Nowadays, most of the structures consist of wood, steel, concrete, or masonry. Each building material has its own pros and cons that must be considered.
In most of the cases, engineers and architects make use of a combination of these materials in laying their foundation to balance cost, aesthetics, structural integrity, and longevity. We will discuss in detail what are the strengths and weaknesses. So you can play an active role in evaluating your structure’s design.
Humans have been using wood for many years for building shelters and structures. Even after many technological advances and the invention of many new synthetic materials, wood is still popular.
Its popularity comes from its relative affordability. It is also very lightweight and can be easily worked with. It can act as an insulator, keeping warm air in and cold air out and vice versa.
And while it may seem like chopping down trees to build a building is not good for the environment, wood can be an eco-conscious option if purchased from a good timber supplier committed to sustainable forestry.
But also, wood has a few drawbacks. It is not always ideal for supporting a lot of weight, meaning wood is not the best option for buildings with many stories. It is also susceptible to fire and moisture damage and can get affected with destructive termites.
In order to compensate shortcomings of traditional wood, manufacturers have developed various engineered wood products.
Engineered and manufactured with precise specifications, these materials can often support loads strong enough to replace steel and concrete in some structural applications. They also have moisture and fire-resistant properties. However, these manufactured materials having good quality may come at a higher price when compared to traditional wood.
Steel is also the best building material for building because it is strong and also not extremely heavy. This makes it an ideal material for big multi-story buildings and manufacturing and for industrial facilities.
Steel accommodates wide, open designs while simultaneously maintaining the structural integrity of the building, in contrast to masonry. It is also malleable, giving designers the freedom to discover more unconventional building shapes.
Materials made up of steel are consistent and predictable, making repeatable, exact, precise craftsmanship easy to achieve.
However, using steel frames in a building will be expensive than wood. So, while steel can be an attractive alternative to wood for its good and increased durability and longevity, it will be expensive.
Concrete is a combination of cement, aggregates like sand or stone, and water. This mixture is poured into shapes and forms, which dries and hardens, forming anything structure from walls to supporting beams to sidewalks.
Concrete can also be used in the construction of all the structures. It lasts for a long time and holds up to several environmental threats. For more strength, concrete can be reinforced with steel rebar.
Concrete is strong and durable, making it a great option for your foundation. It can bear the weight of the above structure, and also it can stand up to the moist soil that surrounds it.
Concrete buildings are energy efficient; they are able to passively transfer heat absorbed during the day and release it at night when it is cooler.
In comparison to wood and steel, concrete can be expensive to use for your structure. However, the benefits can make it an attractive option. The durability and energy efficiency of the concrete may cost building owners less in the long run to operate and maintain, making that larger upfront cost easier to digest.
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The most commonly used masonry materials include clay bricks, concrete blocks, stone, and many more.
Masonry structures are amongst the oldest surviving structures in the world. Millennia later, masonry remains as a popular building material. Masonry can also offer building solutions in a variety of materials, colours, sizes, and shapes, giving creative control for the design of your structure.
Masonry offers protection against fire and can stand up to wet conditions and pests. Similar to concrete, masonry can be efficient for heating and cooling the building, as the bricks or blocks can maintain a good amount of heat in the winter and can stay cooler in the summer.
However, masonry is also not without limitations. The bricks, stones, or blocks are quite heavy, and they need a fair bit of time to install properly. Due to this reason, specialized craftsmen are o required to finish the project, and a good project plan is crucial for keeping the project progressing.
When compared to wood, steel, and concrete, masonry is on the more expensive side. Bricks require labor to convert raw materials into building materials that further are required to be shipped and installed by craftsmen.
All in all, masonry offers an attractive option for your foundation, whether it is to create your main structure or load-bearing walls.
What Building Materials are best for you?
All building materials have their own advantages and disadvantages. Understanding these pros and cons will enable you to weigh them against the goals you have for your project. In this way, you can determine what is the best material or combination of materials for your building project but you can reach out to industry experts like VKRP for more advice.