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Concrete Blocks – Types, Uses, Advantages & Disadvantages

A Concrete Block is a ‘Building Block’ composed entirely of concrete that is then mortared together to make an imposing, long-lasting construction. These construction blocks can be ‘Hollow’ or ‘Solid,’ formed of ordinary or lightweight concrete in various specified sizes, depending on the precise requirements. Concrete blocks come in various shapes and sizes, and they can be solid or hollow. 39cm x 19cm x (30cm or 20 cm or 10cm) or 2 inch, 4 inch, 6 inch, 8 inch, 10 inch, and 12-inch unit configurations are the most popular concrete block sizes. Concrete blocks are made from cement, aggregate, and water. In concrete blocks, the cement-aggregate ratio is 1:6.

Types of Concrete Blocks:
There are two types of concrete blocks:
1. Solid Concrete Blocks
2. Hollow Concrete Blocks


1. Solid Concrete Blocks:

Fig 1: Solid Concrete Blocks
Fig 1: Solid Concrete Blocks
Courtesy: homedepot.com

Solid concrete blocks, which are highly heavyweight and formed by aggregate, are primarily utilized in construction projects. They’re sturdy and give structures a lot of solidities. These solid blocks are ideal for large-scale projects such as force-bearing walls. They’re compared to bricks that come in big sizes. As a result, constructing concrete masonry takes less time than brick masonry.

2. Hollow Concrete Blocks:
Fig 2: Hollow Concrete Blocks
Fig 2: Hollow Concrete Blocks
Courtesy: cementconcrete.org

In masonry construction, hollow concrete blocks are typically employed. It reduces labour costs on the job site while also speeding up the construction process and saving cement and steel. These blocks reduce the natural weight of masonry structures while also improving physical wall qualities like noise and thermal insulation. Standard hollow concrete blocks come in two sizes: Full size and half size. Half-sized blocks are cubical and have one core, while full-sized blocks are rectangular and have two cores. The nominal size of concrete blocks, according to the ‘Research Designs & Standards Organization of Indian Railways,’ is as follows:

i) 400, 500, or 600 mm in length ii) 200 or 100 mm in height iii) 50, 75, 100, 150, 200, 250, or 300 mm in width.

Hollow concrete blocks come in various shapes, sizes, and designs, depending on the shape, needs, and design.

1. Concrete Stretcher Blocks:

Concrete stretcher blocks are also employed at the masonry’s corners. Concrete stretcher blocks commonly use hollow concrete blocks. The parallel length of concrete stretcher blocks is put parallel to the face.

Fig 3: Concrete Stretcher Blocks
Fig 3: Concrete Stretcher Blocks
Courtesy: homestratosphere.com

2. Concrete Corner Blocks:
Fig 4: Concrete Corner Blocks
Fig 4: Concrete Corner Blocks
Courtesy: rcpblocks.com

Concrete corner blocks are utilized at the masonry’s corners and the ends of windows and doors. One block corner is plain, while the other has a stretcher design. Concrete corner blocks are placed so that one end of the plane is exposed to the exterior and secured with the stretcher block.
3. Lintel Blocks:
Fig 5: Lintel Blocks
Fig 5: Lintel Blocks
Courtesy: oneontablock.com

Lintel blocks are joined together to form lintel beams. These beams provide structural support by distributing loads from above the beam to the walls on both entry sides. They’re also prefabricated and made of pre-stressed concrete.

4. Concrete Pillar Blocks:
Fig 6: Concrete Pillar Blocks
Fig 6: Concrete Pillar Blocks
Courtesy: familyhandyman.com

Since both corners are plain, concrete pillar blocks are also known as double corner blocks. As a result, they’re commonly employed when two corners are visible. As the name implies, concrete pillar blocks are commonly used in pillars and piers.

5. Partition Concrete Blocks
Fig 7: Concrete Pillar Blocks
Fig 7: Concrete Pillar Blocks
Courtesy: civilprojectsonline.com

Partition concrete blocks are similar to concrete pillar blocks, except that the height of a partition concrete block, also known as a partition block, is more than the breadth. A partition block’s hollow section is separated into two or three parts. These blocks are perfect for building partition walls.

