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Building material is material used for
construction Construction is a general term meaning the and to form , , or ,"Construction" def. 1.a. 1.b. and 1.c. ''Oxford English Dictionary'' Second Edition on CD-ROM (v. 4.0) Oxford University Press 2009 and comes from ''constructio'' (from ''com-' ...

construction
. Many naturally occurring substances, such as
clay Clay is a type of fine-grained natural soil Surface-water- gley developed in glacial till, Northern Ireland.">Northern_Ireland.html" ;"title="glacial till, Northern Ireland">glacial till, Northern Ireland. Soil is a mixture of organic m ...

clay
, rocks,
sand Sand is a granular material composed of finely divided rock (geology), rock and mineral particles. Sand has various compositions but is defined by its grain size. Sand grains are smaller than gravel and coarser than silt. Sand can also refer ...

sand
, and
wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the stems and roots of tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. ...

wood
, even twigs and leaves, have been used to construct
building A building, or edifice, is a structure with a roof and walls standing more or less permanently in one place, such as a house or factory. Buildings come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and functions, and have been adapted throughout history for a ...

building
s. Apart from naturally occurring materials, many man-made products are in use, some more and some less synthetic. The manufacturing of building materials is an established industry in many countries and the use of these materials is typically segmented into specific specialty trades, such as
carpentry Carpenters in an Indian village Carpentry is a skilled trade A tradesman, skilled tradesman, or tradie refers to a skilled worker who specializes in a particular occupation that requires work experience, on-the-job training, and often fo ...

carpentry
, insulation,
plumbing Plumbing is any system that conveys fluids for a wide range of applications. Plumbing uses pipes, valves, plumbing fixtures, tanks, and other apparatuses to convey fluids. Heating and cooling (HVAC), waste removal, and potable water delive ...

plumbing
, and roofing work. They provide the make-up of
habitats In ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment. Ecology considers organism ...
and
structures A structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in a material object or system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A sy ...

structures
including
home A home, or domicile, is a space used as a permanent or semi-permanent residence for one or many Human, humans. It is a fully or semi sheltered space and can have both interior and exterior aspects to it. Homes provide sheltered spaces for ...

home
s.


The total cost of building materials

In history there are trends in building materials from being natural to becoming more man-made and
composite Composite or compositing may refer to: Materials * Composite material, a material that is made from several different substances ** Metal matrix composite, composed of metal and other parts ** Cermet, a composite of ceramic and metallic materials * ...

composite
; biodegradable to imperishable; indigenous (local) to being transported globally; repairable to disposable; chosen for increased levels of fire-safety, and improved
seismic Seismology (; from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek ( ...

seismic
resistance.. These trends tend to increase the ''initial'' and ''long term'' economic, ecological, energy, and social costs of building materials.


Economic costs

Initial economic cost of building materials is the purchase price. This is often what governs decision making about what materials to use. Sometimes people take into consideration the energy savings or durability of the materials and see the value of paying a higher initial cost in return for a lower lifetime cost. For example, an asphalt shingle roof costs less than a metal roof to install, but the metal roof will last longer so the lifetime cost is less per year. Some materials may require more care than others, maintaining costs specific to some materials may also influence the final decision. Risks when considering lifetime cost of a material is if the building is damaged such as by fire or wind, or if the material is not as durable as advertised. The cost of materials should be taken into consideration to bear the risk to buy combustive materials to enlarge the lifetime. It is said that, "if it must be done, it must be done well".


Ecological costs

Pollution costs can be macro and micro. The macro, environmental pollution of extraction industries building materials rely on such as mining, petroleum, and logging produce environmental damage at their source and in transportation of the raw materials, manufacturing, transportation of the products, retailing, and installation. An example of the micro aspect of pollution is the off-gassing of the building materials in the building or
indoor air pollution Indoor air quality (IAQ) is the air quality Air pollution is the presence of substances in the atmosphere An atmosphere (from the greek words ἀτμός ''(atmos)'', meaning 'vapour', and σφαῖρα ''(sphaira)'', meaning 'ball' or ...
.
Red List building materials Red List Building Materials contain chemicals that have been designated as harmful to living creatures, including humans, or the environment. There are many "Red Lists" that have been developed specifically for building materials. These lists have p ...
are materials found to be harmful. Also the
carbon footprint A carbon footprint is the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by an individual, event, organization, service, place or product, expressed as carbon dioxide equivalent Global warming potential (GWP) is the heat absorbed by any greenhou ...

