Building a Block Wall | QUIKRETE: Cement and Concrete Products
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A great way to view and understand your building or repair project before you get started. Find out just about everything you need to know by watching the video below.

Building a Block Wall

Building a concrete block wall is one of the more involved building projects that requires careful planning and a little heavy lifting, but easy to accomplish with QUIKRETE Mason Mix.

Project Instructions

When working with cement-based products, always wear eye protection and waterproof gloves.

Step 1
Ensure a solid footing. Footings should be a minimum of twice the width of the concrete block  (i.e., a typical 8x8x16 block would require a 16-inch wide footing) and extend below the frost line.

NOTE: it is important to check local building codes for construction requirements in your area.  

For load-bearing walls, tie rods should be set a minimum of 6 inches into the concrete footing before it is set.  Rebar should be placed in every other masonry core to provide structural support. 

For masonry cores over 4 inches wide, QUIKRETE Core Fill Grout – Coarse should be poured around the rebar; for masonry cores under 4 inches wide, QUIKRETE Core Fill Grout-Fine should be used.

Step 2
Lay out the block, making sure to leave a 3/8 inch gap between the blocks to allow for the vertical mortar joints (i.e., a typical 8x8x16 block is actually 15-5/8 inches long and 7-5/8 inches high to accommodate the mortar joint).

Step 3
Snap a chalk line on each side of the block wall as a reference line.

Step 4
Mix Mortar.

TIP: when preparing to place a trowel full of mortar, gently “snap” the trowel downward to remove any excess mortar. The proper consistency is achieved when the wet mortar will “hang” on a trowel held at a 90°  angle.

Step 5
Dampen the footing surface with water and place a one-inch bed of mortar on the footing. Furrow the mortar bed using the tip of the trowel to create a “v” to help distribute the mortar evenly.  The mortar should be workable but firm enough to support the weight of the block.

Step 6
Butter the inside end of the first block and then press the block into the mortar bed to create a 3/8 inch mortar joint.

Step 7
Trim and remove any excess mortar.

Step 8
Using the same process, set the opposite corner block.

Step 9
Repeat steps 6 and 7, adjusting the blocks  to be flush and level; continue this process until the first course is completed.

Step 10
To set the next course of block, apply a one-inch thick mortar bed along top of the first course.

Step 11
At the end of the wall, set an “8x8x8” half block into the mortar bed with the smooth side facing out. 

Step 12
Using a mason’s line as a guide for the remaining block, continue building the wall until it is complete.

Step 13
Once the mortar joints have become “thumbprint” hard, use a jointing tool to smooth the fresh joints and remove any excess mortar.

Shopping List

  • 80 lb QUIKRETE Mason Mix – Type S
  • 8x8x16 standard block
  • 8x8x8 standard block
  • Masonry brick trowel
  • Mason’s line
  • Line chalk
  • Masonry line blocks (2)
  • Stiff brush
  • Jointing tool
  • 4’ level
  • Plastic mixing tub or wheel barrow
  • Mixing hoe
  • Measuring tape
  • Gloves
  • Safety glasses

(For Structural walls)

  • #3 rebar
  • 80 lb QUIKRETE Core fill grout or
  • 80 lb QUIKRETE 5000 Concrete Mix

(Footing Construction)

  • 80 lb QUIKRETE 5000 Concrete Mix
  • 2x4 or 2x6 form boards
  • Wood stakes
  • 50 lb QUIKRETE All Purpose Gravel
  • Nails
  • Hammer
  • Wood float
  • Shovel