Costs of cement & blocks

One quintal of cement currently (3/10/2014) sells for 237 cordobas here in Jinotepe. A machine-made, certified cinder block currently retails for 18 cords. How does that compare to other places in Nicaragua?

Does anyone know how much of volume discount you get when you buy cement by the tons?

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Are these a 16x8x6 block?


six-inch block

PC is 60x40x15 cm

There are some building codes here and mostly for the footer, it is reinforced by re-bar in a way to absorb shocks, you use more iron, but again safer.

A 360 sq.ft house use only 240 blocks minus doors and windows, adding the supports and you are close to 380 sq.ft. There is a polymer originally made for the US defense that works miracles, it was used for instant landing strips ( 36 hours ) it would have been nice to use in a terra block machine to avoid all the hassle of clay etc.

Dick Cobbs Talks About

sag . . .

Something I've seen is, the concrete is usually mixed to the consistency of soup. Combine that with the tendency to short the mix to save on cement, the adding of water to concrete that is mostly already set to try and get a little more time out of it, and you have the recipe for keke. All you're missing is some flavoring and frosting.

The soup is easy to lift up to a second story in a 5 gallon bucket, but it makes for lousy, weak concrete.

>>>> The polymer you talk about, does it have a name ???

We're paying 15 cords /block, and we get some kind of discount when we buy a truckload of them at once,, maybe a cord. The same outfit is now making adoquines for me,, they make the blocks and pavers there in Condega, as well as those concrete lavaplata/pila combos that everyone uses for washing clothes. There are a lot of places making ladrillos on the road to Somoto, very close to me, but so far I haven't needed any. They are really cheap . . .A lot of the house in Condega was constructed with ladrillos covered in an inch or two of concrete. Lots of "keke".

Jaido brings the truck down early Sat morning (most of his extended family come along for the ride to the big city; they choose one person to stay back and watch my farm). Starting in April he will then catch a bus Sat morning for the 30 minute ride to UCATSE where he will continue his agro studies. His wife, Ariana, is finishing up her secondary, and that happens -unfortunately- on Sunday. At some point the truck gets loaded with rebar, blocks, pavers, gravel, sand or cement, wood ,, whatever we happen to need,, and makes the trip back up Sunday afternoon. It's a good arrangement for all of us. .. .the afternoon bus going back up is impossibly crowded.

We built a pipe rack for the truck, and in true Nicaraguan style we load that puppy up.


One company is out of Texas called base seal -

There is another company that might be better, but I had a fight with the owner over a hotel we had in Moscow together years ago and we don't talk often.

This is environmental safe.

30 cords..

for a terrible looking block in waslala..60 cords for the pidera negros..up here i would go with them


Andy, I wonder why blocks cost so much in waslawa, e.g., you can get a good-quality, machine made block in Managua that wholesales for 13 cords. The cost of transport is high -- 3 cords per block just to transport them on a flatbed from MGA to Jinotepe which is a one-hour drive on good roads. I know that Waslawa is way out in the middle of nowhere and that much of the road is horrible. Would that alone account for a price increase of more than 200%?

transport costs.

la dalhia to waslala..80km..takes me a 4x4 pickup..and they tell me i drive fast


Andy, you should throw a party there and tell everyone it's BYOB (bring your own block).

a story about blocks and building in Carazo.

I have a friend who came from Miami pretty well off, he wanted to build to rent. he purchased a cement block machine but after a few hundred blocks he dropped that project for several reasons, cement and sand, to make good blocks you need good sand, not easy around Jinotepe.

So he purchased all the wood material to use as forms for ready mix cement and in no time he had the first house ready ( even in Nica time is money ) He moved in there and used the the same wood to build 4 more identical houses that all was rented out easy and at 500US$ a month he had some income.

Then he buikt a 6.000 square foot mansion that he rented out to FIFA for 2 years and now he is converting this to a hotel, to expand on his new condo project ,he purchased a operation of " piedra cantera " because nothing can beat that block in price and it does the job.

Hotel Hilton in Managua is said to be made of the same stone.

I bought 3.000 blocks myself and used them to build some stuff here, made a mistake did not use all, waited to long and a dry block is very fragile and worthless, so plan well and have people ready to build when the blocks arrive for the best result, it is now 9 cords in labor cost to put up a block.

I figured they would make good

Base for a fish tank. What do you think? (and please state if you are German).

I figured they would make good

Base for a fish tank. What do you think? (and please state if you are German).


One of my grandparents was German. The other three were human.

Piedra cantera is a useful material for non-load bearing applications such as fences, floors etc. But I would be scared to use it in load-bearing applications under any circumstances, and even more so in zones where earthquake and hurricane-resistant materials are needed.

Also, PC will eventually go soft and punky and covered in moss in humid places.

Note that PC is volcanic rock and as a result, its properties vary greatly from quarry to quarry. Also, it is much heavier than cinder blocks for the space it fills and so transportation costs are a major factor in the cost of using it.

Roger lives very close a PC quarry where the stone is high-quality so it would make sense for him to use it where possible. The further away you get from such a quarry, the more sense it makes to go with certified, machine-made cinder blocks.

While we are in the process of taking this thread off-topic into a comparison of various types of construction materials, I hope we will not lose sight of the original intent of this thread -a price-check on the costs of cement and machine-made cinder blocks in various locales.

Still off topic. I would

Still off topic. I would agree with Mike that PC would be a poor choice for most structures. If the Hilton is built with this, I would suspect that it was built after the 1972 earthquake. Concrete masonry units CMUs or typical concrete blocks are sized to be relatively easy to lay and allow for structural steel. There are several schools of thought on the safest approach when building in a earthquake prone area. A massive unreinforced material like PC would appear to be the poorest choice. Well reinforced CMUs seem to be good choice. Some other interesting choices are surface bonded CMUs and unmortared interlocking blocks of varying configurations. A couple of minor points: Cinder blocks are made with fly ash and other byproducts of coal burning. I doubt that they can be found down here. Also, I wonder if the strength/durability of PC could be enhanced by simply spraying with a sodium silicate solution. I just received the CD set that Juanno posted about several weeks ago. The first book, updated in 1912 seems quite appropriate for construction in Nicargua. One of the interesting sections was how to test for clean sand. Sand with minute quanities of clay or organic material makes for lousy concrete. I have been here just about two years and have seen one new structure (built for commercial use) collapse, another older structure collapse, another new commercial structure with a 3" - 4" sag in 16' of concrete deck, and a garage with green wood holding tiles that sags 6"in 12'., I would say that if you feel the ground shake, get outside as quick as you can.


"Cinder blocks are made with fly ash and other byproducts of coal burning."

These are materials are pozzolans. My best guess is that most of the cement sold in Nicaragua is a blend of 15 - 20 % imported pozzolans such as fly ash and the rest is Portland cement.

Cemex and Holcim, the two suppliers of cement here, have been looking for several years at making pozzolans from local materials, such as pumice and rice husk ash, but I am not sure how much success they have achieved.