Can You Correctly ID These Common Building Materials?

By: Lauren Lubas
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.



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

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.

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

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

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

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.

Gravestones are commonly made from limestone as well.

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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

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

Carbon fiber is stronger than steel, and more flexible.

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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