As one of the oldest known building materials, clay is enjoying a resurgence in popularity as a component in many construction plans due to its relatively easy availability, environmentally friendly reputation and durability that all combine to make this material a very appealing choice for many construction projects.
Clay material is often available in large quantities by simply digging it out of the ground. In reality, the harvesting of the clay from earthen deposits is often the most complicated step in the entire process from raw material to finished product. From there, clay is typically mixed with sand, fibers like straw, or other organic materials to be formed into bricks, roof tiles and other parts of a building.
Advantages of Clay
If you are considering a building project that could make use of clay, there are several advantages this material offers over other material options:
- Clay is the most natural and ecologically neutral building material known. Clay requires little or no processing to be formed into bricks, tiles or walls. It is a versatile material that can be shaped or formed into a wide array of shapes and configurations. This make it the ideal materials for homes as well as garden areas, apartment and commercial buildings.
- Clay is very energy efficient. In this era where energy conservation is so important, it is good to know that clay is considered to have excellent insulative characteristics. In addition to its insulating properties, clay walls will have a temperature moderating effect that is very desirable in climates where there are large swings in temperature over a 24 hour period. In the heat of the day the clay walls will slowly absorb the heat from the sun and will tend to keep the building warm during the cooler temps at night.
- The durability of a clay home or building is unsurpassed by any other type of construction material. Clay is weather resistant and fire proof. A home or commercial building made from clay can be expected to last in excess of 100 years and there are many clay buildings around the world that are centuries old and still intact.
- Clay, as a component of tiles, bricks or other parts of a building provide a high value option for the builder. Besides being low cost to purchase, clay components are usually easy to install and work with on the construction site, saving time and labor costs over other more complicated or sophisticated materials. Clay’s insulating properties also save costs as less insulation is needed to achieve the same R-value when compared to comparable materials.
- Clay is the ultimate natural building material. Because clay bricks, tiles and pavers don’t contain any manmade chemicals or additives, clay components are very compatible with humans who may have allergies or are sensitive to certain synthetic compounds.