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6 building materials for your cost-effective newly-built home

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
modern  by homify, Modern
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It’s not every person who dreams about building their ideal home from scratch. Most of us prefer to go house-hunting and view already completed structures ripe and ready for move in. But for the rest, there’s a wide world of building materials to explore – and not all of them are waiting to rip your building budget to shreds!

Let’s check out 6 of the most popular (and cheapest) building materials for South Africans daydreaming about building their forever home…

1. Prefabricated panels

Prefabricated panels come as part of a system that allows you to custom-build a structure for a lot less money and effort. And even though an entirely prefabricated house can be one of the cheapest options available these days, the panels offer a lot more flexibility in building as well as materials.

2. Concrete sheets

House of Kami Modern houses by atelier m Modern Reinforced concrete
atelier m

House of Kami

atelier m

Quick to install, very secure, and super stable – what’s not to love about concrete sheets? In addition they are also quite durable, possess weatherproof qualities, sound suppression, as well as insulation properties. 

3. Stone cladding

Stone homes, although beautiful to look at, are not very cheap to build. Stone-clad homes, however, is another matter. Think of cladding like a veneer applied to the exterior surfaces of a home. It’s much lighter than standard stone which is why it costs much less. And you don’t even have to clad up your entire home – how about just the front portion or a certain eye-catching surface like the chimney? 

4. Shipping containers

Container Garden space Industrial style houses by Acton Gardens Industrial Metal
Acton Gardens

Container Garden space

Acton Gardens

Although on the tinier side, individual shipping containers can be altered and combined in order to produce much larger structures / houses if one is in need of some extra legroom. Just remember that shipping-container homes still require insulation and have their own costs associated with this type of design (like transporting them to the desired location). 

5. Reclaimed timber

Timber and stone clad balances modern and traditional by Woodside Parker Kirk Architects Rustic
Woodside Parker Kirk Architects

Timber and stone clad balances modern and traditional

Woodside Parker Kirk Architects

The good news is that reclaimed timber is one of the trendiest building materials on the market today. The great news is that it is also one of the cheapest. And did we mention that old timbers are generally more durable and dried out, which means they are less likely to warp or split?

Keep in mind that while you can save on costs with this type of building material, there can be a greater up-front time investment in locating and using the proper reclaimed timber.

6. Traditional brick

render of swimming pool area Modern houses by Nuclei Lifestyle Design Modern
Nuclei Lifestyle Design

render of swimming pool area

Nuclei Lifestyle Design

Fortunately South Africa is not an earthquake-prone area, which is why our country still regards brick as one of the safest building materials – and one of the cheapest. But also consider the fact that brick is fireproof and very sturdy against severe weather conditions. Yes, it might cost a tad more than other options like vinyl siding, yet it’s much more durable and stronger. 

In terms of cost, brick prices can vary considerably depending on supplier, quality and location, yet overall traditional red bricks are the most affordable. When you budget for a brick home, just ensure that you factor in labour cost as well, since building an entire home out of brick is not regarded as your average little DIY project and does require the presence (and skills, and experience… ) of a professional

Speaking of DIYing it, better check out these 9 considerations before you build your dream deck

Would you pick one of these low-price, high-quality building materials for your dream home?
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