Building with cinder block is the most versatile way to construct both a functional structure and a structure with great strength and integrity. Cinder block, otherwise known as a concrete masonry unit (CMU), can be purchased at most home improvement stores such as Home Depot and Lowes. The prices for CMU at these big box home improvement stores are most of the time very comparable to local block vendors.
Close to Backyard Flare, LLC here in Tucson, Arizona, is a block manufacturer/vendor named AZ Block. At the same location where they manufacture the block, you can enter the facility to buy direct instead of dealing with a middleman. This at times can make the block more cost effective for the DIY builder.
The most common block used to build the fireplaces is referred to as a 8x8x16. This is literally the size of the block in inches. Now there is a small “but…”” involved though. The block is not exactly 8x8x16. In fact, the block measures 7 5/8” x 7 5/8” x 15 5/8”. Notice that 3/8” is subtracted from each measurement. This is comparable to a 2×4 piece of wood not actually measuring 2” x 4”. They are actually 1 ½” x 3 ½”.