United Construction Homes and Remodeling Center
General Contractor/Developer
Building Site Built and Modular Homes
Quality, Honesty, and Integrity for 40+ Years
(810) 648-3299

Block Basements



The term CMU is and has been used throughout the industry.  It means, “CONCRETE MANUFACTURED UNIT”…in other words a shortened term for concrete blocks.

Still the mainstay in COMMERCIAL construction throughout the nation, it is one of the least expensive and readily available forms of building foundations.  The best explanation for this is that there is a myriad of installers found in most locales.  Fathers pass the gift on to sons.  The trade “Block layer” is thought to be the easiest MASONRY construction to learn and do right.  While novices can lay blocks, MASTER MASONS understand the codes and building methods that are used to insure safety, strength, and success.

Masonry in any form “CRACKS”!  The largest and most important structures built from concrete will eventually crack.  The real trick is to make these cracks occur where they can be “controlled”.

You may look at a factory wall dozens of feet high and note one thing in particular.  There will be a vertical line about every 20’ or so.  These are “expansion” joints.  There will be no connection between these sections…other than bonding that occurs at the foundation footing, and also at the roof connection.  MASONRY EXPANDS AND CONTRACTS at a high rate due to temperature changes.  If one were to build long unbroken sections, damaging cracks would happen everywhere!

Over the past 50 years, masons have perfected the block wall for foundations and more to the point, BASEMENTS!  Old block basements sometimes cracked and could collect moisture within the hollow part of the block.  This “ground water” would then soak through into the living space of the basement for long periods of time.  Dampness and oozing of water produced that “clammy” feeling and actual mold problems on finished surfaces.

Good masonry practice now includes better drainage outside the walls, permeable soils over tile drains around the footings, and higher strength construction.  Some masons will grout (fill the voids of the blocks) the entire wall.  This produces extra strength and limits the infiltration of water into the blocks.  More steel reinforcing bars and lateral braces go a step further.  Now-a-days block basements have overcome most of the old problems that followed these structures built in high water tables and poor drainage areas.

Contact us here at UNITED CONSTRUCTION for more information.  Our MASONRY CONTRACTORS may be right up your alley.