Architectural Blocks

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Nitterhouse Polished block

Polished Block

The polished finish is our newest and most innovative finish for concrete masonry units. This highly, polished block finish gives the block a glossy, shiny…

Split face block

Split Face Concrete Block

If you’re an architect seeking to create a distinctive look for your building project, split face block options deserve serious consideration. Unlike ground face blocks…

Ground face in a school hallway

Ground Face Finish Concrete Block

Are you attempting to achieve a smooth, uniform design for your building project? Have you explored a variety of materials and been dissatisfied with their…

Antique Finish

Antique finished concrete block is an excellent choice for anyone who prefers a building with a weathered texture and a more rustic look. Because it…

Shippensburg Emergency Services building made of recycled concrete block

Recycled Concrete Block

What is recycled CMU block? A recycled concrete masonry unit is a type of architectural block featuring a high thermal mass and a modular design.…

Building made of monarch blox

Monarch Blox

Many builders, architects and property owners prefer a structure with a brick appearance. But it takes more time to build with brick, which can raise…

Different Faces and Finishes for Architectural Blocks

Architectural concrete blocks are a versatile building product builders can use for a wide variety of projects from museums and universities to shopping centers and offices. We make these strong and environmentally friendly concrete building blocks with sand, rock, cement and water. Suitable for both exterior and interior applications, concrete masonry units (CMUs) come in different sizes and shapes to satisfy any construction demand.

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Nitterhouse Masonry Products wants to be a part of your next project. By checking out our product literature, you can read more information about the Architectural Paver series as well as some specifications for installation. Family-owned and operated for five generations, Nitterhouse Masonry Products brings your architectural dreams to life. Contact Nitterhouse Masonry today to speak to one of our professionals!

1. Ground Face:

Ground face concrete masonry blocks offer a sleek, smooth and rich appearance. Grinding these CMUs on their face exposes the natural aggregates in the concrete. Nitterhouse’s Ground Face CMU comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, with each block carefully produced to have a uniform appearance. Our ground face CMU meets ASTM-C90 standards, and builders can use these blocks at or below grade for exterior or interior applications. These concrete blocks arrive ready to use with an integral water repellent and sealed with a water-based acrylic resin sealer that meets ASTM C-744 standards. For exterior walls, Nitterhouse’s ground face concrete masonry units are resistant to weathering, and in interior construction, they provide an attractive shine. Our ground face CMUs come in a wide range of colors with the option of a matching Type-S mortar.

Nitterhouse also offers a ground face veneer block in our Legacy Stone with a terrazzo finish. Perfect for decorative accent bands or sills and chamfers, this 4″ ground face veneer meets ASTM-C129 standards. Legacy Stone concrete block products provide the visual appeal of smooth granite for both interior or exterior designs.

The classic and uniform appeal of ground face architectural blocks is well-suited for a variety of construction projects, including:

  • Libraries
  • Office buildings
  • Schools
  • College dormitories
  • Shopping malls

2. Split Face:

When you want a textured look, split face concrete masonry blocks offer a broken rock-face appearance that is rough but clean. The fully exposed aggregates in these concrete blocks uniquely catch the sunlight to create a visually stimulating building façade. For large exterior applications, split face concrete blocks near you often provide a more interesting and aesthetically pleasing look than a smooth finish. Split face CMUs are also an excellent choice for banding stripes to create a more diverse design. In interior applications, split face CMUs add depth and dimension to flat walls with their rough texture.

Nitterhouse’s Split Face CMU offers the same excellent durability and quality of our ground face CMU and is similarly designed to meet ASTM-C90 standards. Our split face masonry units are fire-rated for up to four hours and have an integral water repellent to prevent mold effectively. Perfect for building façades or accent features, split face textured concrete blocks are sure to add interest to any building.

The eye-catching texture of split face CMUs makes them an ideal choice for:

  • Museums
  • Banks
  • Fire stations
  • Schools
  • Office buildings

3. Polished Finish:

With an even more sleek and shiny appearance than ground face finish, a filled and polished finish offers an upscale look for interior or exterior uses. Nitterhouse’s Elite CMU with a polished finish has a ground face filled with an acrylic resin filler, polished to perfection and sealed with water-based acrylic resin sealer that conforms to ASTM C-744 standards. Our Elite CMU is safe to use for load-bearing walls in exterior or interior applications. An excellent choice for interior designs, the polished finish of our Elite CMUs means you do not need to face concrete block with ceramic tile to achieve a smooth and shimmering interior wall. These polished CMUs add class to any design, whether for full walls or accents.

