Cement, bricks and tiles are the main building materials used in the construction of buildings. Today, increase in the demand for various building materials have led to many building material manufacturing companies. Many new building materials are environmental hazards, which have become a big concern to all.
Traditionally, the basic types of building materials used for construction were mud, stone and brush. Mud was used for filling the spaces between bricks and acted as a concrete and insulation. Centuries ago, houses were made entirely of dirt and clay. This was followed by the use of rocks (mainly granite) as building material. From the Neolithic period through the medieval age to modern times, granite has been commonly used as a building material. Brush structures were commonly seen in tropical areas and were made entirely from plant parts such as branches, bark, twigs and leaves. These structures were often used by Native Americans as resting places.
Stones and bricks were also common in construction. Different types of bricks have been and are still used for masonry. This includes specially shaped bricks for joints, striking and tooling, as well as glazed or rubbed bricks for decorative purposes.
Thatch is one of the oldest types of building material used for roofing. Another generic building material is wood. Because of the diverse character of different types of wood, it can be used for any type of structure in most climates. Even though wood structures were very common in earlier times, they disappeared with the approach of concrete structures.
Concrete is a composite building material comprised of aggregate and a binder (cement). Concrete finds good use in all types of building construction. Fly ash is a major ingredient in the concrete mix because of its lightweight and high thermal insulation.
More recently, new types of building materials are being used. These include metals (for the structural framework of larger buildings), plastics, asbestos and fabrics. Tar-based waterproof materials, paper linoleum, polyvinyl chloride clay and solvent coatings for inner wall are other building materials.