Different Types Of Concrete Blocks For Building Construction

There are many different types of concrete blocks ranging from cinderblocks, hollow-core, AAC, or autoclaved aerated concrete, foam or insulating blocks, solid or structural types, lightweight types, fireproof types, etc. Good knowledge of the different types of concrete blocks is important for home builders to make decisions when choosing a block type for construction.

Concrete blocks are normally manufactured from normal weight (3″ – 16″) aggregate mix with a maximum size of around 8″.

What is a Concrete Block?

Concrete blocks are concrete masonry units (CMUs), concrete building blocks, concrete bricks, or concrete pavers which are ideal for use in foundations, walls, and more. They are an integral part of construction methodologies and provide integral features such as insulation and more fire resistance than any other masonry unit.

They are made up of cement mixed with sand, rock, or gravel. When the concrete mixture dries it becomes very hard, making concrete blocks dense and strong. They may be hollow or solid; however, usually, they are solid. Concrete block is also known as cinder block in some parts of the world depending on the region. These types of blocks have hundreds of applications ranging from retaining walls to interior design, decoration, etc.

There are many concrete block manufacturers in the market, however, concrete blocks can also be made at home or by yourself. If you plan to make concrete blocks at home, ensure that the concrete mixture is strong enough for your concrete blocks.

Different Types of Concrete Blocks:

Concrete blocks are classified into two depending on their manufacturing process, structure, size, and shape which include:

  1. Hollow Concrete Blocks
  2. Solid Concrete Blocks

Hollow Concrete Blocks

Hollow concrete blocks are types of hollow building blocks used in construction, They consist of two parts: a hollow rectangular with hollow cavities inside and a flat top or bottom (sometimes both) plus a vertical supporting strip called “stretcher” on the long side, which adds strength to the hollow core, but reduces size thereof. They are hollow, lightweight, and durable compared to some other types of blocks.

Hollow concrete blocks can be more affordable than regular solid concrete blocks. They also have better thermal properties making them ideal for modern insulation requirements. In addition, hollow concrete blocks weigh less so they require less labor for installation while hollow foundations will usually cost less as well. In hollow concrete blocks, cores can be as much as 75% of the total volume. The hollows inside hollow concrete blocks can be filled with soil or insulation to improve their thermal properties and provide a structural advantage. These types of concrete blocks have been around for decades and remain popular today because they offer many benefits that solid concrete blocks cannot provide and for this reason, they continue to be used in construction projects all over the world.

Hollow Concrete Blocks are commonly used for walls, fencing posts, garden/flower beds, and as a lightweight building material.

Different Types of Hollow Concrete Blocks

  1. Partition concrete blocks
  2. Corner concrete blocks
  3. Concrete frogged bricks
  4. Concrete pillar blocks
  5. Jamb blocks
  6. Lintel blocks
  7. Bullnose blocks
  8. Stretcher blocks

Partition Concrete Blocks

Partition concrete blocks are types of hollow concrete blocks that offer a good degree of sound insulation.

They are commonly used to divide spaces without impacting their height. They can be used in-between rooms, at the foot of staircases, and in underground spaces such as basements and parking garages. Partition concrete blocks can also be used outdoors to construct walls that do not need to span great distances or bear heavy loads. As hollow partition concrete blocks have hollow cavities, they must be set with mortar for additional support.

Corner Concrete Blocks

Corner concrete blocks are corner-shaped variants of hollow concrete blocks. They are used in building structures where corneal strength is required, for example in load-bearing or partition walls.

They are used to make corner walls that are stronger than the same wall made from normal square-shaped concrete blocks since they have two surfaces meeting at a sharp corner. This provides more stable anchoring for grout and mortar joints which makes corner ​concrete blocks suitable for use in buildings exposed to earthquakes, whereas corner ​concrete blocks may crack during an earthquake due to weaker fastening when compared with non-corner Blocks.

Concrete Frogged Bricks

Concrete frogged bricks are concrete building materials that have a pattern of vertical rods imprinted in the concrete to improve the concrete’s coarseness. They are also called concrete permeable pavers or concrete porous paving units. These concrete frogged blocks are commonly produced by extrusion, where concrete is pushed through a die to form various shapes and densities of ribs on one plane.

Concrete frogged bricks provide great strength because they do not have space for water to sit between stones so they can seep under them instead which prevents them from being pushed apart when exposed to water over time. They are used for roads, car parks, footpaths, driveways, and other areas exposed to high usage due to their extremely long-lasting nature. They are sometimes used in decorative or artistic ways to form concrete stenciled patterns on the surface, which can be very effective as they allow concrete to breathe and maintain a long-lasting appearance after it has been installed.

Concrete Pillar Blocks

The concrete pillar block industry is a multi-billion dollar industry in the US and around the world. These concrete structures are known for their strength, durability, and life span. They can be used for a variety of purposes such as holding up highways and industrial buildings.

Pillar blocks are hollow concrete structures that can be used for various purposes in many different industries, depending on your specific needs. These concrete structures are known for their strength and durability, which makes them an excellent choice in building structures that will need to stand the test of time. If you need a concrete structure to support something weighty, these concrete structures are definitely what you should consider. They are typically made with rebar reinforcement inside to make them even stronger than they would otherwise be with just regular concrete without any reinforcement.

