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What to build a house out of? Materials review

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The materials for the construction of a house should be chosen before construction begins, so that during operation the house will meet the expectations of the residents.

Exterior walls of the building

For the exterior walls of a single-family building, materials such as:

  • wood,
  • stone,
  • clay,
  • brick,
  • concrete.

External walls of a building can be erected using technology:

  • brick – traditional technique, the most popular in Poland;
  • skeleton,
  • prefabricated – walls made of expanded clay blocks, very rarely used technique.

Types of external brick walls

One-layer walls

Single-layer walls have a thickness of 35 to 60 cm. They are usually built of:

  • cellular concrete blocks, 400 var,
  • ceramic hollow bricks,
  • expanded polystyrene blocks, 31-36 cm thick, filled with foamed polystyrene.

Two-layer walls

Two-layer walls made with the light-dry method are 24-29 cm thick. They are usually built of:

  • ceramic hollow bricks,
  • expanded clay blocks
  • 400 cellular concrete blocks.

Two-layer walls must be insulated with semi-hard mineral wool 15-25 cm thick, wooden slats and highly permeable wind insulation.

Two-layer walls made using the light-wet method are 24 to 38 cm thick. They are usually built of:

  • ceramic hollow bricks,
  • aerated concrete blocks,
  • 400 cellular concrete blocks.

The insulation layer is 12 to 20 cm of foamed polystyrene, which is covered with elevation plaster.

Three-layer walls

Three-layer walls provide high thermal insulation of the building, but are very rarely used due to the high cost of execution. The walls are from 18 to 22 cm thick and are built of:

  • ceramic hollow bricks,
  • ceramic hollow bricks, expanded polystyrene concrete hollow bricks,
  • cellular concrete blocks, variety 500 or 600,
  • sand-lime blocks.

The walls are insulated from the inside with 12 to 25 cm thick thermal insulation layer, with 3 cm ventilation gap.

Materials for building external walls

Traditional ceramics

Traditional ceramics are hollow blocks and bricks made from clay with the addition of water and sand. From this material products are produced:

  • solid – have no openings or have openings smaller than 15% of the base,
  • hollow – the size of holes is 15-60% of base area.

Advantages of traditional ceramics

  • good vapor permeability,
  • fire resistance,
  • material considered to be healthy,
  • low price.

Disadvantages of traditional ceramics

  • can be used only in multi-layer walls,
  • low thermal insulation.

From traditional ceramics are produced materials such as:

  • classic solid brick,
  • mAX hollow brick.

Cellular ceramics

Porous ceramics is a building material made of clay with addition of water and wood flour or sawdust. Thanks to the addition of wood, microscopic pores are created during the firing process, which provide better thermal insulation.

Porous clay has the following advantages

  • good thermal insulation
  • sound insulation,
  • pressure resistance,
  • resistance to bad weather conditions,
  • parapermeability,
  • resistance to fire,
  • quick and easy wall masonry,
  • high efficiency.

Disadvantages of expanded clay

  • high price of the blocks – from 8 zlotys a piece (for two- and three-layer walls) and 16 zlotys a piece (for single-layer walls),
  • high water absorption,
  • greater brittleness in comparison with traditional ceramics.

Cellular concrete

Cellular concrete is a material made from:

  • sand,
  • lime,
  • water,
  • a small amount of cement or anhydrite.

This material is characterized by excellent heat insulation. For building exterior walls, varieties of cellular concrete are used:

  • 400,
  • 500,
  • 600.

Advantages of cellular concrete

  • high thermal insulation,
  • fire resistance,
  • easy to process,
  • rapid wall-building time,
  • high efficiency.

Cellular concrete disadvantages

  • high price of blocks: from 11 zł/piece (for two- and three-layer walls) and 33 zł/piece (for one-layer walls),
  • considerable water absorption,
  • the building must be plastered in the same season in which it is erected,
  • poor sound insulation,
  • brittleness,
  • poor compressive strength.


Silicates are the most ecological material, for the production of which are used:

  • sand,
  • lime,
  • water.

Advantages of silicate

  • low price,
  • compressive strength,
  • fire resistance,
  • high sound insulation,
  • frost resistance,
  • low water absorption,
  • resistance to fungi and mould,

Disadvantages of silicate blocks

  • low thermal insulation,
  • high weight.

Keramzite concrete

Keramzite concrete is a modern material that is great for building a house. There are two types of expanded concrete:

  • ordinary,
  • with polystyrene insertion.

Keramzite concrete advantages

  • low price,
  • compressive strength,
  • ability to accumulate heat,
  • fire resistance,
  • low water absorption,
  • easy to process,
  • it is suitable for building any kind of walls.

Disadvantages of expanded clay concrete

  • poor acoustic insulation.
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