Are Poured Concrete Walls Better Than Concrete Block Walls

The debate between poured concrete walls and concrete block walls is a hot debate for sure. Both methods have their own advantages and drawbacks and it is hard to know which is better than the other. Knowing that; it is also known that most builders choose to use poured concrete walls for homes.

Poured Concrete – Advantages

Speaking in terms of strength, professional concrete contractors pouring concrete wall foundations take the cake as they are stronger than concrete block foundations. This is because they have a greater lateral strength, which means that they can withstand more pressure from nature such as water and soil. In addition to its strength, poured concrete also doesn’t have joints which means it’s easy to waterproof.

Another advantage of poured concrete is the fact that it’s fire-resistant and can give you twice the protection that concrete blocks give. Poured concrete is also more versatile, it can fit any design and can work with any last-minute changes that are made. It’s much faster and efficient to use poured walls but it can be expensive based on where the cement plant is located.  

Poured Concrete – Disadvantages

Like its advantages, poured concrete also has numerous disadvantages. One of the cons is that construction needs to be based on the weather. That is to say that poured concrete shouldn’t be poured in cold weather. The cold prevents the concrete from developing its strength. In cold weather, it will take longer and if it doesn’t warm up then it might not build up enough strength and collapse. 

Another con of poured concrete is water leakage. Typically along the joint between the floor and the wall, water will leak through. In addition to that, if the wall was not poured correctly then the wall can crack which allows for more water to seep through. These cracks are also often difficult to find so if the leaking needs to be fixed, the concrete needs to be dug up. 

Water leakage is one of the biggest disadvantages to poured walls as there are many factors that could cause it. If the foundation drops, settles, or sinks, due to the soil that the foundation lies on, then there’s another chance that leaking can occur. 

Concrete Block – Advantages

Cinder block foundations used to be the norm, and for good reason. When built right cinder block foundations beats poured concrete in terms of compressions strength. And that’s important since that determines how much weight the foundation can support. However, as said, it needs to be built correctly, which means it would cost more money to get skilled bricklayers.

Unlike poured concrete walls, concrete blocks are already prebuilt, which means that you don’t have to rely on the weather to ensure that the concrete cures in an optimal fashion. Because the blocks don’t need to cure, you don’t have to worry about any strength being lost due to the cold. 

Concrete Block – Disadvantages

Both foundation types can be waterproofed but that doesn’t mean they both aren’t prone to leaking water, especially concrete block foundations. Concrete block foundations tend to have more leaks as compared to poured concrete walls and that’s due to the grout lines. Nature tends to wear things down and the mortar is no different, which leads to leakage. 

Aside from water leakage problems, concrete block wall foundations are also prone to bowing and buckling. Since the wall can be pricey to build in the first place, you can also bet that repairing the walls will also be expensive, especially if you have to rebuild the wall itself.

Reinforcement

One thing about Earth and the ground we live on is that it moves a lot and can expand and contract without any issues. Unlike the ground, concrete does not easily expand and contract with the ground, this means that the concrete cracks and thus makes the foundation unstable. Concrete is strong but it doesn’t have great lateral strength. 

Because concrete doesn’t have lateral strength, steel rods are embedded into the concrete as well as concrete footers being utilized. Without this reinforcement, the foundation would fail. This is regardless of whether the concrete is poured or is as a concrete block. Foundation strength is critical to having a safe building and home.

Poured Concrete or Concrete Blocks

The debate between poured concrete and concrete blocks is a hot one. As it stands, poured concrete is the method that is most used today. This is due to its strength, natural water-resistance, versatility, adaptability, and it’s efficiency. Poured concrete is strong with its main drawback being issues that may arise while curing, an example being the cold. 

However, if carefully planned, avoiding the curing issues can be done. Which only leaves leakage problems, which if occur can be difficult to fix. However, it is still better than concrete blocks which are much more susceptible to leakage. Not to mention that poured concrete has a natural water-resistance to it since there are no joints in it. 

Poured concrete can also fit any shape since all it’s doing is being poured into a mold. With that, any changes or adjustments can be made last-minute with no issues so that the foundation can be as perfect as can be. Since concrete blocks are already built there’s no opportunity to change them or make them fit a specific mold.

Concrete blocks used to be prevalent prior to the 1970s but have since been replaced with poured concrete. Concrete blocks have many joints within them which leave many areas for water to leak through. In addition to that, building with concrete blocks is much more hands-on and therefore requires more skilled workers, which is costly.

Concrete blocks win against poured concrete when poured concrete is difficult to procure or place. Sometimes it’s cheaper to use concrete blocks, which may be based on how far the nearest plant is. Another way that concrete blocks win is if the curing process for poured concrete is when the curing process will be definitively flawed, in which cased concrete blocks would be stronger. Overall, it seems to make sense why the majority use poured concrete.