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Is Du-Al concrete block construction good for a house

Hunter8it's picture

I found a house today that is a great value (great land, great location, great price) that is concrete block (Du-Al) and Steel beam construction.  Steel beams supported on the block walls, concrete floors, ceilings and roof.  It is old, but an open concept with few interior walls.  To me it looks solid as a bunker and nothing but potential but I am not experienced with this construction technique.  Is there anything I need to be concerned with?  I think it is sitting on the market because it is unfamiliar to most people.  I am really tempted but would appreciate input or comments from anyone that is familar with this type of construction.  Thanks!

I'd never heard of Du-Al (post #207000, reply #1 of 4)

I'd never heard of Du-Al before.  I gather it's a fiber-cement product.  It doesn't appear that anyone is currently selling it, so it apparently never "caught on".

The few references I see mostly state that it's "concrete filled" (ie, "grouted"), so one assumes that if your property is made this way it would be quite strong, even if the block itself is not especially robust.

I participated in a Habitat build in Denver back about 18 years ago, using a pre-colored dry-stack modular block (I suppose it could have been Du-Al) that is rebarred and grouted (like ICF) and I was impressed with the quality of the construction -- a house built with that stuff would last a lifetime with minimal maintenance.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

This is all I have on the (post #207000, reply #2 of 4)

This is all I have on the concrete blocks.  

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Do you actually have the (post #207000, reply #3 of 4)

Do you actually have the pamphlet, or just that image?  It COULD be the dry-stacked stuff I saw in Denver, but the image is too fuzzy to tell.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

They were made in Edmonton, A (post #207000, reply #4 of 4)

Its probably a bit late to send a reply .. but I worked in the Du-Al Block factory in Edmonton, Alberta, Canuckland .. back in the 1970's.  From memory it was invented by a feller from Europe .. and combined cement and sawdust in the block manufacturing process.  It made for a very strong block but could be drilled with a normal drill bit .. screwed and nailed like timber .. and finished like a regular cement block.  They were quite large .. like at least 15 or 18 inches tall and 24 inches long.  They had good insulation properties .. not sure why they never caught on .. probably too good of an idea for those pre energy crunch days !!