Cinder block wall a DIY project?

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  #1  
Old 06-03-05, 09:44 AM
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Cinder block wall a DIY project?

I have some experience mixing concrete and am confident of my DIY skills. I am going too far by thinking I can build my own cinder block wall? The wall will be on level ground, and be a 6' tall privacy fence between my house and my neighbor's house. We are both tired of the termites from the existing old wood fence. I am replacing another wood fence now, but I am having trouble finding information about a cinder block fence on the web. Is this because it's not a DIY project?
 
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Old 06-03-05, 10:12 AM
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you might try changing your search terms, I rarely hear them called "cinder blocks."

There should be lots of help online if you search for "cement blocks" instead. In my opinion, it's definately a DIY project, provided you have an eye for detail, stringlines, a long level to help keep things straight, and can mix mortar to a good stiff consistancy- stiff enough to hold the weight of the block, but thin enough to squeeze out slightly when you set and wiggle the block.
 
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Old 06-03-05, 06:04 PM
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Cinder block wall a DIY project?

Tyger-

If you are building a concrete block wall 6 feet high you probably will need a permit. In addtion, you may want to have it designed so it doesn't fall on top of someone (like your kids). Anything 6 feet high and 8 inches wide has a tendancy to fall over when pushed unless it designed and built properly. There are numerous examples (high winds, earthquakes) where walls were turned into instant concrete patios or walkways.

In addition to conventional masonry, one other construction method you may be interested in is the Allan Fence Block. Go to http://Allanblock.com >Contractor>Fence System. This is an interlocking system for privacy walls that can be built by DIYrs. There is no continuous footing, but is built on a series of piers that can be excavted by a DIYr and can avoid all the utilities (if you know where they are). I have seen this and similar walls built in the U.S. and other countries by unskilled labor.

By the way -
Looking for cinder block will not get far on the web because you are not looking for the correct item.

The common acceptable and descriptive term is "concrete block". Most people in the construction business understand what it is. The common technical term is loadbearing concrete masonry unit (CMU) as described in codes (IBC) and standards (ASTM).

Cinder block is an old term that was used for the low quality units made mainly in the east between 1900 and about 1940. They used waste cinders from trains and coal burning furnaces. Strictly a junk product from a uniformity, quality and appearance standpoint. You may be able to find some, but they are normally used in hidden places like underground coal mines. Modern concrete block are made from cement and aggregate. The aggregate may be natural (sand, gravel, pumice, scoria, volcanic cinders) or manufactured (expanded clay or shale). Lighweight block are made using lighter aggregates (pumice, scoria or expanded clay and shale) mixed with heavier aggregates. Lightweight block insulate better, have greater fire resistance and are slightly more costly, but are cheaper to lay. Normal weight block are made from heavier aggregates (sand & gravel) and are cheaper to buy. Both types have the same minimum strength requirements, but strengths up to 2 or 3 times the minumum strength are possible.

Loadbearing block buildings using block bearing walls without any steel or concrete columns are common for multi-family housing. The most advanced masonry construction is in Brazil where 15 to 21 story buildings for apartments and condos are commonly built using 6 inch thick block walls. The codes there are similar to U.S. standards, but they are used better by the Brazilian engineers and contractors.

The term cinder block wall is as incorrect as the term cement driveway.

Dick
 
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Old 08-21-06, 06:12 PM
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Cinder block walls

Originally Posted by Tyger52
I have some experience mixing concrete and am confident of my DIY skills. I am going too far by thinking I can build my own cinder block wall? The wall will be on level ground, and be a 6' tall privacy fence between my house and my neighbor's house. We are both tired of the termites from the existing old wood fence. I am replacing another wood fence now, but I am having trouble finding information about a cinder block fence on the web. Is this because it's not a DIY project?
I just finished my cinder block wall that is 120' long X 8' tall. I considered doing it myself until I realized I didn't want to take the time to learn how to lay block. It takes lots of practice. I was under time constraints so I contracted it out. The best price I received was $4.00 per block and the highest was $7.00 per block and that's with me buying the blocks, mortar, caps, sand, and steel. All together: $9,500. This is in southeast tx. I used the $4.00 per block and it came out beautiful!
 
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Old 08-21-06, 06:21 PM
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It is not really a DIY project, since it has to be engineered and permitted.
 
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Old 08-23-06, 04:14 PM
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Engineering

Thanks for the replies. I checked out Allan blocks but that too seems to require an engineer to come to my house which may mean I might as well as do conventional block fencing.

But on the other hand, the last thing I want is my fence to fall. I checked with my city and they say I can take the permit out, which is great because I would want them to verify I am doing it right.

Labor costs here in Socal are high, so if I had to spend $10K as Tscarborough did on a new fence including the labor, I am willing to learn how to stack blocks to save $5K or more.

I have a Black & Decker book on Masonary and it shows how to do a concrete block wall but I want to make sure I am doing it right. Where would I find an expert or website who could give me step by step instruction and tips?
 
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Old 08-23-06, 04:52 PM
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Cinder block wall a DIY project?

Since you are in sesmic country, you don't just stack up some blocks. You will need a footing to resist the tipping and vertical rebar and grout in some of the cores.

That method of construction is so common, I am sure there are some standard construction designs and details available from your municipality or a neighboring one.

I think Black and Decker may be better equipped for tools and wood than block constuction. You can get good books from the Portland Cement Association (PCA) or just call Orco Block for some guidance on information. They may even know a small contractor or two.

Dick
 
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Old 08-23-06, 07:28 PM
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I still say it is a bad idea. Have you considered just using architectural masonry for the columns (metal posts for intermediate) and wood for the fence? Done properly, the wood will not be in contact with the ground which should eliminate the termite issue. Cost and safety are my concerns, as well as the quality of the finished product.


Mixing concrete is to laying block as an omlette is to a crepe' suzette.
 
  #9  
Old 08-24-06, 01:52 PM
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Talking PCA is great

Thanks for all the answers. The tip on PCA was helpful. Tscarborough's line "Mixing concrete is to laying block as an omlette is to a crepe' suzette" is great. Maybe cooking could be another DIY forum.

I should clarify and did not mean to imply laying block is easy, especially since I have never done it. The wall in question is between my house and my neighbor, so the public won't see it.

Wood may be what my neighbor will agree to anyway, although we both have had termite damage on our houses and fence but his side of the fence is far worse. I am trying to decide if I should even bother buying more books.

I knew I needed vertical rebar and a deep footing. I just don't know all the details, but it still doesn't seem that hard.
 
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