Guide on Construction Materials and Types

March 19, 2021

Construction Materials

For the construction of different structures, there’s a vast wide range of products that are used. Building materials occur either naturally like clay, wood, twig and leaves, rocks, and sand or are artificial, which in this case some are more synthetic and others are less synthetic. The materials used for construction include:

  • Cement
  • Sand
  • Concrete
  • Structural steel
  • Binding wires
  • Blocks
  • Bricks
  • Ready-mix concrete

During construction, you should select materials carefully to ensure that safety is met from the building and the building will last long. Also, ensure that your supplier offers high-quality, cost-effective materials. Also, the supplier should provide excellent customer services as well as world-class delivery services. In Australia, Onsite Timber Sydney is an outstanding choice.

Types of construction materials

Structures can be categorized depending on the materials that were used for construction. The different types of constructions are non-combustible, heavy timber, fire-resistive, wood-framed and ordinary.


Cement is a binding substance in constructions. Cement sets harden, and adheres between different materials, and binds them together. It is mainly used with sand and gravel. When mixed with gravel and sand, the material is concrete.


Aggregate is mainly used for two purposes is construction. It is used as an ingredient in asphalt concrete or Portland cement and as an underlying material, and for pavements and foundations. It’s one of the main ingredients in concrete. In concrete aggregates cover up to 70-75% of its volume.

Aggregates mainly occur as:

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

The size of the aggregate determines the weight or the stiffness of the concrete. It also influences the physical, thermal, and chemical properties of the performance of the concrete.

Aggregate should be free from organic materials, vegetables, loam, and clay. Instead, wash by spraying water before using the concrete.


When clay is in the plastic state, it can be tampered in the desired sizes and shapes, forming blocks – bricks. After tampering, the blocks are sun dried and then burnt in a kiln, making the bricks strong and hard.

Bricks tend to be among the cheapest construction materials, which is one of the factors that has resulted in their popularity in construction. It also readily available in the locality. Another factor to its popularity as a construction material is insulating properties against sound and heat, reliability, durability, and strength.

The clay used plus the skill of the laborer defines the final product.


Steel is used in construction either as reinforcement steel or structural steel.

Reinforcement steel is in steel bars and is used together with concrete. Concrete is very weak in tension but very strong in compression. Steel is used to improve the tensile strength of the concrete. The steel is in bars for maximum elongation, especially during high temperatures. Its thermal expansion coefficient is nearly equal to concretes. The carbon steel mainly tensions reinforced masonry and reinforced concrete.

Structural steel is mainly used to create long-lasting and impressive buildings. It can also be used alongside concrete. Structural Steel inspection is a required part of the project, to ensure and maintain the quality of structural steel at the construction site. It is cost-effective, flexible, sustainable, and versatile – the main reason it is used.


Sand is an organic construction material that occurs naturally. Sand as a construction material is used either as natural sand or river sand. Sand is white-grey fine graded material. Sand is used in masonry and concrete works. It is also used for plastering, making bricks as well as in reinforced concrete.

Timber (Wood)

As a construction material, timber is used in various forms like planks, battens, and beams. It is popularly used in the form of raw wood and plywood. It is used in cabinets, doors, windows, shelves, tables, cupboards, railings, etc. It’s a highly versatile building material. Wood products depend on the manufacturing process, adhesive’s quality, and the wood stock used. Heavy patterned doors, ply boards and ply blocks, and windows are made of solid wood as it provides strength, durability, and toughness.

Bitumen and tar

Asphalt is held together by a liquid-like binder called bitumen. It is a sticky black and highly viscous material. It is composed of hydrocarbons obtained from petroleum distillation. Bitumen has adhesive and waterproofing properties. Distillation removes diesel and gasoline and leaves the heavier crude component – bitumen – behind. Its grade is improved by refining it severally. Bituminous materials are used for roofing, road construction, waterproofing, and other uses. The shortcoming of bitumen in road construction is its durability and cost.


Stone is a natural construction material obtained from quarries. Stone has been used for an extended time constructing different building components such as retaining walls, retaining walls, dams, bridges, floors, roofs, etc. Stone use in building has, however, declined because of the following reasons:

  • More materials are currently available, and they tend to be more durable, suitable, and workable
  • Structures made of reinforced concrete and steel tend to have good strength and stronger.
  • Dressing stone is time-consuming, making construction with stone take longer.
  • Stones are not conveniently and cheaply available in the plains.


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