Times are changing, and alternative building materials are becoming more and more popular. These materials are generally durable, eco-friendly, and energy efficient, but there are many other reasons why people are using them. Here are 8 examples of popular alternative building materials you could use for your next building project.
1. Steel beams
Most homes and buildings have a frame built out of lumber, but it’s also possible to use steel beams. Steel beams are strong and durable, and they can be used to build very stable frames. Steel framing is a good option for buildings in areas prone to earthquakes.
If you are searching for alternative building materials, there are a few different ways you can use metal. Metal roof tiles are light and strong, and metal shipping containers can be used to form the structure of a building. Sheet metal can also be bonded into other weaker materials to reinforce them. Metal is easily recyclable, which reduces its environmental impact.
3. Aerated concrete blocks
Aerated concrete blocks are just that: concrete blocks that are filled with air bubbles. These blocks are as strong and durable as regular concrete blocks, but they are a lot lighter. Although this alternative building material is expensive, it’s an excellent insulating material.
4. Structural insulated panels
Structural insulated panels, or SIPs, are insulated with fiberglass foam. These lightweight panels can be used to erect buildings quite quickly, and since they are already insulated, there is no need to add extra insulation in the end. SIPs are another example of expensive building material.
5. Engineered wood
Engineered wood is made from thin pieces of wood that are stacked up on top of one another. Unlike wood frames, frames made from engineered wood will not shrink or swell because of humidity, which makes them an interesting option for anyone looking for alternative building materials.
6. Straw bales
Did you know it was possible to use straw bales to build homes? In fact, this natural building material has been used for a very long time. Tightly packed straw bales can be covered with stucco or plaster to seal them, and they are an affordable and highly energy efficient alternative building material.
Cob is a mixture of earth, sand, clay, organic fibers, and water. Just like straw bales, cob has been used to build homes for a very long time. Cob is affordable, eco-friendly, and energy efficient, and it’s becoming more and more popular among people looking for sustainable alternative building materials.
8. Rammed earth
Rammed earth is another ancient building material that is similar to cob. Rammed earth is a sustainable building material, since it often comes from the construction site. The soil is tightly packed into a mould to produce a stable structure. Rammed earth buildings are energy efficient, and they cost a lot less than traditional buildings. They also have a very interesting and unique appearance.