Dry or wet construction: which technology to choose

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In this article, we will compare traditional methods of building and decorating buildings with new technologies for light construction. Our goal is not just to list the differences, but to grasp the essence of the issue. The article will be useful to those who are going to build their own house, but are still at a crossroads.

Dry or wet construction: which technology to choose

The concept of “dry construction” in our country has not yet taken root, as this is a new direction that is constantly developing. Many ordinary people and professionals call dry construction only some of the internal work associated with the use of drywall, gypsum plasterboard, etc. Some consider dry construction exclusively panel and frame houses, facade hinged systems that do not use moisture at all.

New materials and technologies make it possible to create turnkey houses in a completely dry way, from the construction of load-bearing structures to finishing. In practice, dry construction elements most often only supplement traditional technologies, only replacing them in places. The fact is that not all domestic developers are ready to fully rely on innovative approaches; there is also serious inertia among designers, contractors and investors. The problem is not in the shortcomings of dry construction, but in ignorance of the design and technical potential of this technology..

Dry light construction principles

Note that not only the use of water is the fundamental difference between traditional construction and dry construction. Compositions that need to be mixed with water have to be used almost always – for example, you cannot do without puttingty drywall. In fact, what we now call dry construction was initially positioned as “light” construction. The whole point of distinction is in the lightness / massiveness of materials.

The dry method of construction is based on systems that use sheet materials and combined panels assembled from sheets. Wood, steel, plasterboard, gypsum fiber, glass, aluminum, polymers – these materials used in dry construction technology are much superior in functionality to cement stone.

Dry or wet construction: which technology to choose

The vast majority of the benefits are achieved through the layering of dry construction structures. In this case, protective layers are used on both sides, and inside there are shaping frames, heaters / sound insulators, films and membranes. Such a pie allows developers to bring into the system only the properties that are in demand, which complement each other and enhance.

The next important point is the increased industrialization of construction. Materials for the dry method of erection and finishing of buildings are ready-made, often enlarged. They are produced industrially, on sophisticated equipment, with strict quality control, which allows achieving repeatability of the most important characteristics, as well as obtaining new properties. In other words, much of what workers usually do directly at the facility is now produced by machines in workshops using high technology..

We have to contrast finished materials with “semi-finished”, water-cured coatings that harden after application / installation. Whereas wet construction methods are based on adhesion, then dry technologies are usually based on mechanical fixation. In this case, an important role is played by: dowels, anchors, self-tapping screws, screws, threaded rods, as well as brackets, consoles, mounting plates, subsystems. Light construction is a “mechanical assembly” of systems and modules, a kind of constructor, where electric tools and mechanization means are much more actively used.

Key characteristics for comparing dry and wet construction

1. Ease of construction and reduced load on the foundation

Dry construction is not called light for nothing. Compared to buildings made of massifs (brick, concrete), houses built with a dry method (sandwich panel, frame) are about 8-10 times lighter. By combining technologies – “saving” weight is more than 50 percent. This allows you to significantly reduce the requirements for the bearing capacity of the foundation. Framed partitions and dry floors put less pressure on the floors and therefore on the load-bearing walls. It turns out that everything along the chain is simplified, the material consumption of structures decreases.

Dry or wet construction: which technology to choose

2. Terms of construction

Traditional construction methods are associated with the expectation of a set of strength of laid mortars and concrete monoliths. Also, to continue, you have to wait for the massifs to dry from 2 to 4 weeks. While most dry construction operations do not limit us in time at all, 2-3 days of technological restrictions is the maximum that comes up due to moisture-containing finishing work (puttying, wallpaper, etc.) Many drywall elements are erected in about half the time.

3. Seasonality of work

The active use of water at various stages of work can cause construction to stop at subzero temperatures. The dry method avoids seasonal restrictions, many works are carried out without problems in winter.

4. High insulating properties

The main insulating characteristics of lightweight construction are incomparably higher than with traditional construction of houses from massifs. A 100 mm thick timber frame wall filled with mineral wool ensures that the airborne sound pressure is limited to 47 dB, and floating dry floors are very effective at dampening structural impact noises in the building. The use of fibrous and foam materials in light construction significantly increases the resistance to heat transfer. Arrays show themselves somewhat better in terms of fire resistance, although in combination with mineral wool, a plasterboard wall restrains the spread of fire for up to 45 minutes.

Dry or wet construction: which technology to choose

5. Thin walls and partitions – saving usable space

Dry-assembled walls and partitions are always thinner than monolithic ones or stacked of bricks and blocks. This is partly due to the high insulating characteristics – the enclosing structures simply do not need to be made too thick. On average, a considerable saving of usable space is obtained for an apartment, about 2-5 square meters..

6. Good stability in conditions of high seismological activity

Massifs and monoliths typical of wet construction, under strong mechanical loads (for example, in difficult seismological conditions) are prone to cracking and destruction. Whereas lightweight structures assembled by a dry method are more flexible, can stretch, allow some movement between the elements. Many of them are not rigidly attached, but are movable – “floating”.