carbon footprint
, the total set of greenhouse gas emissions produced in the life of the material. A
life-cycle analysis Life cycle assessment or LCA (also known as life cycle analysis) is a methodology for assessing environmental impacts associated with all the stages of the life cycle of a commercial product, process, or service. For instance, in the case of ...
also includes the
reuse Reuse is the action or practice of using an item, whether for its original purpose (conventional reuse) or to fulfill a different function (creative reuse Upcycling, also known as creative reuse, is the process of transforming by-products, waste ...
, recycling, or disposal of
construction waste Construction waste or debris is any kind of debris Debris (, ) is rubble Rubble is broken , of irregular size, shape and texture; undressed especially as a filling-in. Rubble naturally found in the soil is known also as 'brash' (compare ) ...

construction waste
. Two concepts in building which account for the
ecological economics Ecological economics, bioeconomics, ecolonomy, eco-economics, or ecol-econ is both a transdisciplinary Transdisciplinarity connotes a research strategy that crosses many disciplinary boundaries to create a holistic Holism (from Ancient Gre ...
of building materials are
green building Green building (also known as green construction or sustainable building) refers to both a structure and the application of processes that are environmentally responsible Ecosophy or ecophilosophy (a portmanteau of ecological philosophy) is a ...

green building
and
sustainable development Sustainable development is the organizing principle for meeting human development goals while simultaneously sustaining the ability of natural systems to provide the natural resources and ecosystem services Social forestry in India, Social ...

sustainable development
.


Energy costs

the Initial energy costs include the amount of energy consumed to produce, deliver and install the material. The long term energy cost is the economic, ecological, and social costs of continuing to produce and deliver energy to the building for its use, maintenance, and eventual removal. The initial
embodied energy Embodied energy is the sum of all the energy In , energy is the that must be to a or to perform on the body, or to it. Energy is a ; the law of states that energy can be in form, but not created or destroyed. The unit of measure ...
of a structure is the energy consumed to extract, manufacture, deliver, install, the materials. The lifetime embodied energy continues to grow with the use, maintenance, and reuse/recycling/disposal of the building materials themselves ''and'' how the materials and design help minimize the life-time energy consumption of the structure.


Social costs

Social costs are injury and health of the people producing and transporting the materials and potential health problems of the building occupants if there are problems with the building biology. Globalization has had significant impacts on people both in terms of jobs, skills, and self-sufficiency are lost when manufacturing facilities are closed and the cultural aspects of where new facilities are opened. Aspects of
fair trade Fair trade is an arrangement designed to help producers in growing countries achieve sustainable and equitable trade relationships. Members of the fair trade movement add the payment of higher prices to exporters, as well as improved social ...
and
labor rights Labor rights or workers' rights are both legal rights Natural rights and legal rights are two types of rights. * Natural rights are those that are not dependent on the laws or customs of any particular culture or government, and so are ''u ...
are social costs of global building material manufacturing.


Naturally occurring substances


Brush

Brush A brush is a common tool with bristle 270px, The bristles of a sweeping brush A bristle is a stiff hair Hair is a protein filament In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including the ...

Brush
structures are built entirely from plant parts and were used in primitive cultures such as Native Americans and
pygmy peoples In anthropology Anthropology is the scientific study of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowin ...
in Africa These are built mostly with branches, twigs and leaves, and bark, similar to a
beaver Beavers are large, semiaquatic In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interaction ...

beaver
's lodge. These were variously named
wikiup
wikiup
s, lean-tos, and so forth. An extension on the brush building idea is the
wattle and daub Wattle and daub is a composite Composite or compositing may refer to: Materials * Composite material, a material that is made from several different substances ** Metal matrix composite, composed of metal and other parts ** Cermet, a composite o ...

wattle and daub
process in which clay soils or
dung
dung
, usually
cow Cow is a colloquial term for cattle, and the name of female cattle. Cow, cows or COW may also refer to: Science and technology * Cow, an adult female of List of animal names, several animals * AT2018cow, a large astronomical explosion also kn ...

cow
, are used to fill in and cover a woven brush structure. This gives the structure more thermal mass and strength. Wattle and daub is one of the oldest building techniques. Many older timber frame buildings incorporate wattle and daub as non load bearing walls between the timber frames.


