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The building materials industry emerges from of one of the most volatile periods of time in history. However, we will see many exciting developments in the near future. In particular, we can expect to see new building materials/products making serious headway.

Sustainable housing is one of the greatest drivers for new and innovative building materials. While not a new trend, it has gained a lot of headway in the last couple of years. Many of the innovations on our list are a result of this demand.

Let's look at new products and trends breaking the mold.

5 Hot Building Material Trends For 2016

Bioplastics

Harvard University’s Wyss Institute has developed a new bioplastic using the shells of shrimp. Shrimp shells contain an incredibly strong, flexible structure called chitin. Researchers have created thin plastic films with the same structure. The bioplastic matches aluminum but weighs less than half the weight – consider the implications!

It's also biodegradable and inexpensive. The bioplastic is able to be molded into shapes to fit various needs. The scientists behind this product are excited about its applications in various industries including building materials/products.

Solar Power/Heating

For years solar energy has been on the rise. In 2016, expect to see the technology play an even larger part in the building industry.

Solar activated facades is one such category of products. These products have many attractive features, which will drive popularity in colder climates. Designed for thermal storage, solar facades use the winter sun to heat homes, some can even store heat for later use.

Self-Healing Concrete

Industry leaders are looking for methods of constructing resilient homes capable of withstanding a natural disaster. Enter self-healing concrete.

Concrete has been the world’s most popular building material for over 2000 years. Concrete repair and maintenance is a 57 billion dollar industry; it makes sense products that maintain themselves are extremely appealing.

One innovative product uses bacteria, found in high alkaline lakes, capable of remaining dormant for up to 200 years. When the bacterium comes into contact with water, it uses calcium lactate – found in concrete products – as a food source and produces limestone. The byproduct fills cracks or voids. This technology could play a huge part in areas around the world affected by frequent earthquakes.

Reclaimed Wood Products

A focus on sustainability drives this trend. An alarming amount of older structures are being demolished every year. There is an intense focus on what to do with all the lumber.

Companies dedicated to milling reclaimed lumber into new and stylish products are growing in popularity. From siding and flooring to wall coverings, the variety of products from reclaimed wood are staggering. Expect to see this type of material playing an even larger part in the building industry in years to come.

Tiny Homes

More a product than a material – the tiny home industry will grow substantially in the future. Consumers are completely taken by this innovative way of life. With a focus on experiences over material items, the tiny house movement is shaking up the building and building materials industries.

While some feel this is a passing fad not impacting the building industry, other companies are jumping on board.

84 Lumber is capitalizing on this new and growing trend with 84 Tiny Homes. As more manufacturers embrace the growing demand, there will be innovations and products to match.

One thing is certain, 2016 is shaping up to be an exciting year in the building industry! With new building materials/products and trends around every corner, there is something for everyone.

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