Building Materials

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Building materials range from “Raw Materials” such as wood, sand, cement, etc. They differ from building products in nature by usually being more un-finished in nature. Below we take a look at some of the most common type of building materials.

Building Material Definition

Building Materials, also called Construction Materials, are the individual natural occurring or man made materials that are collectively used to construct a building.

Types of Building Materials


These building materials are generally used in exterior or foundational applications. Concrete can often be found in building foundations and exterior pathways such as walkways and vehicle driveways. Masonry refers to the bricks, stones, and blocks found either on the facade of a building, or throughout the property grounds. These building materials are typically made up of a mixture of cement, sand, and other minerals mixed together with water.


Drywall is a material used to create walls and ceilings within a structure. It is made of a white power mineral called Gypsum, that is pressed together between 2 sheets of thick paper. The finished product is usually 4 feet tall by 8 feet wide sheets. Drywall gained widespread use in North America as a time and labor saving alternative to the previous method of wall building called Lath and Plaster.


Building insulation can take many forms. It is most commonly used to help control the climate within a structure for either keeping the interior cool (heat prevention) or keeping the interior warm (heat preservation). The most common form of insulation found among North American buildings is fiberglass or mineral wool batts (i.e. sheet). These sheets are sandwiched inside of a building’s walls between interior-drywall and the external-facade. Insulation effectiveness is rated on it’s R-Value, where a higher R-Value equals greater its effectiveness.


Lumber refers to wood that has been processed into standardized sizes and shapes to be used primarily for structural purposes. Common types of lumber include Dimensional Lumber, Plywood Sheets, and Sheathing. Engineered lumber is also commonly used in construction as a derivative of wood that is cross-laminated for additional strength. Lumber varies greatly by type and its intended application within the overall building construction process.


Most North-American roofs are made up of 2-parts. A lower layer called an underlayment, and a top layer that’s exposed to the elements such as shingles. These 2 materials combined, work together to provide a waterproof barrier to protect the structure below. An underlayment is commonly a roll of black asphalt or felt paper. The top layer can vary depending on location and style preference. They typically can be asphalt shingles, clay or tile, slate, metal, wood, and more.

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