What Are Building Materials?
Building materials are substances or products used in the construction of buildings, structures, and infrastructure. They are essential for creating a solid, functional, and durable foundation for any construction project. There are various types of building materials available, including:
The choice of building materials depends on factors such as cost, availability, durability, aesthetics, environmental impact, and specific requirements of the construction project.
15 Different Types of Building Materials
The following are the most common building materials types used in construction,
1. Mud and Clay
Mud is defined as the mixture of soil, loam, silt, or clay with water. It generally naturally forms after the rainfall near the river or water sources. After some time the mud hardens and makes a mudstone.
As a building material mud is a semi-fluid material that can be used to coat, seal, and adhere materials. Mud is referred to by many different names for its different components like slurry, mortar, plaster, stucco, and concrete.
Generally, a mixture of subsoil and water with the addition of stone, gravel, straw, lime, and bitumen is usually used to build walls, floors, and even roofs.
In the past, mud is usually used to plaster the building wall, construct building walls, and use to make mud bricks.
A mud mixture with some binder like bitumen or cement is called stabilized mud. It is also known as the mud create, concrete, and soil cement.
- Mud bricks
- Mud plaster
- Mud mortar
- Mud concrete
2. Clay Bricks and Blocks Types of Building Materials
The mud bricks are known as Clay bricks. It is also called adobe.
The mud or clay is a mixture of water placed into the molds and then allowed to dry in the open air. As a binder straw is sometimes within the bricks, it makes them a composite, if the straw is not used the bricks are easy to break, due to the straw the bricks have redistributed the force throughout the bricks and reduced the chances of breakage.
The building that uses this type of brick is generally protected from groundwater.
- Mud or clay bricks are commonly used to build homes or other necessary structures.
Sand is a generally granular material composed of finely divided rock and mineral particles. It is also defined based on its size, being finer than gravel and coarser than silt. It is one of the essential types of building materials.
The most common content of the sand is silica (sio2). It is usually in the form of quartz. The second most common content is calcium carbonate.
Sand is a NON-RENEWABLE RESOURCE, usually, and is used to make concrete in demand nowadays.
- River sand
- Desert sand
- Beach sand
- Marine or ocean sand
- To protect against floods sandbags are used.
- It is also used as an abrasive in cleaning, preparing, and polishing.
Aggregates are the most commonly used material in construction. Also, aggregates are the most mining material in the world.
Aggregate is the main component of composite materials such as concrete and asphalt concrete. It gives strength to the overall composite material.
The aggregates have a high hydraulic conductivity value compared to the soil. So it is widely used in drainage applications such as foundations, septic drain fields, retaining wall drains, and roadside drainage.
The aggregates are commonly used for a stable foundation or a road/rail base because they have uniform properties or a low-cost extender that binds with more expensive cement or asphalt to form concrete.
Generally, aggregates are classified into 2 types:-
Coarse aggregates:- >4.75 mm
Fine aggregates:- <4.75 mm
- Stone Quarry
- Asphalt concrete
- Cement Concrete
- Road and Rail base foundation
- Retaining wall drainage
- Roadside drainage
5. Stone or Rock
Rock is a naturally available material. It is used in construction at different places. The stone or rock which is been used in construction is hard, durable, tough, and free from the weathered soft patches of materials, cracks, and other defects which reduce the strength and durability of a rock.
The rocks or stone used for construction has various different application based on their properties.
Some different types of rock or stone are listed below:-
- Stone Quarry
- Road construction
- Rubble masonry
- Bridge piers
- Retaining walls
- Base for rails
- Bridges and dams
- Retaining walls
- Curbs and stone columns
- As a kitchen platform
- Riser and trade-in staircase
- Door and windows framing
Ornamental works like columns, flooring, and steps.
With the help of dry vegetation such as straw, water reed, sedge, rushes, heather, or palm branches roof of the building is crafted is known as the thatching.
Due to thatching, the shaded water does not come to the inner roof. Due to densely packed vegetation being used for the thatching, it works as insulation also.
This is a very old method that we have used for roofing. In developing countries, thatch is used nowadays because low-cost dry vegetation is used. In developed countries, they use thatch for the elevation purpose or to give the rustic look to their house.
The serviceability of the thatching depends on the roof shape and design, the pitch of the roof, the position of the roof, the quality of material used for the thatching, and the skill of the thatcher.
Thatch is a natural water resistance if properly maintained it does not absorb the water. On the roof, the slope is made up to 50* so the water is not penetrate it and quickly drains off.
Thatch had one property insulation. With the help of the straw, the roof gives a good performance in both the cold and warm seasons. It is also good resistant the wind damage.
Thatch is usually used as a roofing material with properties like good isolation, good water resistance, and good wind resistance.
7. Wood and Timber
- Timber is the one type of wood that is been used for construction or carpentry purposes.
- Timber is a material which is been used for thousand of years.
- Wood has unique characteristics in that it builds a variety of structures.
- Wood is a naturally available material.
