We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Masonry Blocks?

By Sonal Panse
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
About Mechanics is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At About Mechanics, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Masonry blocks, also known as concrete masonry units (CMU), are prefabricated blocks, either solid or hollow, that have been used in construction since 1882. They are economical, environmentally sound, and provide excellent structural strength to residential, commercial and industrial buildings in rural and urban areas. They also happen to be fire resistant, long-lasting and require minimum maintenance.

These blocks are available in two grades determined by compressive strength and purpose. CMUs in both grades are load-bearing, but differ in the type of concrete wall they are used in. Grade N blocks are suitable for below grade and above grade exterior walls. Grade S blocks, on the other hand, are used only for above grade exterior walls with weatherproof finish, or in walls unexposed to weather elements.

Size, type and form-wise, the blocks vary widely. The nominal, standard size is 8 by 8 by 16 inches (20.32 by 20.32 by 40.64 cm). The different block types are regular concrete, cinder or breeze, clinker and aerated. They come in block forms like stretcher, split-face, sill, lintel, coping, corner, screen, concrete brick and shadow.

The basic materials used in the production of regular, high density masonry blocks are Portland cement, sand, gravel and water. This mix is modified in the case of low density cinder and clinker blocks by replacing the sand and gravel aggregates with fly ash, down ash, coke, coal, etc. Lightweight aerated blocks are a blend of sand, cement, aluminum powder and water.

Additives are usually added to the concrete mixes to give the blocks durable, water-repellent and coloring properties. The proportions in which the materials are mixed and the methods of production are instrumental in making blocks of differing strengths and textures. The mixing and production is carried out by machines.

In the production process, wet concrete mixes or mixes with a very limited amount of water are put into machine molds, compacted and vibrated. They are next cured at a high temperature and allowed to set solid. The masonry blocks are then ready to be used in construction.

Construction using masonry blocks is speedy and compatible with conventional masonry supplies. It requires standard 3/8 inch (0.95 cm) mortar joints, and the hollow cores can be reinforced with steel or concrete wherever required. A block masonry wall structure provides excellent thermal and sound insulation, and is usually painted or stuccoed for aesthetic appeal and weather protection.

It is best to take professional advice as well as consult local building regulations before commencing with construction. Different areas have different rules about the use of masonry blocks. In some parts of the USA, for instance, concrete blocks are not allowed for foundations, while in the UK the use of breeze blocks has been discontinued.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.