Building a Breeze block wall

#1
I'm not exactly gods gift to building work but can throw a Billy Basic wall up. I'm after building a raised bed to finish off a corner of the garden.

Truth is though I know balls all about Breeze block which is what I'd rather use as I'll be rendering it (eventually). I'm basically building an equalateral (sp) triangle 6foot long on each edge so it should be stable.

Can I use those ridiculously lightweight blocks or are they just going to soak up the mud into the wall?
Do I need to put piers in like when you do brick work?

I know I should probably add this to a DIY forum but I can't be arrsed signing up truth be told.
 
#3
Why don't you use sleepers? you'll end up doing a shit load of stupid cuts if you try and build a triangle in blockwork. If you use lightweight blocks they'll be saturated instantly and forever and any render or surface application will blow off (if it sticks in the first place), you'll need to dig and pour a footing, you can't just slap them onto the deck and you'll need to put some sort of capping on top to prevent top down water ingress - if you want it to last- seems like a pain in the arse to me. I was going to do it in my garden, thought about it...saw sense - I used sleepers in the end - not ones impregnated with creosote mind you.
 
#4
So how are you overcoming that with blocks then? you'll still end up chamfering edges to get the angles. And at least with sleepers you've only got to remember the mantra of the RE. "If all else fails, six inch nails"
 
P

PrinceAlbert

Guest
#5
Cutting sleepers is a ballache and a half. On an equilateral triangle, you'll be cutting some sharp angles too. Unless you put posts at the corners or something. Then you're into aesthetic design, definitely not my bag.
60 degrees on each corner. Hardly difficult.
 
#6
Despite the digging/pouring of footings involved, it may be easiest to build poured concrete walls, especially if you want the structure triangular. Effectively, that's the same technique as you'd use if you were building a house, and were starting off with footings and a concrete (rather than breeze block) stem wall.

Apart from anything else, you're going to have the same trench-digging and footing-pouring to do whether you then build the wall with breeze blocks or pour it.

Assuming your wall doesn't need to be more than 1 m high, you could make it about 20 cm thick, on a footing 30 cm wide by 20 cm high (as long as your soil isn't ridiculously soft). That's slight overkill, but not much extra work compared to the risks involved in trimming a few cm off here and there.

It'll need large (5 cm) drainage holes to let the water out.

You will need reinforcement in both the footings and the wall itself.

Happy to give more info if you want to go down this route -- I'm not a builder, but I did dig and pour the foundations for my house, which was still standing last time I looked.
 
#8
Assuming you were going to mitre the joints, then you'd need to cut a 30 degree ramp at the end of each sleeper. Good luck with that.
No. Cut alternate lifts 60 degrees, then the corners will be properly "bonded". With a 30 degree mitre there is nothing to stop the sides peeling apart at the corners.
 
#9
Despite the digging/pouring of footings involved, it may be easiest to build poured concrete walls
I'd go with Flags on this. but I reckon that with a simple garden (non load-bearing structure) you could probably save a bit on the footings but, as he says, is it worth the risk? You'll probably need to hire a mixer but at least you'll get it all done in one day. If you can manage to get some old planks for the shuttering with a strong grain it will give you an attractive texture to the wall. Poured concrete is definitely the easiest way to get your angled corners right.
 

Legs

ADC
Book Reviewer
#10
Ok, that makes sense, but even so, cutting a 60 degree angle in a railway sleeper is not a simple task.

Maybe I'm over thinking this, but my hobby/side biz is woodworking, and I'm thinking how I would cut a 60 degree angle in a piece of wood that is 12 inches wide and 6 inches deep and weighs a couple hundred pounds.
Ummmm..... with a big saw?
 
#11
Don't use breeze blocks to build a raised bed, the blocks will eventually succumb to the constant damp and frost and eventually crumble. You can get specialist bricks for this type of job, but expect to pay accordingly.
 
#12
Ok, that makes sense, but even so, cutting a 60 degree angle in a railway sleeper is not a simple task.

Maybe I'm over thinking this, but my hobby/side biz is woodworking, and I'm thinking how I would cut a 60 degree angle in a piece of wood that is 12 inches wide and 6 inches deep and weighs a couple hundred pounds.
Delegate.
 
#13
Ok, that makes sense, but even so, cutting a 60 degree angle in a railway sleeper is not a simple task.

Maybe I'm over thinking this, but my hobby/side biz is woodworking, and I'm thinking how I would cut a 60 degree angle in a piece of wood that is 12 inches wide and 6 inches deep and weighs a couple hundred pounds.
Chainsaw, job jobbed... surely Apple make one! Breeze blocks the way to go not too difficult or use some engineering bricks though they are a bit more expensive
 
#14
Don't use breeze blocks to build a raised bed, the blocks will eventually succumb to the constant damp and frost and eventually crumble. You can get specialist bricks for this type of job, but expect to pay accordingly.
Reclaimed engineering bricks (blue bricks) are a possibility. You could get away without cutting the corners, just leave the projecting bits as a feature. Architects sometimes do this deliberately, and sometimes when they have forgotten to order any "specials".

Blue brick not essential, any decent quality reclaimed brick would do.
 
#15
4'' concrete block on flat. Dead easy to lay, cut with either a bolster and masher hammer or a 4'' angle grinder with a diamond blade. As already mentioned allow for water drainage. Built my shed with 6'' block and that is 10 x 7m, with an upstairs.
 

TheIronDuke

ADC
Book Reviewer
#16
Ummmm..... with a big saw?
What like a Skil or a Husqvarna with a big bar? You need to be seriously skilled with a chainsaw to cut an accurate angle whilst ensuring the downward cut is precisely 90 degrees. And a small power handsaw is too small.

I'd look at buying poles. Around 3 mtrs long and about 8" through. Go for the Alamo effect, that is; each lift overlaps the other by about 6". Coach screws of 9" nails - its not like the structure is going to have to bear a heavy load? And if it is, then 2x4 uprights sunk into PostCrete. Its an hours work.
 
#17
What like a Skil or a Husqvarna with a big bar? You need to be seriously skilled with a chainsaw to cut an accurate angle whilst ensuring the downward cut is precisely 90 degrees. And a small power handsaw is too small.

I'd look at buying poles. Around 3 mtrs long and about 8" through. Go for the Alamo effect, that is; each lift overlaps the other by about 6". Coach screws of 9" nails - its not like the structure is going to have to bear a heavy load? And if it is, then 2x4 uprights sunk into PostCrete. Its an hours work.
Brilliant idea. And lining with polythene or Terram or something would stop the soil washing out.
 
#19
Sandbags. Fill* with a dry concrete mix and lay as a stretcher bond, beating the hell out it and shaping the corners nicely. When satisfied with the shape, thoroughly soak with water. Dampen every day for a week. After a month, burn the visible hessian off with a blowtorch.

It'll key better than bricks or blocks, will be less susceptible to frost or sulphate attack and doesn't require any cutting.


*Fill means 1/2 or 3/4 full, depending on how thick you want the courses to be. Seek Sapper advice on how to build a decent sandbag wall. Seams inwards**, obviously.

**By inwards, I mean on the non-visible side of the wall. I don't mean turn the sandbags inside out.
 
#20
Concrete blocks whilst a heavy bugger to lay are what you need to do the job. lightweight blocks won't stand the constant damp. There's been some good advice in this thread about laying them etc.
 

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