Cinder Block vs. Concrete Block: What’s the Difference?
Home construction requires proper planning and suitable materials. When building, there are two types of blocks you can use: cinder and concrete blocks. Both are durable masonry blocks that come in various sizes and shapes and are easy to work with. However, each has its unique properties that tell it apart.
Familiarizing yourself with these two types of blocks is an excellent way to narrow down your decision. You’ll also know what qualities to look out for and which ones to avoid. We’ll discuss each block type in this handy guide, focusing on several primary differences between them. Keep reading!
Overview of Cinder Block
Cinder blocks are made from concrete and coal cinders (byproducts of coal combustion). They’re similar to concrete blocks except that their aggregate filling material is coal cinder.
They have excellent insulating properties, and they help reduce noise transmission. They are mostly used for building houses, walls, and other structures. They are also helpful for interior partitions as they provide support without increasing the load.
Properties of Cinder Blocks
Overview of Concrete Block
Concrete blocks are one of the most common materials used in various construction projects such as building walls, foundations, and even for landscaping. They are sometimes called CMU (Concrete Masonry Units).
A concrete block is a precast product, meaning it is formed and hardened before being taken to the construction site. The blocks are made from cement mixed with sand, gravel, or other aggregates. The mixture is poured into molds that form the shape of the block. Once the concrete sets, it’s compressed and then bonded together to create a solid block of material resistant to cracking and water damage.
As already mentioned, concrete blocks are especially good for building foundations and giving a solid base for your home, garage, or shed. Let’s look at several properties of concrete blocks.
Properties of Concrete Blocks
Differences Between Cinder and Concrete Blocks
You’re probably looking for the best material to build your walls but don’t have much experience deciding the best material. That’s when it helps to differentiate between cinder and concrete blocks.
Concrete blocks are heavier than cinder blocks because they comprise sand and stone. Cinder blocks are much lighter, thus easier to transport and handle. They also take less time to install since they don’t need much force when lifting them.
The lighter weight of cinder blocks is helpful when carrying them around, but it can be a disadvantage if you want to build a wall to withstand heavy loads.
Cinder blocks have a lifespan of up to 80 years. On the flip side, concrete blocks can last up to 100 years. The difference in longevity depends on the quality of construction and materials used. Cinder blocks are not as strong as concrete blocks and may crack or crumble if not well-built.
The initial cost of cinder blocks is less than that of concrete blocks. This is because they are made of cinders, which can be easily manufactured.
Concrete blocks have a higher initial cost. Manufacturing them requires more cement, sand, and gravel. The processes involved in making them are also more complex than those used to make cinder blocks.
Though the initial cost of concrete blocks is higher, they’re cheaper as they need minimal maintenance. On the other hand, cinder blocks cost less but require more maintenance which makes the costs add up quickly.
Concrete blocks are stronger than cinder blocks because they have cement as an ingredient that makes them harden faster and increases their tensile strength. On the other hand, cinder blocks aren’t strong enough to endure high pressure.
Cinder blocks are made from fly ash, a byproduct of coal-fired power plants. Fly ash is a fine powder used as an additive in concrete mixtures. It reduces the amount of cement needed in the mix. Ash is helpful in the construction of wall units in concrete blocks. This means that in cinder blocks, ash is an ingredient, but it’s not an ingredient in concrete blocks.
Cinder Block vs. Concrete Block: Which One Is Right for You?
Concrete blocks are your best bet if you’re looking for building blocks that will last for years with minimal maintenance. But if the initial cost is an issue and you don’t mind doing some upkeep now and then, cinder blocks may be a better option for you. But remember, their maintenance cost is higher than concrete block
Concrete blocks are strong. You can use them to construct any structure. Cinder blocks are outdated construction elements only ideal for small construction projects.
Both cinder and concrete blocks are designed with the same purpose and function in mind. But they each offer their unique advantages and disadvantages. Depending on your needs and lifestyle, one may be better than the other for some situations.
Your project may be a large or a small one. If you have the right building supplies, excellent craftsmanship, and an eye for detail, your cinder or concrete blocks will work to complement your project’s design.
Featured Image Credit: (L) zhengchengbao, Shutterstock | (R) Kutcenko, Shutterstock