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12 cheap building materials perfect for small home builds

Amy Buxton Amy Buxton
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The idea of building a house from scratch can be quite intimidating, especially when one starts factoring in the associated costs, however, where there’s a will there is indeed a way, which is why we want to bring a host of cheap building materials to your attention today.

Ask any architect and they'll tell you that opting for low cost building materials makes perfect sense if you’re on a budget, but if you don't know what will be the most cost-effective for you, we have 12 perfect choices to choose from! Each of these suggestions will help you construct a small home in no time at all and whether you opt for a rustic, modern, country or contemporary look, you will definitely find suitably cheap materials, right here!

1. Prefabricated panels.

One of the greatest architectural creations ever, prefabricated houses are made off-site and simply constructed on the desired plot, making them fast, cheap and easily customizable. You can choose from a number of different panel materials too.

2. Concrete sheets.

country Houses by ÁBATON Arquitectura
ÁBATON Arquitectura

CASA TRANSPORTABLE ÁPH80

ÁBATON Arquitectura

When a structure needs to be erected very quickly and easily, concrete sheets are the perfect option. Wonderfully easy to work with, cheap to buy and, now that industrial styling is so popular, gorgeous when left bare, concrete sheeting is the ultimate in cheap building materials. Plus, you can easily extend a home when you need an extra bedroom!

3. Stone cladding.

modern Houses by Casas inHAUS
Casas inHAUS

Fachada moderna del modelo Chipiona de Casas inHaus

Casas inHAUS

Stone cladding is light, beautiful and so much easier to work with than regular stone. Thus, you get the expensive look for far less labor and effort. Who says cheap materials can't be stylish too?

4. Pre-used shipping containers.

Container homes are another popular option when it comes to creative and small housing ideas for those with a modest budget. Best of all, a range of different containers can be picked up for very cost-effective prices.

5. Reclaimed timber.

Before you toss old wood into the fire, think again, as it can help to build a very eye-catching structure that looks far more expensive than it actually is. Reclaimed timber homes look very chic and don't give away that they are built from cheap materials at all.

6. Corrugated metal sheets.

minimalistic Houses by C95 ARCHITEKTEN
C95 ARCHITEKTEN

Privathaus bei Berlin

C95 ARCHITEKTEN

Reasonably priced? Check! Looks great? Check! Fit for all weather types? Check! Seeing as the industrial architectural style has really taken off lately, this is one more reason to add corrugated metal to our list of cheap building materials.

7. Bamboo batons.

scandinavian Houses by Weber Arquitectos
Weber Arquitectos

Facahda de acceso—Casa 5

Weber Arquitectos

If homes dating back hundreds of years have long been built from this wonderful organic material, you can bet your bottom dollar that it is good enough for modern construction as well! Low cost building materials don't come with more heritage than this one!

8. Industrial steel and iron.

RSJ iron girders have been enjoying immense popularity lately, in terms of low-cost home design, as they are perfect for creating steadfast frameworks, on a small scale. If you love a little industrial styling, these will be a really good choice for you!

9. Traditional house bricks.

There’s a reason why so many brick structures exist – they are built to last! Not only that, red bricks are so wonderfully cheap, compared to other building materials, that you can enjoy a relatively generous home, even on a shoestring budget!

10. Eco-friendly straw.

Forget about the three little pigs, as a properly built straw roof is definitely not the stuff of fairy tales. Plus, you can’t beat the raw appeal of a straw thatch, but obviously, you can't build an entire home from straw, so this is a great tip for low-cost materials for your roof or insulation only!

11. Mined stone.

asian Houses by Atelier Nero
Atelier Nero

琉球石灰岩の石段を上って屋上へ上る

Atelier Nero

Building a stone home from scratch can be very costly, but what about buying a plot of land and getting permission to build into a pocket of natural stone? You'll have to pay for excavation work, but no materials at all! That's got to be a bargain!

12. Fresh concrete.

Sturdy, cheap and widely popular, raw concrete is a perfect option when cheap building materials are a must. You can even give it a coat of paint to totally change the finished look and that won't exactly break the bank either!

How about enjoying some prefabricated home inspiration now? Take a look at this article: 11 prefabricated homes built to last.

Are you designing a low-cost home in your head now?
modern Houses by Casas inHAUS

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