How Much Does a Split Face Block Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 15, 2018

A split face block, also called a concrete masonry unit or CMU, is a specially designed architectural block commonly used in commercial and institutional buildings.  It is typically characterized by a distinguishing split in the middle, with a rough and stone-like texture that was an influence of the ancient rock-faced masonry in the Richardsonian Romanesque houses of the 1880s.

A split face block is the same size and shape of the traditional cinder block that is used to build concrete walls, but the main difference is simply the texture, which offers a more appealing look.  These blocks will have one smooth face and one fractured face, providing a cost effective answer when building a structure.

concrete blocks by Photos by Mavis, on Flickr
concrete blocks” (CC BY 2.0) by Photos by Mavis

How much does a split face block cost?

By the block, plan on spending around $2.50 to $5 each.  This will not include the professional installation.

For example, at Lowe’s, an 8-in x 8-in x 16-in split face block, which is the standard size sold at most hardware stores, retails for a pinch more than $3.  At Menard’s, the same size is about the same price.

When you factor in the professional installation prices with the blocks, plan on spending around $8 to $15 per square foot.  This price will really depend on the complexity of the job, the size of the job, who you hire and where you live.  Since all jobs can be unique, consider getting exact quotes from contractors in your area at HomeAdvisor.com.  Here, you simply describe your job and contractors will reach out to you via email with more information.

If hiring a professional, the estimates noted above should include the materials, travel to the job site, job preparation, installation, and cleanup.  However, contractors can differ in terms of what they offer, so it’s always best to get an itemized estimate before committing.

The average cost for installing split face block ranges from $10.35 to $12.60 per square foot, according to Homewyse.com.

On Angie’s List, one expert said you should be prepared to spend $10 to $20 per square foot, depending on your soil condition and how high you want to build the wall.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Home Builders stated on its website that the average cost of a split-faced block is around $2.30 per block or $2.59 per square foot.

Other sources say that in Southern California, split blocks cost between $2.80 and $3.15 each, depending on the color and manufacturer.

Size of Split Face BlockAverage Professional Quote (per square foot)
8"x16"x4"$6 to $9
8"x16"x6"$7 to $10
8"x16"x8"$7 to $11
8"x16"x10"$11 to $13
8"x16"x12"$11+

What are the extra costs?

Depending on the local building department, permits may be required.

Tips to know:

The blocks itself can come in different sizes, colors as well as textures, but the most common colors you will find at local big box retailers will include gray and tan. However, this doesn’t mean you can buy other colors.  At RCP Block, for instance, they list 24 colors available.

Split face blocks are economical.

Since they are larger than the traditional bricks you often think of, split face blocks are faster to install.

Split face blocks are suitable to use as a structural wall as well as exterior cladding because of its strength and aesthetic design.

Split face blocks are commonly seen, although not exclusively, in building facades, interior walls, and block walls around properties.

Frequently, these blocks are treated to slow down erosion that may be caused by exposure to the sun or rain.

How can I save money?

If hiring a professional, try to get at least three to five quotes from contractors in your area.

If you’re doing the job on your own, a bulk discount can often apply if you were to buy more than 20 to 50 at a time.  All retailers will have their own bulk discount rules.


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