Naturally Breezy: Let’s Talk Terra-Cotta Breeze Blocks

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Breeze blocks are the Mid Century Modern comeback we all have been waiting for.
                

If you have been looking for the ultimate Mid Century Modern style accent, we got you. Breeze blocks, or screen blocks, are having a comeback. Now, you can get more beautifully designed blocks at Clay Imports!

What are Breeze Blocks?

Breeze blocks are the patterned blocks you may have seen covering the sides of buildings across the world. They can serve as a design accent in hip restaurants, or more recently in your neighbor’s backyard! Besides from being pretty to look at, these architectural pieces can actively raise your comfort level. Their main purpose is to balance the impact of sunlight and provide welcoming ventilation.

 

Breeze blocks were first used in U.S.-American design and architecture in the 1930s, and rapidly gained popularity up until the 1970s. Most iconic, cement blocks were beloved (and have revived) in warmer climates, such as trendy Palm Springs, or desirable cities in California.

Many designers are rediscovering new ways to employ these classic products. We have designed our screen blocks to combine the aesthetics of west coast Mid Century Modern with Mexican contemporary architecture. Breeze blocks are decorative only and are not designed as structural units.

Where do we make Breeze Blocks?

Mexico, of course! We produce our Clay Imports’ red clay breeze blocks using 100% natural clay native to Central Mexico.


How is it made?

The Art Deco-reminiscent clay screen blocks feature bold geometric patterns and highlight excellent craftsmanship. Each piece is produced by extracting dense red clay through a patterned die (think Play-Doh!). Then, the block is fired. Voila, here is a decorative breeze block for your project!


Design and Color Options?

Our clay architectural screen blocks combine the aesthetics of West Coast Mid Century Modern with Mexican contemporary architecture. We offer delicate floral patterns, and blocks featuring geometric lines and squares.

Color-wise, there is our classic red terra-cotta natural clay. Color tones are fairly consistent, but we do recommend to review samples in person, to understand colors and materiality.


Our Clay Terra-cotta Breeze Blocks can also be painted in other colors. You can use an epoxy-based paint and apply it to the raw clay block. How? Just prepare a bucket of paint and dip the breeze block, coloring it inside and out. Let dry, then install!

Where can you install Terra-Cotta Breeze Blocks?

We love how our blocks separate and define space. Moreover, they protect from the sun and allow for welcoming ventilation, and create privacy. A breeze block wall can be very impactful in your outdoor spaces. You may also use a decorative breeze block wall inside. Us it as a partition wall, a focal point in your entry, or use it as a bar face!

Front Yard : Screen off the view of your space from the street while maintaining natural light within your space.


Back Porch
: Create your own, well ventilated and shaded oasis in your very own backyard!


How to Install Breeze Blocks?


We get a lot of inquiries about how to install tera-cotta breeze blocks. When constructing a breeze block wall, you must ensure that you are building on a durable, stable substrate. Then, tackle the breeze block install: The first thing you should know is terra-cotta breeze blocks must be adhered together . So, you have to use some kind of adhesive between the blocks. You can not dry stack these blocks. Because there is some size regularity from block to block, grout joint spacing is usually going to have to be between ¼ and ¾ of an inch.

*These blocks are sturdy but not meant to create load bearing walls. Information provided is based on industry recommendations. Local building codes must be reviewed for any variations from these recommendations.

As far as adhering the blocks together, you’ve got a few options:


Option 1: Masonry Cement

You can use masonry cement (mortar) to adhere the blocks. That’s basically the same materials that you would use when building a brick wall.

Advantage of using masonry cement: A rather straightforward installation: You would use the mortar as the adhesive that will stick the blocks together and as the cement that will be visible between the block joints.

 

  1. Mix a batch of mortar, following the manufacturer’s instructions. (We’d recommend Quickrete Mortar Mix .)
  2. Place the mortar onto the starting point with a trowel (typically one of the corners). Apply the mortar in a layer 1″ inch deep, the same width of the block and about three block-lengths down the footing from the start point.
  3. Place the first block into the mortar. Place a level across the top of the block, and position the block until it is level.
  4. Apply mortar to the side of the second breeze block and place it into the mortar next to the first block, keeping about a 3/8-inch gap between the blocks. Place the level across both blocks, and even them out if needed. Set blocks onto the footing where you have applied the mortar, then repeat the above steps until first row is complete.
  5. Lay the blocks on the footing between the corner blocks. Apply mortar to the footing as you go, keep a 3/8-inch gap between the blocks and check them for level as you lay them. If you need to cut any blocks to fit, use a masonry wet saw and diamond blade.
  6. Lay the blocks until the wall reaches the desired height, starting in the corners and working in towards the center. Allow the mortar to set for the time specified by the manufacturer.

 

Option 2: ProLite Large Format Tile Mortar

We recommend using ProLite® Premium Large Format Tile Mortar as an adhesive. You can assemble terra-cotta breeze block walls by using an adhesive between the blocks and sticking the blocks together with some type of spacing system. After the adhesive is dried and the spacers are removed, the grout joint void will still be visible. You are going to have to fill that grout joint void with a conventional sanded tile grout.

Advantage of using ProLite: You can use a minimal amount of ProLite to adhere the blocks together and then fill the grout spacing with a conventional sanded grout. That means, you can choose any sanded grout color you want, and are not limited to just cement gray.


Sealing

Made of natural materials, terra-cotta breeze blocks are porous. They can be stained during grouting. To prevent staining, we highly advise you to seal the blocks either before installation or prior to grouting. We recommend sealing your blocks with 511 Miracle Porous Plus . Just prepare a bucket of sealer and dip the breeze blocks, applying the sealer everywhere. Let dry, and proceed with installation.


How to Order?

You can check out our breeze blocks online ! We do recommend viewing samples, to best understand the product. We can’t wait to see our terra-cotta breeze blocks in your projects!

 

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