- Wood is a good isolation material.
- Wood is fabricated in all kinds of shapes and sizes.
- 30% of the total construction work timber is used.
- Timber provided good strength, toughness, durability
Application of Timber
- Door/window frame and shutters
- Tables and railings
- Furniture of house
- On-wall as isolation material
- Construction of earthquake-proof buildings
Read More: 35 + Types Of Wood With Pictures & Use
8. Fired Brick and Clay Blocks
- Generally, Fired bricks are made from fire clay and are used for high-temperature construction like kilns, and lining furnaces.
- Fired bricks are manufactured similarly to normal bricks but in a burning process fired bricks are exposed to very high temperatures.
- Fired bricks weigh about 30 to 35 N.
- The compressive strength of 200 to 220 kg/cm2.
- Water absorption varies from 5 to 10%
- Fires bricks have good chemical resistance properties.
Mainly there are 3 types of fired bricks:-
- Acidic fire bricks
- Basic fire bricks
- Neutral fire bricks
- The inner surface of kilns, furnaces, and chimneys.
- Fire resistance structure
- The lining of wood-fired ovens.
Cement is a fine powder material, which is been used as a binder for the substance and set and hardens or binds the other and adheres to other materials together. It is old and extensively used and the oldest type of building material.
Generally, cement is used to bind sand and aggregates together.
In construction, cement is used for many purposes:-
- Cement + sand = Mortar (used for the plastering or brickwork)
- Cement + sand + aggregates = Concrete (used for slab, columns, footing, beam)
- Cement slurry (for tile works)
- Cement paste (for repairing purposes)
Good cement has the following physical properties
- Setting time
- Heat of hydration
- Loss of ignition
- Bulk density
- Specific gravity
Cement is in the form of powder when it is mixed with water it is set to a hard mass. The setting and the hardening result are based on hydration, which is a chemical combination of cement and water.
There are many types of cement available in the market. All cement has its own properties and own uses. Generally for building construction, Portland cement is used.
Following are the types of cement:
- Repair hardening cement
- Low heat cement
- Sulfate resisting cement
- High alumina cement
- Blast furnace slag cement
- Colored cement
- Pozzolana cement
- Air entraining cement
- Expansive cement
- White cement
- Cement concrete for the footing, beams, columns, slab, lintels, etc.
- Cement mortar for brickwork and plastering.
- Cement is used for making joints of drains and pipes.
- For watertight structures
- Cement is used for precast structures like pipes, and piles.
- Cement is used for important structures like bridges, pipe culverts, dams, and tunnels.
- Cement is used for RCC roads.
Read More: Which Is Best Cement For House Construction
In civil engineering, the use of fabric in many places, but nowadays fabric is used for a fabric structure that provides end users with a variety of aesthetic free-form building designs.
- Fabric structures are flame retardant, weather-resistant, and natural forces requirements.
- The fabric structure is one type of tensile structure.
In the fabric structure, the fabric used is coated and laminated with synthetic materials for increased strength, durability, and environmental resistance.
The fabric used for the structure is following below:-
- Polyvinyl chloride
- Woven fiberglass coated with polytetrafluoroethylene.
The fabric has the following strength:
- Tensile strength
- Tear strength
- Adhesion strength
- Flame retardancy
Fabric structures are used in a traditional building in certain scenarios. No lighting is required because the fabric is translucent, which makes it an energy-efficient solution.
For determining a material’s suitability for the structure consider the following things:-
- Shading coefficients
- General solar, optical, and thermal performance data
- Acoustical data
- Awnings, tents, and low tension frames structure
- Walkways and tent halls and smaller air-supported structures
- Stadium domes
Nowadays, synthetic polystyrene or polyurethane foam is used in combination with structural materials like concrete.
- Foam is a lightweight material.
- Foam is easily shaped in any form.
- Foam is a good insulator material.
- Foam is used in the house as an insulator sandwiched between wood or cement or insulating concrete foam.
Types of Foam
- Rigid foam
- Spray foam
The spray foam is a chemical reaction product between the two materials isocyanate and Polynesian.
The reaction between these two materials expands 30 – 60 times its liquid volume after it is sprayed in place.
Expansion of the foam is generally used in the packing material which to shape the product being packaged and produces a high thermal insulating value with virtually no air infiltration.
The following are 3 thermal properties of foam Block:-
- Conductive heat transfer
- Radiant heat transfer
- Convective heat transfer
1. Packaging application
This type of foam is a good packing material that is used in shipping valuable fragile items and also for the protect sculptures, vases, large fossils, lamp bases, busts, computers, or furniture.
2. Building application
Spray foam insulation or spray polyurethane foam:- it is used as an insulator material in houses or buildings.
Glass is a product that is been made with a mixture of sand and silicates, in a very hot fire stove called a kiln and is very brittle. It is one of the widely used types of building materials.
Glass is generally used in the windows to cover the panel of the window with the ability to both let light into the room while at the same time keeping inclement weather outside.
