Building Materials: A Complete Guide

The materials used for the construction of buildings, houses, or any other structure are called building materials. There is a wide variety of building materials that are used in the construction industry. Building materials are chosen based on the type of projects and their cost-effectiveness. Some of the most commonly used building materials are wood, cement, concrete, clay, metal, bricks, rocks, plastic, glass, and concrete.

In this blog, Graana.com, Pakistan’s smartest property portal, provides you with information about the basic building materials that are used for construction.

Following is the list of some of the most used building materials.

  • Metal
  • Wood
  • Concrete
  • Stone
  • Bricks
  • Glass
  • Ceramics
  • Plastic

 

Metal

 

this is an image of steel bars which are included in basic building materials

 

For the construction industry, production of metal requires a lot of time and human labour. During the construction process of buildings, various types of metals, and alloys come in use. However, steel is one metal that is particularly used for the construction of structural framework.

It is an alloy that is majorly composed of iron and is the most common choice for building structural frameworks. Moreover, it is strong and flexible, which is why, if treated well, it works effectively.

Besides steel, tin and aluminium are also used for the construction of houses. Quality wise, they are much better than steel, as they are denser and do not erode easily. This is also the reason why they are sold at high rates.

Brass was also used in the past for construction, but these days it is only used for particular purposes. Other than that, metals that are used as building materials are: chrome, gold, titanium, and silver. Titanium is more expensive than steel, and can be used for building the structural framework of buildings. Whereas, gold, chrome, and silver are only used to decorate the building structures, as they lack hardness and tensile strength.

Wood

Another most commonly used material for construction is wood. It is a natural building material. After getting raw wood from the forests, it is passed through different stages to be used for construction purposes. It is pressed and converted into timber and lumber, to make planks and boards.

People all around the world have been using wood as a building material for ages. Some of the unique properties of wood are that it’s quite flexible, and you can add to its strength if it is compressed vertically. Furthermore, different types of woods exist in markets, and each type comes with varying qualities.

In the past, wooden logs were used in their raw form to build columns and pillars of houses. People would just cut the logs to the desired length, shave the bark off and use it. In some parts of the world, people used to grow trees specifically for building purposes.

 

Concrete

 

this is an image of concrete blocks which are one of the building materials

 

Looking at the basic building materials, concrete is one such material without which construction is not possible. It is composed of aggregate and cement.

Portland cement concrete is a type of concrete, which is most commonly used in the construction industry. It consists of gravel, cement, water, and sand. Water evaporates eventually, turning the concrete into a hard rock-like material.

If the air bubbles get trapped in concrete, it would cause the structure to weaken. Hence, for the removal of air bubbles, builders use a vibrator.

 

Stone

 

this is an image of stone crush which is included in building materials

 

One of the natural and most durable building materials is stone. It is gathered by crushing rocks. Owing to its high compressive strength, stone is widely used as a building material.

If we look at the buildings that were constructed in ancient times, we would notice that most of them are built using stones. Stones like granite, and marble are pretty popular for the construction of stair steps, kitchen countertops, and floors. Though there are a lot of advantages to using stones for construction, it has its downsides as well. One of the disadvantages of using stones is that it is not an effective insulator, meaning heat conducts through it easily.

 

Bricks

 

this is an image of bricks | Building materials

 

It won’t be wrong if we say that bricks are essential for the construction of buildings. Typically made from dry clay, bricks come in rectangular block forms.

Even though, bricks have high compressive strength, and are resistant to heat, however, bricks are not as strong as concrete and can break easily. Typically, bricks are used for the construction of walls, fireplaces etc.

 

Glass

 

this is an image of glass windows

 

Since its invention, glass has been used as a building material. Initially, it was used to cover openings in the structure of houses and buildings. As glass is transparent, it lets the sunlight inside the building, while at the same time maintains the temperature inside.

Looking at the composition of glass, it is a mixture of silica and sand. In contemporary houses, glass is commonly used for constructing windows, and doors. Moreover, it can also be used for adornment purposes.

 

Ceramics

 

this is an image of ceramic tiles which are one of the building materials

 

Ceramic is made by mixing different minerals and heating them up at a very high temperature. It is mostly used to make tiles and fixtures.
They are widely used in the construction industry owing to their property of being fire-resistant, water-resistant, and durable – all at the same time.

Some of the most common places where ceramic is used include bathtubs, sinks, fireplaces, countertops etc.

 

Plastic

 

this is an image of plastic which is a building material

 

It is made by using different kinds of polymers and is a synthetic material. There are different types of plastics that are used as building materials.  Some of them are acrylic, polycarbonate, polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and composite plastics. Besides being light in weight, plastic is also an inexpensive and easy-to-mold material.

It also comes with various disadvantages, for instance, it is not resistant to fire and not suitable for bearing loads. In addition, it is quite harmful to the ecosystem as you can not recycle it.

Plastic is commonly used for light fixtures, plastic roads, carpeting, piping systems, windows, sinks, siding, roofing etc. Properties like heat-tolerance, resilience, and hardness vary depending on the type of plastic.  Today, almost all industries use plastic due to its ability  of being lightweight and adaptable.

 

These are some of the most commonly used building materials. Understanding the types of materials and their composition is necessary if you wish to construct your own home.

For more information, visit Graana.com – Pakistan’s first online real estate marketplace.

 

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