Ice and snow

Snow and occasionally ice, were used by the
Inuit Inuit (; iu, ᐃᓄᐃᑦ 'the people', singular: Inuk, , dual: Inuuk, ) are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, ...
peoples for
igloo An igloo (Inuit languages The Inuit languages are a closely related group of indigenous American languages traditionally spoken across the North American Arctic and to some extent in the subarctic in Labrador , nickname ...

igloo
s and snow is used to build a shelter called a
quinzhee Image:Quinzy.jpg, Exterior of a quinzhee facing the entrance A quinzhee or quinzee is a Canadian snow shelter that is made from a large pile of loose snow which is shaped then hollowed. This is in contrast to an igloo, which is built up from bloc ...
. Ice has also been used for ice hotels as a
tourist attraction A tourist attraction is a place of interest that Tourism, tourists visit, typically for its inherent or an exhibited natural or cultural value, historical significance, natural or built beauty, offering leisure and amusement. History Types ...

tourist attraction
in northern climates.


Mud and clay

Clay based buildings usually come in two distinct types. One being when the walls are made directly with the mud mixture, and the other being walls built by stacking air-dried building blocks called mud bricks. Other uses of clay in building is combined with straws to create light clay,
wattle and daub Wattle and daub is a composite Composite or compositing may refer to: Materials * Composite material, a material that is made from several different substances ** Metal matrix composite, composed of metal and other parts ** Cermet, a composite o ...

wattle and daub
, and mud
plaster Plaster is a building material Building material is material used for construction Construction is a general term meaning the art and science to form Physical object, objects, systems, or organizations,"Construction" def. 1.a. 1.b. an ...
.


Wet-laid clay walls

Wet-laid, or damp, walls are made by using the mud or clay mixture directly without forming blocks and drying them first. The amount of and type of each material in the mixture used leads to different styles of buildings. The deciding factor is usually connected with the quality of the
soil Soil is a mixture In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that covers the Chemical element, elements that make up matter to the chemical compound, comp ...

soil
being used. Larger amounts of
clay Clay is a type of fine-grained natural soil Surface-water- gley developed in glacial till, Northern Ireland.">Northern_Ireland.html" ;"title="glacial till, Northern Ireland">glacial till, Northern Ireland. Soil is a mixture of organic m ...

clay
are usually employed in building with ''cob'', while low-clay soil is usually associated with ''
sod house The sod house or soddy was an often used alternative to the log cabin A log cabin is a small log house A log house, or log building, is a structure built with horizontal logs interlocked at the corners by notching. Logs may be rou ...
'' or ''
sod roof A sod roof, or turf roof, is a traditional Scandinavia Scandinavia; Sami Places * Sápmi, a cultural region in Northern Europe * Sami, Burkina Faso, a district of the Banwa Province * Sami District, Gambia * Sami, Cephalonia, a municipa ...
'' construction. The other main ingredients include more or less
sand Sand is a granular material composed of finely divided rock (geology), rock and mineral particles. Sand has various compositions but is defined by its grain size. Sand grains are smaller than gravel and coarser than silt. Sand can also refer ...

sand
/
gravel Gravel is a loose aggregation of rock fragments. Gravel occurs naturally throughout the world as a result of sedimentary and erosive geologic processes; it is also produced in large quantities commercially as crushed stone Crushed may refer to ...

gravel
and
straw Straw is an agricultural byproduct A by-product or byproduct is a secondary product derived from a production process, manufacturing Manufacturing is the Production (economics), production of goods through the use of Work (human activity ...

straw
/grasses. ''Rammed earth'' is both an old and newer take on creating walls, once made by compacting clay soils between planks by hand; nowadays
forms Form is the shape, visual appearance, or :wikt:configuration, configuration of an object. In a wider sense, the form is the way something happens. Form also refers to: *Form (document), a document (printed or electronic) with spaces in which to w ...
and
mechanical Mechanical may refer to: Machine * Mechanical system A machine is any physical system with ordered structural and functional properties. It may represent human-made or naturally occurring device molecular machine A molecular machine, nan ...

