Can You Correctly ID These Common Building Materials?

Lauren Lubas

What do you call the paste that holds bricks together?

Mortar functions as a paste to hold bricks together. It can be dyed different colors for any job.

What is this light-weight "glass" made out of?

The most common trade name for acrylic glass is Plexiglass. This is a very common building material that can be used in a great variety of building projects.

These steel beams are used to reinforce concrete. What are they called?

Rebar is also known as reinforcing steel. It is used to strengthen concrete.

What do you call this common screw?

Flathead screws are often used in carpentry and home repair projects.

This is one of the most common types of wall insulation. What is it made out of?

Fiberglass insulation is also known as glass wool. It is one of the most common types of home insulation.

This incredibly strong wood is generally used in beams and framing. What kind of wood is it?

Oak is a high-quality wood that can be used to build pretty much anything. However, it takes about 150 years for an oak tree to be mature enough to turn into lumber.

This stone is used to make concrete and is also a base material for many roads. What is it?

Gravestones are commonly made from limestone as well.

These shingles are made of one of the most common roofing materials. What are they made of?

Asphalt shingles are usually overlapping and can be great insulators. They are great for cold climates.

These nails can be used in wood, stone or brick. What are they called?

Masonry nails can be used in materials like concrete, stone, and brick. They are preferred for a lot of building jobs because they are so strong.

What type of wood is this?

Pine is a soft wood and is easily recognized by its white or yellow coloring.

Which material are these beams made of?

Steel is a common material for large buildings because it is incredibly strong.

This substance is commonly used in wood repair and woodworking projects. What is it?

Wood putty is used to fill defects in wood or to cover nails and screws on woodworking jobs.

This type of insulation is great for sound-proofing rooms. What is it called?

Some cotton batting is made from recycled blue jean material; this is known as denim insulation.

These bricks top off retaining walls. What are they called?

Capping bricks are generally used to top off freestanding brick walls and give a bit more visual design appeal.

These tiles are great for roofing because they insulate well. What are they made out of?

Terra cotta is a strong earthenware material. It makes a great natural insulator.

These bricks can provide both sound and thermal insulation. What kind of bricks are they?

Sand-lime bricks are popular in the United States and Germany. They are a less expensive substitute for cement.

These incredibly short nails are normally used for fixing floors. What are they called?

Tack nails can be spotted from their tiny stature. They are also used for stretching fabrics.

This common material has a lot of uses in construction and any kind of building. What is it?

Plywood is made by gluing several layers of wood together. This makes it incredibly strong.

Many carpenters like to use this wood on finishes, because it ages well. What kind of wood is it?

Cherry wood is notoriously easy to work with. It's a common wood for natural hardwood flooring.

This screw is used for light-duty projects. What do you call it?

The button head screw is a light-duty fastener. It shouldn't be used in constructions that will need to withstand a lot of force.

Which type of brick has three holes?

The blue color in engineering bricks comes from the type of clay used and their being fired at high temperatures.

This type of drywall is best known for its moisture resistance. What is it called?

Green board drywall is generally used in the construction of bathrooms and other areas prone to moisture. While it is moisture resistant, it is not waterproof.

This is mostly used to hide seams in drywall. What is it?

While plaster has many uses, when it comes to building construction, it is generally used to coat walls and ceilings and hide seams where two pieces of drywall meet.

These panels are used mainly for roofing and facade products. What is it?

Fiber cement is known for its strength and durability. It's commonly used for siding in buildings.

This material has a lot of different applications, but it's mostly found as siding for Southwestern homes.

Stucco is generally applied wet. When it dries, it hardens and becomes very solid.

What would you call this?

Finishing nails are used in molding projects or other situations in which you might want to hide the head of the nail.

This material is five times stronger than steel. What is it?

Carbon fiber is stronger than steel, and more flexible.

What kind of screw is this?

The purpose of this screw is to create fastening support with minimal surface obstruction.

This type of wood is strong and lightweight. What is it called?

Balsa wood is generally used in decorative building and model work.

What would you call this?

Hex bolts are very strong. They can fasten steel, wood, and other materials for large construction projects.

This siding is a big seller because of how durable it is and how easy it is to clean. What is it made of?

Vinyl siding has been incredibly popular for some time. It is especially good to have in areas that experience a lot of harsh weather conditions.

This wood is great for outdoor projects. What is it?

Cedar works well for projects that will end up outdoors because it can resist rotting. You can spot it from its red tint.

This drywall has a resistance to mold and mildew. What is it?

This drywall is covered in fiberglass to help protect its gypsum core, which is water resistant.

What are these unique fasteners?

While not used as much anymore, these nails were once the most common flooring nail used.

You may recognize this as a brick, but what kind of brick is it?

Common burnt clay bricks are used in a variety of building projects. They are made by being pressed into molds and fired in kilns.

What kind of caulk is this?

This is the most common kind of caulk. It is great for sealing molding and windows.

These tiles are tough and have to be applied with grout. Which material are they made out of?

Ceramic tiles can be used for much more than flooring. A new trend is ceramic tile countertops.

This isn't just for bulletproof vests. What is this material?

Kevlar is also used in construction. What makes it appealing to builders is that it isn't as rigid as steel.

This is the best concrete for foundations. What is it?

Building a foundation takes the right materials. After all, the foundation sets the rest the building.

What do you call these thin bricks?

Brick veneers are a less expensive way to give your home or project a brick exterior.

Explore More Quizzes

Image: Morsa Images / E+ / Getty Images

About This Quiz

The carpentry trade lost a little bit of steam at the beginning of the 21st century as working with building materials was replaced with working with computers. However, in an odd twist, home repair, carpentry, and DIY building has made a comeback with the help of YouTube tutorials. As we come full circle on this trade, many people are getting into building their own furniture, repairing their homes, and even creating beautiful artwork with the help of building materials. Whether or not you consider yourself handy, you'd be surprised at how much you might know about the materials used to build pretty much everything you see. These materials are everywhere you look. If you've taken the time to learn what they are, you should have at least a cursory knowledge of how these items work, what they look like, and what they're used for. 

Whether you're a master carpenter or a DIY diva, you have to be able to recognize the proper materials and know exactly what they're used for to ensure that your projects are completed properly. Now, it's time to test your skills. We'll show you common building materials, you tell us what they are. Let's see if you can ace this quiz.

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!