Cinder Blocks Explained

Cinder Blocks Explained

Cinder block sizes vary and many different shapes are available for your outdoor projects.  There are short ones, tall ones, solid ones and some are made with holes/voids.  Not only are they different sizes, but some that are classified with the same dimensions can be slightly different allowing them to be used in a different manner.

You can build outdoor structures such as fireplaces, kitchen, and pizza ovens using primarily the blocks that are described in this article.  Just for a bit of clarification, most people will call them cinder blocks but there is a slightly more technical term for them.  They are sometimes referred to as concrete masonry units (CMU) by the folks that make them and sell them.  When shopping for these blocks, you only need to call them cinder blocks though and know a little about how they are sized.  The cinder blocks sold in the United States are sized in inches.

Cinder Blocks and Sizes Explained

8x8x16 Block

8x8x16 block

The most common cinder block is an 8x8x16 as seen in the adjacent picture.  These measurements are the depth, height, and width respectively.  Most construction projects, needing any structural integrity, will be built using this size block. These blocks have voids, designed to be filled with concrete, which provides great strength.

 

 

8x8x8 Block

8x8x8 block

These 8x8x8 cinder blocks are perfect cubes that are widely used in conjunction with the 8x8x16 cinder blocks.  These blocks also have voids which allow them to be filled with concrete.

Some have notches manufactured into them for rebar, but the notch will not be used most of the time.  When you are building using a running bond/staggered pattern, these will certainly be useful.

 

8x4x16 block

8x4x16 block

An 8x4x16 cinder block is half as tall as standard 8x8x16 cinder blocks, so they are very good to incorporate into your structure. These cinder blocks are used as a transition block when only a little bit of height is needed as they are only 4” tall.  These blocks also have voids.

 

 

 

4x8x16 block

4" block used for your outdoor fireplace
4x8x16

Occasionally, you will need a cinder block that is only 4” in depth.  These cinder blocks are measured 4x8x16. They have much smaller voids in them which makes them harder to fill with concrete.

A lot of cinder block walls are constructed using these blocks.

 

 

 

8x2x16 cap block

Use these cinder blocks for finish work and solid surfaces.
8x2x16 cap block

One of the last widely used cinder blocks is an 8x2x16 cap block.  When you only need to add a couple inches to your structure or to close off a section, you will use these blocks. These cinder blocks are solid and are also used when a flat surface is needed for finish work.

If you are interested in building an outdoor fireplace or kitchen there are great ways of building them.  Cinder blocks are just one way of constructing them, but it’s a fantastic way to build a structure with great integrity and strength.  Visit www.backyardflare.com for great outdoor fireplace designs, ideas, and DIY construction plans.

 

 

Build a Stunning Outdoor Living Area

Build Your Stunning Outdoor Living Area

This week’s backyard profile goes out to Adam in the great state of Washington.  What a great job Adam did, building his stunning outdoor living area, with the help of Backyard Flare and their design team.  But… Adam went the extra mile and he constructed an outdoor destination complete with a fireplace, outdoor kitchen, and patio cover on steroids.

Wood framing of patio cover
Patio cover is framed

The blank slate started with the building of the wood framed pergola.  A pitched roof with a decorative underbelly and drop lights covered a large footprint.  This cover offered the living area with a respite from the sun or the probable Washington State rainfall.  The support beams of the patio cover were stained darker than the wood slats.  What a great look.

Pitched roof patio cover
Patio cover with pitched roof

Finishing the Patio Cover

Brilliant white trim accented the beautiful gray tone siding and then fantastic light sconces were set on the vertical corner sections.  These lights provided ample light and amazing ambiance for the outside of the patio cover.  A rugged transition to the ground was accomplished by covering the bottoms of the corner pillars a great faux stone veneer.

Outdoor Living Area
Great looking flagstone walkway
Outdoor Living Area
Lighting always makes the structure look elegant

Flagstone was laid in an erratic pattern to form the approach to the covered patio.  The earth tone colored stone was broken into large sections and then placed into the soil.

Outdoor Kitchen Construction

One corner of the structure was used as a partial wall for a very large outdoor kitchen.  The structure was then equipped with a stainless-steel drop in barbecue grill, stainless access door, and several linear feet of counter top for cooking preparation.

Outdoor kitchen
Outdoor kitchen with barbecue, stainless doors

Outdoor Fireplace Construction

Afterward, lots of cinder block was delivered for the Backyard Flare designed fireplace.  Adam used the construction plan from Backyard Flare to build his fireplace structure with ground level storage voids.  Subsequently, these storage voids worked well aesthetically on each side.