mechanical
pneumatic Pneumatics (from Greek ‘wind, breath’) is a branch of engineering Engineering is the use of scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and building ...
compressors are used.McHenry, Paul Graham. ''Adobe and rammed earth buildings: design and construction''. New York: Wiley, 1984. 104. Print. Soil, and especially clay, provides good
thermal mass In building design, thermal mass is a property of the mass of a building which enables it to store heat, providing "inertia" against temperature fluctuations. It is sometimes known as the thermal flywheel effect. For example, when outside tempera ...
; it is very good at keeping temperatures at a constant level. Homes built with earth tend to be naturally cool in the summer heat and warm in cold weather. Clay holds heat or cold, releasing it over a period of time like stone. Earthen walls change temperature slowly, so artificially raising or lowering the temperature can use more resources than in say a wood built house, but the heat/coolness stays longer. People building with mostly dirt and clay, such as cob, sod, and adobe, created homes that have been built for centuries in western and northern Europe, Asia, as well as the rest of the world, and continue to be built, though on a smaller scale. Some of these buildings have remained habitable for hundreds of years.


Structural clay blocks and bricks

''Mud-bricks'', also known by their Spanish name ''adobe'' are ancient building materials with evidence dating back thousands of years BC. ''Compressed earth blocks'' are a more modern type of brick used for building more frequently in industrialized society since the building blocks can be manufactured off site in a centralized location at a
brickworks A brickworks, also known as a brick factory, is a factory A factory, manufacturing plant or a production plant is an industrial site, often a complex consisting of several buildings filled with machinery A machine is a man-made device ...
and transported to multiple building locations. These blocks can also be monetized more easily and sold. Structural mud bricks are almost always made using clay, often clay soil and a binder are the only ingredients used, but other ingredients can include sand, lime, concrete, stone and other binders. The formed or compressed block is then air dried and can be laid dry or with a mortar or clay slip.


Sand

Sand is used with
cement A cement is a binder (material), binder, a substance used for construction that solidification, 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 (constru ...
, and sometimes
lime Lime refers to: * Lime (fruit), a green citrus fruit * Lime (material), inorganic materials containing calcium, usually calcium oxide or calcium hydroxide * Lime (color), a color between yellow and green Lime may also refer to: Botany * Austra ...
, to make
mortar Mortar may refer to: * Mortar (weapon), an indirect-fire infantry weapon * Mortar (masonry), a material used to fill the gaps between blocks and bind them together * Mortar and pestle, a tool pair used to crush or grind * Mortar, Bihar, a village in ...
for
masonry Masonry is the building of structures from individual units, which are often laid in and bound together by mortar Mortar may refer to: * Mortar (weapon), an indirect-fire infantry weapon * Mortar (masonry), a material used to fill the gaps betwe ...

masonry
work and
plaster Plaster is a building material Building material is material used for construction Construction is a general term meaning the art and science to form Physical object, objects, systems, or organizations,"Construction" def. 1.a. 1.b. an ...
. Sand is also used as a part of the concrete mix. An important low-cost building material in countries with high sand content soils is the Sandcrete block, which is weaker but cheaper than fired clay bricks.


Stone or rock

Rock structures have existed for as long as history can recall. It is the longest-lasting building material available, and is usually readily available. There are many types of rock, with differing attributes that make them better or worse for particular uses. Rock is a very dense material so it gives a lot of protection; its main drawback as a building material is its weight and the difficulty of working it. Its
energy density In physics Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and . "Physical science is that department of knowledge which relates to the order of nature, or, in other words, to the regular suc ...

energy density
is both an advantage and disadvantage. Stone is hard to warm without consuming considerable energy but, once warm, its
thermal mass In building design, thermal mass is a property of the mass of a building which enables it to store heat, providing "inertia" against temperature fluctuations. It is sometimes known as the thermal flywheel effect. For example, when outside tempera ...
means that can retain heat for useful periods of time.
Dry-stone wall Dry stone, sometimes called drystack or, in Scotland, drystane, is a building method by which structures are constructed from Rock (geology), stones without any Mortar (masonry), mortar to bind them together. Dry stone structures are stable be ...
s have been built for as long as humans have put one stone on top of another. Eventually, different forms of
mortar Mortar may refer to: * Mortar (weapon), an indirect-fire infantry weapon * Mortar (masonry), a material used to fill the gaps between blocks and bind them together * Mortar and pestle, a tool pair used to crush or grind * Mortar, Bihar, a village in ...
were used to hold the stones together,
cement A cement is a binder (material), binder, a substance used for construction that solidification, 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 (constru ...
being the most commonplace now. The
granite Granite () is a coarse-grained (phanerite, phaneritic) intrusive rock, intrusive igneous rock composed mostly of quartz, alkali feldspar, and plagioclase. It forms from magma with a high content of silica and alkali metal oxides that slowly cool ...

granite
-strewn uplands of
Dartmoor Dartmoor is an upland area in southern Devon Devon (, archaically known as Devonshire) is a Counties of England, county in South West England, reaching from the Bristol Channel in the north to the English Channel in the south. It is bou ...

