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Built4ever's avatar

Masonry Wall Sections

From my sketchbook, hand-drawn wall sections for all-masonry wall-building systems from Europe, with creative adaptations. Two primary methods include aerated autoclaved concrete block (AAC), and concrete block (or brick) cavity wall systems, prevalent in the U.K. Part of a grand research inquiry into more permanent masonry wall systems that could be used in North America. There was a recent huge run-up on lumber prices in the period from year 2020-2021, which made it look like all-masonry wall systems were easily cost-comparable. (Lumber price has deflated somewhat now.) These wall systems are perfect for my smaller cottage homes. I spent a lot of time in the last month researching and watching construction methods from the U.K. and Europe. 
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stargate525's avatar

How do you waterproof the assembly? Is the insulation layer also acting as the air cavity, and there's a membrane running up the inside of the interior wall?

Most curious about the monolithic ones which seemingly only using a single layer of AAC.

Built4ever's avatar

Good questions! No membrane necessary on inside wall. Beauty of cavity wall is that water dribbles down the inside face of the outer wall only. Preferably leave maybe one inch air gap, maybe 3 to 3 and half inches of mineral wool, which is also "waterproof." Bottom of wall assembly has a sloped detail, concrete fill, see it? Put weep holes there. Any water accumulation goes out there. Important for block/bricklayers to work "neat" and not spill excess mortar on the sloped portion.

AAC= no need for membrane either. If you do stucco outer finish coat, you MUST use the correct lightweight synthetic stucco. Wrong stuff will damage and spall the block. You can also put brick or stone with wall ties on outside of AAC. I've actually worked with AAC about 15 yrs ago. You can cut it with hand tools, hand saws, etc.

stargate525's avatar

Sweet, I got the concept on the insulated ones right.

And it's probably my region (cold and wet) but I suspect that raw AAC on stucco by me would be plagued by weep and infiltration issues.

Built4ever's avatar

The cavity wall method is prevalent in UK and especially Ireland. Favored I think because it helps neutralize wind-driven rain in cool wet rainy climates. One AAC factory here in U.S. is in Florida.

stargate525's avatar

We use air gapping like that around here too, so I understood the concept, though typically I see the interior assembly as a stud wall with a waterproof membrane instead of more masonry. I like yours though, it's incredibly simple for modern construction.

I can't recall seeing a monolithic masonry wall like that by me that's contemporary and designed for conditioned space. I'd be interested to see how it holds up. :)