Foam blocks are a relatively new material, which due to its properties and technical characteristics has taken a strong place in modern construction. They produce blocks of cement mortar, water, sand and a special foaming agent. The use of foam concrete blocks allows for high thermal and sound insulation of the structure, and the various sizes and prices of foam blocks make it one of the most convenient and affordable building materials.
Advantages of foam concrete blocks
Despite the fact that there are also disadvantages, the advantages of foam concrete blocks have made this material more popular. Let us consider in more detail the positive characteristics of foam blocks:
- high strength of the material – foam blocks without problems can be used for the construction of buildings up to 9 m high. Their compressive strength can vary from 3.5 MPa to 5 MPa depending on the brand of manufacturer and technical purpose;
- low density – foam blocks are 2-4 times less dense than, for example, expanded clay concrete. This greatly facilitates their transportation, storage, as well as the process of working with them. Technical indicators for this material range from 400kg / m to 1600kg / m, which almost corresponds to the density of solid wood;
- low thermal conductivity is one of the main advantages of this building material. Foam blocks are several times as good as clay bricks with their thermal insulation properties. A standard wall lined from one row of foam blocks, with a thickness of 60 cm to 80 cm, retains heat as well as a brick one;
- high sound insulation material – foam blocks have a porous structure, so perfectly absorb sound. In large cities, where noise is a constant annoying factor, this is a big advantage over other building materials;
- high moisture resistance of the material – according to the established standards, foam blocks are made so that they do not have open pores. Due to this, they are able to stay in the water for more than 7 days without damage
- high resistance to frost – the same porous structure ensures material resistance to very low temperatures. Inside micropores, water can freeze or migrate without causing damage to the foam block;
- high fire resistance of the material – foam blocks do not burn, do not support the combustion process. Moreover, the blocks resist fire and are able to restrain it for up to 8 hours. But even if such a block is heated to a very high temperature, the released substances will not be toxic and will not harm the environment;
- homogeneous structure of the material – due to its fine-pore structure throughout the thickness of the material, such blocks can be subjected to any mechanical treatments, for example, drilling, chipping and even sawing.
Currently, this building material is widely used for:
- Construction of structures of any complexity, as well as load-bearing walls. For this purpose, the materials with the highest density are used.
- The construction of structural thermal insulation products and structures that do not carry the load. In this case, the required density ranges from 600-1100 kg / m ?.
- Creations of heat-insulating products and warming of floors. Indicators of the density of the material for this should be minimal, since it is in this case, the insulating properties of the highest.
How to understand what is best for construction: foam block or gas block? Both are made of cellular concrete – a porous material. But they have a number of distinctive characteristics. To understand which option to give preference, you can, by considering and evaluating the differences between them.
Visually distinguishing a gas block from a foam block is very simple:
- The foam block has a smooth, even surface with a light color.
- The gas-block has a relief, rough surface of white color.
To begin, let us examine what components are included in the composition of the gas blocks and foam blocks. And what determines the differences in their characteristics.
The composition of foam blocks include: water, cement, lime, industrial waste, for example, blast-furnace slag, and, of course, the component that forms the foam. Most often it is sulphide liquor.
For the manufacture of gas blocks are needed: water, silica sand, cement, lime, aluminum paste. Many people distrust the use of the latter component in the production process, since this element is hazardous to health. But it is important to know that during the processing of its particles dissolve, so the finished blocks do not carry any threat.
The production of these materials also has a number of significant differences, which explains the different technical characteristics.
Features of the production of foam blocks:
- All components are mixed with the addition of a special filler for the formation of foam. Mixing of concrete and foam occurs mechanically.
- The hardening of the finished composition occurs in natural conditions.
Production of foam blocks is an inexpensive process. That is why mid-level entrepreneurs often take up it, wishing to build their business, but not very well versed in the requirements for building materials. As a result, finished products often have significant variations in size and uneven surface. This has a negative effect on the quality of the masonry.
Features of the production of gas blocks:
- The porous structure is the result of a chemical reaction between the main components.
- Processing in the autoclave unit gives the finished products additional strength.
The manufacture of aerated concrete is an expensive process that requires a large amount of equipment, so they produce such blocks only in specialized plants. All products are almost perfect, which greatly facilitates and accelerates further construction.
The advantages of foam concrete:
- has closed pores and absorbs less moisture;
- lower material cost.
