Types of construction and decorative materials in civil engineering

Articles > Types of construction and decorative materials in civil engineering

Building material literally means any material that can be used for construction purpose. Different types of material are used while constructing a building ranging from a single bathroom to a multistory building. There are two basic categories of building material. 


(a). Construction Material:

Construction material is that material which is used to construct the skeleton of the building. It includes bricks, steel, cement, concrete, wood etc. Detail of the most important building material is as under:

Bricks: Bricks play the basic role in the construction purpose. A building can be   constructed by means of compiling brick upon one another. Bricks are of mainly types. 

Sun Dried Brick: These bricks are made up of clay or some times clay mixed with small quantity of sand. These bricks are made and kept in the sunlight to get dried. These types of bricks are very common in the rural areas. The cost of these bricks is very low but these bricks are vulnerable to rain water, because the rain water erodes these types of bricks. The disadvantage of these bricks is that we can not bond these brick with cement. We, again use clay or mud to bond the bricks with one another.

Burnt Clay Bricks: Burnt Clay Bricks are also made up of clay mixed with a small quantity of sand. These bricks are once dried in the solar heat and then these bricks are burnt in kiln. The heat in the kiln melts the sand particles present in the bricks and strengthens the bonding of sand particles. The bricks are then cooled down and used for building construction. These bricks are little costly, but still more than 90% of the world buildings are constructed with these bricks. These bricks are strongly bonded with one another my means of cement. 

Concrete Bricks: In the big cities and in the areas where Kiln Burnt Bricks are either not available or too much costly, concrete bricks are used for the purpose of construction of buildings. Such type of bricks is made up of sand, gravel and cement. This type of bricks is made by mixing sand, gravel and cement in a particular ratio and drying it in the sun light and throwing water on the bricks for several days in order to strengthen the chemical bonding among the particles of bricks. Disadvantage of brick like these is that these bricks a very heavy and have a definite life span. After some years these bricks start weathering due to the humidity present in the air. However their weight is mitigated by hollowing them from the inside, but this trick weakens a brick.

Stone Bricks: These types of bricks are used in the mountainous and hilly areas, where there a large quantity of sedimentary rocks is available. Sedimentary rocks are cut and shaped. The strength and durability of these bricks depends upon the type rock they are made of. However these bricks are more durable than all the rest of the bricks. 

Steel/ Iron:Steel or iron is used in the buildings to strengthen and keep them turgid. Different areas of the world use different types of steel and iron. Steel is more elastic and earthquake proof as compared to iron. Iron and steel rods are placed in the concrete part of the buildings and skeleton is built up and space is then filled with bricks.

Cement: Cement is the jointing material used all over the world in construction sector. Cements are of different types. Most of the common types of cement are as under:

OPC: Ordinary Portland cement is used world wide and it is also known as “All Purpose Cement”. It is used in Concrete, mortar and plaster. 

PPC: Portland Pozzalana Cement is made by mixing grinded pozzalanic clinker with OPC. This type of cement is resistant to weathering caused by water and moisture. This type of cement is used in building bridges, dams, drains, sewage, water storages, pools etc. As this type of cement is resistant to water, therefore it is used in buildings surrounded by damp and moist conditions. 

RHPC: Rapid Hardening Cement is made up of adding C3A and C3S with OPC cement. It is used in precast concrete production, concrete masonry, urgent repair work and cold weather concreting. This type of cement is used for the purpose of rapid hardening the concrete. 

Wood: In many forest regions complete buildings are made up of wood, while in other areas      wood is used in doors, shelves of a building. Below are the types of woods that are mostly used for construction purposes throughout the world.

Hardwood: Hardwood is used for making cupboards, desks, wooden panels, door-frames and window fittings. This types of wood is gotten from teak, deodar and walnut tree. The harness and durability of this type of wood is extraordinary, therefore it is also used in floors of the buildings. 

Softwood: Soft wood is equally durable as the hard wood, however it is soft and flexible. It is used in furniture, walls, floors, desks, doors and wooden panel. This type of wood is obtained from the trees of Hemlock, Silver Phir, Blue Phir and Pine, which are evergreen trees. These trees are found in mountains of very high altitude. 


(b). Decorative Material:

Builds should be only functional but should also be aesthetically charming from inside and outside. Different types of material like metamorphic rocks, precious stones, dyes, and other artificial and natural beautifying products are used to decorate the building. Marbles and other metamorphic stones are used in the floors. There is a variety of marble used in buildings. Crystalline limestone marbles are most common, which are generally the oldest stones and are found in both white and coloured. Alabaster and travertine are part of the crystalline limestones. Marble is then classified into different types depending on the colour, appearance, origin. However, regardless of its classification, the rock certainly guarantees aesthetic and mechanical characteristics without equal. The hardness and the resistance of marble make it one of the most precious stones and therefore used in large scale. It has always been a symbol of elegance and style. Gypsum powder, plaster of paris, and other natural and synthetic dyes are used in building. Some of these products even used in accordance with climatic conditions. Use of glass is very common in the buildings.

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