While doing some research about laying blocks in anticipation of building our root cellar, I came across drystacked.com and thenatualhome.com. I also found a U.S. Dept. of Agriculture bulletin entitled Construction with Surface Bonding. This information convinced me to use this method.
Today, I had opportunity to actually experience dry stacking concrete blocks. Having set the first course in mortar on the foundation yesterday, making sure it was level, allowed me to get a lot of blocks put into place. As I stacked each block today, I checked it for level along and across the wall. Often, when it was out of level across the block, just turning the block around brought it back in the bubble.
I started on the corners, stacking the four corners to five blocks. Then, I set blocks between the corners until I had the walls built up to five courses by lunch time. Some of the last blocks on a side took a little persuasion to get to slide in, but they all went.
I’m building my root cellar walls ten courses high. By the time I stopped today, I had two walls at ten courses, one long wall at seven courses, and the other short wall ten courses at one corner and eight at the other corner.
Along the wall near the house, I applied the surface bonding cement (Quikrete Quikwall) on the outside of the blocks. I won’t be able to get behind this wall to do it later. So, after laying the first four courses, I leaned over and troweled it on. After laying three courses, I added more above what I’d put on before lunch. Based upon how this bit went on, I think surfacing the rest of the walls shouldn’t be too difficult.
Dry stacking the blocks was simple enough that even Jessica helped. She came to see what I was doing this afternoon and wanted to help. I showed her how to check level on each block and how to put them on the wall. She worked for a while and set several blocks.