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Masonry Theory

BLDG 1151

Lecturer Jeff Jones

Concrete blocks
A concrete block is primarily used as a building material
in the construction of walls.
A concrete block is one of several precast concrete
products used in construction
Most concrete blocks have one or more hollow cavities,
and their sides may be cast smooth or with a design.

Concrete Blocks

Concrete blocks
The concrete that is commonly used to make concrete
blocks is a mixture of powdered portland cement, water,
sand, and gravel.

The concrete mixture used for blocks has a higher

percentage of sand and a lower percentage of gravel
and water than the concrete mixtures used for general
construction purposes.

Concrete blocks
In addition to the basic components, the concrete
mixture used to make blocks may also contain various
chemicals, called admixtures, to alter curing time,
increase compressive strength, or improve workability.

Types of concrete block

Dense aggregate blocks (heavyweight) suitable for
load-bearing external walls.

Lightweight aggregate blocks internal load-bearing

walls and non-load-bearing partitions (Lightweight concrete
blocks are made by replacing the sand and gravel with expanded
clay, shale, or slate.)

Blocks size
The shapes and sizes of most common concrete
blocks have been standardized to ensure uniform
building construction.

8-by-8-by-16 block, with the nominal measurements of 8

in (20.3 cm) high by 8 in (20.3 cm) deep by 16 in (40.6
cm) wide. This nominal measurement includes room for
a bead of mortar, and the block itself actually measures
7.63 in (19.4 cm) high by 7.63 in (19.4 cm) deep by
15.63 in (38.8 cm) wide.

Concrete Block Size

Actual and Nominal Sizes. Concrete blocks come in

specific sizes. The 3/8-inch mortar joint has
been adopted as the standard-size joint for joining

Therefore, a 15 5/8-inch stretcher block with a 3/8-inch

mortar joint equals 16 inches.

Design of blocks
Many progressive block manufacturers offer variations
on the basic block to achieve unique visual effects or to
provide desirable structural features for specialized

Such as: A block called a split-faced block, includes a

rough, stone-like texture on one face of the block instead
of a smooth face.

Standard blocks

Standard types of blocks

Standard types of blocks

Standard types of blocks

Stretcher. A stretcher block is the most commonly used
block in construction. It is laid with its
Corner. A corner block is used for corners at simple
window and door openings.
Double Corner or Pier. A double-corner or pier block is
used for constructing piers pilasters or
for any other purpose where both ends of the block
would be visible.

Standard types of blocks

Bull Nose. A bull-nose block serves the same purpose as
a corner block, but it is used where
round corners are desired.
Jamb. A wood-sash jamb block is used with a stretcher
and a corner block around elaborate
window openings. The recess in the block allows room
for the various casing members, as in a double hung

Standard types of blocks

Most Common Block. The most common concrete
block is the hollow, load-bearing stretcher
block, which is 8 by 8 by 16 inches nominal size, but 7
5/8 by 7 5/8 by 15 5/8 inches actual size. The
heavyweight load-bearing stretcher block weighs from 40
to 50 pounds.

Clay Bricks
Natural clay (silica & alumina) minerals, including kaolin
and shale, make up the main body of brick.

(Kaolin-a fine clay used in ceramics and refractories and as a filler

or coating for paper and textiles.)
(Shale-a fissile rock composed of layers of claylike, finegrained sediments.)

A wide variety of coating materials and

and methods are used to produce bricks
of certain color and surface texture.

Clay Bricks

Clay bricks

Clay Bricks
Strength and durability Sufficient for the intended
conditions in which the brick will be used.
If it is to be used as facing bricks, it should have a good
Good base for rendering and plastering (keyed brick)

The size and shape should be regular to facilitate

Should be held in one hand, length = 2 x width and 3x
heights with 10 mm joints.
Standard size 225 mm x 112.5 mm x 75 mm (nominal

Clay Bricks
Types of bricks
Common bricks- no particular finish on any surface, internal work,
work that will be covered or appearance is secondary.

Facing bricks have a finished surface, sanded or smooth textured.

Uniform color or multicolored; good density; used for facing work to
provide a pleasing finish.

Engineering bricks very dense used wall or piers that will carry
heavy loads, retaining walls, bridge abutments, lining of chimney
shafts, etc.

Clay Bricks
Bricks laid lengthwise in a wall are called stretchers;
bricks laid crosswise to a wall are called headers.

Header face
Stretcher face

Brick building
The world's highest brick tower of St. Martin's Church in
Landshut, Germany, completed in 1500

Clay brick constructions

Clay Bricks