Concrete blocks are made in three different types, which includes solid, hollow and interlocking. Solid concrete blocks are 55 percent solid and hollow blocks are 25 per cent solid. Concrete blocks are typically classified into a category by their density or unit weight. Density is determined by the amount and type of aggregates added the concrete mixture to produce lightweight, medium and normal weight concrete blocks. Concrete blocks are available in decorative and load bearing types.
The load bearing blocks made from concrete offer more compressive strength than standard landscaping concrete blocks which are used for features or pavements. Reinforced steel bars and anchorage systems can enhance the ability of a concrete block wall especially for load bearing types.
Concrete blocks are a versatile masonry material which can be used in a wide variety of applications. These blocks are produced in mass production lines by manufacturers which allow homeowners and contractors to purchase them immediately and have them delivered or picked up ready for installation. These blocks are available in many different shapes, sizes, colors and textures. They can also be assembled in many different patterns. Concrete blocks are an inexpensive building material which can save homeowners hundreds in the pocket. They are a great alternative to natural stone blocks.
Concrete blocks are versatile; they can be used for many different types of applications whether the application is load bearing, structural or decorative. Load bearing applications of concrete blocks can either be veneer which is supporting a roof or a retaining wall which is supporting a large amount of soil. This type of application may require reinforcement of the concrete blocks to ensure the material is further protected and able to withstand the weight that is required. The typical shape of a concrete block is rectangular or square. Their size in thickness ranges from 40mm to 100mm. They can also be customized to suit the design requirements of the project. Here is a list of common concrete block applications:
This type of block material is generally installed with a mortar. Before installation begins a solid foundation should be set to a depth according to the style and type of installation. As each course of concrete block is laid cement based mortar should be smoothened to the concrete block as it is applied. The mortar works by bonding each concrete block together and ensuring the structure is stable and well established as a singular unit. Mortar can be applied with a trowel and this style of installation can be conducted by DIY. Different types of mortar are available so it may be wise to seek professional advice on the best mortar to suit the concrete block application.
Another installation method for concrete blocks is the dry stack method. Sometimes hollow blocks are used for this type of method. The blocks are laid course by course without a mortar. As a course is laid the finished course of blocks should be filled with a backfill material like crushed stone or gravel. The back fill helps the structure to become stable. Interlocking concrete blocks also do not use a mortar for installation. A typical interlock concrete block will have a lip or lug at the bottom of it. As each course is laid the blocks interlock with one another create a strong and durable structure.
They style and method of application will generally depend on the type of application. Building structures are always recommended to be installed by the mortar method. Garden and landscaping applications can use interlocking and dry stack methods.