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Encyclopedia > Wattle and daub
Exposed wattles
Exposed wattles

This is the page for two building materials. If you meant Wattle and Daub the pigs, see Blart Download high resolution version (481x700, 98 KB)Exposed wattle from wattle and daub. ... Download high resolution version (481x700, 98 KB)Exposed wattle from wattle and daub. ... Blart: The Boy who didnt want to save the World is a fictional novel by Dominic Barker. ...

Wattle and daub are building materials used in constructing houses. A woven latticework of wooden stakes called wattles is daubed with a mixture of clay and sand and sometimes animal dung and straw to create a structure. The daub was sometimes mixed (a laborious process by hand) by placing it in farm gateways for the animals to trample through. Hence the dung would have been introduced more as a side-effect than intentionally, although it does no harm to the mix. It is normally whitewashed to increase its resistance to rain. Examples of buildings which use wattle and daub can still be found in many parts of the world. In half-timbered buildings, the wattle and daub is contained between wooden beams. This usually gives the building a black and white appearance when the daub is whitewashed, or black and brown, if it is not. // Building material is any material which is used for a construction purpose. ... Mashrabiya screen on display in the British Museum Latticework is an ornamental framework consisting of a criss-crossed pattern of strips of building material, usually wood or metal but can be of any material. ... The Gay Head cliffs in Marthas Vineyard are made almost entirely of clay. ... Patterns in the sand Sand is a granular material made up of fine rock particles. ... Dung can refer to: Look up dung in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Whitewash, or calcimine, kalsomine, or calsomine is a type of inexpensive paint made from slaked lime (calcium hydroxide) and chalk (whiting). ... Timber framing is the modern term for the traditional half-timbered construction in which timber provides a visible skeletal frame that supports the whole building. ... Whitewash, or calcimine, kalsomine, or calsomine is a type of inexpensive paint made from slaked lime (calcium hydroxide) and chalk (whiting). ...

The wattle and daub technique was used already in the Neolithic. It was common for houses of the Linearbandkeramic and Rössen cultures of Central Europe, but is also found in Western Asia (Çatalhöyük, Shillourokambos) as well as in North America (Mississippian Culture) . Its usage dates back at least 6000 years. There are suggestions that construction techniques such as lath and plaster and even cob (material) may have evolved from the practicality of wattle and daub. Dating all back to primitive construction this building type spans the breadth of England's history to the crafts demise in the 18th century. Fragments from prehistoric wattle and daub buildings have been found in Africa, Europe, Mesoamerica and North America (Shaffer, 2003). A review of English architecture especially reveals that the sophistication of this craft is dependent on the various styles of timber frame housing. An array of Neolithic artifacts, including bracelets, axe heads, chisels, and polishing tools. ... Sherds of the late Linearbandkeramik, Rhine-Main area The Linearbandkeramic (abbreviated LBK) is the earliest neolithic culture of Central Europe. ... Excavations at the South Area of Çatal Höyük Çatalhöyük (also Çatal Höyük and Çatal Hüyük, or any of the three without diacritics; çatal is Turkish for fork, höyük for mound) was a very large Neolithic and Chalcolithic settlement in southern... Shillourokambos is an aceramic Neolithic site (PPN B) near Parekklisha, 6 km east of Limassol in southern Cyprus. ... The Mississippian culture was a mound-building Native American culture that flourished in the Midwestern, Eastern, and Southeastern United States from approximately 900 to 1500 CE, varying regionally. ... Lath seen from the back with brown coat oozing through Lath and plaster is a building process used mainly for interior walls in the United States until the late 1950s. ... Cob building dated 1539 in Devon, England. ...

More recently wattle and daub has experienced a revival in natural home building with organizations like Earth Hands and Houses. Courses in its use can be found on natural building sites like naturalhomes.org and through the Natural Building Network, both sites link to information all over the globe.

This process is similar in modern architecture to lath and plaster, a common building material for wall surfaces, in which a series of wooden strips were covered with a semi-dry plaster and then hardened into a flat surface. In some countries, this building method has itself been overtaken by drywall. This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Lath seen from the back with brown coat oozing through Lath and plaster is a building process used mainly for interior walls in the United States until the late 1950s. ... // Gypsum plaster Plaster of Paris, or simply plaster, is a type of building material based on calcium sulfate hemihydrate, nominally (CaSO₄)₂*H₂O. It is created by heating gypsum to about 150 ℃, 2(CaSO₄ · 2H₂O) → (CaSO₄)₂ · H₂O + 3 H₂O (released as steam). ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...



The earliest form of wattle and daub known was constructed with the wattles, commonly in the form of hazel branches, woven around evenly spaced vertical wooden posts set in the ground in a circular formation. Wet clay daub was then smeared onto the wattles, filling in the gaps. Archeology shows the techniques used were numerous and their boundaries ill-defined. A typical hut might have a conical roof that was steeply pitched to allow proper shedding of the rainfall. Hazel battens were tied horizontally to provide a framework for thatching to attach to the roof. The bottom ends of the rafters were tied to the vertical wall posts. A thatched pub (The Williams Arms) at Wrafton, near Braunton, North Devon, England Thatching is the art and craft of covering a roof with vegetation such as straw, water reed, sedge, rushes and heather. ...

