Wattle & daub

Wattle and daub is perhaps one of the oldest natural building methods, and the quintessential ‘mud hut’. At it’s essence is a latticework of sawn timber, or branches, that is then smothered in a layer of clay to make the structure airtight. The beautiful roundhouses in Africa are built this way, as are the half timbered structures in Northern and central Europe. The clay ‘daub’ is typically plastered over, usually in a lime render in wetter climates, for weather protection. In Europe, this render was sometimes pigmented with natural minerals to form a pastel shade, for aesthetics. In drier climates, a clay render may suffice with regular maintenance, to counter erosion.

The daub will typically contain natural fibre for strength, and to help prevent shrinkage cracking. It will also predominantly be comprised of sand, with the clay acting as the binder holding all the granules together.

This method works really well for light internal partition walls in modern houses, and Verena Maeder, of Solid Earth, has a simple version where she uses proprietary trellis as the ‘wattle’ latticework.

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