Dartmoor
National Park, United Kingdom, for example, provided ample resources for early settlers. Circular huts were constructed from loose granite rocks throughout the
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is t ...
and early
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the Three-age sys ...
, and the remains of an estimated 5,000 can still be seen today. Granite continued to be used throughout the
Medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
period (see
Dartmoor longhouse The Dartmoor longhouse is a type of traditional stone-built home, typically found on the high ground of Dartmoor, in Devon, England and belonging to a wider tradition of combining human residences with those of livestock (cattle or sheep) under a ...
) and into modern times.
Slate Slate is a fine-grained, foliated, homogeneous metamorphic rock , a type of metamorphic rock Metamorphic rocks arise from the transformation of existing rock (geology), rock to new types of rock, in a process called metamorphism uprigh ...

Slate
is another stone type, commonly used as roofing material in the United Kingdom and other parts of the world where it is found.
Stone A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its chemical composition and the way in which it is formed. Rocks form the Earth's outer solid layer, th ...
buildings can be seen in most major cities, and some civilizations built predominantly with stone, such as the Egyptian and Aztec
pyramids A pyramid (from el, πυραμίς ') is a structure whose outer surfaces are triangular and converge to a single step at the top, making the shape roughly a pyramid in the geometric sense. The base of a pyramid can be trilateral, quadrilater ...

pyramids
and the structures of the
Inca The Inca Empire, also Quechuan and Aymaran spelling shift, known as Incan Empire and the Inka Empire, and at the time known as the Realm of the Four Parts,,  "four parts together" was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. The admin ...

Inca
civilization.


Thatch

Thatch Thatching is the craft of building a roof A roof is the top covering of a , including all materials and constructions necessary to support it on the walls of the building or on uprights, providing protection against , , , extremes of , and ...

Thatch
is one of the oldest of building materials known, Thatch is another word for grass; grass is a good insulator and easily harvested. Many African tribes have lived in homes made completely of grasses and sand year-round. In Europe, thatch roofs on homes were once prevalent but the material fell out of favor as industrialization and improved transport increased the availability of other materials. Today, though, the practice is undergoing a revival. In the Netherlands, for instance, many new buildings have thatched roofs with special ridge tiles on top.


Wood and timber

Wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the stems and roots of tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. ...

Wood
has been used as a building material for thousands of years in its natural state. Today,
engineered wood Engineered wood, also called mass timber, composite wood, man-made wood, or manufactured board, includes a range of derivative wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the stems and roots of tree In botany, a ...
is becoming very common in industrialized countries. Wood is a product of
tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of a tree may be narrower, including only wood plants with se ...

tree
s, and sometimes other
fibrous Fiber or fibre (from la, fibra, links=no) is a #Natural fibers, natural or #Man-made fibers, man-made substance that is significantly longer than it is wide. Fibers are often used in the manufacture of other materials. The strongest enginee ...
plants, used for construction purposes when cut or pressed into lumber and timber, such as boards, planks and similar materials. It is a generic building material and is used in building just about any type of structure in most climates. Wood can be very flexible under loads, keeping strength while bending, and is incredibly strong when compressed vertically. There are many differing qualities to the different types of wood, even among same tree species. This means specific species are better suited for various uses than others. And growing conditions are important for deciding quality. "Timber" is the term used for construction purposes except the term "lumber" is used in the United States. Raw wood (a log, trunk, bole) becomes timber when the wood has been "converted" (sawn, hewn, split) in the forms of minimally-processed logs stacked on top of each other,
timber frame Timber framing and "post-and-beam" construction are traditional methods of building with heavy timber Lumber, also known as timber, is a type of wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the Plant stem, stems an ...

