Building materials such as foam block and gas block have literally enslaved the modern market. Many consumers are sure that these names belong to the same product with their pros and cons. But in fact, these are different building materials, which have a lot of differences. Today we will figure out how they differ from each other and determine which is better - a gas block or a foam block.
Foam concrete, aerated concrete and foam concrete blocks today are in great demand. Houses built from them are very common. The demand for such building materials is due to their affordable cost and good performance. In addition, it should be noted the fact that of these blocks, you can build not only residential buildings, but also various outbuildings.
To answer the main question, which material is better - a foam block or a gas block, you need to familiarize yourself with their characteristics, advantages and disadvantages.
The foam block is a very popular material, which is in enviable demand among modern consumers. From it quite stable and durable constructions are obtained, the construction of which can be done in the shortest possible time. It is easy to work with the foam block - for this it is not at all necessary to have a special education or extensive experience in construction.
Most people who want to build a house or an outbuilding choose foam concrete blocks because of their low cost. Moreover, some users make this material with their own hands - the recipe for manufacturing foam blocks is very simple and understandable, you just need to adhere to the correct proportions.
The advantages of foam concrete blocks are many, as are the disadvantages.
To begin, consider what these building materials are good for:
- The foam block is characterized by low thermal conductivity. Thanks to them, from this building material very warm and cozy houses are obtained, which, sometimes, do not need additional insulation.
- Such materials are lightweight, so working with them is not time-consuming. Moreover, the master can cope with many processes alone, without involving assistants.
- From the above advantages of foam blocks, another important advantage follows - due to the light weight, foam block erection does not impose impressive loads on the foundation structure.
- Buildings from the foam block can boast of good soundproofing qualities.
- The foam block is a material with a large volume, therefore, various kinds of buildings are made of it quickly.
- Another significant advantage of foam blocks is that they are inexpensive. Most consumers can afford the purchase of these building materials.
- It is impossible not to mention the fact that foam blocks are a very malleable material. If required, they can be filed or cut with a hacksaw.
- As a rule, foam blocks are environmentally friendly. They do no harm to the health of households. Of course, during the manufacture of these materials, synthetic components are used, but their content is too low to harm humans.
- The foam block is a material which boasts a long service life. Moreover, over the years, foam concrete structures do not lose their positive qualities.
- This building material is not afraid of fire. He does not support the flame, and he does not ignite.
- Many users mistakenly believe that it is possible to make only simple and uniform constructions from foam blocks. This is actually not the case. If the owners have such a desire, a foam block house can be made very original and fashionable.
- The foam block itself does not require mandatory decorative finishes. Of course, it will be more protected if it is covered with plaster or any other suitable material, but this is not a priority.
As you can see, the positive qualities of the modern foam block and its varieties abound. That is why today many users choose it for the construction of houses (and not only).
However, not everything is so rosy - the given building material has significant disadvantages, which you also need to familiarize yourself with:
- A foam block is a material that has a porous structure. Due to this fact, such products become more fragile, especially at the edges. For this reason, it is necessary to transport and transfer foam blocks very carefully so as not to accidentally damage them.
- As mentioned above, it is not necessary to finish foam concrete structures, but it is better to do this. Firstly, in this way you protect the material from aggressive external influences, and secondly, the construction will look much more attractive. But here you can encounter one common problem - for the decoration of foam blocks you need to select special paints / plasters that are designed for foam concrete bases.
- Foam blocks without fail require reinforcement. Typically, fittings are installed at the joints of materials. If you do not supplement the building with a reliable seismic belt, then you will not be able to build high-quality floors and put the same strong rafter structure.
- One of the main disadvantages of using foam blocks is that the modern market is literally overflowing with low-quality counterfeit products made in clandestine conditions. Such materials are often made in violation of proportions, which leads to their increased fragility.
- If you want to make a house out of foam concrete elements, then you need to take into account the fact that it is permissible to start such work only after a rigorous series of calculations. For example, you will need to determine the thickness of the walls of the construction, taking into account all the loads.
- For foam concrete buildings, special foundations of the form-forming type are required.
- Some subtypes of foam blocks do not differ in the correct geometry. Often during construction work they have to be polished and trimmed for a long time and scrupulously so that the same floors or walls turn out to be smooth and neat.
There are a number of subtypes of modern foam concrete blocks.
They are divided according to purpose:
- Structural. Instances of this type are designed for severe loads. Often they turn to them for the construction of multi-story buildings. Large-sized structures made of foam blocks are most often insulated, since this material is characterized by considerable thermal conductivity.
- Heat insulating. These types of foam concrete blocks are very different from structural options. They are non-heat-conducting, so the dwellings built from them are very warm. But thermal insulation blocks can not be called high strength. Usually they are used only as an additional layer in the construction of residential buildings.
