Author Topic: Building a Cinderblock wall?  (Read 894 times)

GroceryBaggins

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Building a Cinderblock wall?
« on: December 20, 2021, 07:54:07 PM »
Hi All! Im looking to build a 3 cinderblock wall around perimeter of my front yard and add concrete cast antique bricks stained to match the old brick on my 1918 home. My goal is to have a nice, sturdy, little fence that will match my home and have basically no maintenance for years to come. I live on a corner city lot so I have a issue with people cutting thru my yard (that Im trying to go all native plants on for my bees and butterflies), walking their dogs in it, and trash blowing into so Im really looking forward to putting this in come springtime to protect my plants and space.

The question Im running into is, from what I can tell, you need to go double the width of the block for a footing (so 16) but also well below the frost line which in my area of Virginia is about 24. Does this seem a little much? The footing will almost be as deep as the wall is tall! My backup would be to build something with goat wire or similar and cover it with plants but I dont think it would look as nice or be as sturdy.

Anyone with experience have any advice for me?

BudgetSlasher

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Re: Building a Cinderblock wall?
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2021, 05:16:00 AM »
I do not have experience specifically with cinder block fences, but it makes sense.

Even for your regular wood/vinyl/metal fence it is recommended that the post get below the frost line. If you don't depending on your soil there is a good chance your fence won't stay straight. As for width of a footer for a concrete fence, I have no clue.

Your two options seem at opposite extremes, a concrete block wall or wire mesh covered and plants. If your goal is mostly to keep people out of your yard there are plenty of premade short fence sections, but they seem more like a picket fence so debris might still be an issue (and of course it wouldn't match your home's brick). With those you would only need a post every ~8 feet and you might be able to to get away with going shallow and straightening if it ever shifts.

uniwelder

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Re: Building a Cinderblock wall?
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2021, 05:39:34 AM »
Building a cinderblock (concrete block) wall is going to be a huge undertaking.  You'll want it done well, otherwise it'll starting cracking and breaking apart after a few years.  Yes, you'd want it 24" deep, but the extra footer width is for supporting the weight of a house on soil, so not necessary to make it any wider than your wall.  Regardless, footer would probably end up 12" or so since you'd pour concrete into the ditch that is dug.

I'd go with your second option--- wire fencing with something growing through it.  Its cheap and easy to implement.  Plant a hedge along it so after a couple of years you can take it down when the shrubs have spread enough.

Fishindude

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Re: Building a Cinderblock wall?
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2021, 06:26:36 AM »
For starters, there is currently no product on the market called cinder block.  Concrete block is what we've been using for the last 50+ years.
A job like this is best left to a professional contractor or mason unless you have someone with experience and skills to hold your hand through the project.

You definitely want the bottom of your footing down to or below the local frost line.   The standard concrete block is 8" width + 4" for brick veneer, so you'll want an 18-24" wide footing.
 

lthenderson

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Re: Building a Cinderblock wall?
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2021, 08:22:22 AM »
You definitely want the bottom of your footing down to or below the local frost line.   The standard concrete block is 8" width + 4" for brick veneer, so you'll want an 18-24" wide footing.

+1

The rule of thumb I have always heard for concrete block walls is that you want the footing to be twice as wide as the wall in order to provide stability to the wall. So with 8 inch block width plus 1 to 4 inches for the brick depending if you are using actual bricks or veneers, you are looking at 18 to 24" as Fishindude stated.

Jon Bon

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Re: Building a Cinderblock wall?
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2021, 07:34:33 AM »
Listen to fishindude and LT.

A block wall like that is going to be expensive to build for sure. Requiring excavation and heavy equipment. No one is digging a 24''x 16' x 100' trench by hand. So there is a high probability those guys will totally mess up what you are trying to protect in the first place.  That's a lot of dirt to put somewhere, and so after then mound up the dirt and dig the hole the only space left to walk will likely be where your plants are! Sorry I am getting PTSD from our jackass excavation project we just did...