timber frame
construction, and
light-frame construction upright=1.35, The erection of a wooden frame in Sabah, Malaysia Framing, in construction Construction is a general term meaning the art and science to form Physical object, objects, systems, or organizations,"Construction" def. 1.a. 1.b ...
. The main problems with timber structures are fire risk and moisture-related problems. In modern times
softwood Scots Pine, a typical and well-known softwood Softwood is wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the stems and roots of tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or t ...
is used as a lower-value bulk material, whereas
hardwood Hardwood is wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the stems and roots of tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and ...

hardwood
is usually used for finishings and furniture. Historically timber frame structures were built with oak in western Europe, recently
douglas fir The Douglas fir (''Pseudotsuga menziesii'') is an evergreen In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who ...
has become the most popular wood for most types of structural building. Many families or communities, in rural areas, have a personal
woodlot{{Unreferenced, date=February 2007 A woodlot is a land lot, parcel of a woodland or forest capable of small-scale production of forest products (such as wood fuel, sap for maple syrup, sawlogs, and pulpwood) as well as recreational uses like bird wa ...
from which the family or community will grow and harvest trees to build with or sell. These lots are tended to like a garden. This was much more prevalent in pre-industrial times, when laws existed as to the amount of wood one could cut at any one time to ensure there would be a supply of timber for the future, but is still a viable form of agriculture.


Man-made substances


Fired bricks and clay blocks

Brick A brick is a type of block used to build walls, pavements and other elements in masonry construction. Properly, the term ''brick'' denotes a block composed of dried clay, but is now also used informally to denote other chemically cured cons ...

Brick
s are made in a similar way to mud-bricks except without the fibrous binder such as straw and are ''fired'' ("burned" in a or
kiln , Wrecclesham Wrecclesham is a village on the southern outskirts of the large town of Farnham Farnham is a market town in Surrey, England, within the Borough of Waverley Borough Council, Waverley.OS Explorer map 145:Guildford and Farnham ...

kiln
) after they have air-dried to permanently harden them. Kiln fired clay bricks are a
ceramic A ceramic is any of the various hard, brittle, heat-resistant and corrosion-resistant Corrosion is a Erosion, natural process that converts a refined metal into a more chemically stable form such as oxide, hydroxide, carbonate or sulfide. ...

ceramic
material. Fired bricks can be solid or have hollow cavities to aid in drying and make them lighter and easier to transport. The individual bricks are placed upon each other in courses using
mortar Mortar may refer to: * Mortar (weapon), an indirect-fire infantry weapon * Mortar (masonry), a material used to fill the gaps between blocks and bind them together * Mortar and pestle, a tool pair used to crush or grind * Mortar, Bihar, a village in ...
. Successive courses being used to build up walls,
arch An arch is a vertical curved structure A structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in a material object or system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to ...

arch
es, and other architectural elements. Fired brick walls are usually substantially thinner than cob/adobe while keeping the same vertical strength. They require more energy to create but are easier to transport and store, and are lighter than stone blocks. Romans extensively used fired brick of a shape and type now called
Roman brick Roman brick can refer either to a type of brick A brick is a type of block used to build walls, pavements and other elements in masonry construction. Properly, the term ''brick'' denotes a block composed of dried clay, but is now also u ...
s. Building with brick gained much popularity in the mid-18th century and 19th centuries. This was due to lower costs with increases in brick manufacturing and fire-safety in the ever crowding cities. The
cinder block A concrete masonry unit (CMU) is a standard-size rectangular block used in building construction. CMUs are some of the most versatile building products available because of the wide variety of appearances that can be achieved using them. Tho ...

cinder block
supplemented or replaced fired bricks in the late 20th century often being used for the inner parts of masonry walls and by themselves.
Structural clay tile Structural clay tile describes a category of burned-clay building materials used to construct roofing, walls, and flooring for structural and non-structural purposes, especially in fireproofing applications. Also called building tile, structural ter ...
s (clay blocks) are clay or
terracotta Terracotta, terra cotta, or terra-cotta (; Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance ...

terracotta
and typically are perforated with holes.


