Category Archives: General

Still At It After All These Years

As we close in on the end of 2013 I feel very fortunate for the fact that RCP Block & Brick has been able to fare well during a building recession that started over six years ago. These past years have been tough on a number of homegrown building material suppliers. In recent months we have seen some of our town’s oldest independent suppliers either sell to larger, out of town companies or go out of business. It saddens me to see this happen to such good people. The Economy is not the only culprit that has caused businesses to make life changing decisions.

Competition from Mega-Companies, the cost of providing benefits for employees, regulations and the litigious society in which we find ourselves, all stack the deck against small and midsize companies. It becomes a challenge to survive when the cost of doing business and the price we can get for our products and services don’t coincide.

Marvin Finch - RCP Block & Brick Founder

Marvin Finch – RCP Block & Brick Founder

At RCP Block & Brick we face the same challenges that were cause for those old familiar names in the building material business to fade away. We know that we have to continue to work our tails off to be viable in this time and place in our industry. We work hard at giving our customers what they need. That’s what we’ve been doing since 1947. There was one thing that Marv Finch was very clear on: To succeed it takes working hard and being mindful, battling through the struggles, and having a lot of Faith. Through it all, RCP remains one of the oldest family owned building material businesses in San Diego County. We take a lot of pride in that fact.

Recently I heard a parody on a past comment made by a former political figure. He was recorded saying “We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know”. I had to think about that for a minute and then realized the fellow was just stating the obvious. In this rapidly changing world we live in who can really know what the future holds. Uncertainty continues to be the rule. Just like Marv, we have to work hard and work smart and keep the Faith.

Thanks for recognizing all that RCP Block & Brick brings to the San Diego Community and honoring us with your continued support.

Mike Finch, CEO

Complimenting or Contrasting Color in Hardscape Design

matching-house1What is one of the most difficult decisions a homeowner must make when adding or enhancing his or her home? Some homeowners struggle to find the right contractor or the right price, but one of the most common and unexpected decisions that homeowners must make is choosing the color or style of materials for their new projects.

I have found at least two considerations to aid this final step in the design process:

1. Consider your surroundings

Matching Retaining Wall and Interlocking Pavers

Matching Retaining Wall and Interlocking Pavers

Sometimes, by considering the structures that already exist, a homeowner can use these surrounding materials as a color key to work from. For example, if a homeowner loves the paint color on her house, she might look for a complementing decorative rock or interlocking paver color.  If another homeowner struggles to choose an interlocking paver color for his new patio, that person might look to a nearby retaining wall for inspiration. Visit the RCP Photo galleries for design ideas.

One of the wonderful aspects of many RCP products lies in our decision to maintain consistency in our color line.  So, many RCP retaining walls can be coupled with equivalent interlocking paver colors to enhance and streamline your new installation.

2. Decide whether to complement or contrast

By choosing complementing materials for a new project, a homeowner can achieve a balanced beauty enhanced with gentle nuances of color.  Having a more homogeneous coloring in this way creates a natural look that represents a garnish more than a centerpiece.  One example of this complementing design might be using one of RCP’s brownstone retaining walls near a brownstone interlocking paver installation.  Because the brownstone coloring is still blended, a homeowner gains some variation without making the wall or the patio draw attention to itself.

Fire pit and wall block with contrasting cap

Fire pit and wall block with contrasting cap

However, if a person wanted to achieve a more modern, exotic, or bold effect; he or she could look for opportunities to create highlights in the installation with more saturated colors or with a larger variety of colors.  One example of this contrasting design might come from RCP’s Terracotta Brown Country Manor with a Charcoal Brown cap.  The charcoal tone in the cap creates a nice visual edge, and because both colors are deeply saturated, they immediately stimulate the passer-by.  Similar effects can be achieved by using a differently colored border on a interlocking paver installation or by blending two RCP colors in varying proportions.  A homeowner may even decide to use a material of a contrasting color as a key piece sporadically throughout an installation to break up more uniform colors.

