How to Build a Cinderblock Foundation Wall Without Mortar

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Not a bricklayer, neither am I. That's why I made my foundation wall out of stacked cinderblocks, or CMU's (concrete masonry units) covered with surface bonding cement.

Things You'll Need

  • Strong back
  • Cinderblocks
  • Surface bonding concrete ( I used Quickrete's Quickwall)
  • Cement mixer
  • Trowel
  • Sand
  • Galvanized brick ties
  • To create a foundation wall out of dry stacked (no mortar) cinderblocks you build the first course of cinderblocks just like a traditional wall. In other words you embed first course in bed of mortar but you don't use mortar in vertical brick joints because you don't leave a space between the blocks. Take care to leave this first course as level as possible- trust me this will make the rest of the job much easier.

  • After the first course is down,,stack the next course on top without mortar, hence the term dry stack. Level the courses as you go by using a combination of sand and the galvanized brick ties under each individual cinderblock to get it as level as possible. Do this process until your about four or five courses high.

  • Once your at four or five course, mix the surface bonding concrete according to the directions and trowel it onto the surface of the wall. Using this method you have to trowel it on the inside and the outside of the wall. The surface bonding concrete has fiberglass strands that span across the joints between the blocks and hold the entire wall together.

  • As you complete the troweling work from bottom to top of the wall section you have stacked. On the last course you stacked, trowel only half way up on the bricks here, because the next courses above this will be troweled from this point up, joining the first five courses to the next courses, holding them both together.

  • Once you get to this point just keep stacking and troweling until you get to desired height. Remember stack only four or five courses at a time before troweling those courses with the surface bonding concrete-rinse and repeat until desired wall height.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure you county or city will allow this method ( I had to explain the method to my inspector and showed him Quickrete's literature on the product)
  • Texture the outside of wall nicely, it will show after all depending on how lot is graded
  • keep the courses as level as possible as you go up, it really makes things easier
  • When troweling each completed four or five course section make sure to put surface bonding concrete half-way up on the top course of that section- if you don't you'll have nothing to hold the subsequent courses together.
  • This product makes a wonderful watertight foundation, that's why I chose it and it has never leaked once
  • This is hard physical work-make sure your up for it-I stacked over two thousand cinderblocks and troweled the entire foundation by myself, of course I was only thirty five at the time
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