Building for Durability: The 7 Strongest Building Materials for Residential Construction


Building a home involves careful planning and meticulous construction. The materials used can dramatically impact the durability, aesthetics, and comfort of the home.

This article will explore the seven most durable building materials for residential construction, and provide insights into the strongest material for building a house and the longest-lasting building materials available today​​.

The 7 Strongest Building Materials for Residential Construction

1. Wood

Wood is a versatile building material that comes in varieties ranging from pine to heavy-duty lumber to even more exotic species. As the primary material for a house, like log cabins, or an accent for moldings or walls, wood offers endless possibilities. A key benefit of wood is its ability to lock out moisture while providing a light and cozy atmosphere.

However, although sturdy, wood will decay over time and could be subject to dry rot and fire. There is also the risk of the wood being compromised by wood-eating insects like termites​​​. Wood is also a very combustible material.

2. Brick

Brick is one of the oldest and strongest building materials in history, and it dates back thousands of years. It provides a layer of protection against harsh weather conditions and is invaluable for keeping heat inside a home, which makes it ideal for colder areas. However, brick does erode and chip after several years.

Moreover, bricks are less strong than stone and must be plastered together, which makes them vulnerable to moisture.

3. Stone

Stone stands out as one of the most durable and longest-lasting building materials. It's a heavy-duty material that gives homes a unique look and lasts for countless years. Stone supports an impressive amount of weight and can be stacked without the need for mortar, unlike bricks. It can help maintain a stable temperature in your home while protecting from fire, withstanding elements, and resisting deformation.

However, it is quite expensive due to the quarrying process that involves excavating, moving, and accurately cutting the stones​​.

4. Concrete

Concrete, especially reinforced concrete, is a relatively new, but reliable material in the construction industry. The addition of rebar inside the mixture of concrete before it solidifies makes it stronger and longer-lasting. It's an inexpensive option that stands out for building foundations, frames, walls, and entire houses. However, given the ratio of weight to tensile strength, concrete often needs to be reinforced to prevent it from cracking.

It’s important to monitor it and repair any damage in brittle spots​​.

5. Steel

Steel, introduced during the Industrial Revolution, has remained a reliable and durable material for construction. Whether it's a beam or the entire structure of a building, steel is strong and sure to withstand the years. Prefabricated steel can make construction go very quickly, allowing builders to rivet, bolt or weld it into place. However, steel is almost always less fire-resistant than the other materials on this list – even wood.

The costs of fabrication and the material itself can also be expensive​​.

6. Structural Insulated Panels

Known as SIPs, these panels consist of foam insulation sandwiched between plywood or strand board pieces. The panels are designed to be installed quickly while also providing strength and energy efficiency. They can be used in walls, floors, and sometimes even basements.

7. Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs)


Arguably, the most durable option on this list is insulated concrete forms (ICFs). ICF blocks consist of two layers of insulating foam that form a hollow block that is held together with a proprietary tie system. The lightweight blocks are stacked together on site and then steel reinforcements are placed in the hollow gap. Finally, concrete is poured into the gap and allowed to set. The final structure is an incredibly durable, steel-reinforced concrete structure. ICF engineering for residential construction is listed in the building code, for commercial use ACI 318 Concrete Design.

Extra Benefits of ICF Blocks

ICF blocks from Fox Blocks are unparalleled when it comes to durability. The blocks are designed to withstand some of the toughest conditions while still requiring very little maintenance. Not only are ICF blocks durable, but they provide significant acoustic and energy efficiency benefits as well.

Two layers of insulating foam and a thick slab of concrete make it difficult for sound to travel through an ICF wall. The inner layer of foam also acts to dampen sounds inside the house. Adding these factors together results in buildings and homes that are much quieter than traditionally built homes.


Not only are ICF homes durable, but they are energy-efficient too. ICF blocks from Fox Blocks provide two layers of continuous insulation: an inner and an outer layer. The thick concrete slab also provides a great deal of thermal mass which retains heat and dampens any temperature swings. The high thermal mass and low thermal conductivity of an ICF wall results in more consistent indoor temperatures and lower energy bills.

Choose Fox Blocks for Durability

When deciding on a durable material for residential construction, ICF blocks should be at the top of the list. ICF blocks not only provide durability, but a whole host of other benefits that will keep your home safe, comfortable, and energy-efficient for the entire life of the building.

To learn more about Fox Blocks and the durability of their ICF blocks, reach out to their team of experts today!