Building Materials used in Construction

Building Materials

For construction work, many different types of building materials were used. There are different materials which may occur naturally, such as Sand, wood, clay, rocks, even twigs, and leaves, have been used to construct buildings.

Many materials occur naturally, but most of them are man-made products are in use, some more and some less synthetic.



  1. Aggregate
  2. Bricks
  3. Cement
  4. Concrete
  5. Lime
  6. Paints and varnishes
  7. Metals
  8. Timber
  9. stone
  10. Steel
  11. Tiles
  12. Tar and bitumens
  13. Glass

1: Aggregates:

There is two main use of aggregate in civil engineering: as an underlying material and for foundations and pavements as an ingredient in Portland cement and asphalt concrete.

The aggregates are one of the main ingredients in concrete. The aggregates in concrete can cover up to 70-75% of its volume. The requirements of aggregates in concrete as a filler was described in IS: 383.

Two kinds of aggregates are:

  1. Fine (below 4.75mm)
  2. Coarse (above 4.75mm).

Its kinds totally depend on its sizes, but both contribute to the stiffness or weight of concrete. On concrete performance, the chemical, thermal and physical properties can also be influenced.

Aggregate must be free from clay, loan, vegetable, and other organic material before use the aggregate should wash by spraying water on it. For construction 1:4:8 size of aggregate from 1 1/2” to 3/8” are used.

Maximum aggregate size:

The smallest sieve through which 100 percent of the aggregate pass.

Maximum Nominal aggregate size:

The largest sieve that retains any of the aggregates but not more than 10 percent.

Size of aggregate in the different concrete mix

Mix  Aggregate size

1:1.5:3                     20mm

1:2:4                       12.5mm, 20mm, 40mm    {1 in=25.4mm}

1:3:6                        20mm, 40mm, 60mm

1:4:8                        40mm, 63mm

1:5:10                      40mm, 63mm

1:6:12                      40mm, 63mm


2: Bricks:

Bricks are the block of tampered clay and make a desired shape and size when the clay is in the plastic state. The tampered clay is dried in the sun and then burnt. It will make the brick more hard and strong.

The bricks are one of the important and less expensive material in the building constructions. The use of brick is building is popular because of its cheapness and easily available in locals areas.

It is also popular because of its durability strength reliability and provides insulating properties against heat and sound.

The finished product of brick totally depends on the skills of labors and also the type of clay they are using in the bricks productions.

Depending on the clay available in that area the bricks are classified into many different types and classes which we have discussed in a separate topic.

3: Cement:

Perhaps the earliest known occurrence of cement is from twelve million years ago. A deposit of cement was formed after an occurrence of oil shale located adjacent to a bed of limestone burned due to natural causes. These ancient deposits were investigated in the 1960s and 1970s.

The most common cement is used at the site is ordinary Portland cement. For different locations, we use different grades of cement which we discussed in other articles.

It is a binder substance used for construction that sets, hardens, and adheres to other materials to bind them together, cement is seldom used on its own, but rather to bind sand and gravel (aggregate) together. Cement mixed with fine aggregate produces mortar for masonry, or with sand and gravel, produces concrete.




4: Concrete:

Also called plain cement concrete (PCC). The concrete is a mixture of binding material like cement, fine, coarse aggregates, and water or sometimes with admixtures. It has a property to resist compressive forces but concrete is weak in resisting tension forces. The unit weight density of PCC is 2400 kg/m3.

5: Lime:

It is used as a cementing material since old times, in all type of construction processes lime was used in the construction of forts, bridges, temples, and monuments. In old times these things were constructed in centuries back and still existing in good conditions now a day.

The  lime also have some good advantages such as

1: Good workability

2: Plasticity

3: Less shrinkage

4: Drying

5: Durability etc…

There are also some disadvantages such as lime mortar has a particularly slow setting time as compared to cement mortar but by adding 5 to 20% cement in lime mortar we can increase the setting time of lime mortar.

The lime is cheap as compared to cement and it is also locally available.

6: Paints and Varnishes:

Different paints used such as Distemper, Enamel, varnish, white washing, and Wax polishes etc. For the treatment of the masonry walls and make the structure more secure and long-lasting.

7: Metals:

Metal Comprise of 25% of the Earth’s crust and present in many aspects of modern life.

In physics, metal is generally regarded as any substance capable of conducting electricity at a zero absolute temperature. In chemistry, two elements that would otherwise qualify (in physics) as brittle metals arsenic and antimony.

Metals are very important and also a backbone of all engineering products and also projects.  The metal found as compounds like oxides, carbonates, phosphates, and sulphate in nature. These compound are ores and can be purified to get the metal.

8: Timber:

In building various forms of timber is used like beams, battens, and planks construction. Wood is an extremely versatile building material. The wood products depend on the wood stock used, the quality of the adhesive and manufacturing process.

9: Stone:

Ston is obtain from quarries. It is a natural material and may use in the construction of different components such as foundations, Retaining walls, Lintels, roofs, floors, bridges, dams, etc.

Now a day stone are losing their universal use in building material because of these reasons,

1: More materials now available which are more workable, suitable, durable.

2: Stones are not cheaply and conveniently available in the plains.

3: The construction of stones in the building take more times because the dressing of stone is time-consuming.

4: Those structures which are made of steel and RCC are stronger and have good strength.

10: Steel:

Steel is an alloy of iron ore. The carbon content is less than 2%,  1% manganese, small amounts of silicon, phosphorus, sulphur, and oxygen. Steel is the world’s most important engineering and construction material. It is used in every aspect of our lives; in cars and construction products, refrigerators and washing machines, cargo ships and surgical scalpels.




11: Tiles:

The tiles include Terrazzo (mosaic) Tiles, Marble Tiles, Granite Tiles, Paving Stones/Tuff pavers, Concrete Floor finishes, Terrazzo (mosaic) Floor Finish, Terrazzo (mosaic) Floor Tiles Paver blocks.

There are also different tiles such as Ceramic Tiles, Glazed Tile, Unglazed Tiles, Vitrified Tiles, Porcelain Tiles, Mosaic Tiles, Concrete Pavers/Tiles, Split Tiles (Split Pattern), Extruded Tiles, Pressed Tiles, Quarry Tiles, Cast Tiles.

12: Tar and Bitumen:

Bitumen is like a liquid binder which holds asphalt together. It is highly viscous and sticky black material. Bitumen is the sticky black mixture of hydrocarbons which are obtained from natural and from the petroleum distillation. It is a partially hydro carbonated polycyclic aromatic compound C10H8. The unit weighs density of bitumen is 1040 kg/m3. The boiling point of bitumen is 525 degree Celsius.

It has waterproofing and adhesive properties. Bitumen production through distillation removes lighter crude oil components, such as gasoline and diesel, leaving the “heavier” bitumen behind. The producer often refines it several times to improve its grade. Bitumen can also occur in nature: Deposits of naturally occurring bitumen form at the bottom of ancient lakes, where prehistoric organisms have since decayed and have been subjected to heat and pressure.

13: Glass:

The glass in generally obtain from silica, potash, chalk or soda at about 1000 C. The other ingredient also added such as lead oxide, iron oxide, borax.


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