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Rosalinemg

Jun 8, 2009, 1:02 PM

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Cinder block vs brick

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We are thinking of building a new house and are looking into what kind of construction to use. We need to keep out cost as reasonable as possble. I notice that one of the posters to this forum is using cinder blocks to build their house and am curious as to if it is cheaper to go this way, or to build with traditional bricks. Does anyone know the cost difference of eg a 420 sq.ft home between cinder blocks and brick construction?



Rolly


Jun 8, 2009, 3:39 PM

Post #2 of 33 (25164 views)

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Re: [Rosalinemg] Cinder block vs brick

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I checked into the question several years ago before starting my building projects. There seemed to be little difference in cost, but the mason we wanted to use was very strong on bricks, so we followed his suggestion.

In my case, both the concrete blocks and the bricks were locally made. If one were locally made and the other shipped in, the local item would probably be a good bit cheaper.

Rolly Pirate


(This post was edited by Rolly on Jun 8, 2009, 3:40 PM)


BajaGringo


Jun 23, 2009, 12:48 AM

Post #3 of 33 (25077 views)

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Re: [Rosalinemg] Cinder block vs brick

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The cost difference for cinder blocks vs cement blocks that we used in our project was about 10% more but the difference in insulation qualities makes a big difference. We live in an area where lots of volcanic material is readily available - if not in your area and it needs to be trucked in the difference could be greater...


Our House Building Project in Mexico...
Lomas de San Martin
Loving Life on the Baja Peninsula


sparks


Jun 23, 2009, 3:16 PM

Post #4 of 33 (25040 views)

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Re: [Rosalinemg] Cinder block vs brick

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Cement block or hollow 'cinder' block. Around here we only have cement solid block but I'm sure the other could be shipped down from Guad.

Cement block is larger than the normal brick. Cement block is $2800 per 1000 and brick is $1800. I have been using a larger red brick at $2500 per 1000. Cement holds up better in moisture than red brick

Sparks Mexico - Sparks Costalegre


BajaGringo


Jun 23, 2009, 4:28 PM

Post #5 of 33 (25027 views)

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Re: [sparks] Cinder block vs brick

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Sparks - are you quoting pesos or dollars???


Our House Building Project in Mexico...
Lomas de San Martin
Loving Life on the Baja Peninsula


Rosalinemg

Jun 23, 2009, 4:53 PM

Post #6 of 33 (25024 views)

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Re: [BajaGringo] Cinder block vs brick

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Thank you for the quote Sparks. I too was wondering if that is dollars or pesos. We are in Mazatlan, so moisture is a factor here. I do see where they are biulding a lot of the INFONAVID? houses here, so am assuming it probably is cheaper and probably faster to use blocks.


Rolly


Jun 23, 2009, 6:25 PM

Post #7 of 33 (25019 views)

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Re: [Rosalinemg] Cinder block vs brick

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The language police strike again: There is no such thing as a cement block; they are concrete blocks. Cement is one of the ingredients that go into concrete -- cement, sand, aggregate and water. The aggregate is usually small stones (gravel).

If the aggregate is cinders (a by-product of burning coal), then they are called cinder blocks. Cinder blocks have very poor tensile strength. They have been outlawed in the UK, and they are not common in the USA despite the fact that the name lives on as a misnomer for concrete blocks. I very much doubt you will find actual cinder blocks in México. I sure would not use them to build a house.

Rolly Pirate


BajaGringo


Jun 23, 2009, 7:07 PM

Post #8 of 33 (25004 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Cinder block vs brick

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Actually you are correct about the "cement" blocks Rolly - I simply translated the terms as used out here. Blocks used in construction are either made of "cemento" or "piedra volcanica", based on the local vernacular of albañiles. We do have the cinder blocks out here in Baja in the volcano regions and they cost about 10% more than the standard blocks. A lot of the homes out here are built with them.

As far as the tensile strength of the blocks, in proper home construction that should not really be a factor. The real strength of a properly constructed block home is in the steel re-enforced concrete box structure of footings, columns and headers. What you fill in between the box created is more filler and should not be needed to provide tensile strength if the home is constructed properly. If you are relying on the blocks for tensile strength you will surely show cracks over time, no matter what kind of block you use. That is an indicator of poor ground compaction / construction technique.

Many cement/concrete block homes will commonly show cracks under windows over the years as the house settles along the mortar lines between blocks. This is a typical weak point. In cement/concrete block, the mortar adheres to the surface and very little is absorbed. Cinder blocks are more porous and the mortar will absorb much deeper into the block giving better adherence and typically fewer if any crack lines over time.

The thermal properties of cinder block are quite advantageous in keeping a home cooler in summer and warmer in winter which made them our material of choice.

