Cinder blocks are a popular building material for many projects such as foundations, garden walls, fire pits, retaining walls, benches and more.
While there’s the standard design that looks like a square figure 8, there are actually many different cinder block designs, shapes and sizes. We set them out below.
Table of Contents
- Cinder Block Dimensions Chart
- Cinder Block Frequently Asked Questions
- When were cinder blocks invented? Who invented cinder blocks?
- Are cinder blocks waterproof?
- Can cinder blocks be recycled?
- How long do cinder blocks last?
- Can you paint cinder blocks?
- What are cinder blocks made from?
- How are cinder blocks made?
- How much do cinder blocks cost?
- How much do cinder blocks weigh?
- Can you drill into cinder blocks? Are special drills and/or drill bits needed?
Related: Cinder block wall cost calculator
Cinder Block Dimensions Chart
Note: when calculating how many cinder blocks you need, you must take into account space for mortar in between the blocks.
Cinder Block Frequently Asked Questions
When were cinder blocks invented? Who invented cinder blocks?
Cinder blocks were first invented in the 1830s by an American inventor named Harmon S. Palmer. The cinder block was not the only thing Palmer invented. Among his invention was also the cinder block making machine. This machine made it possible to mass-produce cinder blocks and overall advanced the cinder block and construction industries, making the cinder block high in demand during the late 1900s.
Are cinder blocks waterproof?
Cinder blocks are not waterproof and can easily leak in comparison to poured over concrete. However, certain measures can be taken to make cinder blocks waterproof which can increase the lifespan of cinder blocks.
Can cinder blocks be recycled?
Cinder blocks can be both reused and recycled. If a cinder block seems in perfect condition and does not show any signs of wear and tear, it can be reused for another project. On the other hand, if a cinder block shows major signs of wear and tear and has cracks, it cannot be reused for another project. Therefore, these damaged cinder blocks can be crushed down and mixed into cast concrete as an aggregate to create other cinder blocks.
How long do cinder blocks last?
A cinder block can generally last a good while. The average lifespan of a typical 8″x8″x16″ cinder block is about 100 years. Improper handling, constant exposure to harsh conditions, and inconsistent care can lower a cinder block’s lifespan.
Can you paint cinder blocks?
Yes, you can paint on cinder blocks. In fact, it is highly recommended to use a weather-resistant latex and acrylic paint for cinder blocks because it prevents the cinder block from major damages as well as give any space a pop of color and atmosphere.
What are cinder blocks made from?
Depending on if a cinder block is of high-density or low-density, the components in the aggregate may vary. If a cinder block is of high-density, the cast concrete is mixed with an aggregate that usually contains sand and fine gravel. If a cinder block is of low-density, the cast concrete is mixed with an aggregate that usually contains industrial wastes such as fly ash or bottom ash. Regardless if the cinder block is high-density or low-density, the “recipes” for both types of cinder blocks require cast concrete and an aggregate.
How are cinder blocks made?
Many people might think that making cinder blocks require hard labor, but the production of cinder blocks is easier than one may think. Depending on if high-density or low-density cinder blocks are produced, the cast concrete is mixed with the ideal aggregate for the different type of cinder block. If it is a high-density cinder block, the sand and fine gravel aggregate is mixed with the cast concrete, and if it is a low-density cinder block, the fly ash or bottom ash aggregate is mixed with the cast concrete. This mixture is then transferred to the cinder making machine where it pours the mixture into the cinder block mold. There are many variables of these molds in order to produce different sizes of cinder blocks. The machine then compresses the mixture into the mold which creates the infamous cinder block shape. The machine then transfers the freshly compressed cinder blocks into a storage rack that will be placed outside in the sun in order to dry and harden.
How much do cinder blocks cost?
Many people who are not familiar with construction and architecture may think that cinder blocks are expensive. In reality, cinder blocks are affordable for people working on small-scale projects. A typical 8″x8″x16″ cinder block has a price of about $1-$3 at a local hardware store, but they can also be found for as low as $0.97.
How much do cinder blocks weigh?
The weight of a cinder block may vary depending on the size and material of the cinder block. If it is a high-density cinder block, it can weigh around 10 pounds more than a low-density cinder block. A typical 8″x8″x16″ high-density cinder block should weigh about 30-35 pounds, and a typical 8″x8″x16″ low-density cinder block can weigh roughly about 25 pounds on average.
Can you drill into cinder blocks? Are special drills and/or drill bits needed?
Drilling into cinder blocks is a rather easy and possible task, but it can become a rather difficult journey without the correct tools for the job. The typical drill for wood and metal might have the power to drill through the cinder block, but it can take a few hours to complete at most 4 holes. A hammer drill can make the work easier and quicker with a much more powerful motor and sharper drill bit, but it can still take a few hours to drill a couple of more holes. A rotary hammer drill is a perfect tool for drilling into the tough cinder blocks. Just make sure to wear the correct protective equipment.
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