Cinder blocks or concrete masonry units are building blocks made from concrete and other coal cinders. A cinder block unit is very light when compared to other building blocks because of a lesser proportion of aggregates and other ingredients possessed by it.
Cinder blocks are not considered suitable for every place as they have less strength and a high cost. They are subjected to bowing or buckling repairs under a huge load, which limits their applications.
The installation of a cinder block for wall construction is performed with necessary planning and supervision. For solid installation of the blocks, an adequate amount of reinforcement is provided.
This article explains the step-by-step procedure to build a cinder block wall.
Steps to Build a Cinder Block Wall
The basic steps involved in the construction of a cinder block wall are:
- Preparation of wall layout
- Estimation of cinder block wall
- Wall foundation for cinder block wall
- Placing and finishing the first row of cinder wall
- Corner wall construction
1. Preparation of Cinder Wall Layout
The layout of the cinder block wall can be marked using a string or chalk. Measure and finalize the length of the wall.
The width of the future wall can be determined by deciding how many blocks are required to make up the wall width. The width is calculated by using the block’s measurements.
Place the cinder blocks as close as possible to start the installation. Do not apply too much weight in certain areas that are not prepared for handling any temporary loads.
2. Estimation of Cinder Block
The number of cinder blocks required can be calculated in square feet. For example:
Dimension of cinder block = 8 x 16 inches
Area covered by a single cinder block = 1.125 sq.ft
Total Cinder Blocks = ( Area of Wall )/1.125
Note: The area of the wall is calculated by subtracting the area of walls and any opening provided.
Area of Wall = Height of wall x length of wall
Provide a 5% increase in the above area to account for wastage.
Then, area of wall = 1.05 ( Length x breadth)
Once the estimation is complete, provide some extra material to account for fillers to meet any sort of uncertainty in the plan.
3. Wall Foundation for Cinder Block Wall
The foundation or footing is the base of the cinder block wall. The width of the foundation must be greater than twice the width of the cinder block selected. So, first, calculate the width of the wall and then calculate the footing area. A tape is used to measure and mark the dimensions of the footing area on the ground.
- A wall of width 3 ft can have a foundation with 9 m width and 6 m depth. The heavier and taller the wall, the wider must be the footing.
- The constructed footing must be free from any potential water seeping or pooling. So, always plan the foundation to ensure proper drainage.
- Check the foundation design and construction with the local building codes.
4. Placing and Finishing the First Row of Cinder Wall
Once the footing for the cinder block wall is made, the following steps are followed:
1. The footing surface is applied with a layer of concrete. Provide some texture over it so that the first layer of the cinder block can better adhere to the concrete. Start laying the cinder block from one end of the wall as per the marked layout until the first turn of the wall is reached.
2. Trace the edges of the brick laid from one end to the other. All the four sides of the cinder block must be traced. Now take out the cinder block and place it aside.
3. Place mortar within the traced lines using a trowel. The mortar must be spread at a thickness of 1 inch.
4. Place the first cinder block on top of the mortar layer. It is placed upright over the prepared base and gently hammered so that it sits down into the mortar mix.
5. Apply mortar on the two protrusions or flanges on one end of the cinder block. This way, the flanges of the new block can be connected to the flanges of the already placed cinder block.
6. Push the new block into the old or the base block. This mortar joint can have a thickness of 3/8 inches.
7. The same step is repeated till the first layer of the cinder block is completed.
8. Wipe any excess mortar protruding outwards from the joints periodically. Do this after the placement of every few blocks, so that the mortar does not harden.
9. Once a complete straight wall finishes take a half cinder block or corner block. Spread the mortar on the footing areas and the protrusions of the half block. Place it directly on the top of the base block. Now, continue to place a full block, as mentioned before, along the line of the wall. A corner block is used at the start of the second layer to avoid in-line vertical joints.
10. Always employ a level every 10 minutes to check the level of the blocks with respect to the base block. Always check the level vertically and horizontally.
11. For the third layer, a full cinder block is used at the start, and a half block is used for the fourth layer and vice versa. This is followed until the wall has reached the desired strength.
12. Finally, strike the joints of the mortar using a mallet or sledgehammer, which can help to solidify the brick.
5. Corner Wall Construction
Once the straight in-line wall construction has reached a height of 3 to 4 blocks, then the turning can be started. The same steps are repeated by using alternate half blocks in either direction to avoid in-line vertical joints. A large level can be used to check whether the corners constructed are plumb and square.
What are cinder blocks in construction?
Cinder blocks or concrete masonry units are building blocks made from concrete and other coal cinders. A cinder block unit is very light when compared to other building blocks because of a lesser proportion of aggregates and components possessed by it.
What are the disadvantages of cinder blocks?
Cinder block is not considered as a favorable option for all places as it possesses less strength and high cost. It is subjected to bowing or buckling repairs under a huge load, which limits its applications.
What are the steps involved in cinder block construction?
The basic steps involved in the construction of the cinder block wall are:
1. Preparation of wall layout
2. Estimation of cinder block wall
3. Wall foundation for cinder block wall
4. Placing and finishing the first row of cinder wall
5. Corner wall construction