Concrete masonry units – also known as CMUs, concrete blocks, cement blocks or cinder blocks – are used in virtually every aspect of construction, including commercial and residential buildings, paving, retaining walls and landscaping.
Concrete blocks come with hollow cores that allow engineers to insert steel reinforcing rods into the assembly before mortar is laid, thus making the structure quite durable. Concrete blocks, reinforced with concrete columns and tie beams, are one of the most common construction material for load-bearing walls.
Advantages of concrete block construction:
Made of cast concrete, i.e., cement and aggregates such as sand and gravel, concrete blocks are tough and durable, easy and fast to use during construction, and relatively inexpensive to repair and maintain. When properly designed and constructed, concrete block structures are resistant to weather changes, fireproof and can hold up under most types of pressures and impacts. CMUs can be easily insulated to maintain interior temperatures, and are very effective in blocking out noise.
Apart from standard formed block surfaces, these blocks now come in a variety of colors that allow the builder, architect or homeowner to choose a wealth of design options. There are now burnished, split, scored or fluted architectural concrete blocks suitable for wall finishing, thus saving on expensive interior wall finishes.
Care and maintenance of concrete structures:
In spite of its reputation as a durable, low-maintenance building material, concrete blocks can deteriorate due to weathering and other conditions. Changes in temperature cause blocks to contract and expand, creating hairline cracks in the concrete and the mortar joints. As concrete is porous in nature, rain and moisture can seep into the block itself. When the water freezes, the cracks widen. During the settling of a newly constructed building, the shifting of the foundation and vibrations can also cause structural cracks in the mortar joints.
To preserve the beauty and structural integrity of your concrete block edifice, make sure the masonry is weatherproofed, repair any cracks, clean off any efflorescence, molds or stains formed due to moisture, and apply sealant to the surface when needed.
For more answers to your questions regarding block repair, contact Freedom Restoration at 410-451-7110 or click here.