YMMV


Our House Building Project in Mexico...
Lomas de San Martin
Loving Life on the Baja Peninsula


(This post was edited by BajaGringo on Jun 23, 2009, 7:08 PM)


sparks


Jun 24, 2009, 2:28 AM

Post #9 of 33 (24972 views)

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Re: [BajaGringo] Cinder block vs brick

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Pesos or dollars .... I can put up all the walls for $2500 dollars

Sparks Mexico - Sparks Costalegre


Ustlach


Jun 29, 2009, 11:06 AM

Post #10 of 33 (24892 views)

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Re: [sparks] Cinder block vs brick

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I am rather interest in the actual prices of brick, but not the crumbly red kind, but the more solid ones. I think they are called aldoquin or something close to that.

I asked the civil engineer in charge of building the house I live in to put in a brick patio for me in my back yard. I asked him to do only the west half. Actually, I did none of the asking/speaking. My Mexican partner did all the talking to avoid any confusion and the surcharge for Americans. He never laid eyes on my blond, blue-eyed person.

The engineer bricked in the entire back yard. I was not displeased with the outcome and since the price was the same, I did not complain about it. It looked great.

Now, with the Sonoran spring and summer bearing down on us, the back yard with its brick patio and ten foot high cinder block walls (I am aware they are not really cinder blocks) ... it is a pizza oven out there.

So I had a section of brick (aldoquin) about 15'x12' removed, a concrete retaining wall built to hold up the rest of the brick from the resulting pit, and "river" dirt brought in (as if there were any rivers around here).

Now I have a huge stack of near new brick (aldoquin) and several Mexican friends wanting "to buy" them.

There was never anything in writing about the original work, except an agreement for the work and materials and a specific price. So I have no idea how much the aldoquin cost and I can't find them in any of the usual places, like Home Depot.

So how much for a brick? An aldoquin? The soft ones at Home Depot with holes in them are 4 pesos each and weigh about 1/4 what one of these aldoquin weighs. They are quite solid. Wouldn't 2 pesos each be fair?


sparks


Jun 29, 2009, 5:28 PM

Post #11 of 33 (24866 views)

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Re: [Ustlach] Cinder block vs brick

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Only you know what these are ... but they sound like some kind of paver. My concrete blocks would not make an attractive patio - again 1000 for 2800 pesos. Finished pavers should be more depending on size

Once I decide I won't use something or have room for it, in Mexico especially, I let it go. Half price, quarter price .... who needs it most

Sparks Mexico - Sparks Costalegre


morgaine7


Jun 29, 2009, 6:26 PM

Post #12 of 33 (24853 views)

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Re: [Ustlach] Cinder block vs brick

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A buddy of mine has adaquine (he pronounces it like that) on his patio, and it is definitely a paver because he gave me a few pieces to weight down my pool cover. Color is lighter red than brick, and it's heavier with some kind of conglomerate mixed in. I've emailed to ask the cost.

Edit: He says "adoquine", but it has been years since he bought it, and he doesn't know the current price, sorry!

Kate

(This post was edited by morgaine7 on Jun 29, 2009, 6:28 PM)


Manuel Dexterity

Jul 1, 2009, 1:33 PM

Post #13 of 33 (24802 views)

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Re: [morgaine7] Cinder block vs brick

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Actually they are called 'cement' blocks or 'block de cemento' in Mexico. They are either ´'hueco' or 'solído'. Another similar product is the 'tabicón' or cement brick. Both are generally made using either coarse or fine volcanic stone or 'jal.

Tensile strength never enters into the equation. Compressive strength is what concrete offers and the property sought in bricks or blocks. Concrete has roughly 10 times more compressive strength than tensile strength. If you want tensile strength you use steel. That is the purpose of rebar in posts and beams. Obviously blocks are not steel reinforced.

Contrary to what one poster states, the blocks do have an important role structurally. Because of their resistance to compression they have an integral role in a structures support. Load bearing walls, muros de carga, rely upon the compressive strength of the blocks or bricks and not just the beams. Take away the blocks or bricks and you must add significantly to the size of the posts and beams. This adds to increased costs of concrete and rebar.

In answer to another post, 'adoquín' is indeed a paver. They come in different sizes, shapes and colors and typically interlock. These are a good example of the compressive strength of unreinforced concrete and the lack of tensile strength. They are able to withstand heavy vehicular traffic but if dropped from a not very tall height you may break it.


(This post was edited by Tio Copas on Jul 1, 2009, 1:39 PM)


BajaGringo


Jul 5, 2009, 2:38 PM

Post #14 of 33 (24727 views)

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Re: [Tio Copas] Cinder block vs brick

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That will probably vary based on where you build. The northern Baja peninsula ties into the tail end of the San Andreas fault and we do experience occasional earthquakes. Using just block for load bearing walls will have some very bad results after a few tremors. Out here we have to use a lot of rebar reinforced concrete in the construction. Take a look at this one support header the engineer spec'd in my home - that is 3/4" rebar you see there. 1/2" was used in the vertical columns and 3/8" in the walls. Out here the block itself is more filler than actually providing structural strength in a properly built home.