7. High manufacturability and the ability to create complex structures

In most cases, dry construction is an order of magnitude more technologically advanced than traditional, although wet works can also be optimized by plastering stations, sprayers, concrete pumps, etc. Frameworks and sheet materials allow you to create complex spatial structures with virtually no restrictions, the resulting cavities can be used for laying engineering communications, for realizations of hidden installations.

Dry or wet construction: which technology to choose

8. “Purity” of the process

Considering that the main materials are produced industrially, the quality of work is noticeably improved and the dependence on the “human factor” is reduced. Purity of processes, culture of work performance – this is especially important in private construction, where the customer is often left alone with a team of craftsmen.

Light weight, ergonomics and high insulating efficiency of the dry method of construction allow it to be successfully used for the repair and reconstruction of buildings that are already in use. Arrays here usually act only as a bearing base..

Dry and traditional method at various stages of construction

As we said, many light construction techniques work well with structures created using concrete and mortar. In principle, for almost every stage, the designer has the opportunity to choose dry or wet technology..


Foundations can also be part of dry construction. The striking representatives of this method are reinforced concrete and steel screw piles (they, however, are sometimes poured inside with concrete). Such foundations are assembled into a single field within 1-3 days, including in winter, are immediately ready for the perception of loads, do not require excavation.

Dry or wet construction: which technology to choose

Monoliths (tape, slab) are good for complex configurations and have a high bearing capacity, but they are highly dependent on the ambient temperature, and not only frost, but also too high a temperature can become a problem. They definitely need time to build strength. The biggest snag is the unstable quality of the concrete, mistakes in the arrangement of the monolith and its maintenance. Prefabricated foundations (from reinforced concrete blocks, columnar from stone, etc.) are erected using mortars and have similar restrictions.


Walls made of timber and rounded logs, frame and large-panel – all this can be considered classics of easy building construction. If you choose such materials for enclosing structures, then further construction will be exclusively using dry technologies. The only thing that is very often preserved from wet works is monolithic foundations (according to objective indications, or simply according to tradition).

Dry or wet construction: which technology to choose

Brick and block walls have proven themselves well in terms of bearing capacity, but they need mandatory insulation – and again everything returns to dry methods: cladding from the inside with insulation or multi-layer facades. Casting concrete into permanent formwork is a fairly practical technology, but again there are problems with the seasonality of work..


Wet types of facades are used only for masonry walls. Plastering, gluing foam with subsequent puttying – these works cannot be done in winter and in extreme heat, you always have to be afraid of rain. For the developer, such facades become a headache for a long time – they get dirty, cracked.

Dry or wet construction: which technology to choose

Suspended systems (siding, blockhouse, facade stone, etc.) are completely devoid of these disadvantages. They are versatile and can be used on almost any wall. Ventilated facades are especially effective.


A cement-sand floor screed is a very inexpensive solution, but its mass of about 70 kg per square meter creates a lot of technical limitations. A lot of troubles are caused by a sharp increase in humidity at the facility, as well as the need to wait for curing and take care of the cement stone. This work is very time consuming.

Dry or wet construction: which technology to choose

Dry gypsum fiber board floors, as well as wooden floors on logs, can be assembled at different stages of construction / repair (there is no jump in humidity, the work is relatively “clean”). They are lightweight, therefore they are the only option for wooden floors, they dampen impact noise well, ready immediately after assembly.

Ceilings and partitions

Partitions made of sheet materials (such as GKL) on wooden or metal frames are recognized by most builders as the most technologically advanced. They weigh very little (about 50 kg / m2), are quickly assembled, make it possible to soundproof rooms at a high level, make it possible to carry out work on laying communications in parallel during the assembly of the subsystem and cladding. The hollowness of frame partitions makes them indispensable for creating, for example, a kitchen or a bathroom, where you need to hide a lot of pipes and wires.

Dry or wet construction: which technology to choose

Brick and semi-block masonry greatly overloads the floor (250 kg / m2). Such piers have to be channeled, and before finishing, they must be plastered or sheathed with drywall. It is necessary to wait for some time for the solution to dry.


Suspended ceilings (stretch or on frames) allow the main communication routes to be hidden along the upper floor. This is the easiest way to level the main ceiling. The same advantages are for wall cladding with gypsum-board systems, in addition, a false wall makes it possible to insulate external structures, soundproof brick partitions.

Dry or wet construction: which technology to choose

Wall plaster is good for its compactness – it does not “eat up” the area of ​​the premises. Also, customers can be pleased with the low cost of such a coating and the potential resistance to possible floods. However, the insulating characteristics of plaster layers cannot be compared to cladding..

Which type of construction should be given preference, everyone will choose for himself, but still we recommend that you take a closer look at modern materials and technologies that have been successfully used all over the world for many years. Having weighed all the pros and cons, the conclusion suggests itself that traditional approaches to the construction of buildings should at least be actively combined with promising methods of dry light construction.

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