How to choose the right building materials?

When launching a construction project, the owner quickly has fairly clear ideas about the aesthetics of his building. Most often helped by architects or project managers, he gets involved easily on this point. But to build it also means choosing the different materials that will be used during construction.

Between concrete, brick or solid wood to name a few, what to choose? This operation, on the rendering of the work, far from being trivial, depends on the objectives sought which do not relate solely to the aesthetic aspect.

According to solidity characteristics

At first glance, strength does not seem to be a criterion for the choice of construction materials. Because every owner wants his building to be resistant, that goes without saying. But it depends on what you want to resist. In fact, depending on the region, buildings are not exposed to the same geographic and climatic constraints.

Storms and seismic risks: if the structure is located in an area subject to severe weather conditions that test its strength, use cellular concrete blocks, concrete blocks or brick. In earthquake-prone areas, the choice of material will tend to be lighter elements such as wood or cellular concrete.

Humidity, fire and temperature variations: Some materials like solid wood are not very resistant in a humid environment. For cinder block and concrete block, an anti-capillary insulation is essential for the facades, while for the foundations, it does not really matter. As for brick, it is a product that performs well both for humidity and for variations in heat.

According to construction techniques

On a more pragmatic level, not all materials have the same impact on the construction project.

The cost of the building material: While concrete block has always had a reputation as an economical building material, it needs to be supplemented with a good insulator, such as glass wool, for example, given its low insulating power. Its low cost is therefore no longer verified.

Le bois massif et la brique sont légèrement plus chers, mais peuvent être utilisés sans revêtement isolant. Le béton est quant à lui le plus couteux.

The ease and duration of construction: Speed ​​and efficiency in the use of materials can be a useful choice. The implementation, the labor required and the duration of construction are all points that can be appreciated. Wooden houses, for example, are very easy to assemble, which means that construction sites do not last very long. Brick is also easy, but still requires skill in its laying technique. Rather, the concrete block is a product handled by specialists.

According to comfort criteria

We tend to forget it in this world of construction, but the choice of material has an impact on the comfort of the home.


To be interested in the sensation of touching has very little meaning when it comes to cinderblock or brick. But it takes on its full meaning with solid wood which brings a much warmer feeling. The feel of concrete is much cooler which is pleasant in hot weather.

Thermal insulation and energy performance

Today, new constructions are low-consumption buildings, that is to say buildings which require an energy consumption lower than the standard enacted by the Thermal Regulations (RT) 2012. This requires the installation of thermal insulation , good sealing, ventilation and economical heating. Under these conditions, the insulating power of the building material is of great interest. With the exception of the concrete block, which is certainly not used for insulation, the other products provide good insulation, that is to say, they prevent heat loss in winter and keep cool in summer.

There are many other building materials that we haven’t covered here that have their own advantages: stone, aluminum, PVC …

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