May 27, 2016

Running Bond and Retaining Walls Are Vertical Lines Required?

Running Bond
We here at Allan Block often get installation questions.  The one that always is interesting is when the installer is trying to keep the blocks in a perfect running bond pattern.  You will notice a running bond pattern because most brick and block walls that use concrete and mortar are evenly spaced to have the edges of the following course is directly in the middle of the block below it.  Because of this familiarity with the look and aesthetics associated with these walls, there are many installers that believe that all block walls should have a true running bond. 

You can certainly install Allan Block in this manner and this is very to achieve if your wall is straight.  However, when your project has curves and corners the running bond installation gets to be more complicated.  The beautiful thing with Allan Block is that it is not required.  Let me explain:

  •          The structural integrity of your wall is maintained as long as the blocks are overlapped by at least ¼ of a block.  The front lip provides the connection between the units and this overlap is all that is required.
  • The vertical seams or running bond is difficult in curves because the setback of the wall actually changes the length of each course.  That is why the vertical seams appear to change as you stack the courses around a curve.
  • Think about the pattern walls.  Vertical and horizontal seams can be part of the wall face and not impact the stability.
  • The set back of a wall creates the strong horizontal lines within the wall’s appearance which means the smaller vertical lines are not as noticeable.  If you don’t believe me, start looking close at all of the Allan Block pictures on our website and literature.

So our answer when installers ask us about the running bond requirements…just make sure you have a few inches of overlap and that is all you need.