Architectural-block product lines have expanded to include split-face (plain and ribbed), scored, slump, glazed or aggregate faced, rock-face, sandblasted, and ground-face (also called burnished- and honed-face) block. Many architects consider ground-face block an aesthetically pleasing, lower-cost alternative to tile and marble as an accent material. They like its smooth surface, wide choice of colors, and polished terrazzo-like appearance. What is Ground-Face Block?
Ground-face block have been around for about 20 years. They are created by grinding the top 1/16 inch off the face of regular block to reveal the colors of the aggregate. Ground-face block come in three types: some are untreated; some are treated with an acrylic sealer only; and some have voids filled with a cementitious grout and then are treated with an acrylic sealer. Handling, Installation and Maintenance
Care is required when handling ground-face block, as its smooth surface makes it more susceptible to dirt and chipping than regular block. To prevent these problems, manufacturers place cardboard or paper between the burnished faces of the units for protection. Contractors say they keep this paper in place when handling the block until laying them in the wall. Either premixed or jobsite mixed mortar can be used with ground-face block. Proper mortar color is essential to the aesthetic qualities of ground-face concrete masonry. After installation, block should be cleaned to remove dirt and dust on their exposed faces. Manufacturers warn against using acid or acid-based solutions to clean ground-face block. Manufacturers recommend that all ground-face block be field-coated with a clear water repellent, even if the block are factory sealed.