The construction industry uses different materials to get the right result for each particular job. This article will detail five of the most commonly used and the pros and cons of each.
The prime advantage of steel construction is the strength and durability it offers to a building project.
The man-made alloy of iron and carbon – and on occasion other stronger metals – offers versatility based on its strength to size ratio. Steel offers a construction project a significant advantage over other materials in that it can be installed in any environment relatively quickly.
The main disadvantage of steel is that it can be vulnerable to corrosion if not correctly installed. Proper maintenance and regular checks should be undertaken to ensure that deterioration in the material is not taking place.
Concrete is used on building projects of all kinds throughout the world. It has a good core strength and a low-cost ratio, making it a popular choice for house foundations.
Concrete is made up of coarse crushed stone, reused concrete and geosynthetics bound together by a liquid binder such as cement.
A concrete mix can be poured to form any kind of shape and then left to harden into a strong material perfect for structural work. The strength can vary depending on the concrete mix. It is sometimes strengthened even more by a steel bar and rod reinforcement.
The time spent waiting for concrete to dry once mixed and shaped must be factored into any construction job. It can take at least a week for the material to properly set and harden.
Although it is a supremely useful material for all sorts of projects, concrete does come with a significant environmental cost. This is mostly because of the time and energy spent on creating the material.
Brick is the most common material used in the art of masonry, which requires individual units such as bricks to build constructions. Bricks are usually rigid rectangular elements that fit together with a binding mortar.
Brick is often regarded as a clean natural material. The main ingredient in most bricks throughout the world is clay. The properties of different clay can vary from place to place, but all have similar versatile load-bearing strengths. It is a natural product that does not require much maintenance to keep it solid.
The overall quality of brick masonry can vary depending on the type of mortar used to hold the project together.
Wood is probably the oldest building material used in the world. It still has valuable properties that can make an excellent choice for a variety of construction projects.
It is economic to resource and is fully sustainable if correct replanting measures are put in place.
Wood provides good all-around insulation to construction, which is why it is so popular in homes and residential buildings. Wood timber is also very strong when compressed. It can support different levels and storeys when positioned vertically.
A prime disadvantage of wood is that it needs to be pressure-treated when coming into contact with soil. This makes it a less attractive choice for foundation work or underground constructions.
Stone is one material that stands the test of time. Dense dry-stone walls built thousands of years ago are still upright, proving the durability of the material.
However, the weight and mass of stone pillars make it a difficult material to negotiate projects with. It is also not the best insulator, as it does not keep warm very easily.
If a project can use equipment to work around these factors, it could find stone a suitable material for achieving a sold construction in a range of texture, colour and shape.
Any kind of construction project needs to carefully assess the advantages and disadvantages of working with a material. Once a decision is reached the plans can move forward.