Concrete block has been a popular building material for centuries. There are many good reasons to utilize it, but this material has its disadvantages as well. Learn about the pros and cons of building with concrete block so you always know the best situations in which to use it.
Advantages to Concrete Block Building
There are a number of reasons why using concrete block may suit your building lot, your area of the country, and your needs.
A home built with concrete blocks does not suffer from the same number of insect infestations as wood construction homes. For example, termites are virtually unknown when you construct with concrete.
Resistant to Natural Disasters
With proper construction, including steel rods and a cement/sand/pebble mixture in the blocks’ voids, concrete block homes are able to withstand vicious hurricane winds. They are able to handle tornadoes without a problem and most earthquakes as well.
If the home is subjected to a fire, there is much less chance of extensive damage in a fire as well. Few concrete block homes collapse after fires.
Unaffected by Extreme Temperatures
Concrete block is highly resistant to cracking and crumbling in extreme temperatures, unlike poured concrete.
Sound and Air Insulated
A well-built, concrete block home is virtually soundproof, as long as doors and windows are well insulated. They also insulate against cold and heat and help a home use less energy to maintain comfortable temperatures.
Concrete block typically comes in a smooth finish, but can also be found in a more decorative, split finish that many people find more attractive. Concrete blocks accept any color or type of stucco very well. You can also install siding over a concrete block home with the proper tools, so the exterior of a concrete block home can look modern, trendy, or traditional.
Disadvantages of Concrete Block Construction
There are some concerns with concrete block construction, so you will want to consider them before beginning your home building project.
If you live in an area with a high water table, then using concrete blocks for your basement can lead to seepage and water damage. This will need to be countered with quality waterproofing material and paint. Once appropriate drainage is installed around the home and interior waterproofing is complete, you should not have a problem with flooding.
If you have a builder who does not have a vision for the creative exteriors that can be put on a concrete block building, then you may end up with a structure that looks commercial. You or your builder—or both—should educate yourselves on the many creative ways of finishing concrete block homes and learn about the decorative finishes you purchase to counter this.
Cost of Block
The cost of building with concrete blocks can be higher than traditional frame construction. Money varies across time and regions, but they can cost up to three times as much as the 2x4s and drywall typically used for construction.