Essential Building Materials For Interior Designing
Since the days of constructions in the ancient times, humans have been experimenting with a variety of building materials. Leaves, straws and mud were among the commonly used materials for constructing houses many centuries ago. Soon, people discovered the use of stone and wood in constructing better living places. With the rise and popularity of different architectural styles, many new and capable materials started adding to the list. Discovery of metals and alloys further improved the process of constructing strong building designs. Today, numerous modern building products are used by the architectures. Both domestic and commercial constructions are supported by these materials.When the outside of the house is finished one must then concentrate on the interiors of the house. Windows, doors have to be built into the frames. Wires must be laid for electricity and power. Plumbers install the pipes through which water flows through.

A new house has to be insulated (protected materials that prevents loss of heat and sound)in order to reduce heating costs and to save money. A furnace or boiler, mostly in the basement, warms up the water which then leads through pipes through the whole house. Cold water returns through the pipes and into the furnace where it is heated up again. More and more houses install air conditioning to cool down in the summer months. Finally, the walls are painted and the rooms decorated.

by Sonalee Sarkar
1 year, 6 months ago

One of the most essential and basic requirements for the interiors of a house is it's materials and the properties of the materials. Long ago, people built homes with whatever building materials that they had around them. In Africa and some islands of the South Pacific they used grass or leaves that grew nearby. In the south-western part of the United States the Pueblo Indians used sun-dried bricks to build their houses. Now-a-days the building materials are classified into three categories as follows:-

It is also important to understand the properties of the materials in order to work with them better:-

  • Understanding the behaviour of the materials. This means the material should be strong enough to resist any kind of wear and tear and shock. For eg: use of high quality bricks and stones. Even during a minor earthquake there should be very little or no damage to the building.
  • The life and durability of the materials. Materials should last for as long as possible and should also yield the least cost of maintenance. They shouldn't be affected by destroying agents like dust, pollution, sun rays etc. and should be protected by coverings such as plaster, varnishes etc.
  • Materials should be fire resistant. In simple terms, materials should not easily catch fire.
  • Materials should be functional.For eg: materials used for bearing shock and impact should perform its function properly.
  • There are some materials that are used for acoustical purposes. They are used to receive or transmit sound from one point to another act as sound resisting materials.
  • Materials should act as a finishing property. The materials used should be easy and comfortable to handle and should also add to the appearance thus giving it a finishing look.  
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The construction material for the designing industry:-

Cement is one of the most important building materials in interiors. It is a mixture of clay and lime stone made available in a powder form, once it is mixed with water it becomes cement. Cement is a binder that binds two substances together. The process of manufacturing cement is as follows:-

  • Quarrying:- The raw materials used to manufacturer cement (mainly limestone and clay) are blasted from the quarry (a large pit from where stone or other materials have been extracted). The materials are then loaded into a dumper.
  • Crushing:- The materials are then crushed.
  • Grinding:- The raw materials are further ground to produce a raw mix.
  • Blending/ Homogenizing:- These raw mix are sent through a conveyor belt and stored, before they are homogenized (made as a uniform/same mixture).
  • Pyro processing:- This is the burning of cement. The raw mix is preheated before it goes into the kiln (red tube in the above diagram) which is heated by a flame that is as hot as 2000 degrees Celsius. This raw mix burns at 1500 degrees Celsius producing clinker which when leaving the kiln is rapidly cooled with air fans. Clinker is the basic material to produce cement.
  • Cement grinding:- The clinker and gypsum are very finely ground giving a pure cement. Other cement additives can also be used to produce a blended cement.
  • Packaging:- The cement is then packed in silos (a tower or pit to store) before being sent in bulk or in bags to its final destinations.

                                                  Concrete Moulds
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Lime is a type of mortar (a paste that is used to bind construction blocks together) made of lime and a coarse material such as sand mixed with water. It is one of the oldest forms of mortar dating back to the 4th century BC and was widely used in Ancient Rome and Greece. Now with the introduction of OPC (ordinary Portland cement) the use of the lime mortar in construction has declined from those times. OPC is the most widely used cement in construction due to its basic ingredients. They originate from limestone.

                                                     Ordinary Portland Cement

They are a fine powder produced by grinding Portland cement and a certain amount of calcium sulphate. OPC is used mainly in the production of concrete. Concrete is a material consisting of coarse materials like sand and cement and water.  Concrete can be moulded into any form, shape and if it is hardened it can act as a load bearing element. Lime provides benefits in the plastic and hardened states. In the plastic state, lime can enhance the workability and water retention of plasters and mortars. In the hardened state, lime products react with carbon dioxide to regenerate calcium carbonate or limestone. This is a slow, gradual process which increases the hardness of the finished surface and allows for the healing of hairline cracks (cracks that are small than 1/16 inches) by a process called autogenous healing.

