Construction materials used in Spain
Building materials are of course necessary to build a house or building. In Spain, stone, clay and wood have traditionally been used as enveloping materials, that is, those used for facades and roofs.
On the other hand, the environmental needs of the last decades have forced architecture to reinvent itself, investigate and innovate in types of construction materials to achieve energy efficient and cheaper buildings.
Now, construction materials can be classified into natural and artificial, and then, according to their uses: envelopes, structural systems , installations, carpentry and finishes.
Let’s see what the building materials list for a house can be . Of course, factors such as climate or region must be taken into account to choose the most suitable materials; It is not the same to build on the beach as on the mountain.
Among the types of natural building materials we find woods, stone materials (marble, slate, granite, etc.), metals such as iron, steel, copper, aluminum , etc.
Natural polymers such as biopol or celluloid, ceramic materials such as bricks, tiles, stoneware, porcelain or glass.
In this group are binding materials such as aerial lime and hydraulic lime, cements; agglomerated products such as artificial stone or slag bricks, and reinforced cements such as fiber cement.
Artificial building materials also include synthetic polymers (plastics) and composites: thermosets (melanin, silicones, polyester or polyurethane resins, bakelite), thermoplastics (PVC , polyethylene, polyamide, ABS resin, etc.) and glass, boron or carbon fibers.
Types of construction materials and uses
When you are going to build a house or a building, the first thing that needs to be done, apart from the earthworks and trenching, is the foundation; then the structure is built, the roof is placed, the enclosures and partitions are made, the facilities are placed (pipes, electricity, telephony, etc.) and, finally, the finishes (floors, paint, doors and windows, etc.).
Taking this into account, the classification arises by the use of construction materials: structural systems, envelopes, installations, carpentry and finishes.
To build a house you will need to make the foundation: the footings are reinforced concrete cubes on which the pillars are placed. The foundation will support and give stability to the construction.
The structure is made up of columns, beams and floors; They can be made of steel, wood or reinforced concrete. The structure resists the loads transmitting them to the foundation and there are different types of building structures.
Its use in Spain is widespread, especially in the north. It is extracted from trees, but it must be treated very well so that it resists time and bad weather.
It is quite expensive to maintain and from an ecological point of view it is not profitable (unless it is from sustainable forestry).
It is manufactured from iron and carbon in different proportions. It is totally recyclable and very resistant.
It is made with 85% sand and gravel agglomerated with cement, and when mixed with water it becomes artificial stone with a high resistance to withstand high compressive stresses.
It is fire resistant, but additives must be added to make it waterproof.
Construction materials used in envelopes or enclosures
Any building materials list for a house will include some of the following materials. Keep in mind that these materials must be resistant to the elements because with them the facades (exterior walls) and roofs are made.
The building materials list for a house will use stone, wood, concrete or fired bricks.
These can be granite, limestone, marble, sandstone or slate. Not all of them are suitable for roofs or facades. For example, with granite you can build walls, floors and finishes for kitchens and bathrooms.
Limestone is used in the manufacture of cement, slates are used for roofs and pavements (they are waterproof) and marble is special for covering floors and walls and for making countertops.
They imitate the appearance and properties of natural rocks, they are made from concrete, fiberglass, resins, etc., but they are used above all for decorative purposes on facades, replacing stones natural.
Traditional tiles and bricks are always made of clay fired at high temperatures. Due to its ease of manufacture and its great durability, for centuries it has been one of the construction materials par excellence around the world.
They can be reused for reinforcement and new walls.
Cements, mortars and plaster
Cement is used to make concrete, with which you can make walls and facades, and even roofs. It must be waterproofed before laying tiles or any other type of roof.
Mortars are also made with cement, which are used to join materials such as bricks. It is a mixture of limestone, clay and gypsum that is crushed, calcined in a kiln and then cooled to grind it, resulting in a gray powder.
Adding water, sand or lime and kneading a paste is obtained with which mortars and concrete are made.
Mortar is a combination of various binders (cement, lime or plaster), sand and water. It can be used to join building elements (stones and bricks), cover the walls of buildings and fix tiles.
Gypsum is present in nature in compact or granular masses, or in arrow-shaped crystals. It does not have great resistance so it has always been used in the interiors of houses and buildings to cover walls, partitions and ceilings (plastering).
It is applied on walls and these can later be painted or papered; it works as a thermal and acoustic insulator. It is also used to make panels, moldings, etc.
Construction materials used in building installations
Currently pipes are usually made of plastic: PVC, polyethylene or polypropylene, which are better against the attack of bacteria such as legionella.
Regarding electrical installations, copper cables covered with polyethylene or polypropylene are used.
Types of carpentry used in construction
The joinery is generally made of wood, aluminum or PVC, materials used to make the door and window frames.
Its material must be taken into account for energy efficiency, since through them it is calculated that up to a third of the heat is lost.
Polyvinyl chloride is a synthetic resin (or polymer) to which stabilizers and plasticizers are added to prevent its degradation in light and heat. These stabilizers contain lead or cadmium, and plasticizers, phthalates.
It is not recommended from an ecological point of view.
Despite its high negative impact on the environment, its use is widespread thanks to its durability and resistance to the weather.
It is produced from bauxite, an abundant mineral in the world, especially in tropical countries such as Brazil, Nigeria or Guinea.
They are used to prevent the passage of water, noise and sudden changes in temperature.
The building materials insulating are glass wool (fiberglass bonded with resins), cork, polyurethane foam, expanded polystyrene (or white cork) and bituminous materials (mineral powder bound with bitumen, asphalt or tar).
They are used to cover walls and floors. They are paints (acrylic, plastic, enamels, etc.), carpets or wallpapers.