A cinder block, also known as a concrete masonry unit or (CMU), is useful for a variety of building projects. In fact, I recently used some to build some steps in my back yard. I didn’t want to overload my vehicle, so I needed to know what they weigh. So, I did some research and made a couple of calls, and this is what I learned.
A typical 8″ by 8″ by 16″ cinder block has an average weight of about 38 pounds (17 kilograms) depending on the application it is being utilized for. This weight may vary based on the weight capacity, size, and overall project you are undertaking.
Here are the typical weights of common cinder block sizes:
|Cinder Block Size||Weight|
|8-in x 8-in x 16-in||38 lbs (17 kg)|
|8-in x 8-in x 8-in||14 lbs (6 kg)|
|4-in x 8-in x 16-in||27 lbs (12 kg)|
|12-in x 8-in x 16-in||55 lbs (25 kg)|
|8-in x 2-in x 16-in Cap||15 lbs (7 kg)|
|4-in x 8-in x 16-in Cap||35 lbs (16 kg)|
Now, let’s dive into a few other questions you might have.
How Much Weight Can Cinder Blocks Withstand?
Concrete cinder blocks are engineered to withstand over 1,700 pounds (771 kilograms) of weight per square inch.
Weight Difference Between Concrete and Cinder Blocks
Concrete blocks tend to weigh significantly more than cinder blocks. This is mainly due to their composition of cement, sand, and gravel. With a higher sand content within the formula mixture, concrete blocks transform into a much more rigid product that holds better when removed from its mold.
The concrete mixture yields a more durable product capable of withstanding a lot more punishment than cinder blocks. However, this adds roughly 10 more pounds than a cinder block. Concrete blocks weigh around 36 pounds (16 kilograms).
Cinder blocks, on the other hand, are the preferred product for contractors because of their lower weight. Unfortunately, cinder blocks’ high porosity properties make them more susceptible to water intrusion, moisture, white residue, and other elements that may cause significant issues during the project or, even worse, post-completion.
Although it may take years, cinder blocks will eventually lose their water integrity and begin the process of absorbing moisture. This flaw ultimately allows unwanted moisture into the covered structure.
Bottom Line: Most “cinder” blocks that you buy from Lowe’s or Home depot, will actually be made from concrete and a bit heavier than what a contractor might purchase. The latter will be lighter on average.
What Are Cinder Blocks Typically Used For?
Although immensely versatile, the cinder block’s primary usage consists of building a wide array of walls. These include both interior and exterior structural walls, basement walls, partition, and retaining walls.
Additionally, they may be used to reinforce existing walls–especially when the addition of reinforcement bars is present.
How Much Does a Standard Cinder Block Cost?
Depending on your geographical location, vendor, and block style/size, standard cinder blocks (8 x 8 x 16) can be acquired for an average ranging from $1-$3 each. This is usually on the low-scale and relatively inexpensive.
However, if you are planning a DIY project which requires a significant amount, this can become costly but, more importantly, difficult to move from one place to another. Warehouses will tend to have lower prices when you buy in bulk, so stocking up will reduce your project size.
Cost of a Basic Wall
The average cost of a cinder block wall is roughly $475 – $655. In other words, per square footage, you are looking at $9-$12. This, of course, can be reduced if you take on the project on your own.
If your budget is not an issue, there are many options that provide unique finishes to your wall. For an additional cost, decorative finishes can be added to your wall achieving a more refined and sophisticated look.
How Do You Stack Cinder Blocks Properly?
With basic tools at hand, laying cinder blocks is simple. The most important thing to remember is the stacking them with the openings facing the sky. This allows for high walls (if needed) while provided stability and structure.
Be sure to fill the gaps and openings with mortar correctly. This will help with keeping proper alignment and spacing as required for your individual project.
How Do You Seal Cinder Blocks?
Properly sealing your cinder block walls will provide exceptional structural integrity. In fact, if done correctly, the average wall can withstand moisture and prevent intrusion from the elements.
A thorough application of a concrete sealer must be applied before painting to achieve a proper seal and eliminate water seepage.
Step by Step Guide to Sealing Cinder Blocks
- Ensure to remove all paint, lose concrete, dirt, and all powdery particles (efflorescence) to generate a clean, porous, and rough surface.
- Use either a wire brush, grinder, and/or paint stripper to achieve this step. Light pressure washing is also recommended if available.
- Wait for complete dryness–do not rush into the next step until you have given the blocks plenty of time to dry off completely.
- Dry time may be lowered if you apply proper ventilation by adding fans and/or natural wind.
- Apply an even coat of your choice sealing product to your wall. Follow instructions on coating and repeat if necessary. Depending on the product you choose, they may have a final application for further sealing.
Can You Paint Cinder Blocks?
Painting cinder blocks, whether for interior or exterior walls, is no different than painting any other surface. The only main difference is the type of paint it requires. Specialty masonry paint is the ideal covering.
However, provided your wall is properly sealed and primed, regular wall paint may be used and will have the same desired effect. Base your decision on the amount of exposure to natural elements.
Overall, cinder blocks may be the most versatile building material on the planet. Anytime I have a home or landscaping projects, we can’t help but consider them as a cheap and easy to work with option.
I hope this article has given you all the information you need to tackle your own project. Thanks for reading!
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