Glass is nowadays used for architectural purposes in the building or the elevation of modern buildings.
The curtains walls made from glass are used to cover the entire façade of the building or also use for the span over a wide roof structure in the space frame.
The new invention of GLASS BRICK is used in a building for elevation purposes.
Following are the types of glass which are used in construction
- Float glass
- Tinted glass
- Toughened glass
- Laminated glass
- Shatterproof glass
- Extra clean glass
- Double glazed glass
- Chromatic glass
- Glass wool
- Glass blocks
Applications of Glass in Construction:
- Float glass is used as shop fronts, glass blocks, and railing partitions.
- Laminated glasses are used in glass facades, bridges, staircases, floor slabs, etc.
- Shatterproof glass is used in skylights, windows, and flooring.
- Extra clean glass is used for elevation purposes.
- The double-glazed glass is used for insulation purposes.
- Chromatic glass is used in meeting rooms and ICUs.
- Glass wool is used as a filler or insulator in buildings, it is also used as a soundproof.
As a new building material, gypcrete or gypsum concrete is a mixture of gypsum plaster and fiberglass roving.
It is used as a floor underpayment.
Gypcrete is generally used in the building in a wood frame and concrete construction with properties of fire ratings, sound reduction, radiant heating, and floor leveling.
Architects and designers have suggested gypcrete as a flooring material nowadays because it has many more good properties and benefits than other building materials.
Some benefits of the gypcrete are listed below:-
- Easy to install
- Partially fire resistant
- Rapid wall
14. Metal and Steel
Metal or steel is the second most common building material after concrete. It is one of the most useful and strong types of building materials.
There are many types of metals are present in the market. Following is the list of metals:-
- Cast iron
- Stainless steel
- Wrought iron
The in construction field steel is a commonly used material. The primary purpose of the steel is to form a skeleton for the building or structure essentially the part of the structure that holds everything up and together.
There are many advantages of steel-like malleability, ductility, elasticity, hardness, brittleness, and conductivity.
Steel is also used as a reinforcement in the concrete. it gives the tensile strength to the component. Concrete is poor in tensile strength so steel reinforcement is used.
There are 2 types of steel used in construction:-
- Structural steel (mild steel)
- High-yielding strength Deformed steel
Structural steel is generally used in the construction of steel structures like roofing trusses, skyscrapers, industrial buildings, cold storage, etc.
HYSD steel is used generally to make a bar, which is been used in structural members like beams, columns, footings, etc.
Applications of Steel In Construction:
- Concrete Reinforcement
- Pipe fittings, manhole covers
- Floor and wall brackets for railings
- Circular stairs
- Door window Grills
- Ceiling frame or wall framing
- Roofing and accessories
- High strength bolts
- Cables for elevators
- Wall tiles
- Kitchen platforms
Today the use of plastic is more than the other material. Plastic is very light in weight and easier for work and maintenance. It is an important type of building material.
There are many different types of plastics available on the market they all are their own properties and own uses.
- The following are the properties of the plastic
- Chemical resistance
- Dimensional stability
- Electric insulation
- Fire resistance
- Melting point
- Thermal properties
Applications of Plastic:
- Façade panels, exterior covering, carpentry
- Weather boarding
- Rolling shutters
- Wall lining
- Floor covering
- Roof covering
- Roof tightness
- Sanitary equipment
In conclusion, there is a wide range of building materials available that are used in the construction of buildings, infrastructure, and other structures.
These materials can be categorized into natural and man-made materials, each with its unique properties and advantages. Natural building materials include wood, stone, and clay, which have been used for centuries due to their abundance and durability.
Man-made materials, on the other hand, include concrete, steel, and plastics, which are developed for their strength, versatility, and affordability. There are several types of building materials available for different functions such as structural support, flooring, insulation, roofing, decorative finishes, and more.
The choice of building material depends on a variety of factors, including the climate, the function of the building, and the aesthetic requirements of the project.
Recent years have seen the development of new materials and technologies that are more efficient, sustainable, and eco-friendly. These materials include recycled materials, green roofs, and solar panels, which help reduce energy consumption and emissions.
In summary, the use of high-quality building materials is essential to ensure the longevity, safety, and sustainability of buildings and infrastructure Understanding the different types of building materials available and choosing the right material for a given application can help ensure that the project is completed efficiently, safely, and in a way that minimizes its environmental impact.
Materials Needed to Build a House
The basic materials needed to construct a house are cement, sand, aggregate, and steel. Other materials like timber, PVC pipes, glass, aluminum, paint, asbestos sheet, etc.
What is the Most Used Material In Construction?
Cement is the most used construction material with global cement consumption volume is expected to reach 4.42 billion tons in 2021. It is mostly used to make concrete and mortar for plastering work.
Civil Construction Materials
For civil construction work, the main building materials are cement, sand, aggregate, and steel. Cement is used to make concrete and plasterwork. Sand is used for plastering work and concrete making.
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