- Structural and heat insulating. These subtypes of foam blocks are considered universal. They have gathered in themselves excellent strength properties, as well as good thermal insulation properties. Such materials are great for erecting load-bearing walls or conventional partitions. Very often baths or houses of small height are built from such blocks.
Such materials differ in the manufacturing method:
- Molded (cassette). The name of such foam blocks speaks for itself. During their manufacture, special forms are used, closed by partitions. A similar method of production is considered to be the most economical. However, molded parts have one drawback - the dimensions of the finished foam concrete blocks are inaccurate and poorly calibrated.
- Threaded. The foam blocks are made of a ready-made solution, which is cut into individual parts using a special steel string. These materials can quite brag of the correct and accurate corners. In addition, they are geometrically verified.
Different designs are made of foam concrete blocks.
Depending on the specific purpose, one or another of the following options is used:
- Wall. These foam blocks are more common than others. They are often referred to in suburban construction. This can be not only the construction of a private residential building, but also of any personal building.
- Septum. The second most popular are partition foam blocks. They are quite thin - 100-150 mm. Strong and wear-resistant partitions are built from them in the interior of the building. Due to their thickness, the partition blocks are easily cut if necessary. Thanks to this distinguishing feature, experienced architects make beautiful arched structures from such blocks.
- Special purpose. In the manufacture of special trays, foam concrete blocks of special purpose are usually used. In these elements, fittings are usually installed.
- Reinforced. Such foam blocks are parts of foam concrete reinforced with a steel frame. Most often, reinforced blocks are used as jumpers instead of standard reinforced concrete elements.
- Non-standard. There are also special non-standard foam blocks. They are made specifically for customers.
Foam blocks are available with different dimensional parameters.
Materials intended for masonry with glue are made with the following dimensions:
- length: 188 mm width: 300 (mm), height: 588 (mm);
- 188 mm x 250 mm x 588 mm;
- 288 mm x 200 mm x 588 mm;
- 188 mm x 200 mm x 388 mm;
- 288 mm x 250 mm x 488 mm;
- 144 mm x 300 mm x 588 mm;
- 119 mm x 250 mm x 588 mm;
- 88 mm x 300 mm x 588 mm;
- 88 mm x 250 mm x 588 mm;
- 88 mm x 200 mm x 388 mm.
As for the foam concrete blocks intended for laying on cement, their dimensions can be as follows:
- length 198 mm, width: 295 mm, height: 598 mm;
- 198 mm x 245 mm x 598 mm;
- 298 mm x 195 mm x 598 mm;
- 198 mm x 195 mm x 398 mm;
- 298 mm x 245 mm x 298 mm;
- 98 mm x 295 mm x 598 mm;
- 98 mm x 245 mm x 598 mm;
- 98 mm x 195 mm x 398 mm.
The main "competitor" of foam concrete is such a building material as aerated concrete. Many consumers who want to build a house or some outbuilding on the site also turn to it. This popular product, like the foam block, has its own strengths and weaknesses.
Let's start with the good - consider the advantages of aerated concrete blocks:
- This building material is characterized by high density, which can range from 400 to 1200 kg / m3. If you use high-quality wall material with a low specific gravity, you can spend very little time on the construction of a particular structure.
- Aerated concrete blocks are moisture resistant. Even in conditions of air humidity of 60%, the rate of gas blocks will be about 5%. If the level of humidity reaches 96%, then it can reach 8%.
- Another significant advantage of aerated concrete is its fire safety, as is the case with foam blocks. This material can withstand even extremely high temperatures without any obstacles. In addition, the gas block does not support combustion.
- Aerated concrete blocks are not afraid of very low temperature values. Due to this quality, access to such materials is permissible even in harsh climatic conditions.
- This building material and biological effects are not afraid. Aerated concrete does not need to be further treated with protective compounds or antiseptic agents, such as, for example, wood.
- This building material is distinguished by durability. Buildings created from aerated concrete can stand for 100 or more years.
- Aerated concrete is environmentally friendly. It contains no dangerous toxins that have a negative effect on human health. Only a tree can compete with aerated concrete blocks in terms of environmental friendliness.
- Like foam concrete, aerated concrete has good noise insulation qualities. By building a wall of this material with a thickness of 40 cm, you can not worry about the noise coming from the street.
- Another advantage of aerated concrete is that it has good thermal insulation properties. In many cases, houses made of such material do not need to be additionally insulated. At the same time, a comfortable microclimate is always preserved inside such a home.
- The undoubted advantage of aerated concrete is its level of strength. If it is properly reinforced, then you can build a large house with three floors.
