Unconventional and Cost-Effective Building Materials


Construction and civil engineering activities have experienced a boom due to rapid improvements in procurement of building materials. However, the booming construction industry has posed many challenges due to some unsustainable aspects of the highly polluting and the exhaustive nature of building materials. But many innovative and unconventional resources have emerged due decreasing supply of building materials and rising need for energy efficient methods.

In urban areas, the cost of constructing structures is quite due to expensive quality of material used. But, if you wish to build a second home - an eco friendly abode, to spend your happy vacations with nature within your means, here are few materials to cut down your cost.

Cost-Effective and Sturdy Building Materials

Particle Board House Construction Cost - Image Credits: tradeindia

Few natural materials like- by-products, residues, natural fibers, etc. are considered as potentially viable building materials by Building Materials & Technology Promotion Council (BMTPC). Few of these building materials stood out due to their sturdiness, low cost and easy availability. Let us have a look at their features and benefits-

Bamboo Corrugated Sheet to Reduce House Construction Cost

Bamboo Corrugated Sheet House Construction Cost - Image Credits: guaduabamboo

“Bamboo roofing sheets are environmentally friendly and a safe alternative to plastic, zinc or corrugated asbestos roofing panels. Bamboo roofs are quieter in the rain and cooler in the sun than conventional metal or plastic sheets. A study has shown that cows in sheds roofed with bamboo yield more milk than those under corrugated zinc sheets because of the cooler environment. Bamboo sheets are durable and strong with excellent internal bond strengths and a high resistance to weathering, fire or insect attacks” Source:  guaduabamboo

Since ancient times Bamboo has been intensively utilized as a building material. It is also a source of renewable fiber and hence it is a suitable alternative to wood. Due to its sturdy and versatile nature, bamboo is also best suited for building homes in earthquake-prone provinces. This versatile forest produce can be manufactured into mat-based industrial products such as

Among these, the bamboo mat corrugated sheet is an ideal alternative for asbestos and galvanized steel sheets for roofing purposes. These bamboo mat corrugated sheets are eco-friendly, energy efficient and hold superior fire resistance.

Rice Husk Ash Concrete

Rice Husk Ash (RHA) produced after burning of rice husks can be used as an admixture for concrete. The high reactivity and pozzolanic property of RHA improves the workability and solidity of the cement.

Portland cement releases significant portion of lime as free Calcium Hydroxide which is responsible for the poor performance of Portland cement concretes in acidic environments. Silica in Rice husk ash combines with the calcium hydroxide which provides excellent resistance to acidic environments.

Other Benefits of RHA are

  1. RHA concrete reduces heat evolution during slaking
  2. Increases strength, impermeability and durability
  3. Strengthens transition zone
  4. Modifies the pore-structure
  5. Plugs the voids in the hydrated cement paste through the pozzolanic reaction.
  6. Minimizes the alkali-aggregate reaction
  7. RHA mixed concrete has been found to be very workable and durable.

Plastic Bricks

Plastic Bricks House Construction Cost - Image Credits: odt

The concept of plastic bricks first came up in Africa when plastic bags were melted and transformed into bricks. Plastic waste bricks are inexpensive and easily workable. Plastic bricks are manufactured from plastic waste. They are washed and sanitized and then shredded to cotton like consistency to form ‘plastic cotton’. This shredded plastic is later mixed with mud and packed away as bricks.

Plastic bricks have been widely used in highway and railway infrastructure and construction of the roads. The elastic nature of the material has enhanced the load-bearing capacity of highways.

Bagasse Particle Board

Bagasse – the by-product of sugarcane has its widest application is in the manufacture of light and low cost particle boards. Bagasse-based composites are used as core material for laminated floors. Thus they are used as a substitute for high-density and expensive wood fiberboard. Although bagasse does not have enough strength and water resistance to be used on its own, it is made into a laminated particle board with resin and dimensional stabilizer.

Usage of these innovative building materials is budget friendly and helps to considerably reduce extreme use of concrete, wood and other traditional resources.

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