Monthly Archives: April 2013

The Magic of Masonry

Masonry has been with us for thousands of years. It’s many benefits prove it to be a superior construction material, with performance existing far beyond that of light-weight walls.

Masonry Design FlexibilityDesign Flexibility: Masonry products can be made in an infinite variety of shapes and sizes to meet any architectural design requirements. In other words, concrete masonry units will get the job done.

Masonry Colors and TexturesColor & Texture: With thier integral color and textures, and the wide range of surface treatments, concrete masonry products are ideal as a both a construction material and a finish material.

Masonry StructureStructure: Masonry if foremost a structural material. With steel reinforcing, masonry walls can be built to meet and exceed the toughest structural and seismic performance requirements.

Masonry Fire ResistanceFire Resistance: Masonry products are unsurpassed for fire resistance, and are essential where good fire protection is needed. Many instances have occured where masonry is the only material standing after a fire.

Acoustic Separation of MasonryAcoustic Separation: Because of their mass and air-tightness, concrete masonry walls provide superior sound isolation and control in your structure. Performance unmatched in many other building materials.

Weatherability of MasonryWeatherability: Masonry materials are extremely durable and resistant to sun, wind, and rain. They offer greater infiltration control than many alternative wall construction. There is a reason masonry has been around for thousands of years.

Masonry Easy MaintenanceEasy Maintenance: Masonry walls are maintenance-free, and retain their beauty and appearance for the life of the building. With the addition of chemical sealants, protection from things such as vandalism can be achieved as well.

Masonry Thermal MassThermal Mass: Masonry’s ability to store heat is built-in; the heavier the wall, the more thermal mass it has. This leads to increase savings when both heating and cooling the masonry structure.

Masonry Recycled ContentRecycled Content: RCP Block & Brick’s masonry units have been certified as having 25% post-consumer recycled content. RCP’s third party certification comes from the ICC-ES SAVE program.

Masonry LEED PointsLEED Points: The benefits of using masonry material extends into the LEED Program where some masonry products may earn LEED points. Learn more about LEED points from Hardscape & Masonry.

Masonry is  the material of our past and our future. For more information on the benefits of building with masonry, please contact the RCP Block & Brick architectural support department.

Building Residential Homes with Concrete Block

Concrete Block Residential House

Block Masonry Residential Home

The broad use of concrete blocks, or CMUs, is not just limited to industrial buildings, foundations, or retaining walls. An increasing number of builders and homeowners are recognizing the benefits of using concrete blocks as the primary material in the construction of residential homes. A home built out of concrete block provides the homeowner with many benefits, including design flexibility, durability, efficiency, and other benefits.

When people think of concrete structures images of drab, gray boxes may come to mind. To the contrary, a home built out of block comes with a wide range of design choices. RCP Block and Brick produces a wide range of concret blocks with a number of different architectural finishes, textures, and colors such as Precision Block, Splitface Block, Regalstone Block, Shotblast and Slump Block. Other options include natural or manufactured stone veneer, stucco, and concrete stains. Including glass block in your design provides an additional unique design to your home not found with traditional windows.

Concrete Block House Bedroom

Regal Stone Interior Wall

Concrete block residential homes reinforced with steel provide more durability than wood framed homes. While concrete block homes are popular in some areas of the country for their durability in the face of extreme weather like hurricanes and tornadoes, in Southern California we are more concerned with other natural disasters. Concrete block homes provide a greater durability and protection against earthquakes and fire than home built from wood, a concern for all Southern Californian homeowners. Also, owners of concrete block homes do not have to worry about problems of wood warping and termite damage like owners of wood framed homes. Because of these durability advantages over wood framed homes, concrete block homeowners often pay lower rates for homeowner’s insurance than owners of wood homes.

Concrete Block in Residential Kitchen

Regalstone Kitchen Detail

Another advantage of a concrete block home is increased energy efficiency. Concrete blocks act as an excellent insulator, retaining cool air inside the home during the summer and warm are inside the home during the winter. Concrete blocks create a tight seal, reducing heating and cooling loss in the home that can cause up to 39% energy loss in some homes.

This short articles touches on some of the basic benefits of using concrete block the building of residential homes. To learn more about the benefits of building with concrete blocks give us a call and speak with one of RCP Block & Brick’s architectural representatives.

The Benefits of Interlocking Concrete Pavers

When deciding on constructing or refurbishing a driveway, patio, or walkway, one of the main decisions a homeowner will encounter will be what type of material to use for the project. Should you pour a standard concrete slab? Use asphalt or crushed gravel? What about interlocking concrete pavers?

Concrete Paver Patio

We would like to break it down to help explain the benefits of using interlocking concrete pavers over other material choices. RCP Block & Brick’s Bella Vista line of concrete pavers, with their aesthetic appeal, variety of designs and colors, and strength, are the perfect choice for your next paving project. Here are some of the reasons why:

1. The Durability of Concrete Pavers

The physical properties of the RCP Bella Vista interlocking pavers allow for nearly 4 times the load bearing weight of a standard concrete slab, (Approximately 8000psi compared to 2000psi of some concrete slabs). This high strength of the concrete pavers allows for heavier loads and longer life than that of standard concrete or asphalt. When looking at the durability of asphalt surfaces it must be noted that they have only moderate strength and will break down with traffic over time. With gravel, due to the fact that it is not permanent, it will require regular filling and therefore does not provide a durable, long-lasting surface for such applications as driveways, pathways, or patio areas.

