How Much Is the Average Cost of Building Walls With Cinder Blocks?

Homeowners in Utah should expect to spend between $475 and $655 to build a cinder block wall, although the actual price will depend on the square footage of your house, cost of labor and the type of materials.

If you plan to hire a concrete contractor in Salt Lake City, you should ask for at least three project quotes from different contractors. It’s not advisable to install cinder block walls by yourself, especially when there is a need to build a retaining wall. Other factors like sloped surfaces and unusual wall heights can be too complicated for DIY installation.

Knowing the Difference

While cinder blocks have a few similarities to concrete blocks, there are differences between the two. You should be familiar with the distinction prior to construction. Concrete blocks are often manufactured with a combination of finely crushed sand or stone. By contrast, ash or coal cinder aggregates are used to create cinder blocks.

Both of these materials use cement as the base, with aggregates representing up to 75% of the material. Your contractor may choose cinder blocks for retaining walls because these weigh less than concrete, despite the latter being a more durable material.

Cost of Materials

man applying cement on top of cinder blocks

Most cinder block materials cost from $1 to $3 apiece but some even sell for as low as $0.95 each. The price often varies based on the style and features such as some blocks that resemble natural stone exterior. Some of the common styles for cinder blocks include concrete masonry units (CMUs), half blocks and sash blocks.

CMUs are the standard size for cinder block walls that measure 7 5/8” by 7 5/8” by 15 5/8”. Half blocks have the same measurement except for the face length. Sash blocks are commonly mistaken for the half variant, but the difference lies on half blocks being more suitable for smoothing the edges of single walls. Consult a contractor before choosing any style of cinder block walls. You may also need to pay permits worth at least $100 for higher structures.

Finishing and Other Requirements

You should consider decorative facings for cinder blocks when you only used basic materials. Otherwise, a wall may appear bare, unfinished and negatively stand out from the rest of the home’s design. Finishing also addresses any potential problems with insulation. You should expect to spend up to $200 for finishing expenses.

In case you need to dig the foundation for a retaining wall, it’s important to know if there are any vulnerable spots beneath the surface like power lines and water pipes. You can request for the contractor to do this on your behalf. Don’t forget to ask if you also need filling materials, mortar and reinforcing bars.


It’s possible to limit your expenses on a cinder block wall installation by not hiring a professional, but don’t risk the safety of your house in exchange for a smaller upfront cost. Choose a company that specializes in retaining walls and other concrete construction services for guaranteed safe and positive results.

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