Concrete blocks are one of the most popular building materials in the world. There are many different types, and they all come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Today we’re going to break down 13 of them for you!
What are concrete blocks?
A concrete block is a rectangular or square block of poured concrete. Concrete blocks are produced in various sizes and shapes for both commercial and residential construction. When the blocks are cast with hollow voids, they form cavity wall insulation.
A variety of channel shapes is also possible, including trapezoidal and triangular. The concrete blocks are available in a wide range of sizes, from 6 inches x 6 inches to 24 inches x 48 inches for commercial use; 12 inch x 12 inch to 48" x 48" for residential use.
Function of concrete blocks
Concrete blocks are a material that can be used by itself. They’re typically not used with mortar because of the way they’re built; there is very little space in between bricks and because of this, mortaring them makes it very hard to get a strong structure.
So what are concrete blocks good for? Unlike cinder blocks, they are great for retaining walls because of the way they’re built. There is a lot more space between bricks in this case which makes it easy to mortaring them and getting a stronger hold.
They can also be used as bricks if you want to construct a larger wall or something else like that.
Benefits of concrete blocks
There are also some benefits to using concrete blocks. They’re made with cement which is a very strong building material in it’s own right, so you can use them on their own without mortar and still have a pretty reliable structure. Another benefit is that they are cheap; because they are already made for you, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on tools to cut them.
Other than that, they are highly durable as well; because the blocks are so dense and strong, they can withstand a lot more pressure than other types of bricks or cinder blocks. Lastly, they can be used in any type of weather!
Types of concrete blocks
A common concrete block
The name should be pretty self-explanatory by now, but in case it isn’t, this is the most basic type of block; hollow with no rebar reinforcement or mesh inside.
They are typically used for a wall that is going to be load-bearing, meaning it’s supporting another building structure or something like that. They are very durable and can withstand a lot of pressure while still keeping its shape.
Another common type of concrete block, just with a little extra reinforcing material. The rebar steel inside is taken from an industrial process called shotcrete; which describes a special method of spray-applying concrete or mortar into a free fall to build columns, bridges etc.
These blocks are sprayed with shotcrete as well, and are reinforced with steel mesh that is interconnected to make it even stronger.
The holes inside these blocks are also larger than a common block, so if you were to add mortar to them, the mortar would be able to go through the holes and help hold it together even more.
Facing blocks are popular in residential construction for an aesthetic look; they’re often used to cover the corner of a building or structure so you can see less of the actual block itself.
They use castings to give them their different shapes and are much thinner than a common block; you can even find ones that are just ¾” thick! The thinner profile helps you save on materials and is less likely to crack.
Cinder blocks are another common type, but they’re typically used for commercial purposes; mostly because of the way that they’re built. The main difference between this block and a plain concrete one is that it has a steel mesh inside.
The reason this is important is because these blocks are already built to be mortared together, and the steel mesh helps reinforce them even more so that the mortar can work even harder.
Additionally, it helps make sure that if you want, you can fill in any space between bricks with mortar; which also adds extra strength for things like retaining walls.
This block is very similar to a common concrete one, but it has an added channel that is filled with aggregate. Aggregate can be just about anything; sand, glass, shells, rocks even!
The purpose of this block is for decorative purposes; especially in things like driveways and house foundations. These channels also help with the strength of the block by distributing pressure that is applied to it more evenly.
Hollow concrete blocks
Hollow blocks aren’t quite as common, but they are still used for all the same things that a normal block is.
They just work a little bit differently by having an interior space and rebar inside of them to help reinforce the structure without adding mortar or needing extra materials. The holes in these blocks also help the water that runs down walls or floors to go through them and escape.
Wire mesh blocks
This is another block that you probably won’t see used as often; it’s a lot like the shotcrete block since it uses wire mesh to help reinforce the structure, but this one has a more of a solid feel to it with no concrete in between the steel rods. It also has a larger reach of rebar inside.
These blocks are best used for columns or other things that you won’t have to cut up or mess with much. They also resist rust and corrosion better than conventional steel mesh.
