How to Build a Concrete Block Wall

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Summary: Building a concrete block wall is one of the more involved building projects that requires careful planning and a little heavy lifting, but is easy to accomplish with QUIKRETE Mason Mix.

Building a concrete block wall is one of the more involved building projects, requiring careful planning and a little heavy lifting. Regardless of your skill level, a successful result can be achieved.

Every block wall, regardless of whether it is going to be a structural wall or a non-structural wall, requires a solid footing. High Strength Quikrete 5000 is the recommended product for footing construction because of its high strength and rapid strength gain.

Footings should be at a minimum of twice the width of the concrete block. A typical 8x8x16 block would require a 16-inch wide footing. The footing depth should extend below the frost line. Make sure to check local building codes for construction requirements in your area.

Snap a chalk line on each side of the block wall as a reference line. Quikrete Mason Mix Type S is the recommended mortar mix for constructing structural and non-structural block and brick wall.

This pre-blended mortar mix is extremely workable and achieves the high bond strengths required for a successful project. One 80-pound bag of Mason Mix will lay up to 13 standard concrete blocks.

When preparing to place a trowel full of mortar, gently snap the trowel downward to remove any excess mortar. The proper consistency is achieved when the wet mortar will hang on a trowel held at a 90-degree angle.

Dampen the footing surface with water and place a 1-inch bed of mortar on the footing. The mortar should be workable, but firm enough to support the weight of the block.

Press the first block, the corner block, into the mortar bed to create a 3/8-inch mortar joint. Make sure the block is level and properly aligned before proceeding to the next block. Then trim and remove any excess mortar.

Using the same process, set the opposite corner block. Butter one end of the block and set it next to the corner block. Then press the block down into the mortar bed and against the previously laid blocks, so that the mortar joint is 3/8-inch wide. Adjust the block so that it is flush and level. Continue this process until the first course is completed.

To start the second course, apply a thick mortar bed on top of the first course. At the end of the wall, set an 8x8x8 half block into the mortar bed with the smooth side facing out. This process will create a very strong running bond pattern that ties the wall together. Use a mason line as a guide for the remaining block. Continue building the wall until it is complete.

Once the mortar joint has become thumb-print hard, use a joining tool to smooth the fresh joints and remove any excess mortar.

For load-bearing walls, tie rods should be set a minimum of 6-inches into the concrete footing before it is set. Rebar should be placed in every other masonry core to provide structural support.

For masonry cores over 4-inches wide, as is common with standard 8x8x16 blocks, Quikrete Core-Fill Grout Core should be poured around the rebar. For masonry cores under 4-inches wide, Quikrete Core-Fill Grout Fine should be used.

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