Cement composites

Cement A cement is a binder (material), binder, a substance used for construction that solidification, 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 (constru ...
bonded composites are made of hydrated cement paste that binds wood, particles, or fibers to make pre-cast building components. Various fiberous materials, including
paper Paper is a thin sheet material Material is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical substance, a material with a definite chemical composition ...

paper
,
fiberglass Fiberglass (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, American Englis ...
, and
carbon-fiber Carbon-fiber-reinforced polymers (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Cur ...
have been used as binders. Wood and natural fibers are composed of various soluble organic compounds like
carbohydrate A carbohydrate () is a biomolecule , showing alpha helices, represented by ribbons. This poten was the first to have its suckture solved by X-ray crystallography by Max Perutz and Sir John Cowdery Kendrew in 1958, for which they received a ...
s,
glycoside In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that covers the Chemical element, elements that make up matter to the chemical compound, compounds composed of atoms ...

glycoside
s and phenolics. These compounds are known to retard cement setting. Therefore, before using a wood in making cement bonded composites, its compatibility with cement is assessed. Wood-cement compatibility is the ratio of a parameter related to the property of a wood-cement composite to that of a neat cement paste. The compatibility is often expressed as a percentage value. To determine wood-cement compatibility, methods based on different properties are used, such as, hydration characteristics, strength, interfacial bond and morphology. Various methods are used by researchers such as the measurement of hydration characteristics of a cement-aggregate mix; the comparison of the mechanical properties of cement-aggregate mixes and the visual assessment of microstructural properties of the wood-cement mixes. It has been found that the hydration test by measuring the change in hydration temperature with time is the most convenient method. Recently, Karade et al. have reviewed these methods of compatibility assessment and suggested a method based on the ‘maturity concept’ i.e. taking in consideration both time and temperature of cement hydration reaction. Bricks were laid in
lime mortar Lime mortar is composed of lime Lime refers to: * Lime (fruit), a green citrus fruit * Lime (material), inorganic materials containing calcium, usually calcium oxide or calcium hydroxide * Lime (color), a color between yellow and green Lime may ...
from the time of the Romans until supplanted by Portland cement
mortar Mortar may refer to: * Mortar (weapon), an indirect-fire infantry weapon * Mortar (masonry), a material used to fill the gaps between blocks and bind them together * Mortar and pestle, a tool pair used to crush or grind * Mortar, Bihar, a village in ...
in the early 20th century. Cement blocks also sometimes are filled with
grout Grout is a dense fluid which is used to fill gaps or used as reinforcement in existing structures. Grout is generally a mixture of water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an , transparent, tasteless, odorless, and , which is the main c ...
or covered with a parge coat.


Concrete

Concrete Concrete is a composite material A composite material (also called a composition material or shortened to composite, which is the common name) is a material Material is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a ter ...

Concrete
is a
composite Composite or compositing may refer to: Materials * Composite material, a material that is made from several different substances ** Metal matrix composite, composed of metal and other parts ** Cermet, a composite of ceramic and metallic materials * ...

composite
building material made from the combination of aggregate and a binder such as
cement A cement is a binder (material), binder, a substance used for construction that solidification, 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 (constru ...
. The most common form of concrete is Portland cement concrete, which consists of mineral aggregate (generally
gravel Gravel is a loose aggregation of rock fragments. Gravel occurs naturally throughout the world as a result of sedimentary and erosive geologic processes; it is also produced in large quantities commercially as crushed stone Crushed may refer to ...

gravel
and
sand Sand is a granular material composed of finely divided rock (geology), rock and mineral particles. Sand has various compositions but is defined by its grain size. Sand grains are smaller than gravel and coarser than silt. Sand can also refer ...

sand
),
portland cement Portland cement is the most common type of cement A cement is a binder (material), binder, a substance used for construction that solidification, sets, hardens, and adheres to other materials to bind them together. Cement is seldom used ...

portland cement
and
water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an Inorganic compound, inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and Color of water, nearly colorless chemical substance, which is the main constituent of Earth's hydrosphere and the fluids of all known li ...
. After mixing, the cement hydrates and eventually hardens into a stone-like material. When used in the generic sense, this is the material referred to by the term "concrete". For a concrete construction of any size, as concrete has a rather low
tensile strength Ultimate tensile strength (UTS), often shortened to tensile strength (TS), ultimate strength, or F_\text within equations, is the maximum stress that a material can withstand while being stretched or pulled before breaking. In brittle tensi ...
, it is generally strengthened using steel rods or bars (known as
rebar Rebar (short for reinforcing bar), known when massed as reinforcing steel or reinforcement steel, is a steel Steel is an alloy An alloy is an admixture of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', ...
s). This strengthened concrete is then referred to as
reinforced concrete Reinforced concrete (RC), also called reinforced cement concrete (RCC), is a composite material in which concrete's relatively low ultimate tensile strength, tensile strength and ductility are compensated for by the inclusion of reinforcement h ...
. In order to minimise any air bubbles, that would weaken the structure, a vibrator is used to eliminate any air that has been entrained when the liquid concrete mix is poured around the ironwork. Concrete has been the predominant building material in the modern age due to its longevity, formability, and ease of transport. Recent advancements, such as
insulating concrete form Insulating concrete form or insulated concrete form (ICF) is a system of formwork Placing a formwork component Formwork is temporary or permanent molds into which concrete File:Pantheon cupola.jpg, Interior of the Pantheon dome, seen ...
s, combine the concrete forming and other construction steps (installation of insulation). All materials must be taken in required proportions as described in standards.


