Besides cement from concrete mixers: what are some other building materials?


In previous blogs, we have discussed the importance of cement mixed in concrete mixers as one of the most standard and reliable building materials in the industry. Concrete and concrete mixers alike have made possible some of the world’s most impressive feats of building and architecture. However, concrete is not the only relied upon building material out there, and in just a few minutes of reading, find out about some other popular building materials, as well as the importance of selecting the appropriate material for your building project.




What exactly are building materials?


Building materials represent any material that can be used for construction purposes. Some common building materials include:


  • Concrete
  • Steel
  • Aggregates
  • Clay
  • Metal
  • Wood
  • Bricks


In ages past, people typically used pure bricks, straw or wood to accomplish their building agendas. Today, however, engineers have adapted and learned to combine the correct materials to create structures of exceptionally high quality. Naturally, the choice of which materials are used is most often based on the nature of the project as well as the client’s budget. Despite the wide array of building materials available today, some projects still call on the use of natural substances such as twigs, leaves, wood, sand, rocks and clay – particularly in America where the majority of homes are still made out of wood.


Most man-made building materials that have emerged over the last few decades are synthetic. Despite the fact that most of them are not natural, some are used to create eco-friendly houses and buildings that pass the requirements set out by green construction standards. Recently, the decrease in lumber use has been seen as a positive, considering that it is a finite material and using less wood can only be good for the planet. Today, most building materials, such as cement created in concrete mixers, are being manufactured.




The construction industry is one that is booming in most countries, proving that the industry is healthy and growing every day. With this in mind, one cannot begin to fathom how many ongoing construction projects exist around the globe. Ensuring that the materials used in a project are completely appropriate is one way to ensure the structural integrity of a building as well as prevent any damages and disappointments in the long run. As such, project managers, architects and engineers go to great lengths to analyse the materials needed for specific projects.


Selecting the correct building material


Now that you know a bit more about building materials in a general sense, we are going to delve deeper on the importance of selecting the right building materials. As previously mentioned, the materials used in different scenarios have a massive impact on the quality of a structure. It does not matter how professional and speedy a construction team may be – if the materials are substandard and cheap, the building will not endure the test of time. Unfortunately in many cases, choosing the appropriate building materials is a process that is often overlooked, especially when time constraints and lack of professionalism comes into play.


Some project managers may wish to cut corners and neglect the process to get the ball rolling faster, or at a cheaper rate. No matter the reason, failing to properly consider the best material for a particular project is likely to end up costing more than the high quality materials in the first place, due to a need for major repairs and upkeep in the building’s future. This is without even mentioning that failing to effectively consider the best options is actively putting in danger those who will inhabit or spend time in the building after its construction.


Common building materials used around the globe


We have compiled an informative guide to some of the most common building materials that are used around the globe. In reading through it, you may discover some compelling information that will assist you in selecting the best materials for your next project. The common building materials we have chosen are as follows:




This material, easily mixed by concrete mixes, is a popular choice for commercial and industrial structures alike. Due to its longevity and strength, its popularity is non-surprising. Concrete is a composite material that is produced from cement added with aggregate and mixed in concrete mixers. Despite its merits, experts know that concrete has a low tensile strength, and as a result, it is often strengthened by enforcing rebars or steel rods.


Most large buildings and structures, such as the world’s tallest building – The Burj Khalifa – are composed of reinforced concrete. In the construction process, builders are aware that air bubbles in the concrete are usually the source of weakness and call for repairs in the future. As a result, vibrators are used post-pouring in order to eliminate the bubbles that have formed throughout the process.


For guides on how to use cement and operate concrete mixers, check out some of our other blog posts. We at BS Power also boast an impressive range of concrete mixers to choose from should you be embarking on your own project involving concrete. Operating concrete mixers is not always a simple feat, which is why thorough research is always advised before making use of one.






