Stone, Wood, Mud – Ancient Building Materials
Nowadays when we look at the skyline of modern cities we see vast structures made from glass, steel and aluminium. These materials have only been available to us relatively recently meaning towering skyscrapers and other enormous structures have graced our towns and cities only fairly recently. Although these buildings may be made up largely of materials that are new to us however, other buildings use materials that have been with us since ancient times. Even before we had electricity and when civilization was barely recognizable to how it is today, building materials were being used that are still very familiar. Some materials in particular are instantly recognizable as common in construction despite the fact they were being use when mankind was still a primitive creature.
When we thing of stone buildings we often think of grand castles and palaces that housed the rich and protected inhabitants. As a very strong building material stone could help repel potential attackers so the hard work behind creating such magnificent structures was well worth it because they would help save countless lives. Stone was used as a building material way before grand castles and palaces however and stone structures have been discovered from pre-history. Stonehenge in England is one example of a stone structure that was built literally thousands of years ago.
With more affordable alternatives now available to us that are easier to use, stone is used in construction nowhere near as much as it once was. There is one property of stone that means it is by no means rare in modern construction however and that property is simply that it looks good. Stone is often used for exterior walls for good looks and stone cladding can give the appearance that a building is constructed almost entirely of stone. As a good looking and sturdy material stone is likely to be used on construction for many generations to come.
Wood offers incredible strength that helps to support buildings so that they last for many years. In many modern homes you will find wooden beams in the loft helping to provide support and in some cases homes are still made almost entirely out of wood. As with stone, another advantage of wood is that it looks great and many people choose to have wooden homes built for that very reason. Another advantageous property of wood is that is warmer than some alternatives so it is very popular in cold climates. It doesn’t matter where in the world you may be, there is a good chance that wood has been used in a construction somewhere nearby.
In the west, mud is a material that seems bizarre to us as a building material but in other parts of the world it is very common. Mud has been used as a building material since before we began keeping records and you may be surprised at just how sturdy it can be. The techniques used to build from mud have been developed over countless generations so the structures built can withstand a surprising amount of abuse. Another reason for the continued popularity of mud as a building material in some parts of the world is the cost and it is one of the most affordable buildings materials there is. With the right skills the materials needed could be taken from the environment around you meaning constructing a building will cost nothing but manpower costs and time. Another advantage is that should a mud building become damaged it is fairly easy to repair and some mud structures have been around for a very long time. If you are invited to stay in a mud building some time you may be forgiven for imagining very poor living conditions whereas the reality could be a grand structure fit for royalty.
Jamie Finch is a freelance writer based in the UK. This article was written on behalf of Ken’s Yard, an online building supplies company.
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