Not all materials are created equal. In fact, not all materials are created, period. In the construction industry, we use a plethora of materials, some of them made by humans and others made by Nature. What are the differences between them? And what is appropriate to use when?
There are many things to consider when choosing building materials, the two most important being its uses: is it the right material for what I’m trying to achieve? And the other is client preference: what is my client looking for?
Here is a short break-down of the most common building materials:
Stone is a naturally occurring building material that is obtained from quarries. It’s been a staple in construction since the prehistoric period and has been used for constructing a wide range of things like foundations, walls, lintels, flooring and roofs.
Stone can be hard to work with (no pun intended!) because it’s very heavy and has poor insulation properties. For this reason, stone is no longer a popular material for structural walls and floors and is more used in finishes and décor, for example, for countertops or fireplaces, but also cladding facades.
There are different types of stone to choose from, each with their own properties and aesthetics.
Wood is one of the most abundant materials there is. Not only is it abundant, which makes it relatively affordable, it’s strong, durable, and easy to work with, but also recyclable and renewable. Generally speaking, we can split timber in two categories:
This is made from slower-growing trees which makes them have a higher density and more suited to use for flooring, beams, paneling, decks and high-quality furniture.
These trees grow more rapidly, giving them a much lower density. This makes them perfect for general construction because they are easier to cut and much less expensive.
Much of what we build with today are man-made materials. Processed, a mixture of raw and synthetic “ingredients” that can even resemble natural materials. In general, man-made materials have a reputation of being less valuable (in particular when trying to replicate natural materials), but technology has proven that we can create very high-quality products.
Concrete is actually made of a bunch of materials (gravel, sand, stone, lime water etc.) that are bound together and then hardened to make a stone-like material. Benefits of concrete are its strengths and the fact that it can be easily poured when wet and it will set into any shape.
Another mainstay in construction are metals. Metals and their alloys are the backbones of all engineering products used for construction. Metals used for construction can be classified into two categories:
- Ferrous metals: Where iron is the main element forming cast iron, wrought iron and steel.
- Non-Ferrous metals: Where the main element are other materials, for example: aluminum, copper, zinc or lead.
Metals have a great tensile strength, and are less time-consuming to install than concrete. They are great for structures, because of their strength to weight-size ratio.
Glass also has quite a history in construction. Both used for practical and decorative reasons, it can be found everywhere. Now-a-days, glass can be tempered or laminated, making it stronger and available to be used for a new range of products like tabletops, shelves, countertops, shatterproof doors and windows. Glass has been historically used to make mosaics, a product that Atlantic Link offers. A stylish and contemporary option for covering a wall or floor, mosaics are versatile and incredibly easy to cut to size.
No matter what you are looking to use for your upcoming projects, Atlantic Link is here to help. We have extensive experience sourcing materials from Italy to help you get the perfect balance of practicality and visual interest. Don’t hesitate to book your complimentary consultation call with one of our experts to see how we can help you today!
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