2. The Flexibility of Concrete Pavers

Cracked Concrete Slab

Concrete Slabs Will Crack

The flexibility of an interlocking concrete paver system allows for adjust to the environment as well as avoiding seismic distortion and cracking. In the case of concrete slabs, there is a lack of flexibility which will lead to shrinkage and cracking over time. Although somewhat flexible, the same is true with asphalt as it will crack over time and soften with high temperatures. The flexibility of concrete pavers over other paving materials add to the longevity of the concrete paver system, providing you will a long-lasting paving option.

3. Repair and Maintenance of Concrete Pavers

Repair and maintenance of interlocking pavers is simple, easy and affordable. If for some reason a paver becomes damaged or stained, you simply need to remove the offending paver(s) and replace it with a new paver(s). Repair and maintenance of concrete slabs and asphalt are more complicated. Stains and cracks to concrete slabs and asphalt lead to expensive and time consuming resurfacing projects which will likely occur multiple times over the lifetime of the paved area. As far as gravel areas, they must be filled in frequently. Over time and with use, the surface will become uneven.

4. Concrete Pavers are Easy to Maintain

Keep pavers looking like new by sealing them with one of the many concrete sealers sold at RCP every 12 to 18 months, depending on how much traffic the area receives. It also may be necessary to add joint sand to your interlocking concrete paver area every so often to replace any sand that has been swept or washed away.

5. Aesthetics of Concrete Pavers

Concrete Paver DrivewayWhen using concrete, asphalt, or gravel as a paving material you are limited by color choices, styles, and receive a low visual appeal. RCP’s Bella Vista interlocking pavers provide you with countless combinations of colors, patterns, styles and finishes assuring the uniqueness of your project. This variety assures that your paving project will stand out from all the rest.

The beauty, strength, flexibility, and economic aspects of RCP Block & Brick’s Bella Vista Interlocking Concrete Paver products make them a wise choice for any paver driveway, patio paving project, paver pathway, courtyard, or pool side hardscape applications. We hope you will choose concrete interlocking pavers for your next project. View or Paver Photo Gallery for some ideas!

If you have any questions on RCP’s line of Bella Vista Interlocking Pavers, please feel free to call or visit an RCP Block & Brick near you!

Picking the Right Contractor

Building a Dream Home

Building Your Dream Home

When planning a project to upgrade your home or yard many factors are involved. Deciding on a design, what materials to use, where to purchase materials, how to install the materials, and how much you can do while staying within your budget can be overwhelming for many homeowners. Hiring a contractor to complete the project can alleviate much of the stress involved. Contractors will not only provide the physical labor but can also assist in the design process, acquire the necessary materials for your project, and give you the best results while staying within your budget.

One of the biggest decisions you will make during your home improvement project is which contractor to choose. You can find home improvement contractors through the Yellow Pages, the Internet, from friends or family, or by recommendation from a sales associate at one of the six convenient RCP Block and Brick retail locations.

How to pick a contractorThere are some things to keep in mind when picking a contractor: is the contractor licensed, will the contractor complete the project in a professional and timely manner, does the contractor’s skill set match the skills required to complete the project, and most importantly is the contractor trustworthy? Before you give someone your money and let him or her into your home you want to make sure it is someone you can trust.

Here are some questions to ask potential contractors to help determine which is the right one for your project:

  • In California, you should first check on the status of potential contractors licenses and complaint disclosures through the Contractor State License Board. This handy tool allows searchs by contractor name, license number, personnel name, HIS number, or HIS name.
  • Ask to see his or her contractor’s license and inquire about what kind of insurance the contractor has–including worker’s compensation, property damage, and personal liability insurance. Hiring a contractor with the appropriate insurance protects the homeowner from being liable for injuries or property damage that may occur during your project.
  • Ask for references to previous jobs to ensure past customers were satisfied with the contractor’s work. Talking to past customers can give you an idea of how professional a contractor is, if the contractor completes jobs in a timely manner and on budget, whether the contractor maintains a clean and safe work area, and if the work was done adequately and to the likings and expectations of the past customers.
  • Ask for a list of his or her suppliers and see if the contractor has longstanding relationships with suppliers such as RCP. Many times contractors with relationships to suppliers can buy materials for a lower price than the general public, which can keep your costs down.
  • Ask how long the contractor has been in business and what kind of experience he or she has in the industry.

Other things to consider before hiring a potential contractor:

  • Contact your local Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed against the contractor.
  • Consider and compare the bids given by different contractors. The cheapest is not always the best. If a contractor’s bid is significantly lower than the bids of other contractors this may indicate desperation on the part of the contractor for work, which can be reflected in the quality of work or the level of professionalism.
  • When signing a contract with the contractor of your choice, make sure that it includes all the things agreed to by both you and the contractor.

Home improvement projects can be exciting, worthwhile, and have the ability to increase the value of your home. Picking the right contractor ensures that your project runs smoothly and is completed correctly. Following these tips you can ensure a job well done and avoid costly repairs down the road.