Wattle and daub arose from the combination of two wall forms: wattle walls, which used the same techniques as fencing for boundaries, and the earthen wall. Wattle walls may have been filled in to improve wind resistance with anything on hand such as straw, moss, leaves and earth. For binding, it was easiest to use soil that could be pressed into position and would remain in place. In a study conducted by G.D. Shaffer it was discovered that occasionally the daub was burnt, to be hardened like pottery. Hardened fragments of daub could be found in fresh daub coats, which Shaffer theorized was used to help strengthen the integrity of the wall (Shaffer, 2003). Image File history File links Information_icon. ... This page is about computer text editing. ...

Those areas rich in timber allowed for a more sophisticated style like timber frame, with holes and grooves integrated to place vertical staves in order to prevent bowing or detachment in high winds. When the Romans arrived in Britain, there is little effect seen on the use of wattle and daub. We do see the integration of straw, hay, vegetable materials and dung to improve binding and reduce shrinkage and cracking. Also, remains of Anglo- Roman wall daub reveal herringbone keying, an indication of a plaster finish, a new development in weather resistance.

As the craft of the English carpenter evolved the timber frame house also evolved into a more popular, sophisticated housing choice, and wattle daub was the infill of choice. This crafts popularity stems much from the low cost and abundant availability of the materials. The abundance of wood allowed structural framing to include a high number of supporting posts, creating close-studded style paneling. This form of paneling required a variation on the style of infill, where instead of woven wattles, straight laths were held in place by channels and then daubed. Then, as timber became increasingly scarce, the ratio of infill to timber walling increased to created wider panels. These square panels still required intermediate supports between the studs causing the use of staves and woven wattles to return. Note that although there is little archaeological evidence, it is clear that wattle and daub was used to complete the walls of true cottages up to the 19th century. Clearly, wattle and daub may have lost its popularity with more upscale styles, but remained the poor man's wall.

One clear disadvantage of wattle and daub has always been clear: its vulnerability to damp. If not kept dry, wattles have a tendency to rot, or be attacked by beetles causing the daub to crack or become loose due to becoming exposed to moisture and frost. Areas most affected tended to be along the bottom of the panel. The jettied frame (Jettying) is possibly a system that evolved as a way to keep walls drier where upper levels are extended with a cantilever system. Lime (calcium oxide) wash and lime plaster were used to fight the effects of rain. These two coatings provided a strong surface as well as sealed cracks in the daub. An unavoidable effect was that created by the combined flexibility of the frame and shrinkage of the earth and lime materials, creating cracks between panel and the surrounding frame. This factor caused wattle and daub structures to be draughty and required constant repair of the panels. The final move to improve weather resistance was seen east of England where the entire wall was plastered, seen accompanied by decorative plaster known as pargetting. Alternate meanings: See Jetty (web server) Alternate meanings: See Jetty (river, dock and maritime structures) A double jettied timber framed building. ... Calcium oxide (CaO), commonly known as lime, quicklime or burnt lime, is a widely used chemical compound. ... Pargeting on the upper wall of the County Museum, in Clare, Suffolk. ...

A noticeable focus on wattle and daub is apparent when examining the History of Ireland. Early Irish settlements were built using this building method already in the Neolithic, maybe as early as 6000 BC. Some of the most well-known constructions to use wattle and daub were the Crannógs. These were fenced-off lakeside sites on islands (often artificial) linked to the land by a bridge or boat. The huts or houses had wattle and daub walls. Some sites remain today, but the structures are long gone. A modern reconstruction of a crannog can be found at Craggaunowen, County Clare in Ireland. The first known human settlement in Ireland began around 8000 BC, when hunter-gatherers arrived from Britain and continental Europe, probably via a land bridge. ... An array of Neolithic artifacts, including bracelets, axe heads, chisels, and polishing tools. ... (7th millennium BC – 6th millennium BC – 5th millennium BC – other millennia) Events c. ... A crannog is the name given in Scotland and Ireland to an artificial island or natural island, used for a settlement and usually linked to shore with a timber gangway or stone causeway. ... Missing image image:Cragganowen. ... County Clare (Contae an Chláir in Irish) is in the Irish province of Munster. ...

===Who did Wattle and Daub?===... A look into the history of the practice of doing wattle and daub shows an obvious niche for specialty. At York, in 1327, it is recorded that the mixing of earth with straw and stubble was for use by a 'torcher' or 'dauber'. The term "torching" applies to the process of covering walls, ceilings, as well as the insides of roofs and chimneys.

