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When building houses or other structures, it's important to choose the right materials for construction. Otherwise, you may end up having a house that can be burned down or blown up easily, or you may spend unnecessary time looking for supplies to build a house out of rare materials. This tutorial page contrasts different building materials, and additionally gives an overall view of the quality of the material.

What to look for[]

When picking a material to build with, there are three main considerations: Obtainability, durability, and decoration.

Obtainability[]

Some materials are easier to get, while others are extremely difficult. For example, in survival, making a house of cobblestone is certainly easier than making one of diamond blocks. Also to consider is the renewability of the material you would like to use. Some materials can be gained infinitely, while others must be sought in increasing distances from spawn.

Durability[]

The durability of a material is important, especially in PVP. The main considerations to make are hardness, blast resistance, and flammability. Maximum durability is not always necessary. If you don't expect to be attacked by players, then hardness shouldn't be a problem. If you can stop creepers from getting close, blast resistance isn't as important. If there is no nearby lava or trees to spread fire and you aren't concerned about lightning, flammability isn't a problem either. Just remember that it is usually better to have extra durability than too little.

Decoration[]

Decoration blocks are a big part of enhancing your builds when you've done all that you feel you can with normal building blocks. Ultimately what looks the best is a matter of opinion, and there is no right or wrong way to decorate.

List of materials[]

Overworld[]

Material Description Pros Cons
Stone Stone is overall a fairly strong and withholding material and is very abundant. However, cobblestone has nearly the same properties as stone. The stone must be smelted from cobblestone. If used carefully, stone can create a distinctive look.
  • Common and renewable via smelting the output of a cobblestone generator.
  • Has a relatively high blast resistance of 6; takes minimal damage from Creeper explosions.
  • Slightly faster to mine than cobblestone.
  • Not flammable.
  • Can be used to hide or camouflage underground bases.
  • Must be smelted or mined with a Silk touch pickaxe.
  • If misplaced, turns back into cobblestone (unless you use a pickaxe enchanted with Silk touch), which then must be smelted again.
  • Can be tricky to decorate with.
Dirt Dirt is very weak and isn't the most beautiful material to build with either. However, it is found on the surface of nearly all biomes and can be mined up very quickly, even with a player's hand, meaning that it is suitable for beginners on their first night but is easier to make a hole in the ground. It is generally not a good idea to use dirt as part of a permanent structure, unless you are explicitly aiming for an "earthen" look, complete with Grass Blocks for extra decor.

Alternatively, dirt can be used to "camouflage" a structure made from other materials, either to make it blend in more with the surroundings or make it look less valuable than it actually is.

  • Very common and easy to obtain.
  • Not flammable.
  • Renewable via crafting and then tilling coarse dirt, or by trading with a Wandering Trader.
  • Low blast resistance of only 0.5.
  • Has a somewhat ugly look for most styles of buildings.
  • Can easily be destroyed
  • Turns into Grass Blocks if exposed to sunlight (unless converted into Coarse Dirt), which may not be desirable
Planks Planks have a rather nice, somewhat rustic look and are inexpensive to make. Their blast resistance is lower than stone but higher than dirt. One of the main disadvantages of wood planks is that they are flammable, so don't build near lava or any other source of fire.

Do not use them in the Nether under any circumstances, due to the flammability issue.

  • Inexpensive and renewable via replanting trees.
  • Large variety of styles
  • Flammable
  • Easily broken by hand
  • Low blast resistance
Cobblestone Cobblestone is a strong block and is easy to acquire, making it great for building houses.

It has a very rough, rocky appearance, so it can be used to create structures that resemble forts, castles and churches that resemble ones from the Early Middle Ages (Compare with Stone Bricks, which looks more in line with the High- and Late Middle Ages)

  • Very common and renewable via cobblestone generators.
  • Has a high blast resistance of 6; takes minimal damage from Creeper explosions.
  • Not flammable.
  • Can look ugly if not combined with other materials.
  • Takes slightly longer to break than stone.
Stone Bricks Stone Bricks grant a very medieval and in some ways, militaristic feel to structures made out of it and is in many ways the ideal building material for structures meant to look medieval, militaristic and/or fortified in general, like forts and castles. Stone Bricks are style-wise fitting for structures meant to harken back to the High- and Late Middle Ages and later. (Compare with Cobblestone, which looks more fitting for structures aiming look in line with the Early Middle Ages)
  • Obtained by crafting it from Stone (which in turn is obtained by smelting Cobblestone), making it renewable.
  • Has a good blast resistance of 6.
  • Not flammable.
  • Is somewhat expensive and time-consuming to acquire, as every batch of 4 blocks of Stone Bricks requires 4 blocks of Stone which must be smelted from Cobblestone. However, if you have a Silk Touch pickaxe, you can simply craft a Stonecutter and use it to make Stone Bricks.
    • Cracked Stone Brick requires a second round of smelting and Mossy Stone Brick requires vines, to further add to material expenses.
  • The gray texture may not be the most pleasant option for some structures.
Bricks Bricks have a very pleasant look to them and a high blast resistance. However, they are also rather expensive, even though they are renewable. They are good for buildings with a neutral yet pleasant look, looking similar to Stone Bricks but without the belligerent feel.