At least that is how the civil engineer explained it to me. You can argue with him...





In Reply To
Contrary to what one poster states, the blocks do have an important role structurally. Because of their resistance to compression they have an integral role in a structures support. Load bearing walls, muros de carga, rely upon the compressive strength of the blocks or bricks and not just the beams. Take away the blocks or bricks and you must add significantly to the size of the posts and beams. This adds to increased costs of concrete and rebar.



Our House Building Project in Mexico...
Lomas de San Martin
Loving Life on the Baja Peninsula


Manuel Dexterity

Jul 5, 2009, 3:22 PM

Post #15 of 33 (24719 views)

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Re: [BajaGringo] Cinder block vs brick

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I have been building homes in Jalisco for nearly 25 years. I started working with by brother in law, an architect in Guadalajara. My son is currently a civil engineering student at the U de G.

If you will go back and read more carefully what I wrote, I said that load bearing walls don't rely solely on the beams (dalas) for strength. In fact the picture you posted only reaffirms what I was saying. You state that the dalas de cerramiento are made with 3/8" rebar. The unsupported trabe in your picture spanning an open area needs 3/4 rebar. Just look at the pic and you can't help but notice the difference between the two cages. Take a guess as to why the need for the larger size rebar?



As far as seismic activity, I was inside a home I was building in Barra de Navidad, Jalisco on October 9, 1995 when we suffered a 7.9 earthquake that lasted for one minute and thrity-six seconds. I also was around during the ensuing weeks and consulted with numerous government and insurance company engineers studying the damages. One of the leading causes of substantial structural failure were improperly constructed rebar cages.


BajaGringo


Jul 5, 2009, 4:03 PM

Post #16 of 33 (24705 views)

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Re: [Tio Copas] Cinder block vs brick

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No, we added 1/2" in the dalas. This beam is 3/4" as it will support a water tank eventually. I only answered your post because whether intended or not, it left the impression that the majority of the structural strength comes from the block, greatly reducing the need for rebar reinforced concrete. That simply is not true in this part of the world if you want to have a house in 10 years without a lot of cracks.

Nothing personal but I will stick with my civil engineer with 30+ years building in Baja...


Our House Building Project in Mexico...
Lomas de San Martin
Loving Life on the Baja Peninsula


Manuel Dexterity

Jul 5, 2009, 5:01 PM

Post #17 of 33 (24695 views)

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Re: [BajaGringo] Cinder block vs brick

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No, we added 1/2" in the dalas. This beam is 3/4" as it will support a water tank eventually. I only answered your post because whether intended or not, it left the impression that the majority of the structural strength comes from the block, greatly reducing the need for rebar reinforced concrete. That simply is not true in this part of the world if you want to have a house in 10 years without a lot of cracks.

Nothing personal but I will stick with my civil engineer with 30+ years building in Baja...


Hmmm...in a prior post I believe you said 1/2" was used in the vertical columns and 3/8" rebar in the walls which I took as meaning the beams in the walls. In fact in the picture it looks like 3/8 in the header beam above the block wall.

But regardless, you definitely should rely on your engineer as should anyone that hasn't actually built anything.

But if he did indeed tell you the blocks are merely filler and have no structural role you might want to ask to see his cédula profesional.


BajaGringo


Jul 5, 2009, 7:53 PM

Post #18 of 33 (24672 views)

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Re: [Tio Copas] Cinder block vs brick

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In the photo the rebar had not been tied to the armex used in the dala yet. The exact words of the engineer is that the block alone provides little actual structural support in the case of an earthquake. It is the rebar reinforced concrete in the footings, columns and dalas as well as the rebar and fill within the block itself that supports the house and walls. Or do you think that simple block itself will just stand up on its own in an earthquake? Maybe someone should look at your supposed work history a bit closer. It would be interesting to talk to some living in homes you have built to see how many of them have developed cracks over time.

The footings/columns/dala would stand on their own and not fall in an earthquake - blocks on their own would fall. His point was that the real strength in a home is not in the blocks. Not sure why you seem so keen to make an argument over this but the proof is in the pudding. He has built hundreds of homes over more than 30 years as a civil engineer that have withstood a myriad of Baja shakes and tremors. I have seen many of them and the quality of his work as well as spoken with many of his happy customers living in homes he built. They carry a lot more weight in my book than your anonomous posts and I resent your desire to belittle him, his knowledge and credentials...


Our House Building Project in Mexico...
Lomas de San Martin
Loving Life on the Baja Peninsula


Rolly


Jul 5, 2009, 8:26 PM

Post #19 of 33 (24666 views)

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Re: [BajaGringo] Cinder block vs brick

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Come on guys. You can exchange ideas and quote your authorities without getting personal about it. Please don't get my delete finger itchy.