In the case of a primitive and peasant buildings the wattle and daub work was done by the home owner. For wealthier home owners the work was done by a dauber, a position well established in the ranks of craftsmen, though not as well respected as those who designed the house and constructed it. The demise of this art is driven by several factors. Replacement with brick nogging (rough brick masonry used to fill in the gaps between timber members) is one factor, where decaying wattle and daub panels were replaced by brick work. The use of timber framing diminished in the 17th and 18th centuries due to fire risk and the move to stone and brick housing. When half timbering become less respectable in the 18th century the desire for stone and housing facades become prominent, causing timber walls to be modernized by either full plastering or tile. Wattle and daub is said to have been conveyed a poor image through law supposedly inspiring the term 'breaking and entering' due to the ease with which criminals could enter by breaking through the infill (Graham, 2003).

This method of walling remained practically unchanged from primitive building to its demise in the 18th century. Wattle and daub has weathered periods of great change and innovation and remained unchanged despite huge developments in the craft and housing style surrounding each panel. The basic methods and materials used have remained the same.


Daub is a mud like sealing layer generally created from a mixture of certain ingredients from three categories: binders, aggregates and those used for reinforcement. Binders hold the mix together and can include clay, lime, chalk dust and limestone dust. Aggregates give the mix its bulk and dimensional stability through materials such as earth, sand, crushed chalk and crushed stone. Reinforcement provided by straw, hair, hay or grassy materials help to hold the mix together as well as control shrinkage and provide flexibility. (Pritchett, 2001).

Styles of Panels

As discussed earlier there were two popular choices for wattle and daub paneling: square paneling and close-studded paneling.


Close-studding panels create a much more narrow space between the timbers; anywhere from seven to sixteen inches. For this style of panel weaving becomes too difficult so the wattles run horizontally and are known as ledgers. The ledgers are sprung into each upright timber (stud) through a system of augured holes on one side and short chiseled groves along the other. The holes (along with holes of square paneling) are drilled at a slight angle towards the outer face of each stud. This allows room for upright hazels to be tied to ledgers from the inside of the building. The horizontal ledgers are placed every two to three feet with whole hazel rods positioned upright top to bottom and lashed to the ledgers. These hazel rods are generally tied a finger widths apart with 6-8 rods to each 16 inch width. Gaps allow key formation for drying (Sunshine, 2006).

Square Panels

Square panels are large, wide panels typical of some later timber frame houses. They have a square shape although sometimes they are triangular to accommodate arched or decorative bracing. This style does require wattles to be woven for better support of the daub.

To insert wattles in a square panel several steps are required. First, a series of evenly spaced holes are drilled along the middle of the inner face of each upper timber. Next, a continuous groove is cut along middle of each inner face of the lower timber in each panel. Vertical wattles are then inserted, known as staves, and these hold the whole panel within the timber frame. The staves are positioned into the holes and then sprung into the grooves. They must be placed with sufficient gaps to weave the flexible horizontal wattles (Sunshine, 2006).


The origin of the term 'wattle' as a term describing a group of acacias in Australia, is from the term "wattling". In early Australian European settlement the acacias were commonly used in wattling, and the name became shortened to wattle. Species About 1,300; see List of Acacia species Acacia tree in the Serengeti, Tanzania Acacia is a genus of shrubs and trees of Gondwanian origin belonging to the subfamily Mimosoideae of the family Fabaceae, first described from Africa by Linnaeus in 1773. ...

See also

Lath seen from the back with brown coat oozing through Lath and plaster is a building process used mainly for interior walls in the United States until the late 1950s. ... Mudbrick was used for the outer contruction of Sumerian ziggurats — some of the worlds largest and oldest constructions. ... Renewal of the surface coating of an adobe wall in Chamisal, New Mexico Adobe is a natural building material composed of sand, sandy clay and straw or other organic materials, which is shaped into bricks using wooden frames and dried in the sun. ... Cob building dated 1539 in Devon, England. ... Rammed Earth is an old building material that has seen a revival in recent years as people seek low-impact building materials and natural building methods. ... Ceramic houses are buildings made of an earth mixture which is high in clay, and fired to become hardened ceramic. ...


Graham, Tony. "Wattle & Daub: Craft, conservation and Wiltshire Case Study." 2003. 11 Feb. 2007 <http://tonygraham.co.uk/house_repair/wattle_daub/WD.html>.

Pritchett, Ian. "Wattle and Daub." The Building Conservation Directory, 2001. 2 February 2007 <http://www.buildingconservation.com/articles/wattleanddaub>

Shaffer, G.D. "An Archaeomagnetic Study of a Wattle and Daub Building Collapse." Journal of Field Archaeology, Vol. 20, No. 1. Spring, 1993. 59-75. JSTOR. 28 Jan. 2007 <http://jstor.org/search>.

Sunshine, Paula. Wattle and Daub. 2006. Buckinghamshire: Shire Publications Ltd.

External links

  • The Natural Building Network - find natural builders, teachers and resources.

  Results from FactBites:
Wattle and daub - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (391 words)
The daub was sometimes mixed (a laborious process by hand) by placing it in farm gateways for the animals to trample through.
The wattle and daub technique was used already in the Neolithic.
The origin of the term 'wattle' as a term describing a group of acacias in Australia, is from the term "wattling".
  More results at FactBites »



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