Jamb Blocks

Jamb blocks are hollow concrete types of blocks used as the frame of exterior doors and windows. They are bigger than bricks but smaller than full-sized concrete blocks. A concrete jamb block is typically 30 inches long by 12 inches wide by 8 to 10 inches high. The biggest advantage that I see in using concrete jamb blocks for making exterior doors and window frames is their weight. They are much easier to handle when putting them up; it is because they do not need mortar (cement) for bonding since they are already bonded by their adhesive material (concrete). This design is perfect because it can be installed quickly, without any mortar or adhesives required compared to bricks that have an adhesive bond between them. They work for both new constructions and renovations because they can easily be cut with power tools or masonry saws when needed.

Typically concrete jamb blocks come in standard sizes: 4×2 inches (width x height), 2×4 inches (width x height), and 8×8 inches (length x width). They also offer various functional advantages over wooden framed jambs.

Lintel Blocks

Lintel blocks are l-shaped hollow concrete masonry units. Introduced in 1887, lintels are used to support the wall above openings such as windows and doors. They allow the building’s wall to be supported evenly by an arch or lintel beam that runs along the length of the opening. The lintel block is made up of two separate integral parts a lintel beam and a lintel block which are mortared together with concrete.

A lintel may carry only vertical loads or it may carry both horizontal and vertical loads, depending on what it is supporting.

They are usually manufactured using two different methods: slip forming and precast molds. Slip-forming lintels are made from a wet mix of industrial ingredients. The lintel beam and lintel block are formed together in one industrial process, while precast lintels use pre-made molds to cast the lintel blocks in a dry mix, using industrial components to make their water content low enough to dry quickly after casting, speeding up production.

Concrete lintel blocks are manufactured in standard sizes and can be specially ordered to suit other lintel beam widths,  heights, and depths (distance from lintel face to lintel back).

Standard lintels sizes are:

  • 240mm x 240mm lintel lintel depth = 240mm
  • 300mm x 300mm lintel lintel depth = 300mm
  • 360mm x 360mm lintel lintel depth = 360mm
  • 400mm x 400mm lintel lintel depth = 400mm

Bullnose Blocks

Bullnose Concrete blocks are concrete hollow blocks formed to fit the shape of a bullnose. These concrete blocks have been used as paving stones, or as fencing units. They provide extra material at the edges of an installation while still giving a smooth finished appearance to limit chipping and wear caused by impact with hard edges during installation and use. This makes it an excellent choice for construction projects like patios, sidewalks, decks, stairways, walls (both interior and exterior), waterfalls, pools, ponds, gazebos, fountains, and elevators shafts, concrete countertops, fireplaces, stairs, and concrete columns.

The bullnose block is made with a mold that gives it a distinct bullnose profile on two sides. In some countries, concrete bullnose block has been used as a building material not only for housing but also for commercial and institutional buildings. One advantage of using concrete bullnose block is that it is very versatile. It can be molded into different shapes and sizes depending on the project where it will be used.

Concrete Stretcher Blocks

Stretcher concrete blocks are concrete masonry units that have stretchers and headers, unlike the block which has predominantly header construction. They can be used to form long, straight walls with little or no cross bracing, but they cannot be used in place of structural concrete members because they lack strength and durability for heavy load-bearing applications. It is common practice to augment these concrete blocks with concrete beams as a foundation support system by placing concrete filling inside the voids between concrete beam supports.

Solid Concrete Blocks

There are many types of solid concrete blocks on the market today providing homes with more strength and sturdiness. Solid concrete blocks provide great strength because they have more mass than hollow concrete blocks. They are more commonly known as Solid concrete masonry units (CMU). They use an integral mortar as the bonding material, they tend to be heavier and bulkier than hollow concrete blocks, structural clay bricks, or lightweight expanded clay aggregate blocks. They s can provide walls of tremendous strength, durability, and fireproofing qualities for many uses.

Solid Concrete Blocks have been around since Roman times when they were used to construct strong structures spanning arches created from large stones fitted together through the use of mortar. They are made by first pouring a concrete mixture into a mold, which is then allowed to harden, thus resulting in the Solid Concrete Block. They also vary from their lightweight counterparts because Solid Concrete blocks tend to be thicker and heavier.

Advantages of Solid Concrete Blocks

  •  Higher-strength than other materials such as wood or steel, therefore used for loadbearing structures.
  • Embodied energy is very low compared to other building materials. The embodied energy content of standard cement masonry units (also called “H” pieces) was calculated as 3 MJ/kg by Corley et al., making them among the most environmentally friendly construction material available today.
  • Durable against corrosion, mold, and insect damage. They tend to take longer to degrade than other building materials such as wood or steel.
  • Solid Concrete Block walls do well in both high-temperature and low-temperature environments, and can often resist fire and water damage. They also tend to be more resistant to acid formation compared with other construction materials like metal or wood.
  • Solid concrete blocks have a long life span of over 100 years when used properly.

Disadvantages of Solid Concrete Blocks

  •  Solid concrete blocks are very heavy, which makes them difficult for homeowners who want to add an extension to their home without hiring a contractor to install the additional weight load into the house’s structural frame.
  • Solid concrete block is not as readily available as other construction materials such as wood, corrugated steel, or aluminum, which may increase the cost compared to those other materials. It is usually only available from specialty suppliers.
  • They have been found by some researchers to have poor thermal insulation properties
  • Solid concrete masonry units are susceptible to rotting, cracking, and warping because they are comprised of main cement which has a high water retention rate compared with other materials.
  • Solid Concrete blocks require a great deal of time to be laid properly due to their weight and history of warping.
Concrete blocks
Solid concrete block types