A nice wood fence would be very DIY-able 1/10 the cost and not wreck your existing yard. I get it would take maintenance but everything has tradeoffs.

I generally hate pre-made fence sections. You have to be really exact with your posts and handling the big heavy sections can be difficult. Versus if you build it by hand its not that much more work and moving a post 1 foot to the left or right is pretty easy.

YMMV






SunnyDays

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Re: Building a Cinderblock wall?
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2021, 03:08:20 PM »
Why not just put up a low vinyl fence?  Little to no maintenance and available in different styles.  Maybe pricier than concrete, but way easier.

Endo1030

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Re: Building a Cinderblock wall?
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2021, 04:40:31 AM »
Maybe you could do a really short dry stacked stone wall, 12" tall or so would be plenty to stop debris and people from walking through.  it won't match your house, but they look great.  No need to dig down to frost line for a foundation, and easy to repair if anything goes awry in the future.

BikeFanatic

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Re: Building a Cinderblock wall?
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2021, 06:43:17 AM »
My parents had a professional put in a six foot high cinder block wall around 1/2 the boundaries of the house in 1975 and it is still there. There are a couple of cracks but still sturdy.

I have a small picket fence around my front yard to keep the dogs safe. My neighbor
Put it up in a day. Put in posts below the frost line and that thing has been so sturdy for 4 years so far.
I helped with two fences all premade  sections and although not easy it is very do able for a novice.
I found a waist high fence to look better than the skinny short foot and a half  high pickets.

If you paint it white and I did 2 coats, it looks amazing. The one I left bare only looks alright.
Good luck with your project.

clarkfan1979

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Re: Building a Cinderblock wall?
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2022, 11:05:27 AM »
For starters, there is currently no product on the market called cinder block.  Concrete block is what we've been using for the last 50+ years.
A job like this is best left to a professional contractor or mason unless you have someone with experience and skills to hold your hand through the project.

You definitely want the bottom of your footing down to or below the local frost line.   The standard concrete block is 8" width + 4" for brick veneer, so you'll want an 18-24" wide footing.

Considering the current price of professional labor, this is the time to double down on DIY.

Why do you need a professional contractor for this type of wall? What is the risk? I'm considering doing something similar at a rental house in 3-5 years, but on a much bigger scale.

lthenderson

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Re: Building a Cinderblock wall?
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2022, 08:26:18 AM »
Why do you need a professional contractor for this type of wall? What is the risk? I'm considering doing something similar at a rental house in 3-5 years, but on a much bigger scale.

In my opinion, there is nothing particularly difficult about doing something like this as long as one is physically able to do the work. It very well may be in the wheelhouse of many DIY people. However, there are a lot of technical things one must research and know to ensure that the wall will remain standing long enough to make the cost worthwhile. Everything from how to properly prepare a footing to using the proper type of mortar and reinforcing to proper techniques to how to apply brick veneers to the resulting face. Without vetting every single person's knowledge on the subject, it is hard to recommend it as a DIY project.

Fishindude

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Re: Building a Cinderblock wall?
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2022, 11:27:21 AM »
Why do you need a professional contractor for this type of wall?
What is the risk? I'm considering doing something similar at a rental house in 3-5 years, but on a much bigger scale.

You could certainly attempt this DIY and I know of a few pretty handy individuals that could pull it off.
However ..... 95% of individuals that took this on with no prior masonry experience would likely end up with a crummy looking piece of work that wont stand the test of time.

Frankly, much of the masonry; brick, block and stone work you see in todays commercial and residential work is rather shoddy, and these guys are doing it daily.

There is real skill in doing masonry work that performs as it should and looks pleasing to the eye.

lthenderson

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Re: Building a Cinderblock wall?
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2022, 07:49:21 AM »
95% of individuals that took this on with no prior masonry experience would likely end up with a crummy looking piece of work

Excellent point. I'm a pretty experienced DIY person and have given masonry a go a time or two and have never been satisfied with the aesthetics of my efforts. A real pro makes it look effortless.