is the stick or platform framing. This method is also known as the stick-built. The platform framing makes use of individual pieces of lumber which have been gathered piece by piece to develop the frame of a home. With this type of building method, the platform or foundation gets build first. Then it is followed by the walls of the first level of the home. Next, there is an extra platform for the second-story floor. The walls of the second story get anchored into the second platform. The whole frame structure will normally sit on the concrete foundation, which is always put in place before the building starts.

In general, platform framed wood homes are constructed with the help of load-bearing walls, which have rafters to offer support for the pitched roof. The building codes get established which control all features of the platform framed wood homes, this creates homes with a different architectural aspect for the construction.

Engineered Wood Products

The engineered wood materials are produced by the building fibers, particles of wood combined with adhesives. They are mostly applied in the framed home construction. The most common EWPS is the plywood and oriented strand board. Most of the time the wood panels are bonded to the studs of a framed wall to offer extra structural support. EWPs can also exist in form of the engineered posts as well as the beams which are stronger compared to the beams cut from the timber and other special projects.

Steel framing

Steel has been applied in the construction since the 19th century. It is prominent in the commercial constructions. Steel exists of two types. There is the cold-formed and hot-rolled. Hot-rolled steel is produced in the industrial process using heat. The beams and columns generated are very strong and at the same time thick. This particular type of steel is commonly found in the construction of commercial structures.

Cold-formed steel is also another strong type of steel with some added advantage of being able to be formed in thinner pieces. With the cold-formed steel, you can fold, punch and laser-cut. This then allows for precision and customization.


Concrete is commonly applied in the commercial buildings and civil engineering projects. However, it is not popular in the residential home construction. The strength of the concrete implies that it can support a great deal of weight. This is especially when it gets reinforced through embedded steel bars called rebar.

Other construction methods which are also used by certain home constructors include masonry and rammed earth construction.

Even though wood framing still reigns as the popular building method for residential structures, other techniques are slowly getting used. Each of the above construction method has its own benefits and advantages. Most homes go with a combination of the building techniques to construct a comfortable home.