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Fast Facts: Concrete Hollow Blocks vs Poured Concrete

Paulo Rizal
28/03/2018 6:23:08
Photo of Young couple looking at the blueprints of their new home

 

So you’ve decided you wanted your own house, designed and built solely for you. Arguably the most important decision you’ll have to make early on in the design process is to decide the kind of walls your house will have. It will define your house, and to a significant degree, your budget.

The difference between hollow blocks and poured concrete

The two most common types of concrete walls are built using concrete hollow blocks or poured concrete.

Although both are made from the same basic building construction materials, there are a few differences that you must consider before you choose which type of wall you want for your house.

The first option is to build with concrete hollow blocks. The walls are built by stacking concrete hollow blocks on top of one another and joined by cement-based mortar. Some more concrete are then poured to fill the voices of the blocks.

The second option is to use poured concrete walls. They are built by pouring concrete in a semi-fluid state into pre-built forms. The mixture is rodded manually or vibrated mechanically to get rid of excess air and avoid honeycombs, or hollow voids.

When done correctly, the concrete then hardens to form a solid, monolithic wall with no air gaps.

Both are structurally reinforced by using steel rebars.

The pros and cons of hollow blocks versus poured concrete

There are advantages and disadvantages to both methods.

Using hollow blocks can be cheaper, easier, and faster to install, given that you have skilled masons who have years of experience on the job. One drawback however is that the load bearing capacity of concrete block walls are less than that of poured concrete walls. Thus, they more prone to cracks, structural failure, and leaks as they age.

Poured concrete walls meanwhile, are typically more expensive and labor extensive to build.

However, they are stronger by at least five times than concrete hollow blocks. Poured concrete also carries the benefit of being better load bearing walls and are known to better withstand earthquake impacts.

So there you have it. Which method better fits your needs and budget best? That is one detail that your architect and engineer will not miss, so better decide on it right away.

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