Timber Framing with Clay in the Netherlands

Traditional and Sustainable 

Timber framing in the Netherlands. A half-timbered house consists of a timber frame that is filled with loam; both the skeleton and the filling have a specific function.

In the woodwork we distinguish the actual skeleton and the stacking wickerwork of stakes. The skeleton ensures the stability of the building. It absorbs the compressive, tensile and bending forces created by the action of the wood. The wickerwork supports the padding.

Clay not only fills the compartments in the walls, but also regulates the heat and moisture balance of the house.

The most important properties of the material are discussed in the last chapter.
The skeleton is made in parts on the ground. The mortise and tenon connections are held in place with arch rivets; the truss was then assembled on site.

When backfilling with clay, the wall is divided into smaller sections. The uprights and rails form the boundaries. Use gloves when filling.
When the entire compartment between two lines is filled with the clay mixture, the second layer is applied. To obtain good adhesion between the two layers, the second layer is applied while the first is still flexible.

In the Netherlands, the traditional half-timbered house has been whitewashed with lime; both the wood and the clay. This requires; wet slaked lime, casein and water. Mix (1 part lime, 1 part casein, 20 parts water) to a thin milk of lime. Preferably apply in a damp period in spring or autumn). The first layer can be applied directly to the wet loam. The lime layer has a limited lifespan, so it is necessary to repeat this procedure every two to three years.

Clay is ideal for creating decorative elements.

It is quite easy to create a sculpture on the clay wall. You can create original ornaments with materials such as glass, ceramics or stone. The clay walls on the inside of the house are particularly suitable for the fresco technique. This technique used to be used in the so-called ‘neat room’; the inhabitants showed their wealth with this. Nowadays, this technique can be used well in representative spaces such as offices or reception rooms. This technique also replaces wallpaper and painting.
The restoration of a half-timbered house takes place in several steps. In principle, everything can be replaced.

A modern half-timbered house

In Margraten stands the modern half-timbered house of Frank and Monique Radder. It is sustainably built by local craftsmen from wood and clay. And, as far as we know, is it the first modern half-timbered house in the Netherlands since 150 years!

For more half-timbered buildings by Tierrafino, see the Open Air Museum Arnhem, Netherlands

Read the article (Dutch TV show) Building with clay, affordable and very natural. or visit one of our other pages for techniques on building with clay.


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