Infrastructure is failing all over the United States, and builders should be concerned. Construction maintenance doesn't get enough attention, so looking to low-quality materials in order to save money isn't the answer. Skimping on materials leads to construction failures and needless injuries and deaths.
Clearly, authorities won't regularly inspect buildings and keep them to code. So, it's important that builders use durable materials.
If you're wondering what the strongest building materials are, wonder no longer. Here's a list of seven top durable building materials.
1. Wood, When Properly Treated
Wood buildings have been around since the dawn of history and can last for centuries.
In some senses, wood isn't the strongest building material: You can chop into it, while you can't hack away at concrete, metal, or stone so easily, and it's flammable. In that sense, wood is not durable.
However, wood, when treated properly, is a light but durable material. It's watertight and can support thousands of pounds. The strength of wood is so high that it's used in reinforced beams that support the weight of entire buildings.
Woods from different trees have different properties in terms of resistance to the elements, hardness, and of course appearance. This makes wood a suitable building material for a wide variety of purposes, from basic frameworks to decorative cladding.
2. Bricks Are Durable Materials in the Right Configuration
Brick is one of the very most durable materials. It isn't flammable, is watertight when sealed properly, and resists high winds and other bad weather. Another advantage of brick is that brick buildings can be repaired easily because they are made of small components.
One of the biggest downsides of building with typical bricks in a wall configuration is that they don't support vertical loads well. While bricks supporting vertical loads might last if you're lucky, they're more likely to crack and collapse. Larger bricks and bricks arranged in special load-bearing configurations fare better in this regard but are still not as stable of a base as stone and concrete are.
3. Stone Supports Vertical Loads
Unlike brick, stone can support vertical loads. Stone can also be cut to various sizes to suit building purposes, and the wide variety of different stone options makes stonework for a wide variety of purposes and design aesthetics.
Sandstone and limestone are durable materials that are often used for government buildings and monuments. Granite is a popular stone for counters and tile floors, and marble gives banks and luxury buildings a feeling of grandeur.
It is another time-tested material that has been used since the beginning of human existence. The pyramids, remnants of Rome, Stonehenge, the Great Wall of China, the Moai on Easter Island, and other ancient wonders prove how durable stone is as a building material.
4. Steel Beams Last a Lifetime
Steel beams are both long-lasting and timeless in style. Properly maintained steel lasts for decades, and sometimes centuries. Steel can support tons of weight and provides a solid foundation for bridges, skyscrapers, and other architectural marvels.
Exposed steel beams are popular in the industrial design aesthetic, and provide theaters, stadiums, and other venues with a way to hang lights, speakers, signs, and other necessary equipment.
Steel beams are prepared to weather the elements and often hold up in natural disasters. Quality steel guarantees safety in the most extreme conditions.
5. Steel Cables Support Tons
Stainless steel cable is the way to go if you need to support heavy loads. Heavy suspended lights and other features are kept secure by quality steel cables. While cable has a clear use as a support, it can also be used as railing on staircases and as support hidden within the concrete and other building materials.
One of the most impressive applications of stainless steel cables is their application on suspended bridges. Stainless steel cables are responsible for holding up tons of weight of pavement and vehicles passing through, and they do the job well.
6. Quality Concrete Won't Crumble
Concrete is a building material with infinite uses, and the stone, sand, and cement composite last for decades, if not centuries.
Concrete is commonly used for sidewalks and for strong home foundations, but the applications are endless. Concrete buildings are inexpensive and have a timeless look, and there's no floor more durable than polished concrete. Not only is the flooring inexpensive, durable, and easy to clean, but believe it or not, it's also in style.
While some might consider exposed concrete construction to be ugly, the huge popularity of brutalist architecture and the chic industrial style show that not everybody agrees.
7. Rammed Earth Is Time-Tested and True
Rammed earth is a sustainable building material that isn't often used in United States commercial buildings. However, the tightly packed soil has a feel and durability similar to that of concrete. The process of building with rammed earth can be labor-intensive, but machines can do much of the work.
Rammed earth is a free-form building material. This means that it's easy to make architectural artwork with it. Rammed earth is durable on its own, but rebar, bamboo, and other internal fortification are often used to bolster the material's strength.
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Now that you've learned about these seven durable materials, you can make the most of them and have peace of mind when arranging your next building project. When you're not building, take a look around our site for other interesting facts and ideas.
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