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Why Concrete Blocks Are a Superior Construction Material

There are many materials within construction that can be used to create buildings and structures. However, there is one that is said to be superior to others. This is the concrete block, but what makes it so special?

In this blog, we will discuss the durability and longevity of concrete blocks in construction.

At PPC Concrete Products, we are here to provide solutions for your construction needs,

from the person working their own part-time project, to commercial clients, and everyone in-between.

Monthly construction output had risen an estimated 1.6% value in June 2023, and we would like to think our accessible concrete products had a small part to play by giving our clients easy access to reliable and easy-to-use construction solutions.

How are concrete blocks made for construction?

The creation of concrete blocks for construction follows a well-defined process that prioritizes quality and consistency. Please be mindful that the process may be different for various providers.

Mixing the Ingredients:

The first stage involves meticulously measuring and combining the raw materials. This typically includes Portland cement, fine sand, gravel or crushed rock (collectively called aggregates), and water.

Sometimes, specific admixtures or chemical additives are incorporated to enhance certain properties of the final block, such as workability or setting time.

Moulding the Blocks:

Once a well-proportioned mixture is achieved, it’s transferred to moulds. These moulds determine the final shape and size of the concrete blocks. The filling process ensures proper compaction to eliminate air voids that can compromise the block’s strength.

Compaction and Curing:

After filling the moulds, a compaction technique is applied to remove air pockets and create a dense concrete structure. This can involve vibration, tamping, or pressing with a mechanical apparatus. Following compaction, the moulded blocks undergo a curing process where they are left undisturbed in a controlled environment (often with specific temperature and humidity levels) to allow the concrete to harden and gain strength.

Demoulding and Storage:

After the curing period is complete, the concrete blocks have solidified, and they are carefully removed from the moulds. The finished blocks are then systematically stacked and stored in designated areas to prevent damage and allow for further curing if necessary.

Quality Control Checks:

Throughout the production process, rigorous quality control checks are implemented. This ensures the manufactured blocks meet the required specifications for strength, dimensional accuracy, and surface finish.

These checks might involve testing samples from each batch to verify their compliance with building codes and industry standards. The final product is a strong and versatile concrete block ready for use in various construction applications.

How often is a concrete used in structures in the UK?

Concrete is extremely common and widely used in structures throughout the UK. Below, we will share multiple reasons for its prevalence:

  • Dominant Material: Concrete is a dominant building material in the UK construction industry. Statistics suggest it contributes significantly to the nation’s economy and infrastructure development.
  • Applications: Concrete is used in a vast array of structures, including:
  • Residential Buildings: Houses, flats, and even basements typically utilise concrete foundations, walls (load-bearing and non-load bearing), and even floors in some cases.
  • Commercial Buildings: Office buildings, shopping centres, and other commercial structures frequently use concrete for foundations, floors, parking structures, and even some walls.
  • Industrial Facilities: Warehouses, factories, and industrial plants heavily rely on concrete for their foundations, floors, walls, and support structures due to its strength and durability.
  • Infrastructure: Roads, bridges, tunnels, dams, and other infrastructure projects heavily utilise concrete for their strength and ability to handle heavy loads.

Why concrete blocks are a superior construction material

The Durability and Longevity of Concrete Blocks in Construction

Concrete blocks offer multiple advantages that make them a superior construction material in many situations. Here is a list of their key strengths compared to other options:

Durability and Longevity:

  • High Strength: Concrete itself is a very strong material, and concrete blocks inherit this strength. They can withstand significant loads and compressive forces, making them ideal for load-bearing walls.
  • Fire Resistance: Concrete blocks have excellent fire resistance. They don’t burn and provide a layer of protection in case of a fire, offering valuable time for occupants to evacuate.
  • Weather Resistance: Concrete blocks hold up well against harsh weather conditions. They are resistant to moisture, wind, and ultraviolet rays, requiring minimal maintenance compared to some materials.

Cost-Effectiveness:

  • Affordable Material: Concrete blocks themselves are a relatively inexpensive building material. This makes them a cost-effective choice for large-scale construction projects.
  • Fast Construction: The standardized size and ease of use of concrete blocks allow for faster construction times compared to materials requiring more intricate laying patterns.
  • Reduced Labour Costs: The faster construction translates to reduced labour costs for builders.

Miscellaneous Advantages:

  • Versatility: Concrete blocks come in various shapes and sizes, allowing for use in diverse building applications from walls to foundations.
  • Sound Insulation: The dense nature of concrete blocks provides good sound insulation, making them suitable for buildings where noise control is a factor.
  • Environmentally Friendly: Concrete blocks can be made from recycled materials, reducing their environmental impact.

Are other options as good as concrete blocks?

In certain circumstances, other options may be more appropriate than concrete blocks. Here are some common alternatives and what their limitations are:

  • Brick: While aesthetically pleasing, bricks can be more expensive and require more labor-intensive installation.
  • Wood: Wood offers good insulation but is susceptible to fire, rot, and insect damage.
  • Steel: Steel is strong but can be expensive and prone to rust.

It’s important to note that concrete blocks also have limitations. They might not be the most suitable choice for every project, particularly when aesthetics are a major priority. Additionally, they can be susceptible to cracking if not properly reinforced or exposed to extreme weather conditions.

However, considering their overall strengths in terms of durability, affordability, and versatility, concrete blocks  remain a superior construction material for a wide range of applications.

Interlocking Concrete Blocks explained

Interlocking Concrete Blocks are a variation on the traditional concrete block, and can be argued are the most efficient kind of concrete block. These special pre-cast blocks do not require mortar in order to create a long-lasting and effective connection, and are available in multiple sizes.

Interlocking Concrete Blocks connect to each other via studs and recesses at the top and bottom of the blocks, respectively. Individually, concrete blocks are heavy, but once they are joined, they provide an excellent counterweight against exceedingly heavy applications like a retaining wall.

Considering the fact they do not require mortar to connect, it is safe to say you will be saving money that would otherwise be spent on binding materials, and even some labour costs. But what actually makes Interlocking Concrete Blocks special? Well, a lot of things.

Here is a list of some of the uses that Interlocking Concrete Blocks can facilitate.

  • Material Storage bays
  • Blast walls
  • Salt stores
  • Crash protection
  • Push walls
  • Security barriers
  • Segregation bays, i.e. recycling centres
  • Retaining walls
  • Industrial buildings
  • Fire breaks
  • Counterweights
  • Roadblocks

Invest in the best concrete blocks today

As an established supplier all over the UK, PPC Concrete Products is always happy to help, which is why we encourage you to get in touch with any questions you may have or have a look at our FAQ.

In this blog, we hope to have shown you why concrete blocks are a superior construction material.  Whilst also providing additional information including construction solutions that we offer.

Take a read of our case studies to truly understand how we have provided solutions for business in the past with the use of our interlocking concrete blocks, and ultimately, how we can help you today.

Read our blog page for more insights into our passion, construction.

Address:

The Old Gasworks,

Higginshaw Lane,

Royton,

Oldham,

OL2 6HQ

Opening Hours:

Monday to Friday – 8 AM until 4 PM

Tel: 01706 655245

Email: info@ppcconcreteproducts.co.uk

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