- This building material differs in simplicity of processing. It can be cut or sawed if required. The block can easily be given one or another size and shape. However, it is worth considering one nuance: dowels are very poorly held in aerated concrete walls, so it is recommended to use other fasteners - self-tapping screws.
- It takes a little cement to produce aerated concrete.
- This building material is inexpensive, because its production uses raw materials of natural origin - quartz sand, cement, lime.
- Aerated concrete is lightweight, so working with it is not too time-consuming. Its structure is also cellular, therefore, such blocks can be moved easily without resorting to the help of a crane.
- Aerated concrete is a universal material that is used not only in the construction of houses or outbuildings, but also in the manufacture of fireplaces, steps or fences. This advantage is due to the flexibility of this material - it is possible to give it almost any shape.
- This material also has excellent vapor and air permeability characteristics. The coefficient of these qualities in foam concrete is almost the same as in wood. According to experts, the air circulation and humidity level in the house from such a material will be naturally regulated, forming a comfortable microclimate.
- Currently, aerated concrete blocks are manufactured in factories, where at each stage of production strict quality control of products is carried out.
Aerated concrete blocks are not ideal, as are foam concrete options.
They have their own disadvantages:
- This material is characterized by high hygroscopicity.
- If the foundation of the structure was erected with any violations, then gas-block buildings can give noticeable cracks. Moreover, these defects occur not only along the masonry lines, but also on the gas blocks themselves. Microscopic cracks appear on this building material in just 2-4 years.
- Yes, aerated concrete blocks are responsible for the formation of the ideal level of humidity in the room, but over time, these materials begin to accumulate excess moisture in their structure. This leads to dampening and delamination of the blocks.
- Aerated concrete does not have the highest price, but it is higher than the cost of foam blocks.
- Gas blocks can not boast of sufficient thermal insulation characteristics, especially when compared with foam blocks.
There are several varieties of aerated concrete.
Each species has its own marking.
- D350 This brand is considered one of the most rare. This is due to the fact that such blocks are fragile. They can only be installed as gaskets. The strength level of D350 is 0.7-1.0 MPa.
- D400 This kind of aerated concrete is more durable and strong. This property of this material can be from 1 to 1.5 MPa. Such materials are used both in the role of thermal insulation, and in the role of openings in multi-storey buildings.
- D500. The strength level of this building material is 2-3 MPa. Typically, such blocks are addressed in the construction of monolithic buildings. They are suitable for low-rise construction.
- D600 This marking has high strength aerated concrete blocks. The level of their strength can be 2.4-4.5 MPa. Due to its operational characteristics, D600 aerated concrete can be used for the construction of buildings with ventilated facades.
It is impossible to say exactly which of the listed options for aerated concrete blocks is the best, since in each category there are pluses and minuses.
The brand of aerated concrete affects its final cost.
Aerated concrete blocks also differ in their shapes:
- rectangular elements are used to design partitions and load-bearing walls;
- reinforced parts are usually bought for the manufacture of ceilings;
- T-shaped blocks are intended for floors;
- U-shaped aerated concrete blocks are used for openings;
- there are also arc-like options for aerated concrete blocks.
Gas blocks, like foam blocks, are heat-insulating, structural and structural-heat-insulating. As for the dimensions of aerated concrete, much depends on their shape.
Simple rectangular elements have the following dimensions:
- length - 625 mm;
- width - 100 mm, 150 mm, 200 mm, 240 mm, 300 mm, 400 mm;
- height - 250 mm.
U-shaped blocks are available with the following dimensional parameters:
- length - 600 mm;
- width - 200 mm, 240 mm, 300 mm, 400 mm;
- height - 250 mm.
Foam concrete and aerated concrete are made according to different technologies. Let's consider them in more detail.
Aerated concrete blocks are made as follows:
- First, the necessary materials are prepared in the right proportions (these include sand, lime and cement). Being dry, they are mixed using special equipment for 4-5 minutes. After that, a suspension of aluminum powder, the basis of which is water, is added to the mixed composition.
- In the course of mixing, lime reacts with aluminum. Due to this, hydrogen is formed. Due to strong gas formation, air bubbles form in the composition. They are evenly distributed throughout the solution.
- After this, the finished composition is poured into the mold. It should be preheated to a mark of 40 degrees. Pouring is done on ¼ of the volume of the tank.
- When the composition is sent to the molds, they are transferred to a special chamber, where further pore formation of the material is carried out. As a result, the volume of the resulting mass begins to gradually grow and acquires strength properties. To activate the necessary reactions in the solution, as well as for the optimal distribution of it in the form, they turn to vibrational effects.
- When the resulting composition reaches preliminary solidification, any irregularities must be removed from its surface. This is done using wire strings.
- Next, the composition is taken out of the chamber and transferred to the cutting line.
