What Is the Difference Between a Cinder Block and Concrete Block

Cinder blocks and concrete blocks have some fundamental differences that can be traced down to their core ingredients. At first glance, it’s hard to determine their differences due to their shared fundamental properties, but a closer look could help us point out their utmost differences. Most often, people interchange the two, thinking that they are alike. This misconception arises from the fact that at first glance, the differences are covert. Even though similar materials are used in their construction, the cinder block has extra material on it. 

In this article, we will define the differences between a cinder block and a concrete block. 

Concrete is a mixture of cement, aggregates, and water. When these materials are combined, a chemical reaction occurs, and the concrete is formed as a result. Concrete blocks are precast concrete that can either be solid or more hollow cavities. The sides can be smooth or come with a distinctive pattern. It is frequently used as a building material in the construction of roads, bridges, walls, homes, properties, and other infrastructures. 

Main features of Concrete Blocks: 

  • Usually heavier than the cinder blocks 
  • Can withstand high pressure 
  • Contains steel, cement or wood 
  • Have a significant tensile strength that makes it ideal for tougher structures 
  • Cinder blocks are made of concrete and coal cinders or ash. It is often known as the remains of burned coal. Usually, in karate demonstrations, they are using cinder blocks instead of concrete blocks. Unlike concrete blocks that suit large construction projects, cinder blocks are often used in small projects like garden walls or small wall division. 

Main features of Cinder Blocks: 

  • They re lighter than concrete blocks 
  • Both contain concrete and coal cinders 
  • They tend to bow and buckle 
  • They do not have a substantial tensile strength
  • They can not be used in big construction projects because of their strength capacity 
  • The repair is usually expensive that’s why they are not recommended in locations that are prone to a high risk of damage 
  • They are used as a safety barrier 
  • They are used to decorate the wall 
  • They are used for foxing doors and windows 
  • Useful in differentiating the appearance of structures

Comparison between the cinder block and the concrete block 

CINDER BLOCK CONCRETE BLOCK 
Ash is the main aggregate in the cinder block.The concrete block also consists of fly ash in the building of masonry units.
Cinder block is more costly because it requires a lot of repairs.Concrete block, due to its strength, does not need a lot of repairs. Therefore, it is more cost-efficient in the long run. 
Cinder block has a hollow rectangular form.The concrete block is structured flat and concrete. 
Cinder blocks have not been massively produced in nearly 50 years. Thus, it is considered as an old fashioned building material. Concrete blocks are massively used until today because of its durability and structural strength 
Cinder block is made up of both cinder ash remains and concrete.A concrete block is made up of wood, cement, or steel. But it is most commonly made of cement. 
Cinder block is often used in small construction projects such as the building of garden walls.A concrete block is used in more sizeable and substantial construction projects.
Most building codes do not allow the use of cinder blocks because it is not as flexible as the concrete block.Concrete blocks are way much stronger than the cinder block.
Cinder block lacks tensile strength to withstand high pressure.A concrete block is a hard, strong, and durable material that can withstand high pressure.
Cinder block is lighter than the concrete block. This makes them ideal for small construction projects.A concrete block consists of aggregates such as stones and sands, making it heavier than the cinder block.

Now that you know the key differences between concrete blocks and cinder blocks, you can easily decide which one to use in your construction project. A heavy-duty, large building construction will need strong and durable materials that can be found on the concrete block, while a small backyard or garden project will not require a strong tensile strength. Therefore, a cinder block is good enough for such a project. Choosing which block to use depends on the type and size of the project you are building. Most of the property owners prefer to use concrete blocks for long-lasting durability and strength, as well as flexibility in terms of possible alteration. But there are still some who prefer cinder blocks due to its lightweight property. 

When it comes to buying the right blocks for you, one of the things that you need to learn is to identify the physical difference between the concrete block and the cinder block. Concrete blocks appear to be heavy and new, while cinder blocks look older and light. It’s best to buy from a reliable hardware store or seller who will be able to provide a detailed description of each block’s properties.