In general, we do not encourage using lots of cement because of its adverse environmental impact. However, there are times when it might make sense in certain situations. In the tropics, for instance, it’s common to use block construction for bathrooms and kitchens to protect against water damage and fire.
I was a little surprised to see these large aerated cement blocks the other day at the local building supply center. Standard size aerated blocks have been common for years. These large 2’ long (60cm) blocks caught my eye because I immediately realized how much time they could save. One large block is approximately equal to 6 or more normal size blocks or 10 bricks. Since each block has to be handled multiple times and mortared in place it’s easy to see how the building process would go much faster with large blocks. Smaller standard blocks can be used to fill in gaps in the wall, or you can easily cut aerated blocks with a masonry blade. It’s also easy to notch the blocks, drill holes, etc. The light weight is an especially desirable quality. The same air pockets that reduce weight also improve R-value.
I doubt if these aerated blocks are widely available in North America. They’re probably most common in places like India and other parts of Asia where block construction is the norm.
Our previous story about foamed light concrete has been very popular so I decided to publish this story about large aerated blocks. There are some intriguing opportunities for DIY homebuilders. One is to make your own large blocks with foamed light concrete. Or consider forming and pouring one course at a time on the wall.
Image source: Pinterest