Compare the different types of bricks, blocks and natural stone to find the right materials for your next home improvement project.
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Blocks are a modern development, and are generally larger than bricks. Unless they are faced, blocks are normally covered over for decorative purposes — usually with stucco on an exterior wall, or drywall on an internal wall. Sizes vary, but blocks are often 18 x 9 inches. Depths also vary.
Decorative glass blocks are usually square and may be used inside or outside, often for small features.
A lightweight concrete block that is thermally efficient and easy to handle. Used in loadbearing and non-loadbearing walls, depending on specification.
Concrete with cavity
Continuous cavities allow for strengthening rods through retaining walls. Cellular blocks have discontinuous cavities.
Faced Building Block
Concrete blocks are sometimes available with a decorative face and in various colors.
Natural stone varies widely in appearance and properties depending on its origin. Different stones are therefore suitable for different projects. When buying natural stone, quality is important. A load of unfinished stone may produce a lot of waste, while finished stone is more expensive.
Unfinished natural stone generally requires finishing before use. Bear in mind that finished stone needs to have a usable face, as well as the correct dimensions.
Natural stone that has been cut into a block, usually with all faces finished. Cut stone is therefore very expensive and seldom used extensively.
Made from crushed stone, sand and cement, these are molded to mimic natural stone.
Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement
© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009