Civil Engineering

Everything to know about cinder block

An outdated and broad word for a type of structural block that is simply made out of numerous different materials is “cinder block.” A concrete and cement combination is used to create cinder blocks in the field of civil engineering.

In the United States, these are known as cinder blocks, but in the United Kingdom and the Philippines, they are known as breeze blocks (the word breeze is a synonym for ash) and hollow blocks, respectively. They are referred to as Besser blocks or Besser bricks in Australia since the Besser Company was a significant supplier of equipment used to produce concrete blocks. Clinker is used as aggregate in clinker blocks. Well in this article we’ll be discussing the answers to the questions related to cinder blocks.

Read more: Understanding cement waterproofing

cinder block

  • What is a cinder block?
  • What are the types of cinder block?
  • How do they prepare a cinder block?
  • What are the types of cinder block styles
  • What are the properties of cinder block?
  • How to install a cinder block?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of cinder block?

So, let’s begin!


What is a cinder block?

A cinder block is a regular-sized rectangular block used in building construction. It is sometimes referred to as a concrete masonry unit (CMU), breeze block, or by numerous other names. Buildings can be constructed using layers (or courses) of staggered blocks in the classic masonry style thanks to the usage of blockwork.

Concrete blocks with hollow centers (cores) can be made to be lighter, more insulative, and to create a space into which concrete can be poured to firm the entire wall once it has been constructed. Because they can be used to create so many different looks, cinder blocks are among the most adaptable building materials on the market.

An alternative to masonry in construction, concrete blocks have both benefits and drawbacks. The mortar joints between concrete blocks require less cement to hold them together since they are larger than bricks. However, concrete blocks are more likely to slide and crack when the foundation shifts than bricks due to their higher moisture content and greater size.

Read more: Everything to know about Lintel

What are the types of cinder block?

The followings are the types of cinder blocks;

Standard Gray Cinder Blocks

  • This format satisfies ASTM C-90 requirements and provides strength and durability, fire resistance, good acoustic insulation capabilities, energy savings, and a low price.
  • the standard dimensions, such 8 inches by 8 inches by 16 inches

Concrete Deck Block

  • It is the most effective and cost-effective approach for building decks. The DIY market is the target market for these blocks. Dimensional wood is allowed in this block. For the standard size, such as 7″x 11″x 11″, there is no need to mix or pour cinder in this block.

Standard Core Block

  • For huge structures like buildings, schools, etc., cinder walls made of this sort of block are constructed. There are usual dimensions, such as 12 in. x 8 in. x 16 in.

Quikrete Concrete Deck Block

  • These kinds of blocks are used to form the cinder walls that surround large structures like buildings, schools, etc. The standard measurements, like 12 in. x 8 in. x 16 in.

How to build a cinder block wall?

Below show the steps involved in building a cinder block wall;

Preparation of Cinder Wall Layout

  • You can indicate the cinder block wall’s layout with chalk or a piece of rope. Calculate and determine the wall’s length. By calculating the number of blocks needed to create the desired wall width, the width of the future wall can be established. Utilizing the block’s measurements, the width is determined.
  • To begin the installation, place the cinder blocks as close together as you can. Avoid placing excessive weight in some regions that are not designed to support any temporary loads.

Read more: Understanding building construction

Estimation of Cinder Block

  • You can determine the required amount of cinder blocks in square feet. For instance:
  • 8 × 16-inch cinder block measurements
  • 125 square feet are covered by one cinder block.
  • Total Cinder Blocks = 1.125 times the wall’s area.
  • The area of the wall is determined by deducting the area of the surrounding walls and any specified openings.
  • Height of Wall x Wall Length = Area of Wall
  • Give the aforementioned area a 5% increase to account for waste.
  • The area of the wall thus equals 1.05 (Length x Breadth).
  • Provide some extra material after the estimation is finished to take fillers into consideration and accommodate for any ambiguity in the plan.

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 Wall Foundation for Cinder Block Wall

  • The cinder block wall’s footing or foundation serves as its foundation. The foundation’s breadth must be more than twice as wide as the chosen cinder block. Therefore, determine the wall’s width first, and then determine the footing area. The footing area’s dimensions are measured and noted on the ground using a tape measure.
  • A foundation with a 9 m width and 6 m depth can support a wall that is 3 ft wide. The footing needs to be wider the heavier and taller the wall is.
  • There must be no opportunity for water to seep into or collect in the constructed footing. So always design the foundation with sufficient drainage in mind.
  • Consult the local building codes while designing and building a foundation.

Read more: Everything you need to know about walls

Placing and Finishing the First Row of the Cinder Wall

  • A coating of concrete is applied to the footing surface. To help the first layer of cinder blocks stick to the concrete more effectively, add some roughness over it. Until the first turn of the wall is achieved, begin laying the cinder blocks from one end of the wall in accordance with the stated arrangement.
  • Trace the brick’s edges along its whole length. It is necessary to trace the cinder blocks on four sides. The cinder block can now be removed and set aside.
  • Apply mortar with a trowel inside the lines you’ve drawn. One inch of mortar must be distributed throughout the surface.
  • Top the mortar layer with the first cinder block. It is carefully pounded into the mortar mixture after being positioned upright atop the ready base.

