Using naturally available options such as wood and stone can lend an aesthetic look to your home and also increase the longevity of the structure, writes DBN Murthy
Over centuries, bricks, mud, stone and wood have served as the main building materials. Ancient buildings used naturally occurring materials. Some building materials like stone and marble have weathered millions of years of changes in climate. Stone used to be a predominant material for foundations in the past before it gave way to RCC. Stones in various sizes, shapes and colour are used during the construction of a home as part of the foundation and facade. Stone is also used in kitchen counters and sinks. Flooring material in living areas as well bathrooms use polished or semi-polished stone for better grip, especially in wet areas.
These could also be used as stepping-stones in garden pathways. The only problem with stone is that it is difficult to repair when badly damaged or broken. It is also difficult to source a particular type of stone/marble, which might not be readily available when needed. The advantages of using stone include durability, aesthetic appeal and minimal maintenance. Stone can never run out of fashion, either. There is a variety of colours of granite and marble to choose from; the choices are plenty.
Wood has several uses in a home. However, plastic has replaced the use of wood in some locations such as bathrooms and toilets owing to the durability and ease of maintenance, because wood could deteriorate from constant contact with water.
Teak wood is highly priced, especially imported ‘Burma teak’, which comes with a premium. Decorative teak doors are the in-thing in a home. Plastic and steel cupboards are replacing wooden cabinets but some home owners still prefer wood. Wooden furniture is generally preferred for work/study tables, chairs, sofas and dining tables with protective laminate covering for better protection and ease of maintenance.
Wooden windows still have a place while plastic, glass and metal frames have made inroads. Bamboo offers innovative designs for furniture, floors and window blinds.
Mud used to be the main building material in the old times. It was mixed with straw for better strength and ease of application. Some of the mud homes have withstood earthquakes while modern concrete structures have collapsed.
Bricks are still in use though pre-cast concrete blocks, hollow or solid, are making inroads.Use of recycled materials such as packing cases could be both functional and sustainable. A house-owner would go all out to find materials that are not only functionally and aesthetically appealing but also provide safety and comfort too
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