Cinder blocks are a popular building material for many different projects. They are typically used as an essential building material when creating building foundations, garden walls, fire pits, retaining walls, benches, a raised garden bed, and so many more structures.
While the most commonly recognized cinder block design looks like a square figure eight, there are actually many different cinder block designs, as well as shapes and sizes.
The most common actual size for a cinder block is 16 inches by eight inches by eight inches. We’ve provided a chart below with the different cinder block dimensions, shapes, and sizes.
Cinder Block Dimensions Chart
Note: when calculating how many cinder blocks are needed for a project, one must take into account space for mortar in between the cinder blocks.
Mortar is a mixture made of lime, water, cement, and sand that is used to bond items like bricks and cinder blocks together when building a brick wall or cinder block foundation or similar masonry structure.
Cinder Block Dimensions Frequently Asked Questions
When were cinder blocks invented? Who invented cinder blocks?
Cinder blocks were invented in the 1830s by an American named Harmon S. Palmer. The cinder block is one of many creations that Palmer invented throughout his career. Also among his inventions was the cinder block making machine.
This machine made it possible to mass-produce cinder blocks and keep the cinder block dimensions consistent, which helped to advance both the cinder block and later construction industries.
This machine and the mass production of cinder blocks also allowed the cinder block to become a popular and essential element for construction and building materials during the late 1900s.
Are cinder blocks waterproof?
Cinder blocks are not waterproof. They can easily leak when compared to poured concrete or concrete blocks used in creating a concrete wall or foundation .
However, certain measures can be taken to waterproof cinder blocks. This is encouraged, as waterproofing cinder blocks can increase the lifespan of the cinder block.
Can cinder blocks be recycled?
Cinder blocks can be both reused and recycled, making them a responsible ecological construction material. If a cinder block seems to be 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/or has cracks, it should not be reused. That said, damaged cinder blocks can be reused in a different way: they can be crushed into gravel, and then mixed into cast concrete as an aggregate to create other cinder blocks to be used in construction.
How long do cinder blocks last?
A cinder block can generally last a good while. The average lifespan of a typical 8 inch x 8 inch x 16 inch cinder block is about 100 years. However, 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 cinder blocks. In fact, it is highly recommended that one use a weather-resistant latex and acrylic paint on cinder blocks to help prolong their life.
This practice is encouraged because such materials can help prevent the cinder block from sustaining major damages. It can also give any space an interesting pop of color, especially if you’re building a cinder block wall!
What are cinder blocks made from?
The components in the aggregate that make up a cinder block vary depending if a cinder block is a high density or low density cinder block . If a cinder block is high-density, the cast concrete is mixed with an aggregate that usually contains sand and fine gravel.
If a cinder block is low-density, the cast concrete is mixed with an aggregate that usually contains industrial wastes such as fly ash or bottom ash. Regardless whether if the cinderblock is high- or low-density, the “recipes” for both types of cinder blocks require cast concrete and an aggregate, where the aggregate is a type of ash or sand and fine gravel.
How are cinder blocks made?
Many think that the creation of cinder blocks requires hard labor. It makes sense, as these construction materials are heavy and large. However, it is untrue that making cinder blocks requires hard labor: the production of cinder blocks is easier than one may think, especially thanks to Palmer’s invention, the cinder block making machine.
Depending on which type of cinder block is desired (low- or high-density cinder blocks), cast concrete is mixed with the ideal aggregate for the different type of cinder block.
If a high-density cinder block is desired, a sand and fine gravel aggregate is mixed with cast concrete. If a low-density cinder block is desired, a fly ash or bottom ash aggregate is mixed with cast concrete. This mixture is then transferred to the cinder block making machine, which pours the mixture into the cinder block mold.
There are many variations of these molds, which can produce different cinder block sizes and shapes. The machine then compresses the mixture into the mold, which creates the easily-recognizable 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 for the compressed mixture to dry and harden. Once fully dry and solid, the cinder block can be used in construction and building projects, usually with mortar in between the cinder blocks to keep them in place.
How much do cinder blocks cost?
Those who are not familiar with construction and building materials may think that cinder blocks are expensive. It makes sense that people might think so, because cinder blocks are so large and heavy.
In reality, cinder blocks are quite affordable! A typical 8″x8″x16″ cinder block costs about $1-$3 at a local hardware store. Cinder blocks can also be found for costs as low as $0.97 each.
How much do cinder blocks weigh?
The weight of a cinder block varies depending on the cinder block size and the material with which it was made. 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.
Can you drill into cinder blocks? Are special drills and/or drill bits required to do this?
Drilling into cinder blocks can be an easy task. However, drilling into cinder blocks does require the correct tools for the job. A 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 a handful of holes.
A hammer drill can make the work easier and quicker because of its much more powerful motor and sharper drill bit. However, using a hammer drill on a cinder block won’t be much faster than using a wood drill.
A rotary hammer drill is the perfect tool for drilling into tough cinder blocks. Also, make sure to wear the correct protective equipment!