- The next step in the manufacture of gas blocks will be their sending to the autoclave.
Often aerated concrete slabs are marked with the designation AGB (autoclave material is meant). Moreover, the autoclave itself is a kind of "pressure cooker" of impressive dimensions. Under its conditions, it is pumped, and then a pressure of 12 atm is maintained. As for the temperature, it should be 85-190 degrees. In this environment, aerated concrete slabs are prepared within 12 hours.
When the blocks are fully cooked in an autoclave, they are further divided, because during preparation in some places they can connect with each other. After that, these materials are placed in a special heat-shrink material or polyethylene.
Aerated concrete is made without the use of an autoclave. The hardening of the composition takes place in vivo - in this case, special equipment does not need to be used.
But these materials will turn out less reliable. They will give great shrinkage and will not be as durable as autoclave options.
Foam concrete is made a little simpler and easier. There are 2 ways of its production - cassette and sawing.
The cassette method involves pouring the solution into special forms.
The technology, called sawing, involves pouring the solution into one large container, after which its hardening is expected and further cutting into individual elements of the required dimensions is carried out.
For the manufacture of foam concrete blocks using cement grades M400 and M500, clean sand without clay, a foaming agent, potassium chloride and, of course, water.
Requirements for use
If you decide to use foam concrete or aerated concrete for building a house, then you should consider a number of certain requirements for the use of these materials.
- The foundation should be as strong as possible, despite the fact that such block materials are light in weight and have a porous structure.
- The horizontal surface of the foundation structure must be waterproofed.
- Drilling holes, cutting, gating blocks with cells is the same. A hand saw is used for cutting, holes are drilled with a drill and drill bits.
- Foam materials can be laid on cement or special glue. Aerated concrete is mounted only on glue.
- Stop building your home if necessary. Preserve the object for the winter. Nothing will be foam concrete walls during this time, but aerated concrete should be covered with a waterproof film.
- Be sure to hold fasteners on both materials. It is advisable to use special screws, anchors and hardware.
- For facing such block facades, special plasters, lining, siding, stone and other similar materials must be used. There are no serious restrictions.
- Sometimes it is not necessary to insulate houses from porous blocks. If this is necessary, then you need to contact the insulation. It is recommended to refer to basalt cotton wool.
- Not every plaster is suitable for finishing such block bases. For foam blocks and gas blocks, you need to purchase formulations that will maintain their vapor permeability.
How to choose?
To understand which material is better, you should compare the foam block and gas block in several ways:
- Structure. The foam blocks have large and closed cells with weak water absorption. Their surface is gray. Gas silicate blocks have smaller pores. They have weaker thermal insulation and require additional decoration.
- Strength characteristics. Aerated concrete blocks are less dense (200-600 kg / cube) than foam concrete blocks (300-1600 kg / cube). Despite this, foam concrete is inferior to aerated concrete, since its structure is heterogeneous.
- Frost resistance. Autoclaved aerated concrete blocks are more frost-resistant and vapor-permeable than other similar materials.
- Features of the application. Cellular foam concrete is used in low-rise construction. It is also used in the construction of monolithic buildings (here it is used as an additional insulating layer). Aerated concrete materials are used as the main structural and heat-insulating materials. They are used to build houses of various complexity.
- Production. It is much easier to run into low-quality foam concrete than to bad aerated concrete. This is due to the fact that the first is often made in artisanal conditions, and the process of creating aerated concrete materials is more high-tech and more often carried out in the factory.
- Cost. Price is the most obvious difference between foam blocks and gas blocks. The latter will cost more, since foam concrete blocks are made from cheap raw materials.
- Soundproofing. Foam concrete blocks have better soundproofing characteristics than aerated concrete options.
- Life time. Foam concrete on average serves no more than 35 years, and aerated concrete - more than 60 years. This is another important difference that must be considered when choosing the right material.
- Shrinkage. The degree of shrinkage of the foam blocks is greater than this parameter of gas silicate materials. It is 2.4 (and aerated concrete - 0.6).
It is not so difficult to distinguish aerated concrete from foam concrete. It is enough to pay attention to their surface. The foam blocks are smooth, and the gas blocks are slightly rough. It is already more difficult to say with certainty which building material is better, since both have their pros and cons. However, it is necessary to take into account the opinion of experts who claim that gas blocks are still stronger, and their frost-resistant characteristics are better. As for the foam blocks, they are warmer and cheaper.
We must not forget that low-quality foam concrete is more common than second-rate aerated concrete, as evidenced by the reviews of many consumers. Be that as it may, the choice rests with the buyer. It is important to decide in advance for yourself exactly what qualities you are looking for in these building materials before you go to buy them.
Comparison of the gas block with the foam block - in the next video.