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12 cheap building materials

Naia Carlos Naia Carlos
de DMP arquitectura Moderno
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Building a home can be daunting, in no small part due to the costs involved. There’s no way around the expenses. It’s true that aspiring homeowners need to shell out quite a bit to create their dream home. However, there are ways to minimize the costs without sacrificing quality.

The materials play a huge part in determining the overall toll on the finances. For those who are on a tight budget, choosing more affordable building materials is the key to keeping costs down and completing the construction of your very own home. There are plenty of options out there for the different architectural styles.

Sometimes, you just need to get a little creative and think out of the box. Here is Homify’s list of alternative materials that can help you manage the budget in the pursuit of your dream house.

1. Prefabricated houses

Fast, simple and relatively cheap, prefabricated houses are the no-fuss option for those who are on a rush and on a budget. Prefab homes are pre-built then assembled on the owner’s property. It’s available in a vast array of designs and materials to suit every type of homeowner.

2. Concrete sheets

CASA TRANSPORTABLE ÁPH80 Casas de estilo rural de ÁBATON Arquitectura Rural
ÁBATON Arquitectura


ÁBATON Arquitectura

Not only are concrete sheets affordable, but the material is also easy to use in construction. The industrial look of this material even means you can opt to leave it exposed for a stylish façade. A bonus: it offers amazing insulation.

3. Stone cladding

Fachada moderna del modelo Chipiona de Casas inHaus Casas modernas de Casas inHAUS Moderno
Casas inHAUS

Fachada moderna del modelo Chipiona de Casas inHaus

Casas inHAUS

Stone can be a laborious and expensive material to work with, but the effect is undeniably stunning. For a cheaper alternative, ask your architect about stone cladding which achieves the same effect for a lower price.

4. Recycled shipping containers

Casas modernas de homify Moderno

Shipping containers can be acquired for a very low cost, so it’s a good option for small-scale housing. Sustainable, affordable and versatile, it appeals to the young and creative. Locally, shipping containers have become a stylish alternative material not just for houses, but also boutique resorts and other commercial establishments.  

Discover the world’s best container homes you have to see.

5. Reclaimed timber

Wood is always a premium, so keep an eye out for reclaimed timber you can take for cheap. There are few sturdier building materials around. Plus, the weatherworn look oozes rustic charm.

6. Corrugated metal

Privathaus bei Berlin Casas de estilo minimalista de IOX Architekten GmbH Minimalista
IOX Architekten GmbH

Privathaus bei Berlin

IOX Architekten GmbH

Another inexpensive material that slays the industrial style is corrugated metal. Using it in the exterior of the residence keeps the façade attractive and trendy, a modern stand-out in any neighborhood. It’s also as weather-proof as one can get.

7. Bamboo

Facahda de acceso - Casa 5 Casas de estilo escandinavo de Weber Arquitectos Escandinavo
Weber Arquitectos

Facahda de acceso – Casa 5

Weber Arquitectos

Bamboo grows extremely quickly, so it’s not as expensive and rare as other natural woods. It also earns additional points for being an eco-friendly resource, not to mention one that is naturally durable. Finally, bamboo is also well-known for being flexible, lightweight and easy to handle in construction. It goes well with a well-maintained garden in front.

8. Industrial iron

It’s not uncommon to see industrial elements in modern residences, and using industrial iron in construction creates a home that is both strong and visually stunning.

9. Traditional brick

A true classic. Brick has been a premium material throughout the centuries because it is beautiful, strong and surprisingly wallet-friendly. While initial cost may be more than other materials, its durability, sustainability and low-maintenance features make it the cheaper option in the long run.

10. Straw

Balcones y terrazas de estilo rural de homify Rural

Yes, straw houses are real. Building a home entirely out of straw may not be practical, but it can certainly be used in a thatch roof. More than just the charm, straw thatch roofs provide great insulation.

11. Natural stone

Acquiring stone may be expensive, but carving a house into an existing natural stone surface – as featured above – is an inventive and cost-friendly option! However, it can be difficult to find a landscape that works with this design.

12. Fresh concrete

Concrete is the most popular material for architects for a reason: it’s economical, tough and can be designed to suit different tastes. You can’t go wrong with concrete.

For other economical tips, check out these 22 cheap ways to creating a cozy hideaway

Fachada con iluminación nocturna modelo Chipiona Casas inHaus Casas modernas de Casas inHAUS Moderno

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