We all realize that if you want to build a sturdy home that can stand up to wear and tear and remain in outstanding condition for many decades, concrete is an excellent option. But the various forms of concrete construction often led to some confusion on which method is better suited for specific applications.
You might be interested in building a cinder block house, and are wondering what the advantages are and how this wall system compares to other forms of concrete construction.
In this guide, we will go over the benefits of cinder block house construction. But first, let’s talk a bit more about what concrete block construction is.
What are Cinder Blocks?
Cinder blocks are among the two main systems used to build concrete walls. The other is called “insulated concrete forms,” or “ICFs.”
Cinder blocks themselves have other names as well. Sometimes they are just called “concrete blocks.” Other names include “concrete masonry units,” or “CMUs,” or “breeze blocks.”
Technically, there are distinctions between each of these types of masonry blocks. But the terms frequently are used interchangeably.
At some point, you have probably lived in a building that had cinder block walls. You also likely have at some point handled a cinder block. It is a masonry block that is bigger than a regular brick.
Cinder blocks are hollow. As such, they are relatively lightweight (for what they are).
Why Choose to Build a Cinder Block House?
Here are some advantages of cinder block homes:
1. Simpler, easier, less expensive construction.
Laying cinder blocks is not as laborious as laying similar-sized filled-in blocks. They are also easier to transport to the site and from one part of the site to another. As such, transportation and construction costs are reasonable.
There is insulation built right into cinder blocks in the form of the hollow parts of the blocks. But you can enhance this by putting actual insulation into the cavities during construction.
If desired, one can also pour grout into the hollow spaces in the cinder blocks.
4. Cinder block systems are cost-effective.
Building a home out of cinder blocks isn’t cheap, but it is cost-efficient. This is particularly true when you consider that your long-term costs may be significantly less than they would if you went with wood framing.
5. The strength of cinder blocks makes for a sturdy, low-maintenance structure.
Cinder blocks are much stronger than wood! That means they are far less susceptible to damage. Indeed, you will probably not have to do much to maintain your home if it is made of concrete. You can spend your time and energy focusing on other things, like the upkeep of your yard.
6. Cinder block buildings can stand up to the weather.
One of the main reasons why many people choose cinder block construction is because they live in areas that are subject to harsh weather.
Concrete structures are able to stand strong in the face of heavy wind. Precipitation does not damage them the way it would wood.
So, if you are building in a region that is subject to hurricanes, typhoons, or similar weather conditions, cinder block is a smart and safe choice.
7. Pests will not be interested in concrete.
Rodents can chew through wood, as can termites. Either may compromise the structural integrity of a wood building over time.
Sometimes, the damage is even severe enough that the home needs to be demolished. But even if it isn’t, eradicating the pests and repairing the damage can be extremely expensive.
This is the type of problem you do not need to worry about if you have a cinder block home. Pests do not have any reason to attempt to chew through cinder blocks, and even if they did, they wouldn’t get very far.
8. Concrete bricks do not rot.
Even though it is possible for water to seep into concrete, the material is not going to rot the way that wood does in exposure to moisture.
That being said, mold can grow on concrete, so even though this is a rot-proof material, you do still need to prevent leaks and keep concrete surfaces clean. Otherwise, you will have to deal with mold when your concrete gets damp.
9. A cinder block home will not burn down.
Just as cinder blocks can stand up to harsh weather, they also can stand up to high temperatures.
Unlike wood, concrete is not a combustible material. It is still possible for fire to damage a concrete structure, but it is not likely to burn to the ground the way a wood-frame structure would.
10. Cinder block homes can stand up to tremors.
If you live in a region that is subject to tremors and earthquakes, a concrete home is a stronger choice then a wood home, and more likely to survive tectonic activity.
11. Cinder blocks offer excellent noise dampening.
If you don’t want to have to listen to your neighbors or traffic on the highway, it is hard to beat concrete as a building material.
Cinder blocks do an amazing job dampening noise, giving you an enhanced sense of peace and privacy in your home.
This is also true for cinder block interior walls. So, if you want to extend that same sense of privacy to the occupants of your home, consider building internal walls out of concrete as well. That way, each person can enjoy their activities in their own rooms without bothering others in the household.
12. A cinder block building is eco-friendly.
The excellent insulation provided by cinder block walls does a great job of retaining warmth inside your home during the winter and keeping your home cool during the summer.
That means that your concrete home is energy-efficient. You can produce a smaller carbon footprint living in the home, and save on your bills.
It is also worth considering that when you plan a concrete structure, you can manufacture a suitable amount of concrete for the project with little or no excess.
Furthermore, a concrete structure is likely to outlast one build out of wood. Its longevity is another feature that contributes to its eco-friendly nature.
13. You won’t pay as much to maintain a cinder block home.
Concrete is an excellent choice from a cost-saving standpoint when we are talking about the long term.
As just discussed, your energy bills could be lower living in a cinder block house then they would be living in a traditional wood-frame home.
Not only that, but you will probably end up paying a great deal less in terms of maintenance costs.
14. A cinder block house can last a long time.
Last but not least, the longevity of a cinder block house is a great benefit. It prevents waste and offers long-term value to its occupants.
Long after other structures around it need repair or replacement, a concrete house may still be in excellent condition.
If you have heirs, you can look forward to passing down your cinder block home to them. When they receive it, it should be in great shape.
Are There Any Drawbacks?
While there are numerous advantages to cinder blocks, there are some drawbacks as well.
Even though cinder blocks are not exorbitantly expensive, they do still cost more than wood framing.
Also, while cinder blocks themselves are easy to maintain, if you need to maintain a system behind them, accessing it could be challenging, and require temporary damage and repair to the wall.
Additionally, the porous nature of concrete means that while water may not damage concrete, it can get through it, so leaks are still possible.
Finally, not everyone likes the look of concrete. But many enjoy its aesthetics.
Cinder Block vs. ICF
Some of the disadvantages of concrete blocks can be mitigated with ICF construction. ICF wall systems are fast and easy to build, and offer high thermal resistance.
Indeed, on the whole, ICF is superior to cinder block construction, but cinder blocks do tend to be less expensive, at least on paper.
The higher strength of ICF walls and the faster construction can make up for a lot of the cost differences.
So, if you like the idea of cinder block homes, you should seriously consider ICF as well.
Now you know about the many advantages of cinder block construction. Even though the majority of homes these days are not made out of concrete, it remains one of the best choices if you want a strong, weather-resistant home that is easy and cost-effective to maintain over the years ahead.