Surface materials have come a long way over the years. From the use of timber and concrete to cigarette butts and cardboard, builders are looking for newer and more effective materials for their projects. Builders are taking advantage of innovative solutions that will reduce the time and cost of designing new structures.

To keep up with the trend, here are nine new surface materials that you could explore this season.


Over the years, the use of timber steadily decreased in commercial construction projects. Concrete and steel have been the preferred option due to their strength and fire resistance. However, timber is making a comeback this season in the form of mass timber, which is essentially solid wood that has been laminated and panelised to increase strength and durability.

Using mass timber allows builders to lower the carbon footprint of buildings by trapping carbon from the atmosphere, and to reduce the cost of building materials.

Image Source: Building Design + Construction - Mass Timber


Cigarette butts are another innovative material that can be used in construction. They can be infused into bricks, where they provide durability and efficiency to building materials.

Because cigarette butts result in millions of tons of waste every year, using them as a construction material helps clean up the environment and reduce material costs. The bricks made from cigarette buts are often lighter, more convenient to use, and highly energy efficient.

Image Source: Cigarette Butts By Gap_Abstracture


New construction materials are also improving the quality of indoor air. Because air quality is always a top concern for commercial structures, using passive air filtration systems can significantly benefit builders and building owners.

Air-cleaning bricks are innovative construction materials that can filter incoming air to remove pollutants. These bricks are placed on the outside of a building and they filter heavy air particles as air flows indoors.

Image Source: Air Cleaning Bricks By DIY Doctor


Illuminating cement is a new material that will influence road construction in 2019. This cement traps light from the sun during the daytime and releases it at night.

Illuminating cement creates a glowing surface that allows builders to save on lighting costs. This material can also be used to light up swimming pools, footpaths and roadways; reducing dependency on street lighting.

Image Source: Illuminating Cement By Bike Citizens


Cooling bricks (also called hydro-ceramic bricks) are perhaps one of the most innovative materials to explore this upcoming year. These bricks are made from clay and hydrogel, and they’re typically positioned to line the outside of buildings.

As air comes in, the hydrogel material absorbs water and stores it within the bricks. This water can be released to cool the building on a hot day. Cooling bricks have great potential to reduce energy consumption in commercial structures.

Image Source: Hydroceramic Bricks By More Than Green


Cracks in concrete have been a long-standing problem in the construction industry. A small crack often becomes larger and wears away the structure over time. Self-healing concrete can be used to solve this challenge. This innovative building material consists of living spores and water capsules within the mixed concrete. When damage occurs, the capsules crack open and mix with water. This mixture produces calcite, a material that fills the damaged area and later solidifies in place.

By using self-healing concrete, structures such as tunnels, buildings and bridges will cost less to build and maintain.

Image Source: Self-Healing Concrete By Construction Week Online


Carbon fibre is now being used in many different applications. From vehicles to aeroplanes and household items, this material is becoming more relevant by the day. In the construction industry, carbon fibre is being used to retrofit buildings against earthquakes.

Thermoplastic carbon fibre is used in the form of a material called CABKOMA. CABKOMA is five times lighter than metal and it has an aesthetically appealing look on buildings. It also has excellent durability and strength to protect buildings against earthquakes.

Image Source: Strand Rods By Italy3d


Recycled cardboard is another useful construction material to watch out for. Cardboard can be used to create a cellulose-based insulation for both residential and commercial buildings.

For structures that are built in cold or hot climates, cardboard creates a higher quality insulation material than many other options in the market.

Image Source: Corrugated cardboard By SARYMSAKOV ANDREY


In an effort to make concrete structures more durable, programmable cement can be used to achieve water and chemical resistance. Programmable cement is essentially a form of cement that can be designed to achieve less porous and more chemically resistant shapes. These innovative shapes limit damage to concrete and increase the durability of structures.

When considering the use of new construction materials, it is important to consider both the new innovations available on the market and the costs of implementing them to your projects. Accurate cost estimates are essential to ensure costs are adequately allowed for, so you can maintain profitability.

Image Source: Programmable Cement by Phys

Source: BuildSoft

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