CMUs with a polished finish offer high-class appeal in a variety of construction projects, such as:

  • Boutique shops
  • Courthouses
  • Municipal buildings
  • Universities
  • Apartment buildings

4. Shot Blast Finish:

Falling between the smooth surface of ground face blocks and striking texture of split face blocks, CMUs with a shot blast finish offer a slightly textured and distressed appeal. Shot-blasting these architectural blocks creates a weathered and antique look. Nitterhouse’s Antique CMU is available in a variety of colors with beautiful exposed aggregate. Perfect for exterior or interior designs, shot blasted CMUs also offer contrast when used in banding stripes.

For non-load-bearing applications, Nitterhouse offers a Legacy Stone CMU with a textured finish. This shot blasted CMU provides a vintage appeal to any building and adds dimension to your building design.

The rustic appeal of architectural CMU blocks with a shot blast finish is perfect for building designs that call for antique charm, including:

  • Banks
  • Libraries
  • Courthouses
  • Museums
  • Hotels

5. Clay Brick Alternative:

Some building projects call for the rustic look of brick, but the sturdiness and strength of concrete. Nitterhouse offers our Monarch Blox as an alternative to clay brick. These load-bearing concrete masonry blocks are the same height as standard brick blocks, but the length and depth of concrete blocks. The natural and rustic appeal of our Monarch Blox makes them a perfect choice for:

  • Shopping malls
  • Office buildings
  • College dormitories
  • Schools
  • Banks

6. Recycled Concrete Masonry Blocks:

Concrete masonry units offer several environmentally friendly benefits, including providing building insulation that reduces the use of heating and cooling units and being constructed with entirely natural materials. Concrete building blocks also pose no risk of releasing chemicals into the environment. However, Nitterhouse also offers recycled CMU blocks that can make your building project even greener.

Nitterhouse Masonry’s eco-SMART blocks include at least 30 percent recycled materials and are one of the most environmentally friendly building products available. By using sustainable natural materials, our recycled CMU blocks reduce waste and create greener buildings. Builders and architects even have the option to increase the percentage of recycled materials in their CMUs to earn more LEED points for your sustainable building project. These eco-friendly concrete blocks still offer the high-performance features of other Nitterhouse products. Our eco-SMART blocks meet ASTM C-90 standards for load-bearing blocks, offer superior fire resistance and provide excellent soundproofing for a quieter office building, school or shop.

Eco-SMART blocks are available in ground face and split face finishes and can be customized to match the color of any regular CMU block. Our recycled CMU blocks can fit seamlessly into any building design to maintain a professional and pleasing aesthetic while offering added environmental benefits. Here are a few great applications for recycled CMUs in building projects:

  • Office buildings
  • Universities
  • Schools
  • Apartments
  • Municipal buildings

Common Uses of CMUs

Versatile and durable, concrete masonry units are suitable for a wide variety of exterior and interior building projects. CMUs are available in several different textures and dozens of colors to create a unique design for any application. Ground face CMUs offer a sleek appearance for schools or office buildings, while CMUs with a shot blast finish provide an aged and textured look for courthouses or museums. Concrete blocks are weather- and fire-resistant, making them a practical choice for exterior walls, and their structural integrity makes them perfect for constructing durable basements and foundations. Below are a few common uses of CMUs in construction projects:

  • Exterior walls
  • Load-bearing walls
  • Partition walls
  • Accent bands
  • Foundation walls
  • Basement walls

How to Determine How Many Architectural Blocks Your Project Needs

Whether you are constructing a large office building or building a DIY concrete block retaining wall in your backyard, you will need to determine how many concrete blocks your project will require before you begin building. A simple way to decide how many concrete masonry blocks to order is to calculate the square footage of the wall you are planning to construct and divide it by the square footage of the CMU you plan to use. There are also online concrete block calculators available to confirm your calculations.

Concrete building blocks come in a variety of sizes, but when calculating the number of blocks required, you only need to consider the height and length of the concrete blocks. The bed depth of the concrete block is essential to determining the amount of mortar the project will require, but not the number of CMUs. Two different measurements describe the size of your concrete blocks: the size and the nominal size. The nominal dimensions will be the actual physical size of the block, while the size will include an additional 3/8″ for the standard mortar joint. When calculating the number of blocks, always use the size measurement to accommodate for the added height and width from mortar joints. If only the nominal size is listed for your CMUs, add 3/8″ to both the height and width first.

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Find CMU Blocks From Nitterhouse at Your Local Dealer

When searching for the right concrete masonry units, start with a supplier you can trust. Nitterhouse Masonry Products has been manufacturing high-quality concrete products for more than 90 years and has earned a reputation for offering some of the best masonry materials on the market. Our product line includes a broad selection of concrete blocks and veneers, with colors and textures available to complement any building design. If you want to see and feel our concrete blocks in person, visit our hands-on product design center in Chambersburg, Pa. Our experienced staff can assist you in choosing the perfect texture, size, color and quantity of CMUs for your project. If you live elsewhere in the Mid-Atlantic region, locate a Nitterhouse dealer in your area to find the perfect concrete masonry units to make your building shine.