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Lime mortars are:
  • They are permeable. This means vapour can pass through them at any level thus making it a better option for building material.
  • They have flexibility. They can change its size in all seasons thus there is no need to use expansion joints.
  • They are weather proof but not water proof.
  • They are not wet thus they do not require to be covered with a waterproof material as they do not attract moisture around them.
  • It's proven technology. Over the years that lime has been used even in building major projects like bridges, floors, domes etc. The earliest use of lime dates back to 4000 years ago.

The qualities of cement include : -

                                         Irregular Granite With Cement Mortar
  • They are not permeable. They create a seal surface that does not allow moisture to pass through.
  • They are not flexible thus require expansion joints to avoid cracking.
  • They are waterproof.
  • They are wet thus can affect other materials around them. Thus they attract moisture.
  • They were invented in the 19th century and came into vast use from 1930’s onwards.
Chaplegate construction are a respected building company that operates across the Wirral Liverpool and Cheshire ...
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Stone is found in abundance in the crust of the earth and hence it is being widely used. In different parts of our country we find different kinds of stones. E.g. marbles are found more in north and granite more in south. Stones are formed of rock. Rock represents a definite portion of earth’s surface and do not have any chemical composition and shape. When minerals combine they form rock of various kinds. If they are made of one mineral it is called mono mineralic and if they are formed of many minerals they are called poly mineralic.

Artificial Stone:- They are also known as cast stone or reconstructed stone. Artificial stone is made by crushing and grinding natural stone and then re constituting it in amould with cement mortar. It can also be constituted with a resin binder but that is more expensive. Cast stone is an excellent replacement for natural cut limestone, brownstone, sandstone, granite etc.

They take up various forms such as:-

  • Cement concrete:- This is a mixture of cement fine aggregate, coarse aggregate and water.
  • Mosaic tiles:- The pre-cast concrete tile with marble chips at top surface are known as mosaic tiles. Mosaic is the art of creating images with an assemblage of small pieces of coloured glass, stone, or other materials. It may be a technique of decorative art, an aspect of interior decoration or of cultural and spiritual significance as in a cathedral. Small pieces, mostly roughly square, of stone or glass of different colours, known as tesserae, are used to create a pattern or picture.

  • Terrazzo:- They are a mixture of marble chips and cement. It consists of marble, quartz, granite, glass or other suitable chips, sprinkled or unsprinkled, and poured with a binder that is cementitous, chemical, or a combination of both. Terrazzo is cured and then ground and polished to a smooth surface or otherwise finished to produce a uniformly textured surface.

Some of the types of stone are:-

  • Cuddapah:- They are dark colour stone that re available in slab form and can be polished. It is mainly used for kitchen platforms or bathroom floorings.
  • Kota:- It is tough and hard stone. It is dark green in colour.
  • Marble:- This is one of the most popular stones available in a variety of colours. It is also used for decorative purposes at entrances, doorways, flooring etc.
  • Granite:- It is a very tough stone. After polish it gives a shiny surface. It is much tougher than marble. It has a good reflecting surface.
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Bricks:- Bricks are obtained by molding clay into rectangular blocks of uniform size and then drying and burning these blocks. Common bricks are one of the oldest building materials and it is extensively used at present as a leading material of construction because of its durability, strength, reliability, low cost easy availability etc. As bricks are of uniform size they can be easily managed and as they are light weight thus they do not require any equipment to pick them up. bricks easily replace stones in places where stones are not easily available, but there is plenty of clay that is suitable to manufacture bricks.

Classification of bricks:- They are mainly divided into two categories:-

Unburned or Sun dried bricks:- These are those type of brick that dry directly with the help of the sun’s heat. First they are molded to give shape and size. These bricks can be used only for cheap and small construction. They should not be used in heavy rainfall areas.

Burnt bricks:- They are burned in kilns and classifies as follows:-

a) 1st class bricks:- They are used for high quality work as they are smooth and sharp bricks with sharp edges. They are available in standard sizes.

b) 2nd class bricks:- They are burned in the kilns. They have irregular shape with rough surfaces. They are used where the walls are provided with a coat of plaster.

c) 3rd class bricks:-They are used for temporary structures as they do not have sharp edges. Their surfaces are not rough and they are burnt in the kilns.

d) 4th class bricks:- They have irregular shape and are of dark color  They are over burnt and are used as aggregate for concrete in the foundation of roads, floors etc.

Glass:- Glass has been used as an engineering material since ancient times. But because of the rapid progress made in the glass industry in recent times, glass has come out as the most versatile material of modern times. Glasses of any type and quality can be produced to suit the requirement of the industry, due to the modernization of the technology.

