Not all building blocks are the same. Different types of concrete blocks are designed for different purposes, so choosing the right type of concrete block will truly build the strongest foundation for your project.

Here’s a quick overview of different types of concrete blocks for construction so you can make the right decision. And if you need a concrete block making machine, Lontto is here to help!

Why are Different Types of Concrete Blocks Used?

Concrete blocks come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and with varying properties. This isn’t just for aesthetics, but to provide different benefits for specific construction needs. Here are some key reasons why there are so many different types of concrete blocks.

Structural Versatility

Different kinds of concrete blocks offer diverse degrees of strength and weight. Solid blocks are ideal for foundations and retaining walls where high strength is needed. Hollow blocks, on the other hand, are lighter and more economical for non-load-bearing walls while still providing good structural integrity. Specialized blocks like column blocks and lintels are designed for specific structural purposes within a wall system.

Thermal Insulation

The density and composition of concrete blocks affect their thermal insulation properties. Solid concrete blocks offer good thermal mass, which helps regulate indoor temperatures. However, for buildings in extreme climates, lightweight blocks with air pockets or those made with insulating materials can go a long way toward reducing energy consumption for heating and cooling.


The cost of concrete blocks varies depending on their type and complexity. Solid blocks, while strong, are generally more expensive due to the material used. Hollow blocks offer a balance between strength and affordability, so they are a popular choice for many applications. Some specialized blocks may offer faster construction due to their design, possibly reducing overall labor costs.

What are the Different Types of Concrete Blocks for Construction?

Different concrete block types serve different purposes. Some blocks are similar, but each has its own properties, advantages, and downsides.

Hollow Concrete Blocks

Concrete Hollow Blocks Hollow Concrete Blocks

Hollow concrete blocks are easily recognizable by the holes that cover ¼ to ½ of their surface area. They are typically used to build fences and walls.

They come in three different grades. Grades A and B can be used for load-bearing walls, while grade C should only be used for non-load-bearing walls.

  • Grade A: Minimum density 1,500 kg/m3
  • Grade B: Density less than 1,500 kg/m3
  • Grade C: Density greater than 1,000 kg/m3
Hollow Concrete Blocks
Advantages  Disadvantages 
✅ Light, but strong

✅ Can be reinforced with rebar

✅ Ideal to run wiring or piping through

❌ Not as strong as solid blocks

Stretcher Block

These elongated blocks connect the corners of concrete masonry units. They are laid with their long sides parallel to the face of the wall and interlock easily with other stretcher blocks and corner blocks to create a strong wall.

Pillar Block

A pillar block, also called a double corner block, is a heavy-duty concrete block specifically designed for building pillars and columns. They are typically made larger and stronger than regular blocks to handle the vertical load of the structure.

Partition Block

A partition block is a lightweight concrete block, typically hollow, used for building interior walls that don’t support heavy weight. They are like the interior walls in your house, used to create rooms and separate spaces.

Splitface Block

A splitface block is a regular concrete block with one side featuring a rough, textured surface that resembles natural stone. It offers the affordability of concrete with a more aesthetically pleasing, rugged look, although it’s prone to water damage.

Column Block

A column block is a square or rectangular concrete block with a single core hole in the center. These blocks are stacked on top of each other, often with reinforcing rods inside the hole, to create vertical support columns in construction projects. They are essentially like giant Legos for building strong posts.

Corner Block

A concrete corner block is a special type of block with angled ends that interlock with stretcher blocks to form clean, 90-degree corners in a concrete masonry wall.

Bullnose Block

A bullnose block is a concrete corner block with a rounded edge, typically used for creating curved walls or finishing off sharp edges for a more polished look.

Lintel Block

A lintel block is a U-shaped concrete block that acts like a beam. It spans openings like windows and doors, supporting the weight above and keeping the wall structurally sound. They are typically filled with concrete and reinforcing bars for added strength.

Jamb Block

A jamb block is a concrete block specifically designed for framing window and door openings. It has grooves on one or more sides to accommodate window or door casings, for a proper fit and a clean finished look.

Solid Concrete Blocks

Solid Concrete Blocks and Lightweight Concrete Blocks Solid and Lightweight Concrete Blocks

Unlike hollow blocks, these blocks have no holes in them. They’re solid concrete, which makes them strong, heavy, and durable. These blocks are typically easy to work with in construction, as you don’t need to navigate holes when cutting them.

Solid Concrete Blocks
Advantages  Disadvantages 
✅ Strong and heavy

✅ Ideal for weight-bearing applications

✅ Easy to work with for cutting or drilling

❌ Less thermal insulation due to density

Fly Ash Block

Fly ash blocks are eco-friendly concrete blocks made with fly ash, a by-product of coal combustion. They are lightweight but tend to come in smaller blocks as they get less durable the bigger they get. There are two classes of fly ash:

  • Class C: A high-calcium variety with less than 2% carbon. It can constitute 15–40% of cement material.
  • Class F: A carbon content of 5–10% and a low-calcium material. It typically makes up 15–25% of cement material.

Whichever class you use, there are advantages to choosing it. Fly ash bricks are surprisingly resistant to cold, don’t crack easily, aren’t very permeable, and can even reduce CO2 emissions.

Paving Block

A paving block, also called a paver, is a rectangular or shaped concrete unit used for creating decorative and durable outdoor surfaces like driveways, patios, and walkways. They come in various colors, textures, and interlocking designs used to create attractive and functional pavements.

Lightweight Concrete Blocks

A lightweight concrete block is just like a regular block, but lighter. They contain air pockets or are made with special aggregates to reduce weight, making them ideal for non-load-bearing walls where insulation or ease of handling is important.

