Skip to content

Concrete Unit Masonry

by admin on July 27th, 2010

Concrete blocks are a masonry unit that has been cast into a standard shape, size and style. Many designs and sizes are available to fit all different project needs:

  • Stretchers – The most common type used in laying walls. They are usually two-celled (or cored), and flat on their exposed face.
  • Corner Blocks or Bull-Nose Blocks – A special type of stretcher, used to form corners. The bull-nose shape of the block allows it to have a rounded corner.
  • Jamb Block – Used to form door or window opening areas. They are often grooved in order to fit with the edge of doors or window bucks.
  • Partition Blocks – These are usually thin, sometimes less than half the normal thickness of a concrete block. They are non-load bearing, and are utilized for laying single-width partitions within a building.
  • Beam Blocks or Lintel Blocks – These blocks are used at the top of an opening, and form a support beam overhead.
  • Sound Blocks or Acoustic Blocks – Specifically made to act as sound-proofers by having specially designed cuts to enhance their acoustic abilities.
  • Column Blocks or Flue Blocks – These blocks are hollow and are frequently used to lay columns.
  • Insulated Block – Blocks made with additional thermal insulating properties, aided by polystyrene inserts.
  • Glazed Block – These generally only stand apart for their aesthetic properties, as they can be colored or textured to add a design effect.
  • Paving Block – Paving block is a special block commonly used for patios, walks, and driveways. It is solid, flat, and usually interlocking for ease and stability.

Though it will vary slightly depending on the intended use, there are some core materials which are almost always used to form concrete blocks. These include Portland cement, sand, water, and coarse aggregate. Other materials can be added to create desired effects such as color pigments for aesthetic properties. There are small differences in materials used to differentiate between light weight and normal or dense concrete blocks. Lightweight units will favor shale, slate, clay and ash, while the dense blocks more often will utilize stone, sand, and gravel.

Designs will vary somewhat, depending on the concrete block type. The most common size is 8″ x 8″ x 16″, though half block or solid blocks are usually sized at 8″ x 4″ x 16″. Specific design patterns are usually not applied, unless the block is to be seen in a public location. In this case, glazed block offers options for color and texture enhancements. One other example of an enhancement is that of added cuts in sound or acoustic block, which act to absorb sound.

Project scopes and details with concrete block can vary from large projects such as structural units, to smaller tasks such as block retaining walls. Laying brick and laying concrete blocks is very similar, as the core ingredients are both a masonry unit and mortar. In some projects, however, like smaller retaining walls, railroad stakes or ties can be used in place of mortar to hold the unit together.

With a wide range of applications, installations vary from project to project. Overall, general instructions are available for an array of projects. Detailed installation instructions are available for projects like retaining walls and larger, structural walls.