Breeze Block Installation Instructions
Decorative Breeze Blocks can be used indoors or outdoors as space dividers, property line dividers, feature walls and decorative accents for buildings with sun exposure.
Please note that breeze blocks are decorative, and should not be used as structural units, such as in load bearing walls. Do not install in applications where people are likely to sit or lean on the structure. Building a breeze block structure is a construction project that requires engaging with a structural engineer, professional mason or a licensed general contractor familiar with the codes and permits required by the planning department within the municipality of the project. Many cities restrict wall heights for non-load bearing concrete masonry units, and specify where breeze block structures can be built with respect to property lines, sidewalks and driveways. Before placing an order, please ensure that you have confirmed that your project meets local requirements and if a permit is needed. Returns are costly for all parties involved.
If you need guidance beyond the scope of these instructions, we recommend Engineering Express, a firm that is licensed throughout the country, to help you ensure that you are building a durable and safe structure.
If you are working with breeze blocks from a different supplier, please refer to their instructions.
Please read all instructions before proceeding.
Plan your layout carefully. All of our breeze blocks come with a groove on 2 or 4 sides of the perimeter to accommodate rebar in the installation. Some breeze blocks have one design option, while others can form different patterns, depending on the layout.
Your local planning department may require a permit for your structure. Your city may have restrictions pertaining to where your wall can be placed with respect to property lines and other elements, such as driveways and sidewalks, and will have minimum requirements for masonry walls which may be more or less stringent than Tesselle requirements below. If city requirements are more stringent, follow their instructions. If Tesselle requirements are more stringent, follow our instructions.
A licensed, local professional should determine the depth and width of the foundation. This will be based on the local codes, soil conditions, drainage, annual and daily temperature variations, and the weight of the wall. The footing should be perfectly level and incorporate high strength concrete and #4 rebar.
Columns/Piers should be embedded in the foundation. A row of blocks that match the base row may be included under the foundation surface, and may be needed in transition areas if the wall is being built on a slope. Use a 3/8" to 1/2" mortar line on the base courses.
Plan the placement of the vertical rebar (which needs to be placed between every second vertical course of Breeze Blocks, and encapsulated in the concrete footing before it cures, and not be driven into the ground).
Wall Width and Vertical Columns/Piers
Vertical Columns/Piers are required for wall strength and stability. Tesselle breeze blocks require a vertical column on either side of the wall for walls up to 42". For low, free-standing decorative walls, see our blog post, where a professional mason outlines the construction process.
Any wall over 42" will require a column at a maximum of every 10' in width as illustrated above. Columns may be made of cinder block (typically a 12"x12"x8" column cinder block) with vertical #4 rebar inserted and ultimately encapsulated in concrete that embeds in the foundation. Holes should be drilled in the sides of the column to accommodate the #2 or #3 horizontal rebar. Piers can also be custom fabricated out of 4"x3" steel tubing with holes drilled though them or tabs welded on to accommodate the rebar.
Allow foundation to set overnight before proceeding.
The maximum height for any Breeze Block wall is 6' before professional structural engineering is needed - see an example below of a breeze block structure supported by a customized steel frame.
Laying the Breeze Blocks
Soak each Breeze Block in water before setting. This will prevent the block from absorbing the moisture from the mortar. Handle blocks with extreme care during this process.
Quikrete Mason Mix Type S is recommended for mortar mix. Quikrete Masonry Bonding Adhesive or Concrete Acrylic Fortifier may be added.
Working towards the center, lay two breeze blocks next to each pilaster block or vertical support to create the first course.
Insert rebar between every 2nd course and vertical column of blocks. The thickness of the mortar line should be between 3/8" and 1/2".
When the mortar has become firm, smooth the joints with a jointing tool.
Let mortar dry after two rows before building any higher.
Above: example of breeze blocks being installed inside a steel frame.
Laying the Capping Stones
Once wall has been built to desired height the wall should be capped with bricks, blocks or a steel plate.
Embed a layer of wire mesh or rebar into mortar and lay the capping stone.
Soak the wall for 7 consecutive days after installation to complete the curing process. Because they are made from a natural material, our blocks may contain up to 1% iron oxide which will appear as a rust stain when the blocks are soaked. These will disappear when the bock dry out. Certain sealers may make the iron oxide content more visible.
Wait at least 30 days prior to adding any finishes such as primer, paint or sealer, ensuring that the blocks are clean and dry at the time of application. We recommend you consult with your local Benjamin Moore representative to determine the right combination of finishes for your wall based on environmental conditions.
Below are Benjamin Moore paint colors matched to our Breeze Block colors in case they need a touch-up - please choose a primer with your local representative (our colors will vary slightly from lot to lot, and may have variation within the block, so please bring a block with you to ensure that it is the best match for your installation):
- Coal: 2133-30
- Espresso: HC-71
- Grey/Natural: 1475
- Jade: 678
- River: 2062-40
- Saffron: 2154-30
- Scarlet: HC-51
- White: OC-20
- Clean with a pH neutral detergent, such as Zep. We recommend Miracle Liquid Poultice and Miracle Heavy Duty Cleaner (Acid Substitute) occasional deep cleaning.
- Some stains can be removed by hydrogen peroxide.
- For red wine stains, use Wine Away.
- For specific, hard-to-clean stains, blocks can be lightly wet sanded with an extra fine sandpaper (400 grit or finer). Use water when sanding to avoid scratching the tiles and to prevent residue from getting into the pores of the tile and grout. This area should be cleaned, allowed to dry completely and then resealed.
- Avoid water accumulation
- Saturated colors may fade in direct sunlight.