6. Jamb Concrete Blocks:
Fig 8: Jamb Concrete Blocks
Fig 8: Jamb Concrete Blocks
Courtesy: teknopanel.com

When an intricate window opening in the wall, jamb blocks are employed. Stretcher and corner blocks are attached to them. Jamb blocks are very important for providing space for the window casing parts when installing double-hung windows.

7. Bullnose Concrete Block:
Fig 9: Bullnose Concrete Blocks
Fig 9: Bullnose Concrete Blocks
Courtesy: jonesandsons.com

Concrete pillar blocks and bullnose concrete blocks are the same things. The main distinction between the two types of concrete blocks is that a bullnose block has rounded corners, while a concrete pillar block does not. Bullnose concrete blocks may be the ideal choice for you if you desire rounded edges.

8. Frogged Brick Blocks:
Fig 10: Frogged Brick Blocks
Fig 10: Frogged Brick Blocks
Courtesy: quizlet.com

The top surface of this sort of block has a frog section and a header and stretcher. Frog aids in the retention of mortar and forming a strong bond with another brick.

9. Paving Blocks:
Fig 11: Paving Blocks
Fig 11: Paving Blocks
Courtesy: homedepot.com

Paving blocks are reinforced concrete boxes that are square or rectangular. Paving blocks are decorative concrete blocks used as a decorative approach for producing pavements. Paving blocks are commonly used in road construction, but they can also build car parks and walkways. Paving blocks must be painted with high-visibility paints when used for road shoulders and paving so that drivers and motorists can see them.

10. Light Aerated Concrete Blocks:
The nature of light aerated concrete blocks is that they are light. These blocks are made of Portland cement, aggregates, high-quality sand, and other materials. As a result, aerated concrete is used to make them.

11. Fly Ash Blocks:
Fig 12: Fly Ash Blocks
Fig 12: Fly Ash Blocks
Courtesy: buildwithash.com

Fly ash blocks are lighter than clay bricks and are also more cost-effective. They are commonly made from waste products resulting from coal combustion in thermal power plants.

12. Cellular Lightweight Concrete Blocks:
The feature of cellular lightweight concrete blocks is that they are lightweight. These blocks have high mechanical strength as well as low heat conductivity. Low-density Portland cement with various microscopic air bubbles makes cellular lightweight concrete blocks.

13. Concrete Bricks;

Fig 13: Concrete Bricks
Courtesy: wikihow.com

Concrete bricks are small rectangular symmetric blocks that create a rigid wall. These bricks have greater compressive strength than normal clay bricks and have less water absorption property than clay bricks. Concrete bricks are generally made of cement, sand, a little fly ash, etc. These blocks are generally used in facades fences due to their beautiful and modern aesthetic look.

Uses of Concrete Blocks:

Advantages of Concrete Blocks:

Disadvantages of Concrete Blocks:

Conclusion:
When it comes to living arrangements, concrete block homes make sense if you want to be environmentally conscious. Although the cost of building is higher with this material, most homeowners can recoup the difference in cost throughout the life of the property when compared to timber frames.

References:
1. 13 Different Types Of Concrete Blocks – Home Stratosphere. (2021, October 13). Home Stratosphere. https://www.homestratosphere.com/types-of-concrete-blocks/.
2. Types Of Concrete Blocks Or Concrete Masonry Units In Construction. (2016, August 21). The Constructor. https://theconstructor.org/building/types-concrete-blocks-masonry-units/12752/.
3. Desai, J. (2020, April 3). Concrete Block As a Building Material: Uses | Types | Pros & Cons!. GharPedia. https://gharpedia.com/blog/concrete-block-types-pros-and-cons/.
4. P. (2020, October 12). Types of Concrete Blocks – Structural Guide. Structural Guide. https://www.structuralguide.com/types-of-concrete-blocks/.

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Kanwarjot Singh

Kanwarjot Singh is the founder of Civil Engineering Portal, a leading civil engineering website which has been awarded as the best online publication by CIDC. He did his BE civil from Thapar University, Patiala and has been working on this website with his team of Civil Engineers.

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One comment on "Concrete Blocks – Types, Uses, Advantages & Disadvantages"

John henry Asire says:

Thanks for the great knowledge

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