Sandblasted block looks amazing - but how to achieve the effect?
The two main types of block for modern houses are grey “4 high” (8x4x16) and “8 high” (8x8x16). Superfine sand blasted against the blocks creates an organic look that you cannot find with regular block. The final surface appears satiny with some of the aggregate exposed and all the concrete “cream” blasted away. The blasting also exposes the fine sand in the grout. We use SPEC MIX exclusively to ensure the grout is consistent.
It is best to order all of the block (fulls and halves) from the same batch. The half blocks tend to be darker and sandblasting will not mask it. Sure you could just cut full blocks on site with the cut end positioned in, but it’s easier to use factory sizes.
4-inch high block reads much better than the 8-high block. Yes, 4 high is the same cost as 8 high block and only goes half as far but the final result is worth it in my opinion. With standard grey block there is no more fretting about split face, brown, ball burnished or any of that. Simply order grey block, it is far less expensive than the aforementioned material. That savings can be applied toward the sandblasting.
In Southern California almost all the block comes from either Orco or Angelus Block. Both are good quality and reasonably priced. After sandblasting, one way to tell which block you have, and you might want to consider what color cinder is exposed: Orco block has black cinder and Angelus block has red cinder (maroon). When the block is blasted it is easily identifiable.