This might seem like a rather obtuse material, one that is much better suited to ancient times. It is true that the use of rock can be traced back centuries, and as an example, the Egyptian civilisation made most of their structures out of rock – including the pyramids. As one of the longest-lasting materials, rock is still used today for building project – especially by ambitious architects whose clients wish to return to natural living. Because rock is so readily available, it is cheaper to procure than some other building materials.


There are various types of rocks used in the building world, many of which have differing properties. This means that before getting started on using rocks in a building project, it is highly important to ensure that you are working with a good quality rock. As a very dense substance, rock can be an effective protective material. However, its energy-dense nature and weight are often considered to be drawbacks in the building scene, and it is challenging to keep stones warm. In ancient times, mortar was used to hold stones together, whereas nowadays we make use of cement mixed from concrete mixers.




In South Africa, most formal houses are built out of brick. In the United States however, wood remains the cornerstone of culture in the form of wooden homes. From the earliest days of the region up until today, wood has been the main material utilised in home construction projects. Naturally over the years there have been improvements to the design, often in the form of bricks being included to structures in order to make homes more durable. Despite this, many are curious as to why Americans are so determined to maintain their wooden ways when it comes to houses.




The appeal is likely the natural flexibility of wood. Working with wood is arguably easier than the majority of other building materials such as steel and cement. When it comes to wood, many citizens are able to DIY their own homes without having to hire contractors and pay high fees. Businesses seized this opportunity and introduced DIY house building kits, which include everything a person would require in order to assemble their very own house at a low cost. As you may imagine, quality can become a concern in this scenario.


Even DIY kits require a certain level of skill that purchasers often lack. Most people do not have the capability to assemble such an extensive pack of material, nor do they understand the required standards that make a building habitable. As a result, many wooden homes deteriorate a few short years after being set up, which highlights the importance of professional contractors when it comes to building.


Wood and lumber are products of large trees whose trunks are typically broken into smaller portions. Ages ago, wood was usually unprocessed and used as logs that were notched or tied in place. With the modernisation of construction techniques and architecture, however, wood is now used on cabinetry, ceilings as well as floors. When it comes to different tree species, the respective wood bears different qualities that designers and builders need to keep in mind.


In this light, wood species are more suitable than others in specific building applications. For example, maple and oak are appropriate for cabinets and flooring, whereas teak and pine are great for walls. One major downside to wooden homes is that they are susceptible to catching alight and being destroyed by fire – which is why when it comes to the commercial and industrial scene in the US, most buildings are manufactured from concrete and steel.






Undeniably one of the most crucial materials in the creation of modern buildings such as skyscrapers, metal in all its diversity is a building material with which all professionals are familiar. Different types of metals are utilised in construction, such as steel, brass, titanium and chrome. Steel, with its major component as iron, is the most commonly used metal in construction. This is because of its strength, flexibility and longevity. However, its downfall is that it can be weakened by corrosion.


To prevent corrosion, the alternative of aluminium alloy is sometimes used. Although it is more costly than steel, when building in damp environments where materials are susceptible to corrosion, it is much more advantageous in the long run. Brass and titanium are also regularly used in construction, while the more special metals such as chrome, gold and silver are commonly used in decorative details.




Whether used on ceilings, walls or floors, glass is a prevalent aspect in commercial buildings today. Surprisingly, it can be cheaper to put up than concrete for walling – yet naturally does not trump concrete when it comes to durability. Despite this, modern glasses are created and processed to be strong and thick and are not difficult to maintain. Further, the glass aesthetic is what makes it such a popular choice when it comes to large buildings – especially in the commercial world and hospitality industry.


Brick and block


Created from kiln-fired material, bricks are the potentially the most commonly-used building materials in the home construction industry. In most cases, shale or clay is used to make the bricks. The majority of formal South African homes are constructed with brick walls covered with smooth cement and then a layer of paint. Brick is a simple material to work with, and when a construction team gets into the swing of things, huge progress can be made with bricklaying each day.