Building & Construction Materials

Building & Construction Materials

Building material is any material used for construction purpose such as materials for house building. Wood, cement, aggregates, metals, bricks, concrete, clay are the most common type of building material used in construction. The choice of these are based on their cost effectiveness for building projects.

 
 

Many naturally occurring substances, such as clay, sand, wood and rocks, even twigs and leaves have been used to construct buildings. Apart from naturally occurring materials, many man-made products are in use, some more and some less synthetic.

The manufacture of building materials is an established industry in many countries and the use of these materials is typically segmented into specific specialty trades, such as carpentry, plumbing, roofing and insulation work. This reference deals with habitats and structures including homes.

Types of Building Materials, their Properties and Uses

Types of Building Materials Used in Construction

1. Natural Construction Materials

Construction materials can be generally categorized into two sources, natural and synthetic. Natural materials are those that are unprocessed or minimally processed by industry, such as lumber or glass.

 
 

Synthetic materials are made in industrial settings after much human manipulations, such as plastics and petroleum based paints. Both have their uses.

Mud, stone, and fibrous plants are the most basic materials, aside from tents made of flexible materials such as cloth or skins. People all over the world have used these three materials together to create homes to suit their local weather conditions.

In general stone and/or brush are used as basic structural components in these buildings, while mud is used to fill in the space between, acting as a type of concrete and insulation.

A basic example is wattle and daub mostly used as permanent housing in tropical countries or as summer structures by ancient northern peoples.

Natural Building Materials

 

2. Fabric

The tent used to be the home of choice among nomadic groups the world over. Two well known types include the conical teepee and the circular yurt. It has been revived as a major construction technique with the development of tensile architecture and synthetic fabrics.

Modern buildings can be made of flexible material such as fabric membranes, and supported by a system of steel cables or internal (air pressure.)

3. Mud and clay

The amount of each material used leads to different styles of buildings. The deciding factor is usually connected with the quality of the soil being used. Larger amounts of clay usually mean using the cob/adobe style, while low clay soil is usually associated with sod building.

The other main ingredients include more or less sand/gravel and straw/grasses. Rammed earth is both an old and newer take on creating walls, once made by compacting clay soils between planks by hand, now forms and mechanical pneumatic compressors are used.

Soil and especially clay is good thermal mass; it is very good at keeping temperatures at a constant level. Homes built with earth tend to be naturally cool in the summer heat and warm in cold weather. Clay holds heat or cold, releasing it over a period of time like stone.

Earthen walls change temperature slowly, so artificially raising or lowering the temperature can use more resources than in say a wood built house, but the heat/coolness stays longer.

Peoples building with mostly dirt and clay, such as cob, sod, and adobe, resulted in homes that have been built for centuries in western and northern Europe as well as the rest of the world, and continue to be built, though on a smaller scale. Some of these buildings have remained habitable for hundreds of years.

 

 

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