Advantages of aerated concrete:
- more durable;
- the best thermal insulation;
- higher quality of manufactured products.
So, if you are ready for significant costs in order to build a durable house, aerated concrete is what you need. Expensive? Yes. Qualitatively? Also yes. But do not forget that, paying due attention to the choice of blocks of foam concrete, as well as aligning minor errors with the help of cement mortar, you can get almost the same quality material as aerated concrete, but at the same time save a lot.
It is very easy to verify this – it is enough to study the proposed sizes and prices of foam blocks per piece in the global network. To say unequivocally that it is better – foam concrete or aerated concrete – is difficult, but in any case, both materials are excellent options for construction.
When choosing foam concrete blocks, sizes and prices are the first things that people usually pay attention to. How to navigate in them and choose quality material?
Depending on the application, the blocks can be divided into two large groups – for erecting walls and for creating internal partitions. In the first case, the use of foam blocks 20x30x60 is recommended. The price per item will depend on the strength and thermal insulation properties indicated on the package. The cost of one cubic meter of such blocks – from 2650 rubles.
For the construction of internal partitions, blocks of 10x30x60 cm are traditionally used. Their price is slightly lower – from 1,800 rubles / m ?.
Having decided on the manufacturer, sizes and prices of foam blocks, you can make an order. But how to understand how much material you need? In this case, the quantity is measured in cubes.
As an example, let’s calculate how many pieces of foam blocks 200x300x600 are cubed. Obviously, the dimensions are in millimeters, but since we are talking about cubic meters, then the block measurements must be converted to meters – 0.2 mx 0.3 mx 0.6 m. In total, it turns out that one block contains 0.036 m? . Simple calculations show that in one cubic meter 27.78 pcs.
Having started building a house, the first thing to ask is: what material for this to choose. Should I choose foam blocks, if you want to build a full-fledged residential house? Having considered all the advantages and disadvantages of this building material, having studied the photos and designs of houses from foam blocks, widely represented in the Internet, you can make the right choice.
The advantages of using foam blocks in construction:
- foam concrete is an opportunity to save on construction. In addition to the low price of the material itself, such a house does not require the construction of a powerful foundation: the blocks are very light, and the weight of the building will be much less than, for example, a brick building;
- You can build a house of foam blocks very quickly and with your own efforts. The speed of building walls from this material is significantly higher than from the same red brick, and does not require special skills;
- Foam blocks – an environmentally friendly material. The main components for its manufacture are water, sand and cement. Of course, special impurities are also used, but their percentage is so small that it does not affect your health;
- ease of processing. The use of foam blocks for building a house makes it easy to fit the material to create complex structures. It will not be difficult to install electrical wiring and even water pipes into such a wall;
- excellent ventilation – due to the high environmental friendliness and porous structure of the material, the walls of the foam block will breathe;
- resistance to temperature changes. Living in a band with a changeable climate, in the process of choosing a building material one has to take into account its ability to withstand the effects of external factors. Foam concrete equally well tolerates the effects of strong winds, frost and high heat, while maintaining the optimum temperature inside the room;
- foam blocks provide excellent noise insulation, which is important if you build a house in the city.
Helpful advice! After the construction is completed, you can use not only the usual plaster or decorative compositions for the finishing of facades for wall decoration. It looks great special tiles, natural or artificial stone.
Disadvantages of the use of foam blocks in construction:
- fragility and fragility. Of course, you should not expect that the foam block house will last 200 years. Over time, after shrinkage, cracks may appear in the walls;
- fragility – this defect is noticeable even before the start of construction. Blocks can be easily damaged during transport;
- poorly made foam blocks can be soaked with water like a sponge;
- it is likely that over time the material will change its structure. Exposure of carbon dioxide to cement can lead to the formation of chalk. As a result, shrinkage occurs inside the unit itself, and the structure becomes more fragile.
How to avoid possible difficulties and unpleasant consequences of building a house of foam concrete?
In order for the constructed house to serve you as long as possible, even before the start of its construction, it is important to know a few rules for choosing and working with this material. Given these tips, you will be able to maximize the positive qualities of the foam block and minimize the disadvantages of its application.
According to the reviews, a bath of foam blocks requires additional hydro and thermal insulation. Otherwise, due to high humidity there is a high risk of cracks in the walls. After reading the reviews of the owners of the baths from the foam block, you can get a complete picture of the advantages and disadvantages of such a choice.