Decorative concrete masonry units that are most often used on the exterior of the building may be carried into the interior. These units are meant to be exposed. The designer should work with the architect to select a color to coordinate with the interior finishes.
The mortar color can have significant visual impact and must be carefully selected by the designer.
A building may be constructed with concrete walls or CMU walls that are not meant to be exposed and may be treated in several ways, including:
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A stud wall can be constructed with 2 x 4s adjacent to the concrete, allowing space to run plumbing, mechanical, and electrical system components as well as insulation and vapor retarder before applying gypsum wallboard. The wallboard may then be finished as desired.
On interior walls that do not require insulation, %-inch wood furring strips or 7/s-inch metal furring channels may be applied to the wall and then covered with gypsum wallboard, allowing the application of desired finishes.
Concrete or concrete masonry unit walls can be plastered and painted or, in primarily utilitarian spaces, simply painted. If painting CMUs, the specification should state that mortar should be allowed to dry, and then chipped off the surface of the block.
The concrete structure of a building may be left exposed. Some concrete slabs are flat with thickened column capitals. Others are waffle slabs or concrete tee slabs that express a distinctive pattern. When exposed, the concrete structure may be left in its raw state or painted.