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Glossary of Building Materials: Must-know terms

Ever been on a project or site and wondered what a particular term meant? Wonder no longer, here’s our list of must-know building materials. Explore the glossary below which contains definitions of some of the most commonly used terms in the world of construction, design and infrastructure:

ADMIXTURES: Concrete admixtures are natural or manufactured chemicals or additives added during concrete mixing. 

AGGREGATE: A broad category of coarse to medium-grained particulate material, including sand, gravel, crushed stone, slag, recycled concrete and geosynthetic aggregates.

BRICK(s): A type of block used to build walls, pavements and other elements in masonry construction.

CAPPING BRICK: A brick which is specially manufactured for use as the top course in a coping; caps the top of an exposed wall. 

CEMENT: A powdery substance made by calcining lime and clay, mixed with water to form mortar or mixed with sand, gravel, and water to make concrete.

CONCRETE: Material made from a mixture of broken stone or gravel, sand, cement, and water, which can be spread or poured.

HARDBOARD: Stiff board made of compressed and treated wood pulp.

MORTAR: A workable paste which hardens to bind building blocks such as stones and bricks.

PAINT: A coloured substance which is spread over a surface and dries to leave a thin decorative or protective coating. 

PAINTER’S PUTTY: Typically a linseed oil-based product used for filling holes, minor cracks, and defacements in wood.

PLASTER: A soft mixture of sand and cement and sometimes lime with water, for spreading on walls, ceilings, or other structures, to form a smooth hard surface when dried.

PLASTERBOARD: Board made of plaster set between two sheets of paper, used especially to form or line the inner walls of houses.

PLY OR PLYWOOD: A type of strong thin wooden board consisting of two or more layers glued and pressed together.

PVC (POLYVINYL CHLORIDE): A widely used plastic - a tough chemically resistant synthetic resin used for a wide variety of products.

PUTTY: A soft, malleable greyish-yellow paste, made from ground chalk and raw linseed oil, that hardens after a few hours and is used for sealing glass in window frames and filling holes in wood.

SHEET FLOORING: Flooring that comes in large, continuous, flexible sheets

TIMBER: Wood prepared for use in building and carpentry.

WATERPROOF CEMENT: A portland cement to which a water-repellent agent has been added.

Still got some questions? 

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