Some products are so versatile that their number of uses is limited only by your imagination. Among the most versatile of these products is the cinder block – a simple yet timeless product that has been on the market since 1900.
In this article, we’ll take a look at why cinderblocks are such a useful product and where you can find them for free. We’ll also look at some creative ways to put cinderblocks to use around the homestead.
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What Makes Cinderblocks so Useful?
Cinder blocks are made of concrete and come in a number of different shapes. Whatever shape they come in, though, it is their ability to join together and support large weights while remaining individually lightweight and portable that makes cinder blocks so useful.
No other building material enables you to construct a virtual fortress using components that are individually light enough to lift with a single hand. This makes cinder blocks one of the most convenient and capable building materials for a wide range of projects.
The hollowed-out design of cinder blocks also plays a major role in making them so useful. From storing items to serving as slots to fit boards in, these hollow segments certainly have a lot of uses and make cinder blocks all the more versatile.
Where to Find Cinder Blocks for Free
It’s easy to find cinder blocks for sale at hardware stores such as Lowes and Home Depot. However, purchasing enough cinder blocks for a large project can become expensive very quickly.
The good news is, though, that there are ways to get cinder blocks at a very cheap price, and sometimes you may even be able to find cinder blocks for free.
Start by searching Craigslist for cinderblocks. Many times, people will have a pile of cinder blocks from a construction or demolition project that they are simply looking to get rid of. If you offer to load up and haul off these unneeded cinder blocks for them, there’s a good chance they will give them to you at a very low price, and they might even give them to you for free.
Companies that demolish old buildings also often sell cinder blocks from the buildings they demolish for a very low price, and these companies are worth calling if you are looking for cheap cinder blocks.
Homesteading Uses for Cinder blocks
Cinder blocks have an almost limitless number of potential uses. To help spark your imagination, though, here are just a few innovative ideas for how to use cinder blocks around the homestead:
1. Build a Fire Pit
Cinder blocks can be used to construct a very attractive and fully functional firepit for a very low cost. You can find a wide range of designs online, complete with instructions on how to build them, or you can create your own.
Either way, a cinder block firepit can make for a great addition to your backyard.
2. Create Shelves for Your Root Cellar
Putting shelves up in your root cellar can be a great way to better organize the food that you are storing and make the most of the space that you have available. With cinder blocks, creating effective shelves for your root cellar is a very simple process.
All you need to do is stack cinder blocks on top of each other to create the support columns for your shelving then use wooden boards for the actual shelves – no other effort or building materials required.
3. Build Steps
Building steps is one of the most common DIY uses for cinder blocks. Cinder block steps are easy to build, are fully practical, and are affordable.
With a little effort and an eye for design, they can actually look quite nice as well.
4. Build a Raised Bed Garden
Raised bed gardens are often beneficial for certain areas and certain plants. They can also have an appealing and unique look that is able to improve the aesthetics of your garden as well.
With the right soil and enough cinder blocks, building a raised bed garden that is fully functional and great-looking is a quick and easy project.
5. Make a Cinder Block Bench
Cinder blocks can serve as the base for a creative outdoor bench. Of course, cinder blocks themselves are not especially comfortable to sit on, so you will likely need to cover your bench with wood and/or some type of cushioning.
Whatever you use to cover the top of your bench though, cinder blocks provide plenty of support for the bench itself.
6. Make a Cinder Block Stove
It’s always nice to cook outdoors from time to time. While purchasing a grill is always an option, you can also go the DIY route by making an outdoor stove using cinder blocks.
You can find plans for building a cinder block stove online, but the construction is typically simple enough to figure out just by looking at a picture of the completed stove.
Also, one of the best parts about building a cinder block stove is the fact that it is easy to take apart and rebuild again in a matter of minutes, meaning that your cinder block stove does not have to be a permeant installation.
7. Create a Firewood Rack
Two cinder blocks and four boards are all you need to create an attractive and effective firewood rack. Simply put the two cinder blocks side by side and place a board in each of the four holes in the blocks to create a triangle-shaped construction where you can stack firewood.
Not only does this help you better organize and store your firewood, it also keep sit off the ground in order to prevent it from becoming damp.
8. Use Cinder Blocks as Flower Pots
Filling the holes in a single cinder block with topsoil is all that you need to do to create a great container for potted plants.
Best of all, cinder block flower pots enable you to get creative with your gardening and do things such as build a “living wall” out of plants planted inside of cinder blocks.
9. Create a Decorative Fence
Stacks of cinder blocks can serve as a sort of fence post for decorative fences. All you have to do is stack the blocks so that slots in them are facing outward then rest decorative wood in the slots to create a unique and eye-catching decorative fence.
As with most cinder block projects, building a decorative fence out of cinder blocks also makes it easy to disassemble and remove at any time.
10. Build a Storage Shed
Cinder blocks and cement is all that you need to create the walls for a very durable storage shed.
While you will still have to figure out something for the roof of your shed, cinder blocks make it easy to construct the shed’s four walls in just a matter of hours.
11. Place Borders Around Your Garden
Putting a border of cinder blocks that is one block high around your garden can be an attractive addition to your garden’s design. More importantly, though, this border wall can help keep out small creatures such as rabbits that would otherwise enjoy feasting on the tasty plants inside the wall.
Another thing you might want to do is build a retaining wall, as you can see in the video below.
12. Make a Cinder Block Smoker
Yup, you can even build a smoker out of cinder blocks. Store-bought smokers can be very expensive and most DIY smoker plans are a bit too complicated for most people.
This plan, though, is very simple. You just need 24 cinder blocks, a 1/4-inch steel plate and some rebar.
13. Make a Cinder Block Grill
There’s not much required to make a functional outdoor grill.
All you need is something to place the metal grating on and somewhere to build a fire underneath it – and both of these things can be accomplished using only cinder blocks.
14. Build Storage for Your Compost Heap
Stacking cinder blocks into a square shaped container is all that is required to build a great storage area for your compost heap.
The cinder blocks make for a solid and durable container that will help keep your compost from being scattered.
15. Create Cinder Block Planters
You can put these wherever you want. If you have cement steps leading up to your home, cinder block planters will look perfectly natural along the edges of your steps.
You could also put a bunch of them on your front or back porch. Either way, it’s a great way to spruce up the attractiveness of your yard.