What Materials to Use When Building A Home

The home building process is fun and exciting, especially when you understand what materials to use and how the process works. Let’s take some time to cover home building 101 and the basic materials a builder uses when constructing a home.


Basic Home Building Materials


One of the first materials used to build a home is concrete which is a combination of several elements like sand, stones, cement, and water. This mixture is poured and then left to harden.


A properly constructed and poured concrete foundation protects the entire structure of the home by holding it above ground. The foundation resists the earth's movement, insulates the home against cold, and defends it against moisture.


Foundations, walls, and footings use reinforced concrete which is a combination of concrete and steel. That combination is stronger and resists stresses like earthquakes or high winds.



As a building material, wood plays a primary role in home construction mainly because it's used in residential framing. Depending upon your location, different types of wood are used.  The most common woods used for framing are oak, pine, fir, cedar, and cypress. 


High-quality wood is seasoned to ensure any moisture is removed. In some high-humidity locations like Florida, wood is pre-treated to protect against termites and moisture.  Other advantages of wood are that it's lightweight, and easy to cut to length.


The disadvantages are - it's not fireproof, it doesn't last forever, and if you don't select high-grade materials the wood will decay faster and be open to attack by termites.


House Wrap

House wrap is a lightweight protective material that's installed before the siding goes on. It protects the structure from water, air leaks, and the elements. Additionally, in humid climates, the wrap can help prevent mold since it keeps water out.


Similar to a house wrap is another protective sheeting material called underlayment which is installed between materials.  For example, if you have new laminate flooring installed it goes between the plywood and laminate.  This way if your dishwasher ever leaks - the wood subfloor will be protected.


The same thing goes for roofing - an addition of underlayment before the shingles or tiles gives added protection for your home against water infiltration and wind damage. It's also possible if you include this in your roofing replacement or installation that your insurance costs can be less. Ask your agent.



For homes there are two main types of roofing materials:

  • Asphalt roofs - also known as composite roof shingles, are a popular choice by builders and homeowners. Two significant advantages are the number of options in colors and designs along with an affordable price.
  • Tile roofs are another popular choice depending on where you live. Tiles look exceptionally attractive on stucco homes. Although they cost more than asphalt shingles, tiles last two to three time longer.


Whatever your choice of roofing materials, make sure the roof trusses are made of quality wood. And, if you live in hurricane states like Florida look for professionally engineered roof trusses attached by hurricane straps and set in concrete.



The two most popular choices for exterior finishes are stucco and siding.


For a newly built stucco home, make sure the exterior wall finishes have drainage planes that eliminate the possibility of water getting into your home. In areas with intense heat, like new homes in Phoenix, you will find stucco backed by Styrofoam, which increases the new home's energy efficiency.


Some homeowners prefer siding rather than stucco because it looks like wood, and there are many design choices. Shingles are made from either vinyl or composite materials and are low maintenance, durable, and easy to repaint if you want to change the color.


Whatever you choose - stucco or siding, consider adding even more curb appeal with decorative stone or brick veneers, which are surprisingly affordable.


What Build Materials go into Green Buildings?

Whatever your choice in home building materials, consider going green. With green building materials, you’ll have better indoor air quality, save money on your energy bills, and know that you are protecting your family’s health. When buying a new home, make sure to look for:

Low-Emissivity Windows to keep you comfortable all year long


  • ENERGY STAR® appliances like dishwashers and water heaters
  • High-Efficiency HVAC systems to provide comfort in any season
  • Solar panels that are beautiful and functional to save even more on utilities
  • Insulation from green fiber fully recycled local material and formaldehyde free 


We hope you’ve enjoyed this article about home building materials and learned a thing or two. At Pulte Homes, not only do we build with quality materials, we’re also on the cutting edge of green buildings and energy efficiency. For more information about what makes Pulte Homes special visit read more about the Pulte Difference.



Contributed to Your Home blog by Carol Youmans

Looking for more tips, ideas or inspiration? Return Home here.

Published 7.12.19

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