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What are the types of cinder block wall styles

The followings are the different types of cinder block wall styles;

Standard Size

  • cinder block Walls (CMWs) are a typical form of block. These blocks typically measure 8 by 8 by 16 inches in size. This equals an even 8x8x16 after attaching the 3/8 masonry joints, the mortar that holds the blocks together, and subsequently.

Half blocks

  • The face of this kind of block is half as long but the same height. The result of the calculation is 8x8x8 after the joint. This type of block is typically utilized for single walls or smooth end walls.


  • Sash blocks, which are used for casement windows, are distinctive in that they have a chisel cut into them. These are typically employed while building sheds. A half-block is also known as a sash by some contractors.

Rounded Corners

  • Bull-nose blocks are another name for corners that are rounded. Any corner or the entire block can have a rounded portion. They are helpful for softening edges and avoiding sharp corners.

Jamb joists

  • Jamb joists are slotted to complete the wall work and are used for wooden framed doors and windows. Jamb joints are frequently utilized in cinder block buildings, such as sheds, to have a gate or a decorative opening.


  • The header block is required to complete the entire wall work because it serves as a frame and support. The top of the header blocks has been chiseled off to accommodate the concrete slab, although they are the same size as ordinary blocks.


  • Capstones are the last stone that is placed at the top of a wall or building to protect it and signify that it is complete. They are typically flat and decorative. After the mortar is added, a typical measurement is 4x8x16.

Read more: Understanding Pony wall

What are the properties of cinder block?

Below shows the properties of the cinder block.

  • The end result of concrete usually resembles coal cinders.
  • Due to the percentage of the combined elements, the former is much lighter than the latter.
  • Not very durable; hence, rarely utilized in various regions.
  • These are much more likely to buckle and bow, and since repairs are frequently very expensive, it is best to avoid them.
  • Have almost become outdated because they haven’t been produced in factories in the last 50 years.
  • Do not exert a great deal of strength.

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What are the advantages and disadvantages of cinder block?

Below shows the advantages and disadvantages of cinder block;


  • No dressing is required.
  • It weighs relatively little.
  • Not much expertise is needed.
  • Its structural strength surpasses that of bricks.
  • More carpet space is feasible due to the possibility of thinner walls.
  • Given its size, it has fewer joints than smaller objects.
  • Better heat, sound, and moisture insulation.
  • There is no requirement for plastering.
  • It costs less to use less mortar.

Read more: Everything to know about Stamped concrete


  • There is a chance of seepage.
  • Materials might not be appropriate for all places.

Read more: Understanding concrete anchors

Cinder block FAQs

What is the difference between a cinder block and a concrete block?

Concrete and coal cinders are used to make cinder blocks. Steel, wood, and cement are used to make concrete blocks. Concrete blocks weigh more than cinder blocks. A concrete block is heavier because it contains stone or sand.

What is cinder block used for?

More typically, cinder block is utilized for modest constructions like garden walls. In larger construction projects and more significant undertakings, concrete blocks are used. Cinder block is a traditional type of construction material. There hasn’t been mass production in about 50 years.

What are cinder blocks called now?

Common colloquial names for concrete masonry units include “concrete block,” “cinder block,” “CMU,” and simply “block.”

Are cinder blocks cheap?

Cinder blocks are priced between $1 and $3 per one, though the price may go up if you wish to customize the blocks.

Why is it called cinder block?

Concrete blocks are certainly something you’re familiar with from your neighborhood hardware store, where you could have heard some of them referred to as cinder blocks. This is due to the fact that cinder blocks were first constructed in part from the cinders that remained after burning coal (typically at coal-fired plants).

Is brick stronger than cinder block?

Although concrete blocks must have a minimum compressive strength of 1,900 pounds per square inch, many of them are far stronger. Concrete blocks defeat bricks in terms of strength as expressed in pounds per square inch (psi). The former has a limit of 3,500 psi while bricks have a limit of 3,000 psi.

What does a cinder block look like?

Construction sites often use cinder blocks, which are hollow rectangle-shaped constructions built of concrete and coal cinders. Cinder blocks resemble concrete blocks in design and construction, with the exception that a large portion of the aggregate infill material is ash, more particularly coal cinder, as opposed to sand or gravel.

How long will the cinder block last?

When properly maintained, cinder blocks can endure up to 80 years as opposed to the shorter average lifespan of wood frame homes. Both concrete block and cinder block walls need an additional decorative layer. The right amount of insulation can make cinder block homes energy efficient.

Are bricks and cinder blocks the same?

Although there are numerous similarities between these two materials, there are also many differences. Clay bricks are formed of a mixture of sand, lime, and concrete components, whereas concrete blocks are made entirely of crushed sand or stone.

that’s all for this article where the answers to the following question were discussed;

  • What is a cinder block?
  • What are the types of cinder block?
  • How do they prepare a cinder block?
  • What are the types of cinder block styles
  • What are the properties of cinder block?
  • How to install a cinder block?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of cinder block?

I hope it was helpful, if so, kindly share. Thanks for reading.