You’ve probably never spent much time thinking about concrete blocks before, and you may be wondering why they’d be worth your attention or notice. While grey concrete blocks might sound like they are all the same and boring, it might surprise you to know there are literally hundreds of different variations that you can buy. Concrete blocks offer so much in terms of both functionality, durability, choice and yes, even aesthetics, that you simply can’t afford to ignore them.
So, what do I need to know about concrete blocks?
Concrete blocks are a lightweight, high strength product that are commonly used for construction on houses, schools and commercial projects. They are a great choice for the construction of external load-bearing walls. These hollow, and often rectangular concrete building blocks come in modular sizes, making them easy to work with. Structural integrity is provided by steel reinforcing bars used both horizontally and vertically and a grout-filled core to increase the strength of the wall.
They are made from a mix of cement, sand, aggregates, recycled materials, water, oxides (in coloured blocks) and additives, and are formed under enormous pressure using a hardened steel mould. Different types of concrete blocks are suitable for different applications, from lightweight to heavy duty or even fire rated.
You are spoilt for choice when it comes to concrete blocks
If you’ve never considered concrete blocks before, you could be forgiven for thinking that if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. But there you’d be very wrong.
It might surprise you to know that there are dozens and dozens of different types of concrete blocks available – in different shapes, sizes, colours, textures and finishes. Concrete blocks are far from boring, but offer an incredible range of choice for the discerning buyer.
For instance, while the standard type of concrete blocks comes in one colour – natural grey – you can get them in a mind-boggling array of shapes, sizes and cuts, each one suitable for different uses. Plus, concrete blocks also come in a designer range, offering a much wider variety of colours, finishes and textures.
You can get designer concrete blocks?
You certainly can! These specially-created decorative blocks offer a choice of different colours and a range of different finishes, including split face, smooth, honed, polished or shot-blast. Each of these choices gives a completely different look to your project, as each creates its own unique character. From the glass-like finish of a polished block to the striking rock face effect of a split face block, each type of concrete block delivers crisp lines, rich colour and texture to enhance the look of your space.
Interested? Have a look at National Masonry’s quality range of designer blocks here.
Why grey concrete blocks are a good choice
There’s a reason that concrete blocks are an extremely popular choice for both residential and commercial applications – and that’s because they are very adapatable, perform well and look good. Whether you choose standard concrete blocks or architectural designer blocks, you can be assured that they come with a huge range of benefits and advantages.
The benefits of concrete blocks include:
- They are sturdy and durable, providing substantial structural strength and stability.
- Concrete blocks are a proven material choice for construction projects.
- They come in a range of colours and finishes, and can be rendered or painted for a different look, or left plain for that “industrial home” look.
- They are extremely weather resistant, and can withstand heat, cold, UV rays and storms with equal aplomb. In tropical areas, houses are often mandated to be constructed of concrete blocks, as the steel-reinforced solid concrete design resists cyclone and wind damage.
- They can be used for a wide variety of applications, including buildings, retaining walls, fences etc.
- They require minimal maintenance and upkeep.
- They are fire resistant and offer high fire protection.
- They block out noise better than most other building materials, due to their mass, thus giving excellent acoustic performance.
- They provide excellent thermal performance and great insulating properties.
- They can be suitable for either load-bearing or non-load-bearing applications.
- They have high structural reliability.
- They have low dry shrinkage rates, meaning the blocks won’t crack over time.
- They have low installation costs.
- They can reduce the need for accessory products, such as insulation.
- They are fast to build with.
- They are both structural and aesthetic.
- They are impervious to termites.
- They are energy efficient and slow the transfer of temperature fluctuations from outside to inside.
- They allow you to save on heating and cooling costs, as they effectively keep the building cooler during summer and warmer during winter.
- They have minimal environmental impact.
- They will not rust, corrode, warp, grow mould or rot.
- Best of all, the wide array of block sizes and components allow for amazing flexibility in design.
How much do concrete blocks cost?
With all this going for them, you might think that concrete blocks would cost the earth, but that’s not the case at all. While concrete blocks are initially a little more expensive than other building materials like brick and timber, when you consider how much longer concrete blocks will last, you really are getting good value for money. Spread over a long time, concrete blocks are quite cost-effective. Plus, the cost will depend on the size and scope of your project, and the type of concrete blocks you choose.
Concrete blocks are a great choice
The upshot is that concrete blocks are a wonderful choice for a wide range of building projects and situations. Have a look at National Masonry’s vast concrete block range here.