All requirements and standards for expanded clay concrete blocks are established by GOST 6133–99. Such blocks consist of expanded clay, that is, foamed and burnt clay, sand, cement and water. The structure of the building material is porous, the blocks are lighter than a brick or cinder block, but at the same time they have not significantly lost in strength.
It is not surprising that expanded clay blocks have successfully replaced cinder blocks, where blast-furnace slag was used instead of expanded clay. The cinder block has lower frost resistance and strength. Replacing blast-furnace slag with expanded clay made the material environmentally friendly, in European countries it is customary to call it “eco-block”.
It is customary to distinguish three main types of expanded clay concrete blocks:
- Full-bodied, that is, without voids inside. They are used for the construction of two- and three-story buildings, for the construction of critical structures.
- Hollow. They have voids, are used for the construction of one-story buildings, partitions, they retain heat well.
- Facing expanded clay blocks. This option allows you to reduce construction time, because the facade will be finished immediately. Facing blocks on one side have a decorative coating or a layer of paint.
Expanded clay blocks can be colored, with the addition of natural colored clays or various pigments.
According to their functional purpose, expanded clay concrete blocks are divided into partition and wall blocks. The former are smaller, they do not need to withstand heavy loads and temperature drops, because they are used to build partitions inside the house. Partition hollow claydite blocks can be used as thermal insulation during the construction of buildings.
Advantages of expanded clay concrete blocks:
- In terms of thermal conductivity, they surpass ordinary concrete. Such blocks are now popular in the countries of the Scandinavian Peninsula, as they allow you to build houses that retain heat in a harsh climate. This indicator is also very important for Russia. If necessary, the expanded clay concrete house can be insulated, we wrote about this.
- Affordable cost. The use of expanded clay blocks instead of bricks will reduce the cost of work by about 30-40%.
- Better sound insulation performance than lightweight concrete.
- The process of laying expanded clay concrete blocks is generally no different from laying ordinary bricks, but it is much easier and faster.
- Resistant to moisture and chemical attack.
- Expanded clay concrete does not burn, resists mold, fungi and microorganisms.
- Durability. A building made of high-quality expanded clay concrete will last a long time.
- Such blocks are perfectly combined with various types of small-piece building materials, metal structures, reinforced concrete products, window and doorways.
- The specific gravity of a wall built of expanded clay concrete blocks will be approximately 2.5 times less than that of a wall built of brick. Consequently, you can save on foundation.
It is important to remember that expanded clay blocks are intended only for low-rise construction! Nevertheless, they are less durable than heavy concrete, therefore, buildings with a height of no more than three floors are built from expanded clay concrete blocks. You should not use them for the construction of the foundation. In addition, when building massive load-bearing structures, it is necessary to clearly carry out calculations, taking into account the declared strength of the material.
Another disadvantage of expanded clay concrete blocks is their unpresentable appearance. If you do not use special facing blocks, you will have to deal with the design of the facade, inside the walls they are usually plastered or sheathed with plasterboard, gypsum boards or gypsum fiber for finishing.
The standard dimensions of expanded clay blocks are: length – from 240 to 450 millimeters, height – from 188 to 240 millimeters, width – from 190 to 450 millimeters. One such block on average can replace seven bricks.
It is very important to pay attention to the quality of the material! Often we can talk about handicraft production, less cement can be added to the blocks than required by GOST and technical conditions. In this case, expanded clay concrete can be brittle. Demand quality certificates and purchase materials from trusted suppliers with an impeccable reputation.
Note that expanded clay blocks are now a fairly popular material for the construction of private houses. Keep in mind that you will have to use finishing materials, so the final cost of the construction may increase. The choice is yours, but it is definitely worth considering the possibility of building a house from expanded clay blocks, because you must make an informed decision that is optimal in terms of price-quality ratio.