Bricks also convey and express an image of sturdiness more readily than blocks like Concrete.

  • Has a high blast resistance of 6.
  • Has a detailed and polished look, but not a wild look, making it great for many styles of buildings.
  • Renewable via trading with Mason Villagers.
  • Costs 4 clay balls per block, and they must be smelted, or bought from Masons, making it expensive.
Obsidian Obsidian is an extremely strong material and takes a long time to break. Its breaking time can be a pain when building but is great for protection against other players on multiplayer PVP servers but some players may not like the look.
  • Invincible to vanilla explosions with a blast resistance of 1,200.
  • Very hard to mine through, even with proper tools.
  • Renewable via bartering.
  • Difficult to collect and build with due to the long breaking time.
  • Not a very good-looking block; sets a rather dark mood.
  • Cannot be moved by pistons.
    • Ancient Debris or Netherite Blocks are blastproof alternatives that can be moved by pistons, but both are extremely expensive and difficult to obtain.
  • Somewhat challenging to build with on lower brightness settings as the dark appearance of the block can make it hard to see exactly how a given block is placed.
Sand Sand is a gravity-affected block that can be found in many Overworld biomes. Sand is generated in large numbers in the Desert. it might be good for walls but not roofs. It can also be layed out and used to pave over a surface to import a small slice of the desert to an environment.

Red Sand on the other hand, is identical to normal Sand, save for its reddish colour. This reddish colour makes it somewhat resemble Mars dust, so it can be employed to create an environment with a "Martian" feel. Compare with End Stone, which somewhat resembles stereotypical Moon rock.

  • Easy to obtain.
  • Not flammable
  • Renewable via trading with a Wandering Trader.
  • Affected by gravity.
  • Blast resistance of 0.5.
  • Can be easily destroyed by hand.
Sandstone Sandstone looks great for certain style of homes, especially a desert-style home or if one wishes to emulate Ancient Egyptian architecture. It's strongly recommended to have a desert biome nearby if you want to make a building out of sandstone. It has a low blast resistance, however.

Red Sandston, a variant for normal Sandstone, behaves identically, but has a reddish colour, making for a similar style to Red Sand.

  • Fairly easy to decorate with and has several variants for different textures.
  • Easily found and mined in the desert biome.
  • Renewable via the sand purchased from Wandering Traders.
  • Has a low blast resistance of only 0.8.
  • Easily mined through.
Terracotta Terracotta is a rather colorful block, making it good for some styles of homes. It also has a high blast resistance. However, it is rather time-consuming and expensive to acquire unless the player has access to a badlands biome.
  • Comes in many different colors, providing many variations for decoration.
  • Has a decent blast resistance of 4.2.
  • Not flammable.
  • Colorless terracotta is renewable from being made by smelting clay, which can be made with renewable clay balls gifted from masons after raids[Java Edition only], while colored is renewable by trading with masons.
  • Is expensive and time-consuming to acquire, as it requires lots of clay, smelting, and dyes, or access to a badlands biome.
  • If overused can create a somewhat garish and kitschy look.

Nether[]

Material Description Pros Cons
Netherrack Netherrack is an easily-destroyed rock-like block found in the Nether. It can be mined very quickly and is found in abundance. Additionally, if a fire is lit on top it, it will burn forever. Netherrack itself has no stair or slab variant but can be processed into Nether Bricks, which do have them. Netherrack has a coarse and rough reddish surface, which makes it an apt block for a diabolical or hellish environment, similar to the Nether.

Nether Gold Ore, an ore variant of Netherrack, combines the reddish colour with added golden details, making it give off an atmosphere of greed or avarice (red for diabolical, gold for wealth, combining to greed). It can be used as an analogue to Gilded Blackstone for creating a "gold-under-the-surface" look.

  • Very easy to break. A Diamond pickaxe enchanted with Efficiency II or stronger will instantly break this block.
  • Extremely low blast resistance of 0.4; can easily be destroyed by Ghast fireballs.
  • Can look ugly if not combined with other materials.
  • Not renewable. ‌[Java Edition only]
    • Nether Gold Ore cannot be obtained with Silk Touch.
Nether Bricks Nether Bricks are a very otherworldly- and exotic-looking building material that fits well with structures meant to look intimidating and/or sinister.

