The Advantages of a Solid Concrete Block Wall

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A solid concrete block wall carries with it many advantages over its counterpart--the concrete wall. A solid concrete block wall is exactly what its name implies--solid. It can be poured as a monolithic structure, tying the wall to the footings. It can be reinforced with not only vertical rebar but also horizontal rebar. There are many advantages a solid concrete block wall has over a concrete wall.

Material

  • A solid concrete block wall is constructed from lightweight concrete blocks and filled solid with concrete and rebar, which will render the block wall almost impenetrable. The block wall is first constructed from lightweight concrete blocks that are laid on top of a sturdy footing. As opposed to a formed concrete wall where the wall must be formed from wood and poured with concrete, and then have the forms removed, the concrete block wall can be constructed more quickly and easier because of its material construction.

Form

  • The solid concrete block wall has another major advantage over a formed and poured concrete wall. When formed concrete walls--wooden forms built from plywood--are constructed, they are always subject to misalignment, even after they have been squared and leveled, because of the flexible nature of the wood. Concrete blocks will not flex or move once they are in place, thus, when filling the cells with concrete, they remain true and straight.

Rebar

  • Solid concrete block walls can be reinforced using vertical and horizontal rebar. Although poured and formed concrete walls can be reinforced, as well, the concrete block wall can be reinforced in sections and layers, which will make construction go much faster. For example, a poured and formed concrete wall must have all rebar tied and inserted into one piece and set into the wooden wall cavity before the wall can be poured; however, a solid concrete block wall can be reinforced every 4 feet, horizontally and vertically while remaining as strong as its counterpart.

Finish

  • Solid concrete block walls can be stuccoed or painted without any additional measures of preparation; however, a formed and poured concrete wall is slick and will require some type of surface preparation before any paint or stucco is applied. Block walls can also be fitted with wall ties in between each horizontal joint, which will allow brick or rock veneer to be installed and attached to the block wall.

Wiring and Plumbing

  • Concrete block walls can be retrofitted to receive plumbing and wiring into the block cells before they are poured solid with concrete. Although poured and formed concrete walls can be fitted with the same applications, it must be done while the wall is being formed with wood, leaving little room for error. Concrete block walls can be adjusted and refitted by removing only single block sections.

References

  • "Foundations and concrete work;" Fine Homebuilding; 2003
  • "Masonry skills;" R.T Kreh; 2002
  • Photo Credit block wall image by Irina Kodentseva from Fotolia.com
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