cement block raised beds


Old 02-22-10, 10:03 PM
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cement block raised beds

Hi I am new to this forum, but I have been reading post here for a few weeks. I am about to install 3 large raised beds made from 4X8X16 cement blocks. We are placing this in 6in of gravel that will be compacted. We are planning on using a surface bonded cement on the exterior, and filling corners with rebar/cement and at least 1 rebar cement post on each side. They will be 4ftX8ft and 2ft high. My question is weather or not it is necessary to cover the inside with the Surfaced bonded Cement. One of my wife's co workers(he is an architect) said it would be fine, but to press a layer of chicken wire to the outside and fasten that before adding the cement. I would like to avoid this as most Surface Bonded Cement instructions call for only 1/8in thick.
Another quick question, has anyone worked with this type of cement before? How smooth can the finish be, ideally we would like to replicate poured cement, but I think that is out of the question.
Thanks in advance to all who reply.
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Old 02-23-10, 08:03 AM
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No chicken wire, use the SBC in and out.
Old 02-23-10, 08:11 AM
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The surface bonding system was developed with both sides well coated (but not like plaster).Using the normal block terminology, 4x8x16 indicates a wall that is only only 4" and not very stable. I would look a 6x8x16 as a minimum.

For only 2' the small segmental retailing wall might be an option, since they are also set on a gravel base and no mortar or concrete is suggested by the developers and manufacturers. The bonus is that excess moisture can drain through the small joints instead of creating a swimming pool.

Old 02-23-10, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Chaz132 View Post
How smooth can the finish be, ideally we would like to replicate poured cement, but I think that is out of the question.
It would look like stucco, not poured cement. Plus, the SBC contains strands of fiber which adds to the texture of the finish.
Old 03-09-10, 10:41 AM
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I am so glad I read this post. I am going to have my husband and sons put in raised beds for me this spring. I am disabled so getting down to ground level is pretty much impossible safely. I think this option sounds lovely! I wanted sturdy since they will be permanent, and had thought of the big cement blocks but winced at how very ugly they are. I am sure I don't know half of what is out there now..thanks for the information
Old 03-25-10, 10:34 AM
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I just finished my second raised flower bed using dry stack technique with SBC it looks Asome primed and painted. it is a good idea to do the inside as well. First because of the added strength and also because it is water proof. This keeps the water from leaching through your wall and pushing on the backside surface of the SBC on the exsterior surface. When your flower box is built you need to have drainage in mind from the begining.

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