Building Materials used in Construction and their Types

All the building structures are composed of various types of materials. These materials are either referred to as building materials or materials of construction.

A builder, perhaps architecture or engineer or a contractor needs to become familiar totally with these building materials. The information on various types of materials, their properties, and uses for various functions provides a vital tool in the hand of the builders in achieving the economy in material price.

The material cost in a building ranges from thirty to fifty percent cost of total construction cost. In addition to the material economy, the right use of material leads to higher structural strength, functional efficiency, and aesthetic look.

Building Materials Used in Construction works and their Types

These are some most commonly used building materials and are listed below:

  1. Stones
  2. Bricks
  3. Cement
  4. Sand
  5. Mortar
  6. Concrete
  7. Timber
  8. Metals
  9. Glass
  10. Ceramics
  11. Miscellaneous Building Materials


From the olden day’s stones have been considered as one of the popular materials for building due to its high availability from natural rocks. Strength and durability are the two most important qualities building stones should possess.
stone used as construction materials for building

Some other important qualities to be considered for good building stones are its Crushing strength, Appearance, Durability, Fracture, Hardness, Percentage wear, Resistance to fire, Specific gravity, Texture, Water absorption, and Toughness index.

Stones are mostly used for structural work, face work, paving work and for other purposes like ballast for railways and flux in a blast furnace, etc.


A brick is a building material used to create a wall, pavement, and many other masonry elements. Brick is being used for building purposes for thousands of years which makes it one of the oldest known building materials.
bricks used as construction materials for building

The bricks in the ancient times were made of mud and were dried in the sun for hardening. The greatest breakthrough came in 3500 BC with the invention of fired brick. From this moment on, brick started becoming popular in colder climates also. The process involved in the manufacturing of brick includes preparation of clay, molding, drying, and burning.

Qualities of good brick are it should be free from cracks and should have sharp and square edges. It should produce clear ringing sound when struck with each other.


cement is a binder, a substance used for construction that sets, hardens, and adheres to alternative materials to bind them along. There are 2 main kinds of cement: Geopolymer cement and portland cement.

cement used as construction materials for building

Cement is rarely used on its own, however, rather bind sand and gravel (aggregate) along. When mixed with fine aggregate(sand) produces mortar for masonry, or with sand and gravel, produces concrete.

Cement is the most generally used material existing and is merely behind water because of the planet’s most-consumed resource.


Sand is an important building material and is granular in nature, composed of finely disintegrated rock and mineral particles. It is finer than gravel and coarser than silt.
sand used as construction materials for building
The composition of sand consists of Silica (silicon dioxide or SiO2) usually in the form of quartz.
Sand is the principal component of construction material such as concrete and mortar.


Mortar is composed of a mixture of sand, a binder, and water. When cement is used as the binder material, it is called as cement mortar and when lime is used as the binder material, it is called lime mortar, similarly, if gypsum is used as a binder, it is called as gypsum mortar.

mortar used as construction materials for building

Mortar is used in masonry work to hold building materials such as bricks and stone together. It is also used for plastering work.


Concrete is a mixture of Portland cement, water, coarse and fine aggregates, and admixtures proportioned to form a plastic mass capable of being cast, placed, or molded into forms that will harden to a solid mass.

concrete used as construction materials for building

The desirable properties of plastic concrete are that it be workable, placeable and non-segregating and that it set in the desired time.

The hardened concrete should provide the desired service properties such as Strength (compressive and flexural), Durability ( lack of cracks, resisting to thawing and freezing and resistance to chemical attacks, resistance to abrasion).
Cement concrete is important building material because of the following properties which are listed below:

  1. Concrete can be molded into any size and shape.
  2. It is possible to control and alter the properties of cement concrete.
  3. It is possible to mechanize its preparation and placing.
  4. Concrete possesses adequate plasticity for mechanical work.

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