Red Nether Bricks are identical to Nether Bricks, but have brighter red colour, so they can give off a similar, but more "fiery" impression than normal Nether Bricks.

  • Has a good blast resistance of 6; immune to explosions from Ghast fireballs.
  • Not flammable.
  • Can be obtained by smelting netherrack, making it easy to obtain once the Nether is available.
  • Renewable via bartering.
  • Requires access to the Nether in order to be obtainable.
  • Sets a somewhat dark mood in structures made from it.
    • Red Nether Bricks alleviate this somewhat, with a brighter colour.
Basalt Basalt is a block which is generated in basalt deltas and soul sand valleys. Basalt can be made by lava flowing into a space that is on top of soul soil and next to blue ice. The flowing lava is replaced with basalt.

Basalt and Polished Basalt have a rather dour, gloomy and sickly grey colour, so they should be used sparingly, or in conjunction with brighter colour blocks, as by themselves they set a somewhat depressing mood.

  • Renewable via basalt generators.
  • Not flammable.
  • Easy to obtain when player finds a basalt deltas.
  • Moderate blast resistance of 4.2.
  • Can look ugly if not combined with other materials.
  • Don't have stairs, slabs and wall variants.
Block of Quartz Quartz Block bears a striking similarity to Ancient Greek architecture and is a good option for buildings meant to look "philosophical", "civilized" or otherwise very clean in appearance.
  • Looks quite gorgeous with its clean white texture and sets itself apart from most other building materials.
  • In addition to the full block, stairs and slabs, also has pillar-, brick, and chiseled block variants for added decoration.
  • Relatively easy to obtain when mining Nether Quartz Ore with a pickaxe that has the Fortune enchantment.
  • Can be difficult to obtain in large quantities, as it must either be mined in the Nether, bought from Mason Villagers, or bartered from piglins.
  • Has a rather low blast resistance of just 0.8, making it a poor material for building fortified structures.
    • This caveat can be partially bypassed with Nether Quartz Slabs which have a blast resistance of 6.
  • The striking white texture is somewhat unnatural and does not necessarily work well with structures meant to look natural.
    • Sticks out very blatantly within most biomes.
Blackstone Blackstone is a black stone block found in the Nether. It has many smooth and brick variants. It works well for builds meant to look dark or evil. Gilded Blackstone, an ore variant of Blackstone, combines the black colour with added golden details, which makes it a good block for giving off a mood of avarice or greed (black for evil and gold for wealth, combining to greed). Gilded Blackstone can also act as an analogue to Nether Gold Ore for creating a "gold-under-the-surface" look.
  • Renewable via bartering.
  • Not flammable.
  • High blast resistance.
  • Easy to obtain, especially in Basalt Deltas.
  • Many variants.
  • Gives builds a very dark look, which may make it hard to see without lighting.
  • Sticks out blatantly in most biomes.
  • Only obtainable in the Nether.
    • Gilded Blackstone can only be obtained with Silk Touch, and only spawns in Bastion Remnants.
Nether wood The Nether variant of wood. Similar to building with planks, but they are not flammable.

Nether Wood has an unusual colour palette of cyan and magenta, so it can be used to create fantasy-esque wooden structures.

  • Inexpensive and renewable.
  • Large variety of styles.
  • Non-flammable.
  • Requires bone meal to grow new fungi.
  • Easily broken by hand.
  • Low blast resistance.

The End[]

Material Description Pros Cons
End Stone End stone is a block that appears in The End, makes up all of the solid ground that exists in that dimension. End stone can be easily destroyed by any pickaxe. The 16 end stone blocks under the edge of the exit portal are replaced when the ender dragon is respawned, and again when it is killed.

Appearance-wise, raw End Stone looks somewhat like stereotypical Moon rock, so it can be utilised to create structures with an unusual "Lunar" look.

Compare with Red Sand which somewhat resembles Mars dust.

  • Requires access to the End in order to be obtainable.
  • Takes longer to break than stone or cobblestone.
  • Can look ugly if not combined with other materials.
End Stone Bricks End stone bricks are decorative blocks made from end stone. They resemble Stone Bricks but have the same colour palette as End Stone, and should ideally be employed alongside said block, as otherwise they may look more like sand.
  • Easy to obtain
  • Renewable via End Stone
  • Not flammable
  • Has a very high blast resistance of 9.
Purpur Block Purpur blocks are some of the hardest blocks to obtain in Survival Mode and, alongside end stone and end stone bricks, can be seen as end-game building materials. Aside from that, its purple hue grants a somewhat magical atmosphere to structures made from it.
  • Very difficult to collect and build with as one must access the End, kill the ender dragon and either find chorus Fruit or an End city.
  • Looks somewhat out of place within the Overworld.
  • Chorus Plant farming can be a bit of a complicated affair due to the unusual growth patterns.


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