How to Build a Stilt House

Written by ehow home & garden editor
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The stilt house is a traditional style of building that you'll see in countries like Indonesia and New Guinea where dry land is at a premium. The stilt house will stay dry no matter how damp the ground beneath it becomes. The construction is not complicated, and yet the design is versatile.

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  1. 1

    Decide the dimensions of the house and set markers in the ground to indicate the placement of the corners.

  2. 2

    Drive a series of posts into the ground. You may sharpen the ends of the posts first to drive them into the ground more easily. Some stilt houses have five rows of four poles across. For added strength, double each post. If one post sinks, its mate can distribute the weight of the house more evenly. Make sure the posts extend the same amount above the ground so that the house is level.

  3. 3

    Begin lying deck boards across the row of posts, so you will have five solid lines of boards stretching across the four posts. Leave an opening for the hearth mound.

  4. 4

    Form a decking for the house by lying the deck boards on top of the cross boards. The deck boards should run from the back to the front of the house. Maintain the opening for the hearth mound.

  5. 5

    Attach your beams and joists (beams, in this case, that will support the roof). You may use pegs for a more traditional timber framing style, or bolts or screws. Consider leaving a portion of the decking bare so as to form an open porch or deck.

  6. 6

    Pour sand into the opening that was left for the hearth mound. Pile the sand high enough so that it rises above the level of the floor.

  7. 7

    Sheath your stilt house and roof in whatever material you choose. Leave openings for the doors and windows.

  8. 8

    Add shingles or some other roofing material to your roof to make it all the more waterproof and able to repel the water. You can compare your house to those found at the SFU reconstruction of a stilt house from Bella Coola, BC, or the Vietnam Open Tour and Art Asia.

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