Almondia – Bautipps Die Bauherrenberatung

Build monolithically with expanded clay

As the most far-reaching decision in the planning of your own dream house, the wall system wants to be well thought out. For several years now, monolithic construction, i.e. building stone on stone, has proven its worth. The recommended building material is expanded clay, a natural material that combines numerous advantages. Learn what speaks for the combination of monolithic construction and expanded clay.

the essentials in brief
Monolithic buildings are built stone on stone and therefore consist of a single-shell masonry.

Air pockets in the expanded clay walls provide good thermal insulation.

Monolithically built expanded clay walls are environmentally friendly and provide good sound insulation.

Monolithic construction sensibly combines thermal insulation and statics

When it comes to renovating or building new houses, building owners are faced with very high energy efficiency requirements. (We’ve covered everything you need to think about when building a home in our home building checklist compiled for you). In this context, many homeowners assume that there is no way around thick insulation. The reality, however, is different: Because if you build monolithically, you can get by without insulating the facade, even in low-energy houses. The monolithically constructed exterior walls of buildings consist of a single-shell masonry, which is plastered from the inside as well as from the outside, as if cast from a single mold. If you build monolithically and use expanded clay as a building material, you will benefit from numerous advantages. For example, you can meet the requirements of Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV), significantly reduce construction time and create a healthy living environment.

Expanded clay wall systems – A trend unbroken for millennia

The success story of expanded clay goes back some 2,000 years, when the Pantheon was built in Rome by imperial order. Here, the builders relied on cast masonry for the construction of the dome, to which pumice and tuff were added for the purpose of weight reduction. Today the Pantheon is one of the best preserved buildings of Roman antiquity. In the meantime, thanks to outstanding engineering skills, state-of-the-art production techniques and the optimization of the material composition, it has been possible to perfect the once “Roman” building material into a high-performance product. You can admire this in the central library of the Humboldt University in Berlin, the Volkswagen Arena in Wolfsburg and the BMW Tower in Munich, among other places. In all these cases, the clients relied on expanded clay wall systems.

Natural ingredients and environmentally friendly production

Expanded clay has been used as a building material in the USA, where properties are exposed to extreme weather conditions, since the 1920s. The material has also been used successfully in Scandinavia for fifty years now. For the refinement of this building material, low-calcium clay, which was formed about 100 million years ago from organic deposits of the inland seas, is granulated into small balls. In the blast furnace, these are fired/heated at temperatures of around 1,200 degrees, causing the beads to inflate to five times their size. During this process, all undesirable organic substances are burned off, resulting in an indestructible building material with excellent structural-physical properties. The natural basic material clay as well as the air inclusions in the balls make the special feature of expanded clay.

What are the arguments in favor of monolithically produced expanded clay walls

In addition to weight reduction, which was already important in ancient Rome, the high-performance building material expanded clay can play out further advantages in monolithic construction. These include:

Environmental compatibility

Walls of expanded clay are produced from natural materials such as cement, sand and clay. They achieve excellent heat storage due to the solid clay components and above-average thermal insulation due to the air cell structure. This reduces heating costs and improves the ecological balance of your property. (In our article we have compiled the most important info on the subject of ecological and sustainable house building for you).

Indoor climate

Due to its natural buffering and balancing effect, clay is able to regulate the humidity of the air. In addition, there is no need for interior plaster, which significantly reduces construction moisture. This eliminates the need for dry heating in new buildings. Ultimately, with the monolithically erected expanded clay walls, you create an excellent feel-good climate from day 1. (To live healthy, frequent airing is essential – air properly and avoid mistakes).

Building Biology

Expanded clay is both retentive and breathable. The formation of condensation is perfectly counteracted thanks to the very good water vapor diffusion. In addition, the fire-resistant expanded clay walls prove resistant to rotting and mold, after all, they behave neutrally to chemical stresses. Thus, the walls are imperishable. (You may also be interested in: Building Biology and Climate Change).


Noise can be a major nuisance. Expanded clay scores as an ideal restorative. The building material has a strong sound-reducing effect given the alternation of solid perimeter and air-filled voids within the fine structure. Monolithic walls absorb sound and break it up, effectively protecting you from noise and its negative effects on your health.

Customized work and efficient construction processes

Monolithically produced expanded clay walls are prefabricated to the millimeter on the basis of the construction plan in production facilities that are independent of weather conditions, frost-proof as well as dry. As a builder, you thus avoid the risk of a start-up jam at the beginning of construction and benefit from an extremely short shell construction period. Precisely dimensioned recesses and specially prepared empty conduit systems in the wall systems also ensure uncomplicated electrical and sanitary installations without the need for tedious chiseling and slotting work.

Autorin Sarah Völkl

Sarah Völkl hat Architektur studiert und ist seit Jahren das Gesicht von a better place. Mit ihren Videos ist sie bei YouTube vielen Personen schon länger bekannt. Sarah teilt Ihr Wissen jetzt auch bei den Bautipps von Almondia.
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