Concrete block has been used as a building material for over a century. In some regions, concrete block is also a common building material often used in housing. Basically, concrete blocks are made using products such as Portland cement, various aggregates, such as stone or quartz, and water. Are concrete block homes energy efficient?
In the construction industry, a concrete block is referred to as a concrete masonry unit or CMU. Concrete blocks can be full or hollow, with two or three cores or voids. Blocks also come in many standard shapes. Basically, concrete blocks are 16 inches long, 8 inches wide and 8 inches high, although their actual widths and heights are a quarter inch smaller. Concrete blocks are light, durable and fireproof, which makes them a useful material for building a house.
Benefits of concrete construction
Here are some other benefits that provide all specific forms:
- Significantly reduced outside noise
- Fire resistance
- It can prevent damage to underground termites and dry wood termites.
- Stronger than the wood border and resistant to gusts of wind
- Reduced HVAC loads, because their continuous wall assemblies reduce air infiltration and have inherently higher levels of insulation
- Concrete can also contain recycled content in the mix, obtaining additional support from people interested in building greenery
- Energy efficiency = mass of the concrete structure
Just looking at a piece of wood and then a concrete brick block explains why concrete houses are more energy efficient than timber frame houses. The mass of concrete slows down the heat flow through the wall. This means that with the same insulation, the concrete house stays warmer in winter and cooler in summer than a wooden house. In addition, a concrete wall does not have as much air leakage as a wall with a wooden frame – and air leakage accounts for a large percentage of energy losses in the home.
Poured concrete can simply be filled in the foundation hole and allowed to harden, while the concrete block must be properly built to avoid future buckling of the foundation. Unless cladding like stucco is applied to it, the concrete block has a basic industrial appearance that may not be attractive. Incorrectly built foundations and basements from concrete blocks can withstand damage caused by water on land with high water levels. Concrete is also more expensive as a building material than wood.
Concrete block houses are stable after placing inexpensive steel reinforcing bars and wet concrete in the cores. In this way, these houses can remain in good condition for years. However, houses built of wood are less expensive to build, not only because wood is light and abundant, but also because builders can quickly build such houses.