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IndustryNet Blog

Five trends in building materials

Posted by Matt Lee -- Guest Contributor on Monday, July 24, 2017

100000071_solar-panels-1794467_960_720The architecture and construction industry certainly isn't stagnant when it comes to innovation and progress. Many are aware that green building, for example, has become hugely popular in both residential and commercial building design.

While construction techniques change with times as industry leaders find more effective ways of building, the materials used in construction have the biggest impact on future building design.

Here are just 5 trends in building materials that will continue to grow in demand and become more widely available.

1. Choosing Thermally-Modified Wood Over Traditional Wood

Wood will always play a major part in building construction. It is the most traditional material used and few buildings are constructed without wood products being used. Unfortunately wood alone has many downsides when it comes to longevity, durability, availability, and sustainability. Wood isn't a weak material, but it certainly has weaknesses that many would rather not work with. An ideal alternative to this is thermally-modified wood.

Thermally-modified wood is regular wood that has been treated with special chemicals and high heat to create a far stronger product. Unlike composites, thermally-modified wood truly is real wood. It does not contain plastics or other materials. It is highly versatile as well in how it can be used.

It is equally suitable in any situation in which normal wood would have been used, in both commercial and residential building. For example, thermally-modified wood is a stunning and far longer-lasting choice for wood decking in a commercial rooftop space. Does your client have a few pool deck ideas in mind but they're set on wood? Thermally-modified wood can be used with far greater success than a normal wood in this situation.

2. Reclaimed Wood Remaining Popular in Residential and Commercial Design

Sustainability is a primary concern when using wood in building, as mentioned above. Though thermally-modified wood is nearly a perfect product, it simply doesn't work for every design that an architect is trying to achieve.

Every year a significantly large number of buildings made of wood are demolished, leaving a surprising amount of usable wood sitting as nothing but waste. Reclaimed wood is a popular choice for both residential and commercial building design as interior or exterior finishing. Reclaimed barn wood is a hugely popular house siding design in huge demand.

Commercial buildings, such as office or retail, are always after that distressed, attractive reclaimed wood look. Reclaimed wood can also be completely refinished by some companies and used just as brand new lumber would.

3. More Advanced, Efficient Concrete Wall Products

Concrete has been used as a popular building material for roughly 2,000 years. It is incredibly strong and reliable, making it a common product in commercial and residential building. Concrete walls are often considered to be one of the strongest walls possible in construction and make up the exterior of many different types of buildings as well as homes.

Despite all of the advantages of concrete, it isn't impervious to damage and traditional poured concrete walls aren't always the best option. Insulated concrete walls are a far better choice in majority of situations and easily competes with poured concrete. These wall systems offer better insulation, faster installation, improved noise reduction, and better storm protection.

Another newer concrete product that will surely become more popular as technology improves is self-healing concrete. Concrete is a popular choice for homes and businesses in regions prone to natural disasters like earthquakes and storms. Self-healing concrete used a bacteria that produces calcium lactate when exposed to water. This byproduct is produced quickly and begins to fill any cracks in the concrete.

4. Durable Bioplastics Advancing into Construction and Architecture Exterior_Panels

Another instance in which biotechnology is becoming a trend in construction is the use of bioplastics. Plastics in construction are common but many balk at the idea of using them due to environmental concerns. Bioplastics used biological products, such as shrimp shells, to create thin plastic film. This material is akin to aluminum in strength but far lighter in weight.

Bioplastic isn't yet a hugely popular material but has already been successfully used in architecture. It is inexpensive to make and biodegradable as well. Just like any other plastic, bioplastic is easy to mold and extremely versatile. This product is one to keep an eye out for in the coming years.

5. Solar Power No Longer Limited to Rooftop Panels

Solar power has continued to be a trend for many years but isn't slowing down at all. Solar power industries continue to design far more efficient panels while also developing more versatile ways for these panels to be used. Solar panels being placed on rooftops or in special ground-mounted brackets are just the basics.

Companies have developed solar panels that are embedded in roadways and parking lots. Others are focusing on alternative mounting locations for solar panels, such as on street signs, parking lots signs, and billboards. There are even solar textiles in development that will become accessible very soon. Reducing energy consumption is a primary concern in our world today, making solar power and advanced solar panels a mainstay in building material trends for a long time to come.

Building materials trends don't often change hugely year to year, but it is important to keep on top of what is in demand and what technology is being developed. Whether you're in residential, commercial or even industrial building, any of these 5 trends are worth researching into further.

About the author: Matt Lee is the Co-Founder of Lead Generation Experts. Founded in 2012, Lead Generation Experts helps building materials manufacturers improve their digital marketing strategy.

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