Lightweight Concrete Blocks
Advantages  Disadvantages 
✅ Easier to handle

✅ Better thermal insulation

✅ Reduced structural load

❌ Lower strength than others

❌ May be prone to cracking

Cellular Lightweight Block

Cellular lightweight blocks (CLC blocks) are much lighter than standard blocks, because they are a careful mix of fly ash, cement, and foam. This makes them easier to handle and reduces building weight. High-density CDCs can be used for load-bearing walls, plus they are fire-resistant, eco-friendly, and cost-effective.

Expanded Clay Aggregate Block

An Expanded Clay Aggregate (ECA) block is a lightweight concrete block made with a certain combination of fly ash and cement, and fired in a kiln to cure it. They can be made into different sizes and densities, and they are both waterproof and fire-proof.

Aerated Autoclaved Concrete (AAC) Blocks

AAC blocks are the lightweight champions of concrete blocks. They are about 80% air, offer impressive sound and temperature insulation, and can accommodate nails and screws. Despite the advantages, they are susceptible to damage from the elements and aren’t suitable for load-bearing applications.

Other Concrete Blocks

Other Concrete Blocks

Like Lego bricks for grown-ups, interlocking concrete blocks are designed to fit together with grooves or ridges, creating a strong and stable structure without needing mortar. This allows for much faster construction and in some cases, these blocks can be reused.

Decorative concrete blocks come in various patterns, colors, textures, shapes, and sizes. They are designed to add some character. Decorative blocks create concrete blockwork that’s perfect for cladding exterior walls, building planters, or adding a decorative touch to patios and walkways.

How are Hollow Concrete Blocks Different from Solid Ones?

The most obvious difference is that solid concrete blocks are fully solid, whereas hollow concrete blocks aren’t. Here’s a look at the deeper differences between the two.


Hollow blocks are significantly lighter than solid ones. While the weightiness of solid blocks does have its place, hollow blocks are easier to handle, faster to transport, and have lower labor costs over time.


Solid concrete blocks are typically used for load-bearing walls and construction that needs high structural strength. Hollow blocks don’t provide the same kind of mechanical strength, although they can be reinforced with steel rebar.


Hollow concrete blocks come with excellent insulation properties, thanks to the air inside them. They can regulate both sound and temperature, which makes them ideal for exterior walls. Solid blocks offer little to no insulation.

Material Usage

Solid blocks consist of more material, basically making them more expensive to manufacture. Projects in which solid blocks are used tend to be more expensive in the long run, while opting for hollow reduces costs.

Mortar Usage

Because solid bricks have more surface area, you’ll probably end up using more mortar on them. On the other hand, there’s less area on a hollow block for mortar, basically saving you money in the long run.

What to Consider When Choosing Concrete Blocks for Your Project

Selecting the right concrete block for your project requires careful consideration of several factors. Here are some key aspects to keep in mind.

Concrete Block Type Factors to Consider What to Consider When Choosing Concrete Blocks

Climate and Weather Exposure

  • Hot or Cold Climates: For extreme temperatures, hollow blocks with air pockets can keep you safe from the cold or heat. If staying warm in winter and cool in summer is something you’re after, go for hollow blocks.
  • High Rainfall Areas: Solid blocks have better moisture-resistant properties, although you can find moisture-treated blocks if you live somewhere humid. Consider your options – treated blocks may cost more.

Building Design and Aesthetics

  • Structural Style: The overall design of your project might influence block selection. Consider if you want exposed block surfaces or decorative designs. Think about what kind of brick design you want for your home.
  • Finish and Color: Decorative blocks come in various colors and textures to enhance the visual appeal of your structure. Construction can be as creative as art!

Load-Bearing Requirements

  • Load-Bearing Walls: Solid concrete blocks are the go-to choice for their superior strength to support weight from above.
  • Non-Load-Bearing Walls: Hollow blocks are a good option for walls that don’t need to bear significant weight, offering a balance between affordability and structural integrity.

Different Types of Concrete Blocks for Construction FAQs

What’s the Difference Between Concrete, Cement, and Cinder Blocks?

Concrete blocks, cement blocks, and cinder blocks are often used interchangeably in the construction industry. Here’s how they differ:

  • Concrete: This is the finished product, made by mixing cement, water, and aggregates (gravel, sand, fine rocks, etc.).
  • Cement: This is just one ingredient in concrete. Cement itself is a fine powder made from heating limestone and clay. When mixed with water, it undergoes a chemical reaction that makes it harden and bind other materials together.
  • Cinder Blocks: These are a type of concrete block, but not the most common these days. They’re made with cement and cinders (ash from burning coals).

What Is the Most Common Type of Concrete Block Used In Construction?

The hollow concrete block is the most commonly used for its versatility, low cost, and ease of working with. Hollow blocks offer a good balance, whereas solid blocks may be restrictive.

Which Concrete Blocks Are Best for House Construction?

The best concrete blocks for house construction depend on the function of the specific wall.

  • Wall’s Purpose: Identify if the wall needs to bear weight (load-bearing) or not (non-load-bearing). Load-bearing walls need solid blocks, non-load-bearing walls can use hollow blocks.
  • Climate: In extremely hot or cold climates, consider thermal insulation properties. Hollow blocks can be advantageous. In areas with high rainfall, solid or moisture-resistant blocks might be better.
  • Building Design: Exposed block surfaces might influence block selection. Decorative block options can enhance aesthetics.

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chao zhang

Author: Chao Zhang

I am Chao Zhang, I have been working in the brick making industry for over 10 years. I have a deep understanding and research on various models of block making machines, especially automatic brick machines, concrete block machines, compressed earth block machines, clay brick machines, cement brick machines. I have a special understanding of this industry. I can help my clients choose the suitable brick machine and assist them in designing and building a brick production factory. If you want to know everything about brick making machines, please contact me. I am happy to help you.