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Building a house ...

Krystal builds a house Minerals are used to build houses.

Think of all the metal used in nails and screws. Bricks are made from clay, and cement and plasterboard are also made of minerals.

Can you think of any other building materials made from minerals?

Scroll down and find out more about the minerals used in building.


Bricks and tiles
Bricks and tiles Bricks and tiles are made from clay minerals. When wet, the clay can be shaped, and then fired to make floor, wall, and roof tiles, as well as house bricks.

Think about the properties of clay:

You can see why we make bricks from clay.
Learn more about the clay minerals


Cement
Cement As well as being an ingredient in bricks, clay minerals also make up much of the material used to stick them together - Portland cement.

Clay is mixed with limestone and other minerals, including one called gypsum that is added to help the cement harden.

Think about the properties of cement:

Learn more about the minerals we use to make cement


Plasterboard
Plasterboard When powdered gypsum is heated and then mixed with water, it can set into a solid mass. This makes it a very useful building material, producing the plaster and plasterboard that form the walls around you.

Think about the properties of gypsum:

You can see why we make plaster from gypsum.
Learn more about the mineral gypsum


Nuts, bolts, nails and screws
Nails There are many minerals rich in iron. Iron is probably the most important metal used in building. When it is made into steel, it can act as a framework in large buildings and skyscrapers.

Bolts, nails and screws are often made of steel but are coated with another metal, such as zinc, to stop them rusting.

Think about the properties of nails and screws:

Learn more about the minerals we use to make nails and screws


Plumbing and wiring
Pipes In the past, the pipes carrying water to your taps would have been made from lead. Lead comes from a mineral called galena, but because we now know lead is poisonous, copper and plastic pipes are used instead.

Copper is also used in electrical wiring, as it is an excellent conductor of electricity.

Think about the properties of copper:

You can see why we make pipes and wires from copper.
Learn more about the minerals we use to make pipes and wires


Windows
Window glass What would a house be without windows? Dark!
The glass in windows lets natural light into your house and allows you to see outside.

Glass is made from quartz. It is melted down, and mixed with other ingredients to produce glass of many different sizes, shapes and colours.

Think about the properties of quartz:

You can see why we make glass from quartz.
Learn more about the mineral quartz
Photo courtesy of Valerie Green at the Stained Glass Centre


Finishing touches - house numbers
House numbers You can't have a house without numbers - the postman wouldn't know where to find you!
Many house numbers are made from metal. The ones in the picture are coated in a metal called chromium that comes from a mineral called chromite.

Think about the properties of chromium:

You can see why we make house numbers from chromium.
Learn more about the mineral chromite


Find out about the minerals we use every day...
Krystal the quartz
Building a house
In the kitchen
Around the home
Transport and technology
Neat and tidy
Health and medicine

Finish by playing Mineral mix and match! or return to the Homepage