Aerated concrete blocks are made from a combination of sand, lime, water, gypsum, and cement and provide structure, insulation, and fire and mold resistance. Blocks, lintels, wall panels, floor, and roof panels are some of the products made with aerated concrete blocks. Aerated concrete blocks are great green materials for wall construction that come with numerous advantages, but they also have disadvantages and limitations which are discussed below.
Aerated concrete blocks have been tested in colder climates and have proved to have a high resistance to frost. They have also proved to have great durability in other climates as well.
High Thermal Insulation
Aerated concrete blocks have a high thermal insulation performance. In most of the temperature climates, an aerated concrete block wall that is 8 inches thick will provide more than the required thermal insulation. This dispenses with specific layers of insulation.
Fire and Water Resistance
Aerated concrete blocks are made of a natural inorganic material that does not burn. They surpass the standard building code requirements. There is no need for any type of fireproofing material when using these concrete blocks.
Another advantage of aerated concrete blocks is that it has great acoustic insulation. These concrete blocks have the capability of achieving sound transmission class ratings up to 60.
Aerated concrete blocks and panels provide simple wall construction. It is easy to handle, easy to ship, easy to drill, nail, and groove. Contrary to what may happen with structural insulated panels, aerated concrete blocks make window trim, wiring, outlets, and decorative features easy to create on-site. Aerated concrete blocks dispense with quite a few different building products, which also helps to make construction simpler.
Aerated concrete blocks are resistant to termites and various other pests or insects because of its natural elements.
Aerated concrete blocks are mostly beneficial in climates that have large temperature fluctuations over the course of a 24-hour period. This is particularly for sunnier climates that yield a long period of hot days and cold nights. This is because of the high thermal mass that these blocks provide. The walls made from these blocks react similarly to a sponge during the hot sunny hours and then release the heat later when the temperature gets colder.
Aerated concrete blocks have an excellent insulation performance up to 10 times higher than that of ordinary cement blocks. This is great. However, when compared to conventional block concrete and porous concrete, they are not as high in performance as materials such as insulated concrete forms or structural insulated panels.
Aerated concrete blocks have open cells that are easily damaged when exposed to the environment. This damage can be a result of debris or water. Professionals recommend using a high permeable exterior finish for the exterior, and a low vapor one for interior finishes.
Energy and Pollutants
Aerated concrete blocks are made of inorganic materials, but they do not release negative wastes or pollute the environment. However, the process of autoclaving the concrete requires a lot of energy, which gives it an environmental disadvantage.