Building materials


What building material should we stop using permanently and why?

Apr 13, 12 2:02 am

Cautionary list of materials commonly found in building materials:

  • Arsenic
  • Bisphenol A (BPA)
  • Bromochlorodifluoromethane
  • Cadmium
  • Chlorinated Polyethylene (CPE)
  • Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride (CPVC)
  • Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC)
  • Chloroprene (2-chlor-1,3-butadiene)
  • Chlorosulfonated Polyethylene (CSPE)
  • Copper (for Exterior Material)
  • Creosote
  • Halogenated & Brominated Flame Retardants
  • Hexavalent Chromium (VI)
  • Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC)
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Organostannic Compounds
  • Pentachlorophenol
  • Perfluorocarbons (PFC)
  • Phthalates
  • Polystyrene
  • Polyurethane Foam
  • Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
  • Urea-Formaldehyde
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Apr 13, 12 9:21 am  · 


Apr 13, 12 12:55 pm  · 

EIFS should be illegal because it looks and performs like shit.  If you want stucco on your house then you should not live in New Jersey.

Re: the first post...It is impossible to eliminate all VOCs.  You can say low-VOC content, but not VOC-free because there is no such thing.  Even plants, animals and humans emit VOCs.

Apr 14, 12 12:33 pm  · 
Lian Chikako Chang

Are you saying that we farted?


Apr 14, 12 4:00 pm  · 
drums please, Fab?

is any building material truly used permanently?

Apr 14, 12 4:00 pm  · 

I agree with Medusa's comment about EIFS. Dryvit always blames the issue with their crapy material on the install


Apr 15, 12 4:33 pm  · 

I like to design with reusable and efficient materials at their most basic elemental level plausible. Like aluminum, steel, concrete, finished woods, treated corrosive metals, glass, canvasses-even hemp if the locale/climate/design allows. (Conveniently most of these materials also have the economic scalability factor - ie the pauper gets a shelf of plywood and the prince can afford one of gold but the design/blueprint is the same). By simplifying the design and the materials used, harmful chemicals are simply not in the picture. Find a way to layer preferred materials to accomplish the task fulfilled by harmful substitutes (in a heating scenario eg). Its a way of thinking about environmental sustainability, which, if implemented well, should completely circumvent the bs system of checks and red tape that is 'LEED', and pass right through and beyond their requirements. Included in that argument would be arranging space with an awareness of existing environmental factors, climate, wind patterns, sun placement elevation, and artfully placing those large sustainable 'pieces' that form the space to achieve maximum efficiency ie 'feng shui' with the surroundings.

Also Apple (arguable Mies in a previous life) has taught us all the fewer moving parts the better, but thats the tip of a whole other design totem... 

Apr 15, 12 10:22 pm  · 

midwaygrey, that sounds cool and all. Does your aluminum have a finish to it? Is your steel fire protected? Is concrete ever sealed? Your wood pressure treated? etc... Do you believe in moisture and thermal protection of structures? If yes on any of these, then chances are you are already using a whole chemical slew in your designs. The whole concept of 'green' architecture is 'it could be worse, but at least we're trying'. It's a work in progress...

Apr 15, 12 10:49 pm  · 


You ever work with Corten Steel?  I have a slew of questions about where to find decent details so the stuff will not turn into a total rust bucket. With the understanding  moisture can cause the stuff to rust at and accelerated rate.

Apr 16, 12 9:40 am  · 

Snook, I have worked some with corten steel. Most important in relation to detailing & moisture is to avoid surfaces where water can not run off easily (horizontal surfaces, corners). With a normal rain/dry weather cycle, water will evaporate but also strengthen the corrosive layer on the corten steel. Salt water, polluted water and trapped water breaks down the layer. 

Apr 16, 12 10:10 am  · 


make sure you specify at least 16 gage on corten steel. There are some manufacturers that also provide a sealant over the steel. Corten will eventually fall apart by becoming perforated as rust washes away. Good thickness postpones the innevitable.

Apr 16, 12 10:32 am  · 

What building material should we stop using permanently and why?

Endangered species like tropical hardwoods.

Materials that must be shipped from the four corners of the Earth.

Everything from China.

The "why" is obvious.

Apr 17, 12 9:29 am  · 

There are "safe" materials, which fall under healthy certain woods, plastics, etc. There is a list here:

<a href="" target="_blank">Visit Here</a>



Apr 20, 12 12:31 am  · 

Building material are any material which is used for construction purposes. Many naturally occurring substances, such as clay, rocks, sand, and wood, even twigs and leaves, have been used to construct buildings

Feb 4, 13 7:38 am  · 

Block this user

Are you sure you want to block this user and hide all related comments throughout the site?

  • ×Search in: