Building material is any material used for construction purpose. A wide range of building materials are available for construction of buildings. Proper selection of materials for a particular building can influence the original cost, maintenance, ease of cleaning, durability and appearance. So, one of the most important tasks of anyone constructing any unit is selecting the the most suitable material for a given building structure.
Many natural substances are often used as building material. These include, but are not limited to soil, wood, rocks, clay even leaves. Many other synthetically produced substances are also used for construction of buildings. Commonly used building materials are;
Soil, Sand and Stone
Soil, Sand and Stones are global natural construction materials. In general, stones are used as basic structural components in these buildings, while sand and soil is used to fill in the space between, acting as a type of concrete and insulation.
Brick, the most important tiny piece for construction material has been used by humans for as long as the history of construction can be. Its dates back to some of the earliest human civilizations. Bricks are produced in numerous classes, types, materials, and sizes which vary with region and time period. They are produced in bulk quantities. According to need, appropriate type and suitable size of bricks are used.
Wood has been used historically for framing, exterior siding, and trim form as a complete construction material. Wood is used commonly in windows and doors of a building. When properly maintained, wood material would have a long lifespan. Early woodwork should be retained and if necessary, repaired. New sections can be readily spliced in. Wood is also used for interior designing of buildings to give them a historical look. For Examples domes by wood give an artistic architectural touch.
Metals in historic buildings were used in a variety of applications including columns, roofing, window frames, and decorative features. The types of metals used include cast iron, steel, and aluminum, lead, bronze, brass, and copper. Metals should therefore be retained and repaired, wherever this is possible.
A cement is a binder, a substance used for construction that sets, hardens, and adheres to other materials to bind them together. It is a very useful binding material in construction. The applications of cement over various fields of construction have made it a very important civil engineering material. It presents great resistance to cracking and shrinkage but, provides lesser resistance to chemical attacks.
Brush structures are built entirely from plant parts and are generally found in tropical and subtropical areas, such as rainforests, where very large leaves can be used in the building. These are built mostly with branches, twigs and leaves.
Concrete is a composite building material made from the combination of aggregate and a binder such as cement. The most common form of concrete is Portland cement concrete, which consists of mineral aggregate, Portland cement and water. For a concrete construction of any size, as concrete has a rather low tensile strength, it is generally strengthened using steel rods or bars. This strengthened concrete is then referred to as reinforced concrete. Concrete has been the predominant material in this modern age due to its longevity, formability, and ease of transport.
Plastics are among the newest building materials, ranging from materials strong enough to replace metal, to foam-like products. Plastics are usually light in weight and have a good strength-to-weight ratio. Plastics have low thermal conductivity and thermal capacity, but thermal movement is high. They resist a wide range of chemicals and do not corrode. Most plastics are combustible and may release poisonous gases in a fire. Some plastics are highly flammable, while others are difficult to burn.
More recently synthetic polystyrene or polyurethane foam has been used on a limited scale. It is light weight, easily shaped and an excellent insulator. It is usually used as part of a structural insulated panel where the foam is sandwiched between wood and cement.
Virtual Building Materials:
Certain materials like photographs, images, text may be considered virtual. While, they usually exist on a substrate of natural material themselves. They acquire a different quality of salience to natural materials through the process of representation.
Building materials have great importance for construction of buildings. These materials are an integral part of the Architectural & Structural field.