Which Materials are the Best Choice for Your Home?

Residential design is always changing, but there are two major schools of thought when it comes to the materials you use to make updates.


Natural and Artificial Building Materials

The common challenge is selecting natural vs. manmade materials. There are often cost and aesthetic differences, as well as various feels for each.

  1. Natural building materials – As it sounds, these materials, such as natural stone or wood, are naturally mined or cultivated from the earth and are rendered into a design.
  2. Manmade building materials – These are items like ceramic tile or artificially constructed surfaces that a manufacturer makes from synthetics or by combining them with natural elements.

Let’s take a look at the differences between natural and manmade materials. There is no right or wrong answer to what you should use in your home. However, you may decide one is more suitable to your needs after reviewing each.


Advantages of Natural Building Materials

Natural stone and wood can create an elegant, on-trend aesthetic for any home.


Beautiful natural granite, marble, and quartz are often selected to create breathtaking yet durable surfaces, such as kitchen or bathroom countertops.

Stone also has porosity, meaning it has spaces or tiny holes that lend themselves to the little imperfections found in stone. With various fissures and veins, you receive a truly unique product. You will also have a strong material that is designed to last many years. Stone is a timeless style, so you can make cosmetic changes to your kitchen or powder room without having to replace the countertop.


Natural wood is an outstanding solution for many of your home’s features and one of the best natural materials to build a house. Use it for flooring, banisters, ceilings, fixtures, and other interior designs. An incredibly rustic, traditional choice for home exteriors, wood can be used for siding, trim, façade, decks, and more.

Remodeled covered patio with TV and fireplace

Wood and stone both feature heavily in this deck, and are well-suited to the outdoor design. 

Things to Consider

While natural building materials are highly sought after and could be a great option for your home, keep in mind that they require maintenance.

  • Natural stone must be regularly sealed as porous material can scratch easily.
  • Natural wood can warp and dry out, requiring care.
  • Both are natural resources that are being taken from the environment.

Advantages of Manmade Materials

There are several types of manmade materials that can accentuate a home with style. Manufacturers make a wide variety of items and, in modern homes, these can closely match natural materials.

Artificial Surfaces

“Stone-like” materials are great for hard surfaces and are constructed using manmade materials such as:

  • Ceramic
  • Vinyl
  • Laminate
  • Polyester
  • Acrylic
  • Resin

Some versions of stones are finished. If you have ever asked the question, “Is marble natural or manmade?” the answer is both.

Curated marble, for example, is around 75% marble dust, with the remainder made up of synthetic material. Artificial stone surfaces can be nearly as durable as actual stone, provide more uniformity, and they allow for easy blemish removal. Additionally, artificial surfaces are sometimes less expensive.

Modern white kitchen with cherry island

Marble is a popular choice that is often both natural and manmade.


Artificial “Wood”

Today’s manufacturers are also able to create decorative fixtures, counters, furnishings, and more out of vinyl or laminate to imitate natural wood. Advantages of manmade wood could include a lower cost but are most commonly used for easy maintenance. Consider wood veneer or another type of “wood-like” synthetic to reduce stains, chips, or other blemishes.

Things to Consider

With the potential to be more cost-effective and resistant to harm, manmade materials may be your preferred choice. However, there are a few downsides you should be aware of:

  • Artificial elements are imitations of natural materials and could feel less “authentic,” depending on your tastes.
  • Manmade elements are resistant to liquids, heat, and scratches but can still be damaged.
  • Not all synthetics are sustainable to the environment.

Natural and Manmade Material Providers, Installers

The professional team at Reliable Home Improvement has been serving Chicagoland residents for more than 50 years with the materials needed to make a house into a “home.” We can supply and install both natural and manmade materials during any home addition and renovation, including kitchen renovations, bathroom remodeling, and basement refinishing.

Talk to us about your material preferences and your dream home improvement!

Contact us today for more information and receive a free project quote.

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