How Houses Were Made Back In The 19th Century

Construction is an extremely old activity made by humans. It started with the completely functional need for a controlled environment to protect against the effects of various weather conditions. 

One approach by which people were able to adapt themselves to a huge range of weather conditions is constructed shelters. 

However, the industrial revolution introduced new methods of construction and new types of buildings. 

Houses that were constructed in the 19th century were built in an extremely different method compared to the houses we have today.

If you’ve got a house that was made back in the 19th century, if you’re not careful you could make costly mistakes if you want to do maintenance, foundation repair, or renovation projects on your home.

This is particularly true if you can’t recognize the materials and building methods used to build your old house. 

Keep in mind that the building products sold nowadays at most home improvement stores are mainly intended for new remodeling and construction. They’re not ideal for historic renovation. When you need a foundation or sheet pile driving services, it’s important to hire a good foundation piling company that has the state of the art machinery that allows to drive wood, steel sheet, H pipe and hollow steel pilings deep into the ground.

If you are planning a major renovation project that will affect the foundation of your house, you may need a residential foundation excavating service to ensure that the foundation will be extremely sturdy.

Most of these products won’t adapt properly to your 19th-century house. So, how were houses made back in the 19th century? Here are several things you should know:

Wood Framing Methods

Carpenters used balloon framing to frame houses around the 1920s. This type of framing consisted of stud walls that extend from the foundation, prepared well in advance by a concrete foundation contractor, to the rafters of the roof. And for you to be sure that your roof will be repaired or replaced correctly and completely, trust only the experts from a good service like Jacob’s Ladder Construction & roof replacement Winston Salem.

In a two-story house, the wall studs need to be around 20-30 feet long. Unfortunately, these open stud cavities are a fire hazard. 

That is why construction companies had to change to the newer western platform framing by 1920. This framing method made every story independent of the other. 

This method was a lot more affordable, faster, and safer to use. The wall studs used with this method are also shorter. They’re usually 8-12 feet long. 

A builder will attach a horizontal wooden plate to the top of the vertical studs. This upper plate will stop the fire from the first floor from quickly leaping to the second floor. 

This framing technique is extremely common in establishments of steam control valves manufacturers.

Nowadays, there are still a couple of builders who use this type of framing. 

During the 1900s, builders used cut nails to assemble the framing. Cut nails, commonly known as square nails, were stamped out of steel sheets. 

However, round wire nails became more affordable after several years. Their availability is also convenient. 

A couple of builders were hesitant to make the change from cut nails to round nails. Because of this, you can still see some cut nails used in houses constructed up to around 1905.

Early Stone Construction

A couple of institutions and settlers started the construction of buildings using stone materials. Compared to houses that use wood and log, these new stone establishments need to have good calculations. 

Typically, stones were utilized for the houses of the rich and for large institutional buildings and churches.

The skill and labor needed in constructing a stone building were impressive. The process includes quarrying the stones, cutting, and forming them. Builders also have to raise the stone and level them. 

Nowadays, the skill and labor required to build a house are still impressive. However, it isn’t much when you compare it to the 19th century. 

Modern technologies are being used today, such as biometric home safe, to make everything more convenient.

Log Construction

The most popular building technique in the 19th century is log construction. Over the years, it is still one of the most popular building methods. 

The Red River Frame was the first log construction technique used in the 19th century. It was used by the Hudson’s Bay Company and a couple of settlers. 

In the Red River Frame technique, builders will have to mortise short squared logs and set them into upright log posts. 

However, the influx of settlers from Eastern Europe, Quebec, and Ontario brought two other techniques into a log building. 

Both techniques are distinguished by how they were joined. The most popular technique is called dovetail. 

In the dovetail technique, logs were typically cut roughly with grooves to accept one another. It is commonly utilized in saddle notch construction. People consider this as the simplest method. 

This technique results in a studier building. 

At first, logs were used for all types of buildings. This includes offices, stores, churches, houses, and farms. Oftentimes, they were covered with drywall to provide a clean look.

On almost every log-building occasion, builders use thatch roofing for the roofing technology. However, a lot of settlers find this type of roofing extremely unappealing and heavy.

Because of this, they replaced this type of roofing with shingles. Today, shingles are still one of the most well-known types of roofs used in residential properties. If you want to know more about this roofing system, you can call a Roof Masters expert.

This is particularly true for establishments of filter media manufacturers since shingles help protect their products against the elements.


As you can see, the construction methods used in the 19th century are extremely different compared to modern construction methods. Because of this, make sure you don’t use modern methods when you want to renovate, repair, or maintain your 19th century house.