Haida houses were constructed from red cedar timbers and planks. Houses were also named and one house might have had more than one name. These names were derived from a number of sources such as crests of the owner, the charity or economic abundance of the house owner, events related to the actual construction of the house or physical features of the house itself. House names were regarded as personal property and were often transferred to a new village when the house owner moved.
The Haida built two types of houses, which differed mainly in the approach to construction, rather than in the character of the unfinished house. Type 1 is a simple support structure of two parallel round beams set on pairs of uprights. To this basic structure is added a framework of light rafters, sills, corner posts, and gables, which is then covered with planks. There is little integration between massive frame and light covering.
House type 2 integrates all of the structural members and distributes the stress by employing more elaborate joinery, including mortice-and-tenon joints and interlocking features. The sheeting is further integrated into the frame by joinery. The extensive use of joinery in this type of house, with supports integrated into the walls, adds structural strength and provides more interior space.