Fabric

The tent is the home of choice among nomadic groups all over the world. Two well-known types include the conical
teepee A tepee ( ), also spelled teepee or less commonly tipi, and often called a lodge in older English writings, is a conical tent, traditionally made of animal skins upon wooden poles. Modern tepees usually have a canvas covering. A tepee is distingu ...

teepee
and the circular
yurt A traditional yurt (from the Turkic languages The Turkic languages are a language family of at least 35 documented languages, spoken by the Turkic peoples of Eurasia from Eastern Europe and Southern Europe to Central Asia, East Asia, Nort ...

yurt
. The tent has been revived as a major construction technique with the development of
tensile architecture by Vladimir Shukhov (during construction), Nizhny Novgorod, 1895 in Kings Domain, Melbourne A tensile structure is a construction of elements carrying only tension (physics), tension and no compression (physical), compression or bending. The ter ...
and synthetic fabrics. Modern buildings can be made of flexible material such as
fabric A textile is a flexible material made by creating an interlocking bundle of yarn Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibre Fiber or fibre (from la, fibra, links=no) is a natural Nature, in the broadest sense, ...

fabric
membranes, and supported by a system of steel cables, rigid or internal, or by air pressure.


Foam

Recently, synthetic
polystyrene Polystyrene (PS) is a synthetic Aromaticity, aromatic hydrocarbon polymer made from the monomer known as styrene. Polystyrene can be solid or foamed. General-purpose polystyrene is clear, hard, and brittle. It is an inexpensive resin per un ...

polystyrene
or
polyurethane Polyurethane (often abbreviated PUR and PU) referes to a class of polymers composed of organic chemistry, organic units joined by carbamate (urethane) links. In contrast to other common polymers such as polyethylene and polystyrene, polyurethane ...

polyurethane
foam has been used in combination with structural materials, such as concrete. It is lightweight, easily shaped, and an excellent insulator. Foam is usually used as part of a
structural insulated panel A structural insulated panel, or structural insulating panel, (SIP), is a form of sandwich panel A sandwich panel is any structure made of three layers: a low-density core, and a thin skin-layer bonded to each side. Sandwich panels are used in ...
, wherein the foam is sandwiched between wood or cement or insulating concrete forms.


Glass

Glassmaking Glass production involves two main methods – the float glass process that produces sheet glass, and glassblowing that produces bottles and other containers. It has been done in a variety of ways during the history of glass. Glass containe ...

Glassmaking
is considered an art form as well as an industrial process or material. Clear windows have been used since the invention of glass to cover small openings in a building. Glass panes provided humans with the ability to both let light into rooms while at the same time keeping inclement weather outside. Glass is generally made from mixtures of sand and
silicate In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structure, properties, behavior and the changes they undergo during ...
s, in a very hot fire stove called a
kiln , Wrecclesham Wrecclesham is a village on the southern outskirts of the large town of Farnham Farnham is a market town in Surrey, England, within the Borough of Waverley Borough Council, Waverley.OS Explorer map 145:Guildford and Farnham ...

kiln
, and is very brittle. Additives are often included the mixture used to produce glass with shades of colors or various characteristics (such as
bulletproof glass Bulletproof glass (ballistic glass, transparent armor, and bullet-resistant glass) is a strong and optically transparent material that is particularly resistant to penetration by projectiles. Like any other material, it isn’t completely impene ...
or lightbulbs). The use of glass in architectural buildings has become very popular in the modern culture. Glass "
curtain walls Curtain wall may refer to: * Curtain wall (architecture), the outer skin of a modern building * Curtain wall (fortification), the outer wall of a castle or defensive wall between two bastions