Retaining Walls

Many refer to cinder blocks as concrete blocks, but there is a difference between the two building materials. The block incorporates a water repellent admixture to reduce the concrete’s absorption and permeability, a beveled upper edge to shed water away from the horizontal mortar joint, and a series of internal grooves and channels to direct the flow of any crack-induced leakage away from the interior surface. The best way to think of traditional set of brick steps is to think of two sets of steps.

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. Ideally, your block fire pit should be in the proximity of a water hose in case of fire emergencies. Try to make sure that the steps are at least 250mm (10”) deep, to give enough space for a person with average feet to feel comfortable walking up and down to build cinder block steps

Remove sod from all over the area, then remove additional soil from the high points inside the base of the steps. Count on at least one block per linear foot, and count on it taking more blocks than your estimate suggests! For the last two rows of full blocks, apply concrete adhesive to the wall block tops, then set the next row of blocks in place. The third step is to replace the loose blocks with a full mortar bed, spreading and furrowing it with a trowel to ensure plenty of mortar under the bottom edges of the first course (figure 8-7, view 2). Carefully position and align the corner block first (view 3 of figure 8-7).

Steps are basically the same idea except you want to keep the rise pretty standard at around 7-8 inches and the landing on the steps should be flat. For example, one manufacturer offers a block specifically designed to resist water leakage through exterior walls. Whether making temporary or permanent steps, cinder block can be a useful building material. Reclaimed railway sleepers have a rugged, weathered finish that works perfectly with the informality of simple garden steps. Each cinder block post is going to use 3 blocks- 1 horizontal block laid directly on top of 2 vertical ones.

The best way to think of traditional brick steps is to visualize two sets of steps. This is good project as people are always building steps decks and poarches this block would make a good suport if fibers were added to the concrete you might be able to skip the wire also making them more recycable in the future. Here’s a comprehensive guide detailing how to build a five-block rocket stove with next to no costs and low skill levels.

A prerequisite in the process of how to build a breeze block wall is the waterproofing laying. The first hollow concrete block was designed in 1890 by Harmon S. Palmer in the United States. The tread is constructed from block paving, with textured flag insets, to match the patio and to make it just a bit more special. Take a cinder block, some board and a piece of dowel rod and you have the makings of one amazing bird house.

Actually, it’s a ground fire pit made from cinder blocks and used for cooking, getting warm or roasting marshmallows on a nice night. Make sure you have the line straight, parallel or perpendicular with existing walls is a good idea so that everything will look square. When building block walls, it is important to press firmly so that a good bond forms between the mortar and the block. To ensure that the blocks will be level with the corresponding wall, place a block on the wall as a reference point and level from that block to the block being used for the stair treads. Lay the block down on top so the edge of the top block aligns with the halfway mark of the bottom block.

Add retaining wall blocks to the high side, varying the sizes for the best appearance (Figure A). Keep the rows flush alongside the steps and step them back elsewhere. FIRE PIT IDEA – ECONOMICAL WAY OF BUILDING ONE…Thedirtyloft says building this firepit out of cinder blocks only costs about $60. Now, instead of putting the steps right against the wall, they will be 16″ to the left to allow access for repairs.

Position the cinder block so that the holes go from side to side, and so that one short end of the block is against the trailer. If you do place the wood support in the concrete, then at least make sure the concrete comes above ground level and slopes away from the wood on all sides. And if you’re using slabs that are 600mm square or bigger, make sure you have a helper – it really takes two people to lift and lay them. PAVE TECH’S Masonry Adhesives are ideal to glue masonry units to each other or to concrete steps. A typical light-weight block weighs 22-28 lb (10.0-12.7 kg) and is used to build non-load-bearing walls and partitions.

We prefer to design these steps so they are at least 900mm wide, as shown in the photograph of a completed flight of steps, rather than 600mm wide as shown in the diagram. When laying block against one already in place, you will trowel a vertical bead of mortar along the side of the block, creating a head joint (mortar placed along the block vertically). Using a spirit level, make sure there is no tilt; either front to back or side to side.

Flagstone / Bluestone masonry steps must be constructed on a concrete footer below the frost line which can add significantly to the cost, but constructed properly masonry steps can last for centuries. Multiply the number of steps you need by 16 inches to determine the length of the stairs and how far out from the threshold you must excavate for the steps. Fuller construction details and diagrams for this type of step are given on the separate Block Paving Steps page. The flange type on the block we chose is a bit easier to use for small-scale projects like ours. My finished steps have treads that are about 21.5 inches deep and risers six inches high.

Before putting the native rock in the block voids, more sand, pea gravel, and other rocks went in. The layer of 1/4″ – 1/2″ rock is about two inches thick. These come in colors and textures to match any landscape theme and are often used in building retaining walls, allowing for a seamless integration between steps and walls. Use a torpedo level to create steps so that each section of the wall remains level.

Start laying the blocks in mortar, ensuring each block is level & aligned to the guiding string attached to the profile. The next block will be more like a concrete flower pot, and will sit ‘upside down’ with the opening on the bottom. The simple concrete block will continue to evolve as architects and block manufacturers develop new shapes and sizes.

To cut a block in two, score a line around the middle with a brick chisel, then position the chisel on your scored line, and strike it with the small sledgehammer. If you buy untreated softwood logs, make sure you give them a coat of wood preservative before you start. As you can see in the photos, the blocks are usually tapered to make moderate curves without needing to be cut. Outdoor Kitchen… A spacious counter for cooking and entertaining -made of recycled wood and cinder blocks – cost almost nothing.

The day after I poured the concrete, I started to use different sized concrete block and concrete brick to build the set of steps that had the same width, depth and tread height as the finished brick steps. I love this Cinder Block Planter and Succulent Brick Wall, precisely because of the many tones of grey represented. Measuring off that line enabled them to make sure each course of the foundation was level with the rest. After that, you’ll need to choose the best spot for your cinder block fire pit.

This block plus the finish brick is very heavy, so to ensure that the brick steps don’t crack or crumble, I poured a concrete pad that acts as the foundation for the steps. Create a new base for each turn in the direction of the steps or every eight to 10 feet as in Step 3. Make sure the base stones are sitting completely level and are secure before moving up the hill. The reason: the wall was built using cinder blocks that were left in Society Bride blogger Robin’s new yard. Understand how to prepare the ground and then how to build brick and slab steps in the garden.