The first step in using concrete blocks is selecting the right type of concrete block products for a project. A standard concrete block is 8 inches, but you can obtain other lengths for special projects. Many use half blocks at the ends of runs of cement blocks. These half blocks have rounded or square corners.
In recent years, makers have created concrete blocks with style. Some have decorative sides. Some come in a variety of colors. Some concrete blocks have insulation. When considering using concrete blocks for your construction job, think about the following:
1. Is energy efficiency important to your concrete block construction?
2. is it important to use decorative concrete block?
3. What tools do you need to properly complete your concrete block construction?
Prepare the footing for concrete blocksBefore constructing the concrete block walls, create a footing. Pour a concrete footing deep enough into the ground so that it is below the frost line. A good rule is to make the footing twice as deep as the wall will be thick. It should also be twice as wide as the wall. In some cases, you may need to insert a drain line. Check with local government officials to ensure you meet building regulations regarding footers.
Determine the amount of concrete blocks and concrete block materials neededThe size block you use determines the amount of cement block products needed. If you use 4 x 4 x 16, 6 x 4 x 16, or 8 x 4 x 16 blocks, you use 225 blocks per 100 square feet of wall. Larger blocks decrease the amount needed. For every 100 4-inch blocks, you use 6 cubic feet of mortar. Use 7 1/2 cubic feet of mortar for 100 8-inch blocks.
Lay the concrete blocksOne cannot simply lay blocks on top of the ground. After you have created a footing and placed stakes at each corner, stretch a string tautly from one corner to the next. Use a level to check the string, since it will serve as a guideline for the blocks. Lay out a course of blocks on top of the footing. Do not use mortar. Determine how many blocks you need for the side. Remove the blocks and get ready to actually lay the blocks. Begin with the corner block. Place a line of the mortar approximately 1 inch deep and 8 inches wide on the footing where the block will lay. Do all four of the corners. Continue with the rest of the base of blocks. After each five cement blocks, use a level to check the alignment.
- When working with concrete blocks, make sure that you use the correct blocks in the correct place. The design of each block lets you know where to use it. Corner blocks are often different from others.