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Valheim building guide - learn the basics of construction

Pick up some handy building tips in Valheim

A large Viking house with stacks of logs piled outside the entrance

If you want to learn how to build in Valheim like the world’s best Vikings, you’ve come to the right place. Building can be a tricky task for new players as Valheim leaves a lot for you to discover on your own – fortunately we’ve done all the hard work for you. Constructing a solid base might seem like an impossible task at first, but the tools in Valheim are surprisingly robust, allowing you to build the home of your dreams, eventually.

Unlike a lot of survival games, Valheim has strict requirements when it comes to building structures that you must adhere to, including an overall structure strength and adequate ventilation. When you first land in the Viking afterlife, you need to craft a hammer from rogue branches you find lying around the Meadow biome. This allows you to build structures and more importantly, a Valheim workbench, which needs a roof before you can use it. This is just the beginning of why you need to build a base, as you gradually add items such as chests, beds, and eventually a blast furnace. Your base also protects you from the external elements such as a drop in temperature at night and severe weather conditions, as well as prowling enemies.

If you’re just starting out in Valheim, or looking to brush up on your building skills, this guide covers some of Valheim’s building quirks, whether you’re lacking the tools for the job, or you’re trying to squeeze as many items as possible into your little Viking home. Here’s everything you need to know about building in Valheim.

Build a chimney

To live as the Vikings once did, each base must have a chimney to accommodate your indoor campfire. You can tell if your base is in desperate need of ventilation as the structure fills with smoke that can’t escape through the roof, the thick grey clouds are a dead giveaway here. . Without any ventilation, you slowly take damage until you inevitably die.

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The obvious solution to this is to remove a roof panel so the smoke has somewhere to go, however, this can easily let in rain which will extinguish your campfire. Instead, select a roof panel in the usual spot but rotate the panel to have it angled towards the sky. This stops any rain from entering the building while allowing the smoke to escape.

Use the correct tiles

Wondering why strong gusts of wind are blowing out your campfire in the middle of the night? It’s important to use the correct tiles when constructing a base. This might seem obvious, but Valheim gives you the option to use any building structure that fits when constructing a roof. While this may work visually, using floor tiles in place of roof tiles will cause you problems in the long run. Real roof tiles protect your base from windy weather, whereas floor tiles do not.

Two people sit beside a defeated large beast in a camp

Level the terrain

Valheim’s building mechanics can feel unintuitive, and that’s mainly due to the structure strength mechanic. It’s important to build a base on a flat surface – this might sound easy, but the game doesn’t make it clear when a surface is uneven. The hoe tool is perfect for levelling any uneven terrain, making it suitable for building a structure. You can craft a hoe at a workbench for five wood and two stone.

Related: Make potions with our Valheim fermenter guide

Though it’s technically possible to build on hilly terrain, this is not advised, as parts of your structure can become weak due to the lack of a solid foundation. If you built a symmetrical building but some of the panels appear to be structurally weaker on one side, double check your foundation is touching the ground. What usually happens is only half of the pieces are embedded into the ground, but this can easily be fixed by levelling the area off with the hoe.

Create a foundation first

Before building a permanent base, create a flat area using the hoe tool and immediately place floor tiles down as the foundation. Again, this might seem like an obvious tip but it’s extremely annoying to fix down the line. A small base might do the trick for the first few hours of the game, but as you begin to make progress you’ll soon find yourself trapped within the confines of your tiny home.

Related: How to make an obliterator with a thunder stone in Valheim

As you progress through the game, you’ll need more space to store heavy inventory and keep portals nearby, all while maintaining a fortified area to protect against nearby threats. Having a dedicated zone for your base allows you to build within your means while giving you room to spread out once you feel comfortable.

Stack chests to save space

Chests become vital in the mid to late game, giving you a way to stash your precious Valheim bronze and Valheim iron. When building a large base, you need plenty of wood and stone on hand at any given time – this is where chests come in. Ideally you should have a room dedicated to chests in order to keep all of your materials in one place.

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If you don’t have the room to spare, or you want to make things tidier, you can stack chests using the 1×1 wood floor tile. Place this wood tile directly above a chest on the ground, creating a shelf that can hold more chests. Once the chest is on the shelf, you can destroy the shelf and the chests will continue to hover in mid-air. You can stack up to four chests in one column if you’re looking to maximise your space. Check out YouTuber Schmidtdude’s video embedded above to see how it’s done.

Related: Here’s everything you can do with crystal in Valheim

And that’s all you need to know about building in Valheim. There’s a lot more to this survival game than simply building a base – have a look at our guide on Valheim bosses to discover the game’s progression system, and if you want to set up a Valheim dedicated server, our guide will walk you through the process. Those of you who dislike the building aspect of this Viking game may want to check out our guide on Valheim mods – there are plenty of mods to make your building experience significantly smoother.