What are the Wattle and Daub Advantages and Disadvantages

What are the Wattle and Daub Advantages and Disadvantages

What are the Wattle and Daub Advantages and Disadvantages

What Is A Wattle And Daub?

Wattle and daub is a building technique that involves creating a wall by weaving vertical wooden stakes known as wattles with horizontal twigs and branches and then covering the structure with clay or mud. This method has been used for centuries to construct weatherproof buildings and was commonly used in England and medieval Europe to finish half-timbered houses.

In modern times, the technique has evolved into the use of lath and plaster to create interior walls using standardized materials like plasterboard and Sheetrock.

Wattle and daub is a method of construction that has been in use for at least 6,000 years and is still employed in many parts of the world. It involves the use of wooden strips called wattle, which is woven together to form lattice panels.

These panels can be used as infill in timber framing, or they can form the entire wall. The type of wood used for the wattle can vary, but in Britain, hazel or willow sticks are often used because of their flexibility and ability to be woven.

The wattle is attached to upright posts and then covered with a plaster called daub which is made from a mixture of wet soil, clay, sand, animal dung, and straw. In the past, the daub was mixed by hand or with the help of humans or livestock, resulting in a thick, gluey substance that was spread over the wattle panels. Many historic buildings feature wattle and daub construction.

History Of Wattle And Daub

The wattle and daub technique involves using a framework of woven branches or sticks, called wattle, and covering it with a mixture of clay and straw, called daub.

This method has been used for thousands of years to construct houses and other buildings, and has been found in various parts of the world including Africa, Europe, Asia, north and South America.

It is thought that other building techniques such as lath and plaster and cob may have evolved from wattle and daub. In ancient Egypt, wattle and daub was used for fire pits, storage bins and buildings dating back to the 5th millennium BCE, and continued to be a popular building material until the first dynasty.

It was also used in Rome, as mentioned by Vitruvius and in various styles of timber frame housing in England.

Materials Used In A Wattle And Daub Construction

Wattle and daub is an ancient building technique that combines woven sticks with mud to form a wall. This technique has been used for centuries and is still used today, especially in rural areas.

It involves weaving a lattice of wooden strips (called wattle) and then smearing them with a daub made up of wet soil, clay, sand, animal dung and straw.

The daub acts as a binder which holds the wattle in place and helps to protect the structure from weather damage. The combination of timber posts and tough Daub material makes this method a robust construction technique that can last for hundreds of years.

This form of construction has been widely used throughout history as it requires few materials, is simple to apply and it offers a great degree of insulation from the elements.

Advantages Of Using Wattle And Daub

Wattle and daub is a traditional building technique that uses local subsoil and wood from coppice trees to create walls. Subsoil can often be obtained for free from construction sites or roadworks, and using coppice wood promotes sustainable forestry practices.

Wattle and daub walls are hygroscopic, meaning they absorb moisture in humid conditions and release it when the air is dry, and they are also able to “breathe,” creating a pleasant living environment. Additionally, wattle and daub can be used to provide thermal mass and is often used to create organic, sculptural forms.

It is a durable material, with some walls dating back hundreds of years, and it can also be recycled by taking down and reusing old walls. However, it is important not to use impervious materials like cement or non-breathable fillers or paints in wattle and daub construction.

Disadvantages Of Using Wattle And Daub

Problems during construction and design can often be avoided with careful planning, but the process can still be time-consuming and labor-intensive, especially when it comes to assembling wattle panels.

Drying the daub may also take longer than expected depending on the weather but proper planning can help mitigate this issue.

Additionally, there may be limited information available on how to install certain fittings such as electricity and plumbing, and fitting standardized elements like windows and doors may also pose a challenge as they are typically designed to fit specific frame dimensions, typically made of cement.

To minimize issues with the walls and water, it is advisable to minimize contact between the walls and water, particularly through the foundations and roof.

Are Wattle and Daub Waterproof?

No, wattle and daub are not waterproof. Wattle and daub is a traditional building technique in which walls are constructed from wooden frames called “wattles,” which are then filled in with a combination of mud, clay, and/or animal dung called “daub.”

This composite material can be quite durable but is not waterproof. While the wattle provides stability and insulation to the structure, it does not protect against water infiltration completely since any water that seeps through the walls will eventually cause damage to the foundation.

Additionally, due to the organic materials used in the construction of wattle and daub structures, they tend to degrade over time as a result of exposure to moisture.

Wattle and daub are porous and can absorb moisture when it rains.


In conclusion, wattle and daub is a construction technique that has been relied on for centuries. It relies on the use of woven sticks, mud, clay and other materials to create strong walls and foundations that are both durable and aesthetically pleasing.

Wattle and daub is still used today in many traditional homes around the world due to its cost effectiveness, ease of construction, structural integrity, and attractive appearance.

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