This investigation is based on the production of lightweight, heat-insulating, water-resistant or water-repellent materials from lightweight aggregates, such as pumice and/or expanded perlite, without using cement or plaster as a binder. The results of this investigation reveal that a H3PO4- or NH4NO3-hardened molasses binder with the addition of 2.5% borax could be an alternative binder for the production of lightweight, heat-insulating materials with moderate tensile strength. When these bricks were exposed to temperatures up to 825 degrees C, they did not lose their strength but, rather gained strength. Therefore, molasses binder could be an alternative to cement or plaster binder for construction and building materials with specific properties. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd and Techna Group S.r.l. All rights reserved.