Probably the most popular kind of concrete block; rebar is almost all you see when you actually think of this material, especially if you know what it’s used for. The main purpose of these blocks is for things like patios or walkways, but they can also be used for thicker columns if that’s something you want to cover.
They are much stronger than other types of concrete blocks so they’re often used in situations where you need a block to hold something heavy.
The large amount of rebar on the inside makes this block suitable as a foundation for a house. It’s very similar to the garage block, but it has more rebar inside that allows it to be used in areas where you need it to hold more material.
Rustic concrete blocks
These are a very unique kind of block; meant much more for decorative purposes than anything else. The edges of these blocks aren’t even, they have a rougher finish which makes it great for things like patios and walkways.
They are also made with a cleaner look than normal blocks that you’d put cement in, so they aren’t filled with holes or anything like that. These bricks are all plain concrete, making them great for places where you can easily see the surface of the ground since these won’t have any holes or anything like that.
Garage blocks are a little different from the other types; they aren’t for building with, more just to keep your car off the ground.
The main difference between them is their composition; they don’t have any rebar inside of them so they’re made from just plain concrete. This allows them to be much lighter and easier to move around. This block is also not mortared, so you can take it apart fairly easily if you want to as well.
Wall base blocks
Wall base blocks are made with a thicker profile, this is used because wall bases usually have so many different types of materials involved in their construction; from brick to concrete and everything in between.
The extra thickness makes it possible for you to handle different materials in the same block without having to worry about it getting damaged.
Soundproofing concrete blocks are used commercially as well; they’re especially popular in things like nightclubs and dance halls where you want to have music but at the same time keep the noise muffled because of a lot of outside traffic or your neighbors.
These types of blocks are generally used as soundproofing for walls or other things like that. They are designed to reduce the amount of noise that can be transmitted through them, and they’re designed especially for being able to function under a lot of different circumstances.
Soundproof blocks have an extra layer on the outside; this is something that needs to be taken into account when you’re taking apart sections since the blocks are normally very difficult to take apart in general. Soundproofing blocks will also tend to be much heavier than normal concrete blocks, so extra care might need to be taken otherwise it could become a hazardous situation.
Concrete capping blocks
This is the final block that we’re going to cover today, and this one is used specifically for fencing supports or other things that you don’t want getting damaged as easily.
These blocks are made with a composition of concrete and wire mesh to make it stronger than some other combinations. The purpose of this block is to be able to help strengthen something that you want, but don’t necessarily need.
- What are the benefits of soundproofing blocks?
Soundproofing blocks are great because they provide a nice way to be able to help reduce the amount of noise that you might hear from certain areas of your home. Whether it’s something like thin walls or outside traffic, just by adding these into your wall can help save on both sound and structure.
- How do I take apart a soundproofing block?
It’s very important that you always take them apart in the correct order; if you don’t, then it can be difficult to get them back together. The first step is to remove one of the exterior layers, and then you need to slowly start pulling away from the core until you reach the middle.
- How does a rebar block differ from other types of concrete blocks?
There are a lot of differences between rebar blocks and other types of concrete blocks. For starters, almost everything about it is larger because that’s part of the reason why it’s used for so many different things. The middle layer normally consists of steel for this type of block, while other blocks may have more filler or even concrete in its place.
On top of that, the amount of rebar inside also has a major impact on how this block is used. For smaller things like walkways and patios, you can probably get away with the smallest type of concrete block; for something like a foundation though, then you’ll need to go with a larger one so that there’s enough room for everything.
- What are the main uses of rebar blocks?
The main purpose of a concrete block with rebar is usually to be used as additional structure, whether it’s something like a walkway or patio or in some cases even a foundation.
The amount of steel inside can help to reinforce the whole block while making it a lot stronger overall; this is another reason why you normally won’t be able to move them around much.
The type of concrete block that you use for any given situation can have a major impact on how it will perform. Whether you need something to hold heavy objects or soundproof your home, there is the perfect concrete block out there for what you need. We hope this article has helped introduce 13 types of concrete blocks and provide some helpful information about each one!