Rolly Pirate


Manuel Dexterity

Jul 5, 2009, 9:03 PM

Post #20 of 33 (24654 views)

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Re: [BajaGringo] Cinder block vs brick

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I have NEVER said that the posts and beams aren't necessary or unimportant. I NEVER said that block walls should be built without posts and beams. I stated that the blocks or bricks in a load bearing wall are an important and integral part of the structure and are not just filler as you claim. You have misunderstood from the start and for some odd reason taken it personally.



The posts and beams along with the walls (brick or block) support the home. The posts and beams serve to resist lateral forces that the block walls alone cannot. That is where the cracking appears in seimic activity. The blocks serve as resistance to compression, the beams distribute weight evenly along the whole length of the wall. The wall also helps support the beam above and allows for the use of smaller dimension rebar. The ends of the walls are tied to the posts when the concrete is poured, that is why the block is laid up before the post is poured. The rebar in the post is left protruding above the last course of brick so it can be tied to the bonding beam's rebar cage. When the dala de cerramiento is poured you have tied your whole structure together. This construction technique is known as muros confinados.

As far as failure of footings, posts or beams during an earthquake, I saw first hand how improperly tied rebar cages led to complete structural failure. Undersized rebar, stirrups tied too far apart and failure to leave long enough rebar protrusions from the footings to tie the posts to were the main mistakes.

The house I was building at the time came through this major quake with very little damage. Up until then I had used the traditional firme subfloor which was a non-reinforced concrete pad poured between the footings. This buckled and had to be replaced. I was fortunate that I hadn't laid the tile yet. Since then and on the advice of the péritos I pour a monolithic slab which doesn't allow individual walls to move independently which was also a leading contributor to heavily damaged buildings. I also moved away from a poured roof and since then use a losa aligerada for all my entrepisos and roofs. I love removing all the weight I can off of the upper floors. The caseton also have far better thermal properties.

And starting several years ago I became a convert of foam panel construction. It far exceeds masonry walls in seismic resistence. Houses are cooler in summer and warmer in winter. If only the acoustics were better it would be an almost perfect system.


BajaGringo


Jul 5, 2009, 9:05 PM

Post #21 of 33 (24654 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Cinder block vs brick

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Sorry Rolly - just hate to see someone who is not here to defend himself be attacked. I will not respond further...


Our House Building Project in Mexico...
Lomas de San Martin
Loving Life on the Baja Peninsula


jreboll

Jul 5, 2009, 11:35 PM

Post #22 of 33 (24639 views)

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Re: [BajaGringo] Cinder block vs brick

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I love reading all this building "stuff." I built my house more than twenty years ago using only maestros and peons and this way I can see all things that I did wrong. I am just glad that the house has withstood time very well. I pray we never have a temblor in our area.
I started using an architect but fired him when I saw that the slopes on the roofs were not parallel. When I mentioned this to him he didn't know what the word "parallel" meant. Later I found out he had left a series of badly managed projects.


arbon

Jul 10, 2009, 3:34 PM

Post #23 of 33 (24552 views)

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Cinder block vs brick

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I am missing something in this thread....I see the "compression" strength in the masonry, and the "Tensile strength" in the reinforced posts and beams.

But I do not see the "Shear strength" in having no "diagonal" vertical components.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Manuel Dexterity

Jul 11, 2009, 7:04 AM

Post #24 of 33 (24513 views)

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Re: [arbon] Cinder block vs brick

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In Reply To
I am missing something in this thread....I see the "compression" strength in the masonry, and the "Tensile strength" in the reinforced posts and beams.

But I do not see the "Shear strength" in having no "diagonal" vertical components.


Here is your shear strength. Aftermath October 9, 1995 quake in Barra de Navidad.

[URL=http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/photo/2915591160099964167pcayQj]

Notice the water mark half way up the bottom of the wall. The lagoon rose at least 1.5m following the quake.

Foam panel wins hands down in this contest.


Moisheh

Dec 2, 2009, 6:27 AM

Post #25 of 33 (22217 views)

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Re: [Manuel Dexterity] Cinder block vs brick

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Reading this thread I am chuckling . Too many would be engineers. Here in Sonora you can forget about tensile strengths. Many of the blocks are poorly made. The mortar is not placed properly thus there is no strength!! Even the foundations are very poor. Large rocks surrounded by soupy concrete. NO STEEL!! When I built my shop I specified a proper grade beam and the first 3 courses have rebar and are filled with concrete. The local maestros tell me that brick has better insulating qualities than concrete blocks. Our house is concete block and I would guess an R value of minus1!!!!!! Wind and humididty seem to go right through the walls.


Moisheh
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