 

 

After the cinder block rough build was completed to the top of the two-tiered chimney stack, the veneer was then applied. This veneer matched the veneer used on the outdoor kitchen and the bottoms of the patio pillars which added a great overall look.  The horizontal surfaces of the fireplace were covered with a dark stone, complimenting the veneer perfectly.

Outdoor fireplace design
Backyard Flare designed fireplace

Outdoor fireplace plan

A mantel was added to the front width of the fireplace and then veneer was added to the structure.  Adam took a blank section of his yard and then transformed it into a very welcoming outdoor living area.  I’m sure he and his family and friends have spent many days and nights making great memories.

If you would like to build an outdoor structure such as a fireplace or outdoor kitchen visit us at www.backyardflare.com.  We will help you with all your design needs and can take most of the guess work out of it.  Thanks for reading and we hope to hear from you.  Happy building!

DIY Outdoor Fireplace – Build Review

DIY Outdoor Fireplace Inspiration

Each week we are going to pick a Backyard Flare designed fireplace built by a DIY homeowner enthusiast.  We will then give you a DIY outdoor fireplace build review to dissect it regarding the construction and finish work.  We hope you are inspired and that you realize that you too can complete this type of backyard project.

DIY fireplace building is achievable for even the average homeowner and the materials are readily available at retailers in your area.  The knowledge of how to “put it all together” is accessible if you know where to look.  Some of these amazing structures look as if they should only belong at a fine 5-star resort, but that’s not so.

DIY Outdoor fireplace built by homeowner
Deck level outdoor fireplace in Maryland

Our featured fireplace, built by Gene, is located in the great state of Maryland.  Gene approached Backyard Flare with a design idea and fireplace concept that became known as the Prescott Fireplace.  Gene wanted his fireplace to be raised to the level of his deck, which was approximately 3 feet.  A wide firebox and matching wide chimney was desired.

Prepping the Space for Construction

Ground prep for concrete pour
Ground prep and formation with rebar is ready for concrete

After getting the construction plans, Gene started building.  He first cut a section of the railing and deck out so the fireplace could be built into the deck.  This would make it appear that the deck surrounded the base of the fireplace.  Gene then excavated a bit of ground just outside the perimeter of his deck posts.  Height concerns were taken into consideration while pouring the foundation slab so the mortared blocks would reach the level of the deck perfectly.  At no time was the fireplace structure to support the deck or come in contact with it.

Gene made sure to use rebar in a grid pattern to pour his needed thickness of concrete taking into consideration factors such as frost line, ground prep, runoff, soil type, and undermining.  This will be different for different geographical areas.

Premixed concrete brought in on a trailer was used to pour the slab resulting in a beautiful foundation.  Not much finishing needed to be done because the block work would be covering the newly poured pavement.

Concrete pad poured
Finished concrete is ready for block work

Work was done on the edge of the deck to perfect it.  The gaps around the slab would ultimately be filled in with dirt once the first few rows of block were mortared in place.

Cinder block construction of outdoor fireplace
Gene reached the level of his deck

With the block work started, Gene quickly built upward until he reached the height of the deck.  The structure was set back a couple inches so the veneer could be applied down the front face of the fireplace.

 

Time to Finish the Fireplace

Once the structure was completed in rough form with the appropriate chimney measurements and dimensions, the finish work was planned. Lots of possibilities were posed and a few were chosen.

DIY Outdoor fireplace built by homeowner
Veneer was added to the structure

The structure’s vertical surfaces were covered in a beautiful faux veneer which looked great with the accented dark pieces.  The horizontal surfaces were covered with a thin earth tone colored flagstone that worked well with the color of the veneer.  Mortar was used between these stone pieces thus giving it a nice finished look.

DIY Outdoor fireplace built by homeowner
Finished outdoor fireplace landscaping

Landscape was completed around the finished structure which gave this space an amazing final look.  An elevated fire grate was added to the firebox and fireplace tools were bought to manage the fire.  Gene did a great job on his outdoor fireplace and made us here at Backyard Flare, LLC very proud.

We’re hoping this DIY outdoor fireplace build review inspired you and that you consider this type of outdoor project. Visit us at www.backyardflare.com if you would like to build your own outdoor fireplace and would like more information about how it’s done.

DIY Outdoor fireplace built by homeowner - build review
First fire in the newly completed fireplace