Construction Materials All Builders Should Be Familiar With

Written by Sarah Stukalin, AMAST Content

In the construction industry, the materials you use can make or break your project. The choice among wood, metal, glass, or concrete can determine the entire atmosphere of a building. As a builder, it is important to be familiar with all material options in order to understand their necessity and place within a project, as well as how these materials work best. Here are the top construction materials with which all builders should be familiar.


Wood is perhaps the most common material used within the construction industry, as it is very versatile. Wood is popular due to its affordability, its light weight, and its ability to act as an insulator to keep warm air inside. While wood may not be the most eco-friendly option, it has a smaller carbon footprint than many other materials, as it uses less water and energy to produce.

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Because concrete is strong and durable, it is a solid choice to build a structure’s foundation. Concrete holds weight well and can stand up to moist soil that surrounds it. Concrete has an incredibly long lifespan, holding up to a variety of environmental threats such as rain and wind. In terms of being eco-friendly, concrete floors are energy-efficient, allowing heat to transfer during the day and release at night when it is cooler. While there are many benefits to utilizing concrete, it is challenging to install. Make sure to work with an experienced concrete team throughout the installation process in order to avoid any future issues in your project.

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Making up some of the oldest surviving buildings in the world, masonry utilizes many smaller units to make up one big structure. Common materials include blocks, stone, and clay bricks. Masonry is incredibly versatile, as it comes in a variety of colors, sizes, and shapes to allow for a more creative design. Much like concrete, masonry does an excellent job of heating and cooling a building. Due to the rise of new technology, new innovations are being incorporated into materials such as bricks and stone, allowing for a more environmentally conscious project.

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Steel is popular in the construction industry because of its ability to be sturdy without being incredibly heavy. Steel is often utilized in large, multi-story buildings and industrial facilities. Steel materials are very predictable and reliable, allowing for precise and exact craftsmanship. However, using steel to frame a building will be more expensive than wood. It is important to hire a good structural engineer, who will be able to economize the use of steel.

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Glass is used to create transparency and light within a structure and is found in contemporary architecture. Science and technology constantly develop improvements to the structure of glass. It is becoming more and more durable and weight-bearing. In terms of the environment, glass is 100% recyclable, so it is easy to discard excess materials. Glass is often used to create delicate-looking structures, and is now even being used in the construction industry as an insulation material.

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Works Cited

Zilliacus, A. (2016, December 19). 16 Materials Every Architect Needs to Know (And Where to Learn About Them). Retrieved December 23, 2020, from

What’s the Best Building Material? (2020, August 14). Retrieved December 23, 2020, from

Glass as a Building Material. (n.d.). Retrieved December 23, 2020, from

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