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Understanding which construction materials can block or obstruct your mobile phone signal could help you find solutions to mitigate your indoor mobile signal woes.

It is a known fact that some construction materials effectively block mobile signal from penetrating a building. The key to effective in-building mobile coverage is to provide an uninterrupted signal from the mobile network masts. Mobile signal is transmitted from mobile towers via radio frequency signals (RFs). These RFs can be weakened or completely blocked by various obstructions, with construction materials topping the list.

Building regulations designed to improve sustainability and energy efficiency have a negative impact on mobile signal inside buildings. Understanding which construction materials can block or obstruct your mobile phone signal could help you find solutions to mitigate your indoor mobile signal woes.

We have listed the top building materials that partially or completely block mobile signal from inside a building.

1. Metal

Topping the list is metal. Any shape or form of aluminium, aluminium foil, lead, brass, copper, steel trusses, metal sheathing, iron will cause signal disruption. This aesthetically pleasing, durable material is used in most modern construction projects, from residential properties to commercial properties, like shopping centres, warehouses and distribution centres. Higher radio frequency signals (RFs), like 4G and 5G, are the least likely to penetrate metal.

2. Low-E Glass And Tinted Glass

Energy-efficient low E-glass are commonplace in construction to provide a modern, futuristic look on the exterior of the building. It helps regulate the temperature of the building by deflecting heat and UV light. Whilst this increases a ‘green building’ rating for sustainability, it also repels away any form of mobile signal. Multiple panes, double and triple-glazed windows can cause more interference. The only way for signal to penetrate is to open a window.

3. Concrete And Cement

The construction industry uses concrete and cement as the foundation of buildings, roads and bridges because of its ability to bear enormous amounts of weight. It is thick, dense and irreplaceable. It comes as no surprise that mobile signal is also unable to penetrate this durable building material. The poor mobile coverage in basements and underground car parks is directly attributed to concrete.

4. Bricks, Stone & Tiles

In residential homes, bricks, stone and tiles are the biggest cause for poor indoor mobile coverage. Most homes are built from either of these construction materials as they can withstand the elements. The thickness and density of the brick combined with the mortar between them do not leave any space for the mobile signal to penetrate. Add plaster and lead-based paint, and you have got yourself a nice little faraday cage.

5. Wood

Whilst plywood and pine are less of an obstacle, any thick wood implementations will hinder mobile signal from getting inside the building. Beech, ash, oak and mahogany absorb and block mobile signal. Thicker, harder wood will have the most interference with mobile signal.

How Can You Get A Good Mobile Signal Through These Construction Materials?

Cel-Fi smart signal boosters are cost-effective and quick to install and provide a stable and reliable mobile connection for voice and data. It consists of three units: a reception antenna, a signal booster, and an internal rebroadcast antenna. The external antenna will collect the best mobile signal from outside and transmit it to a mobile signal booster unit, strengthening the signal and retransmits it internally.

Cel-Fi products are the ONLY mobile signal boosters available on the market that are licence-exempt and fully comply with the regulatory requirements of Ofcom’s UK Interface requirement 2102 (IR2102) (UK) and ComReg S.I.No.283 of 2018 (Ireland).