Building Materials for Houses

Building materials tell a story about when houses were built, for how much money, and if they have been modified. Frequently, houses have several types of building materials from different eras. Three illustrations are presented:

3 materials-19th & 1920s.jpg (32742 bytes)19th century sandstone foundation and red bricks with 1920s-1030s asbestos shingles added later

3 building materials.jpg (27270 bytes)19th century red brick with cement-to-look-like-cutstone from the 1950s and glass blocks

3 wall materials.jpg (30825 bytes)19th century narrow wooden clapboard covered in the 1920s with asbestos shingles which in 2002 were being replaced by vinyl siding
Examine the building materials for each of the three major parts of houses:

 

FOUNDATIONS

WALLS

ROOFS

 

FOUNDATIONS
CUT STONE
1860s-1890s
cut stone
Frequently made from the Eau Claire Sandstone Formation that was part of sea deposits laid down about 500 million years ago. Click here for more info.
CEMENT BLOCK
1900s-1920s
long, rough cement blocks
Click here for more info.
1930s
short, rough cement blocks
Click here for more info.
1940s-Present
smooth cement blocks
Click here for more info.
POURED CONCRETE
  1920s-Present
poured concrete
Before the 1950s, only elite houses had poured concrete. Now it is far more common, but still more
associated with expensive houses.

WALLS
STUCCO
1920s-1930s
flat stucco
This texture is common on Art Deco buildings.
Click here for more info.
1920s-1930s
bumpy stucco
This is one of many unique stucco textures.
Click here for more info.
1920s-1930s
swirly stucco
This is another unique stucco texture.
Click here for more info.

WOODEN CLAPBOARD
1860s-1900s
Thin Clapboard
Click here for more info.
1940s-1960s
Wide Clapboard
Click here for more info.
This close-up shows the affect of the aging on wood siding.

ALUMINUM & VINYL SIDING
1960s-1980s
aluminum siding
Click here for more info.
1990s
vinyl siding
This newer material still attempts to look like wooden clapboard.

CUT STONE
1920s
cut stone around doorway
Click here for more info.
1920s
cut stone
The rustic look of this colored cement adds to the building's cost.
Click here for more info.
1930s-1950s
cut stone
Click here for more info.

COBBLESTONE
  1860s
cobblestone
Cobblestone is one of the earliest building materials in Wisconsin, though it is not common in Eau Claire.
BRICK
1880s-1890s
reddish brick
Click here for more info.
1920s-1930s
painted brick
Usually, only the most wealthy homeowners paint over brick.
1920s-1930s
dark reddish bricks
Click here for more info.
1920s-1930s
light, colorful bricks
1950s
long reddish brick
1960s
yellowish brick
Click here for more info.
1960s
recycled brick
These are 19th century bricks, reused in 1960s buildings.
1990s
eclectic brick
A great variety of available brick styles in the 1990s allowed for unique combinations.

WALL SHINGLES
1860s-1880s
cedar shingles
Click here for more info.
1910s-1930s
tarpaper shingles
This is a low-cost material, often used to cover 19th century houses.
1920s-1950s
asbestos shingles
Click here for more info.

ROOFS
ASPHALT SHINGLES
1920s-Present
asphalt shingles
Click here for more info.
1990s
decorative asphalt shingles
Click here for more info.

WOODEN SHINGLES
 
  1860s-1940s
  wooden shingles
Click here for more info.

TILE
 
  1920s-1930s
  Spanish tile
Click here for more info.

SLATE
 
  1920s-1930s
  slate
Click here for more info.
Created by Chris Spaeth, Art Photography Major, on 11 June 1999; last revised on 13 November 2002.