Types of glasses:- Glasses are a mixture of number of metallic silicates that are without any particular shape and are transparent. They can be divided into the following categories:-

  • Soda lime glass:- They are also known as soft glass. They are available in clean and clear state. They are cheap and are easily fusible at low temperatures.They are used in the manufacture of glass tubes, window glass, and other laboratory apparatus.
  • Potash lime glass:- Also known as hard glass, they are a mixture of potassium silicate and calcium silicate. They fuse at high temperatures and do not melt easily. They are used in the manufacture of glass articles that need to withstand high temperatures, for eg: combustion tubes.
  • Potash lead glass:- Also known as flint glass, it is a mixture of potassium silicate and lead silicate. They fuse easily and are used in manufacturing electric bulbs, lenses etc.
  • Common glass:- They are also known as bottle glass. They are prepared from cheap raw materials. It is a mixture of sodium silicate, iron silicate and calcium silicate. They are brown, green or yellow in color and are mainly used in the manufacture of medicine bottles.
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Paint:- Paints are coatings of fluid materials and they are applied over the surfaces of timber and metals. Paints help in protecting the surface from weathering effects of the atmosphere, it prevents decay of wood and corrosion of metals, it gives a good appearance, decorated effects can be created with the help of painting as they provide a smooth surface.

Process of painting:- Some of the important points to be followed by painting are:-

  • Brushes:- It is very important to use a good brush. The brush should have a good capacity to hold paint. The new brushes should be soaked in water for 2 hours before use. During painting the brush should be immersed only up to 1/3rd length and excess paint should be removed gently. After the work is over brushes should be cleaned with kerosene oil at once.

  • Paints:- Now days there are ready made paints available in the market of different make and brands. They can be applied in the same form as received and should be used after opening the seal of the container.
  • Knotting:- It means removing of all the knots with a substance through which the resin cannot come out. During knotting the surface is covered with different materials used for this purpose e.g. red lead, hot lime etc. and then scraped out to prepare the surface for the next application.
  • Stopping:- Rubbing down of the surface after the first coat is called stopping. This is done by pumice stone or glass paper (sand paper) or both. If there are any holes, cracks they are covered with putty before rubbing.
  • Coats:- Usually there are 3 to 4 coats applied. 1st coat being the primary coat, 2nd the under coat, 3rd and 4th the finishing coat.

Types of paint:-         


  • Aluminium paint:- These paints are visible in the dark. They resist heat up till a certain degree. It gives good appearance to the surface. It possesses high electrical resistance. The surface of iron and steel are best protected with the help of this paint.
  • Anti-corrosive paint:- They are cheap in cost. They also last for a long duration and the appearance of the pain is in black. This paint consists of oil and a string drier.
  • Asbestos paint:- This is a peculiar type of paint and it is applied on the surface which  are exposed to the acidic gases and steam.
  • Cement paint:- This paint consist of white cement, pigment and other additives. It is available in dry powder form. It is water proof and durable and available in variety of shades. It is useful in those surfaces that are damp while painting or may become after painting.
  • Emulsion paint:- A variety of them are available. This paint is easy to apply and it dries in an hour or two. The color of the paint is retained for a long period and the surface of the paint is tough and can be cleaned by water too.
  • Enamel paint:- This paint is available in different colors. It dries slowly and forms a hard and durable surface. It can be used for both internal and external walls.
  • Oil paints:- This is an ordinary paint that is cheap and easy to apply and produces low gloss. This should not be applied during humid and damp weather. The presence of dampness on the wall will constantly affect the life of the paint.
  • Plastic paint:- This paint contains the necessary variety of plastics and is available in market under different trade names. This paint has a pleasing appearance and it is attractive in color. This is mostly used in auditoriums or showrooms etc.
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Varnishes:- Varnish is a transparent, hard, protective finish or film primarily used in wood finishing but also for other materials. Varnish is traditionally a combination of a drying oil, a resin and a thinner or solvent. Varnish finishes are usually glossy but may be designed to produce satin or semi-gloss sheens by the addition of "flatting" agents. Varnish has little or no color is transparent, and has no added pigment. 

Types of Varnishes:-

  • Oil varnish:- Linseed oil is used as solvent in this type of varnish. They dry slowly but form a hard and durable surface. They are the hardest and most suitable varnishes. They are used on fittings on housing.
  • Spirit varnish:- The methylated spirits of wine are used as solvent in this type of varnish. They dry quickly but they are not durable and are easily affected by weather. They are generally used for furniture.
  • Turpentine varnish:- Turpentine is used as a solvent in this type of varnish. They dry quickly and possess light color. They are not durable and tough as oil varnishes.
  • Water varnish:- The shellac is dissolved in hot water and enough quantity of either potash/ soda is added to dissolve the shellac. These varnishes are used for maps, pictures etc.

Distempering:-  The main reason to apply distemper to a plastered surface is to create a smooth surface. They are available in the market under different names. They are cheaper than paints and varnishes. They are also available in a variety of colors.

Following points should be remembered:-

  • Distempering should be done in dry weather to get the best results.
  • The oil bound or washable distemper goes well to oil painted walls but a primary coat of pure milk should be applied before distempering on such surfaces.
  • The applying of distemper by spraying pistol is more superior than done by brush. 
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1. Three Main Categories of Building Materials
2. The Base For Construction:- Cement Materials
3. The Base For Construction:- Lime Mortar
4. Lime Mortar v/s Cement
5. The Second Category Material For Construction:- Stones
6. The Second Category Material For Construction:- Bricks and Glass
7. Protective Material :- Paint
8. Protective Material :- Varnishes and Distemper
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