What Is CMU in Construction?

February 3, 2024

For decades, builders have relied on concrete masonry units (CMUs) for their sturdy construction projects. These blocks, also known as cinder block in North America and breeze block in British English, have many advantages over other building materials, including durability, cost-effectiveness, and resistance to fire, impact damage, and moisture damage.

CMUs are a versatile building material that can be used in a variety of projects. They’re available in a range of sizes and shapes to accommodate different design styles and structures, and can be finished with a number of surface treatments that enhance a project’s aesthetic. CMU walls can be stained or painted to give them a unique look, shot blast for a weathered finish, or polished for a high-end sheen.

In addition to their versatility, CMUs are environmentally friendly. They’re produced specifically for each project, minimizing waste, and their energy-efficient properties reduce heating and cooling costs. They’re also non-combustible, and don’t contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or other toxic substances that can contaminate the environment.

Builders that choose to use CMU can also take sustainability one step further by using recycled blocks. Nitterhouse Masonry Products offers a variety of recycled CMUs that are made from 30 percent recycled aggregates and can be purchased in both ground face and split face finishes. These eco-smart blocks can help earn LEED points for your next construction project.


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