Home > CMU 101 > Mix Design Options

Here are the Top  3 issues that you should keep in mind when selecting a mix design:

1.  The "Basis of Design" for your next project should include regionally available materialsIn just California, alone, there are numerous regional variations in available aggregates. As a result, there is little, if any. consistency of mix designs across the southern central and northern regions of the state. A general rule of thumb is to select a manufacturing plant that is within a few hundred miles of your project. And while Basalite currently produces CMU across multiple western states from multiple plant locations, we regularly partner with other producers in southern California, the southwest, midwest and eastern regions of the U.S. Take a moment to review the map of our national producer partners (below), all of whom are members of the Concrete Products Group (CPG).
 
2. You should consider which available admixtures, if any, you wish to include in your mix design. A number of advancements have been made in the areas of moisture control, specified block strength, carbon sequestration, and a number of specialty finishes. And because these admixtures must be included at the time of manufacturing, it is important to make decisions about admixtures very early in the design process. A few of the admixture options are explained in more detail below, and you should strongly consider review all of your options with a product expert, prior to finalizing your mix design selection.
3. You might consider developing a customized mix design, which can be especially helpful when matching an existing CMU building. Occasionally you may need to match an existing facility, for which the block used cannot be identified. With the help of our internal lab teams, we are able to "reverse engineer" most existing mix designs, allowing us to develop viable matches to block across a range of densities, colors and textures. Using a "Test Batch Method", we can produce a range of options on both sides of a target mix design, and can review those options with your team. Although this process is not necessarily a big cost factor, (and it occurs more frequently than you might think), it is important that you factor in a time allowance to explore the possible match options. Lead times can vary depending on the production schedule at the time of your inquiry, so please contact a product expert for assistance with this option as early in your design process as possible.

Mix Designs are defined by their ingredients, and are identified by a specific "Color Number." By definition, if the color number is different, the mix design is different.

Integral Water Repellant ("IWR"): When it comes to moisture protection, you can specify an integral water repellant in both your block and in your mortar. The IWR increases resistance to wind-driven rain and moisture penetration, and reduces efflorescence. There are a number of high-quality IWR products on the market and it is important that you ask your local manufacturer which IWR products are used, as they are typically specific to a plant location. IWR producers include W.R. Grace, BASF and ACM Chemistries, among others. More information is available in the Specifications section of this website. 

Additional Cement for Higher Strength Block: The strength of your block can be increased to meet the specified strength requirements of your project, however, this is a decision that must be made prior to placing a block order. Mix designs can be modified to increase the amount of cement, which has two primary effects: increased strength, and a smoother/tighter finish. Consult with your local product expert for more information on block strength.

 

Carbon Sequestration (CarbonCure®): Through a partnership with a Canadian-based technology company, we now offer a modified mix design option that reduces the overall carbon footprint of concrete by re-purposing waste CO2 back into CMU. Basalite was the first producer of carbon-sequestered CMU in the United States and continues to be among the most forward-thinking manufacturers in the country. Consult with your local product expert for more information on CarbonCure®.

A regional map of some of our national partners at the Concrete Products Group ("CPG")
Contact your local Basalite product expert for assistance with determining the right manufacturer for projects outside the current Basalite market area.
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