Whatever you are looking to build, there is a wide variety of construction materials in the market to choose from. Any of the building construction materials mentioned below will get the job done, but it all comes down to your preference and the suitability of the material for the purpose at hand.
Here are nine different types of building construction materials from around the world:
1. Natural Construction Materials
Generally, building construction materials are categorized into two groups: synthetic and natural. Natural materials are those that are minimally processed or completely unprocessed by industry. They include materials such as glass or lumber. Synthetic materials are produced in an industrial setting after much human manipulation. They include petroleum-based paints and plastics. Both synthetic and natural materials have their uses.
The most common natural construction materials are fibrous plants, stone and mud. In many different parts of the world, people use these three natural materials to build houses that can withstand local weather conditions.
Tents used to be a home of choice for nomadic groups all over the world. Some of the popularly known tents include the circular yurt and the conical teepee. Today, fabrics have reemerged as significant construction materials, a situation largely attributed to the development of synthetic fabrics and tensile architecture. Modern buildings commonly use flexible materials such as fabric membranes, which are usually supported by steel cables.
3. Mud and Clay
When it comes to mud and clay, the deciding factor is (in most cases) linked to the quality of soil being used. Soil, especially clay, has a high thermal mass. It is good at keeping temperatures at a constant level. Houses built with mud and clay are naturally cool during the summer, and warm during the cold season.
Clay can hold heat or cold, then release it slowly over time. Mud and clay structures have withstood the test of time, with some spanning centuries back. Some mud and clay buildings are still habitable 100 years later.
Rock structures have been in existence for a long time. Stone is to date the most durable building material in the market, and it is readily available too. There are many varieties of rocks throughout the world, and they all have different attributes, which make them suitable or unsuitable depending on the intended use. Due to its density, rock offers excellent protection against the elements.
The main drawback of rock as a construction material is its weight. The energy density of this construction material is also considered a disadvantage because keeping it warm takes a lot of heating resources. Granite rock has been used both in the medieval period and modern times. Slate, another type of rock, is commonly used as a roofing material in some areas such as the United Kingdom.
Stone buildings can be spotted in most major cities. Some civilizations are built entirely using stone; for example, the Aztec pyramids, and the pyramids in Egypt.
This is one of the oldest building construction materials. Grass can be easily harvested. It is also an excellent insulator. In Europe, houses that feature a thatch roof were once popular, but that changed when improved transport and industrialization helped increase the availability of other types of construction materials. However, recent years have seen a resurgence of thatched roofs as can be witnessed in the Netherlands.
Brush structures are basically built from plant parts. Structures that have used this material are mostly found in the subtropical and tropical areas; for instance, in the rainforests. Native Americans built brush structures meant for both resting and living in. The plant parts mostly used are leaves, twigs, branches and bark. Brush structures come in various nicknames: lean-tos, wickiups, and so forth.
This construction material was mostly used by Eskimos to build their igloos. Hotels built using ice are becoming increasingly popular with tourists, especially in the north where they hardly get winter tourists.
Wood is commonly used for construction purposes. For wood to be used in construction, it has first to be pressed or cut into timber and lumber. Wood is generic and can be used to build any type of structure. It is also flexible under loads, which helps it retain its strength even when bent. It is strong when compressed vertically.
Different types of wood have different qualities, which means there are specific species of trees that are better suited for particular uses than others. The growing conditions of a tree are essential in determining the final quality of the wood it will produce.
This material is popular among the professional commercial builders in large structural projects. Metal is mostly used to erect the structural framework of large buildings such as skyscrapers. Among the different types of metals used in metal structural construction, steel is the most common. It is flexible but strong, and when it is refined well, it lasts for a very long time.