Types of traditional wooden facade in mediterranean climate

In this particular kind of composed architecture, half-timbered walls can be mainly found, although presenting different images, playing with the volume and the walls (outgoing, incoming, design of windows, decorative overhangs, open or closed volumes, etc.) This framework allows you to compose three-dimensional rigid set that integrates walls and floors, sometimes even the armor covers. The structural bays work well, since many of their horizontal pieces support and distribute the loads of the vertical girder.

The vertical girds exceed the 15 cm x 15 cm section, being oak or chestnut the species used. The strips (secondary parts) have a section that can go from 7,5 cm x 2,5 cm. to 14 cm x 2,5 cm, which is usually made of pine, cypress and eucalyptus.

A wide and varied range of different traditional facades can be seen in this material, from the most solid to the most organized, very meticulous and very detailed.


The traditional facade is mainly defined by the following elements:

(1) Siding, (2) wood slats, (3) Lining, (4) vertical girder, (5) wind and vapor barrier, (6) Lining, (7) Thermal insulation

Every traditional facade has a ventilated air chamber, which avoids the condensation from reaching the interior of the house, allowing the air to circulate between the siding and the main pillars of the facade. Additionally, this air chamber avoids that the dimensional changes of wood, being the hygroscopicity an intrinsic quality of this material.

The construction system in most observed cases is almost always similar, which is a structure based on vertical girders. The differences are mainly in the species of wood used in the siding (oak, pine, larch, etc.) as well as forms of placement (horizontal and vertical slats, tiles, etc).

Detail of the exterior siding

In order for the facade to work properly, the crossbeams (battens) and strips that support the wooden paneling should be placed in a discontinuous manner to allow air to circulate better throughout the chamber. Out of the many buildings observed, the horizontal slats have a small inclination to better facilitate the rainwater drainage. Another possibility was to round the edges of the pieces, so as to allow rainwater to run in a better way, avoiding water to settle at the corners.

The exterior cladding of the traditional facades observed are mainly built with horizontal slats as a primary placement, intensifying the horizontality of the building. These claddings were primarily built with local wood species. The forms are varied but are always supported by a main structure of wood. Steel or copper nails fix them; although in some cases it has been observed that oxidation (through runoff) has generated spots on the facades.


Extract of paper “Traditional External Timber Cladding in Mediterranean Climates” presented by Burgos C., INCAFUST‘s researcher, at The World Conference on Timber Engineering. Auckland, New Zealand. 2012.