The construction industry uses different construction materials for different aspects of a building. Each construction material is unique in terms of durability, weight, and strength. The commercial construction industry has been on the rise in 2021, and this rise has experienced a shortage of labor, especially in North America. For that reason, contractors have taken advantage of new building materials that are easier to use and more productive. These material trends for 2021 lean towards innovation, ensuring improved building efficiency. There are various materials commercial contractors could consider, and seven of the best include:
Insulation is a crucial part of any building, especially in buildings that are located in cold areas. There are various materials in the marketplace for building materials, including fiberglass, mineral wool, expanded polystyrene (EPS), cellulose, and extruded polystyrene, among others.
But in 2018, there came an alternative for these materials known as hemp insulation. This option is made of 51% plant fibers, and the other 49% consists of chemicals, plastics, and non-toxic bonding agents. The hemp insulation material comes in 2.5- to 5.5-inch-thick batts, meaning that it is quite thinner compared to standard fiberglass. Because of its thinness, it is best suited for below-grade walls, for example, the ones in the basements, since they take much less space compared to fiberglass batt.
Hemp insulation is quite permeable, which makes it possible for vapor to travel through insulation and prevent condensation, making it perfect for below-grade walls.
Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT)CLTs first became popular in Europe, and of late, their popularity has been spreading to the rest of the world. Cross-laminated timber stands out among its competitors because of its versatility, appearance, strength, and sustainability. Since the material is made of wood, a renewable source, it is quite sustainable, and it does not require the burning of fossil fuels in order to support its production.
CLTs are often used in large constructions, and currently, there are many skyscrapers that are built with CLT parts. The thickness of CLTs, as well as their length, can be adjusted according to the demand of the project. CLTs are quite flexible, and constructors can easily install them, saving time. Furthermore, the material is quite lightweight, so you can use smaller cranes during construction.
Architectural Aluminum Grills
Architectural aluminum grills come with a rectangular face, which is fixed in a single direction to an angle that allows it to deflect air into the room fixed with the grills. In most cases, these architectural aluminum grills come with an air control device, helping regulate airflow and the pattern of the airflow. As a type of aluminum extruded profiles, the aluminum grills come in different designs, and the type of design to go for is designed by the room’s layout. They improve energy efficiency by reducing the natural tendency of cool air to drop.
Self-healing concrete is a type of smart material that is structurally designed with the ability to repair damages caused by usage over time. Generally, the material comes with bacteria or fungi that help with the self-healing process. The good thing about using self-healing concrete is that it can last for centuries without requiring any repairs.
Also, the compressive strength of self-healing cement is better than that of ordinary cement. Finally, self-healing cement helps reduce carbon pollutants that are a menace to the environment. It is, however, important to note that self-healing concrete is quite expensive compared to ordinary cement.
Switchable Smart Glass
Smart glass is primarily used to provide UV protection. It comes in a window design, and it helps control heat and light during the day, insulating your building. The glass automatically adjusts the level of heat and light to keep it just the way you want it. By doing so, the glass can save you up to 30% in energy costs.
Wool bricks are made by adding wool fibers to clay, and then the combination is used to make bricks with an alginate conglomerate. Wool bricks are naturally dried, so there is no need for drying them, meaning there is little to no air pollution, unlike when making standard bricks. What's more, wool bricks are at least 37% stronger than ordinary bricks, so you can expect them to last for the longest time.
ICF Tilt Walls
For structures requiring long-straight walls, few windows, and don’t need to be so aesthetic, such as warehouses and big-box stores, many contractors choose ICF tilt walls. These walls are energy-efficient, durable, disaster-resistant, and require low maintenance. Furthermore, they are easy to install, saving you time during construction.
As the construction industry continues to expand, you could take advantage of the industry and use new material trends such as ICF tilt walls, wool bricks, and switchable smart glass to improve efficiency and durability, making you stand out.