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Building Materials and Supplies

Whether your plans involve framing a basement wall, constructing a backyard play structure, or crafting a utility room cabinet, your choice of building materials can greatly affect the quality of your finished project. Regardless of experience level, hobbyists, contractors, and savvy do-it-yourselfers alike have access to a wealth of materials to suit every conceivable purpose, large and small. For the novice, understanding your options right from the start will better ensure a beautiful and satisfying end result.

How do you select construction materials for your project?

As you begin planning your project, you will soon realize that many building materials boast a variety of properties designed for specific purposes. Before choosing the supplies for your job, you may want to consider a few variables.

  • Application: Because decks and other outdoor construction projects must be able to withstand the weather, it is especially important to keep this in mind when working with wood. Indoors, soft woods are typically used for building construction, while hard woods are more appropriate for crafting furniture.
  • Durability: Some building materials stand up to wear well, while others are subject to splintering, warping, mold, and decay under certain conditions. Careful consideration of your long-term needs will help you choose supplies that will go the distance.
  • Aesthetics: When appearance matters, make sure that your building materials will provide you with the look that you want. Wood grain will be important to the finished look of a stained coffee table but not matter so much if you will be painting your piece. Different roofing materials can dramatically affect the outside appearance of a house.
  • Structural capability: When designing a house, garage, or shed, you will want to choose lumber and masonry that will safely support building loads for the expected life of the structure. You will also want to ensure that the building materials that you choose are chemically safe, which will allow people to comfortably inhabit and use the structure without ill effect.
What do you need to build a house?

Being your own contractor and creating a house that will become a cherished home can be a satisfying experience. Start with a plan, and make sure that you have a good working knowledge of the elements that you will be using.

  • Lumber, millwork, and masonry: Become familiar with the numerous types, grades, styles, and brands that are available to you.
  • Fasteners and connectors: Select strong, utilitarian items of the appropriate weight and material for framing, ductwork, and electrical work.
  • Doors and fixtures: Settle on a design style, which will most likely dictate your choices in this category.
  • Ducts and vents: Look for ductwork with proper fit, which is essential to a well-functioning HVAC system.
  • Electrical supplies and lighting: Check your local codes and determine the electrical equipment needed for compliance at inspection time.
  • Paints, stains, tape, and other finishing agents: Consider the application and choose agents that showcase your personal taste and style.