So, no matter what other difficult decisions you have to make regarding your new home project, let these two considerations act as the first steps in your design process; though they are not all encompassing, these two ways of looking at your new project can make your design process smoother.

Gregg Fields
ICA – RCP Escondido

For help choosing the right products or colors for your next project, contact or visit an RCP Block & Brick location near you.


Get Your Project Started Today!

With summer in full swing and the weather perfect for spending time outdoors with loved ones and friends, you may be wishing you’d stop putting off that backyard improvement project you have been thinking about all year. Maybe you are trying to justify this procrastination by convincing yourself that this just isn’t a good time to make improvements to your home… Maybe you don’t have the time to plan out and execute your projects… Or maybe the idea of tackling these projects on your own are too intimidating to get them started?

RCP Customer Service helping customerLet RCP Block &  Brick ease your fears and help turn your projects from ideas in your head to finished products in your yard. RCP Block & Brick provides a wide array of resources to help you get the project done right. We can walk you though everything aspect of the project if you are planning on doing it yourself; help you choose the right product for your particular project; and even suggest local, trusted contractors if you are looking to hire someone for the job.

Combining our ever-growing library of installation guides and project videos, the knowledge of our sales staff, and our extensive project support web section; if you have the desire to do a project, we have the resources to help you get it done right.

Project Idea Gallery

RCP Block & Brick’s Project Idea Galleries.

Not sure which type or style of project might work for your yard? Visit RCP Block & Brick’s project gallery or Pinterest page to browse inspirational pictures and ideas for your next outdoor project. This is a great starting point when getting the creative juices flowing.

If you need help determining which product would work best for your project, call or visit one of our many locations. Our sales staff can discuss your specific project, show you examples of the different products that may work best for your application, and help calculate the needed product quantities to save you time and money on your project!

List of Qualified Installers

RCP’s list of qualified installers (Contact a Location Near You for More Info)

Finally, if your idea is simply out of the scope of a Do-It-Yourself project, we can help you pick the right contractor for the job. RCP Block & Brick can supply a list of preferred contractors in your area to help get your project started and completed in a timely manner.

So what are you waiting for? Visit one of our six conveniently located sales yards or visit to finally make that long overdue project a reality! We look forward to helping you in every step along the way.

Concrete Masonry Provides Fire Resistant Construction

“Regardless of the cause… it’s the structural composition of the building that will largely determine how well the blaze is contained. And while industry-standard fire testing deems materials such as gypsum drywall to be fire resistant, the fact is that they cannot offer the fire protection of masonry products such as concrete block.” -Paul Hargest

fire-resistance-article-thumbIn the recent article, “Concrete Masonry Provides Fire Resistant Construction” featured in the Concrete Masonry Designs publication, Paul Hargest explores masonry’s role in fire resistant construction. Paul is the president of the Canadian Concrete Masonry Producer Association and owner and president of Hargest Concrete in Ontario, Canada. After a series of fires in large living communities in Canada, the Canadian Concrete Masonry Producers Association, or CCMPA, examined existing building codes for adequate protection of residence from fires. One of the fires, in a residence hall at Wilfred Laurier University, was contained better and extinguished quicker than the other in part due to the buildings use of concrete block to construct the separating walls between the units and the walls separating each room within the units. Fire rescue cites the use concrete block for wall construction along with concrete slab floors for assisting fire crews in containing and extinguishing the blaze.

What if your neighbor fell asleep while smoking?

What if your neighbor fell asleep while smoking?

Concrete products are an integral part of a balanced approach to fire safety in newly constructed buildings. This approach includes detection, through the use of mandatory smoke alarms, suppression in the form of sprinkler systems, and finally compartmentalization, which is where concrete masonry products come in. Compartmentalization is defined as “effective containment.” By constructing walls throughout a building with concrete block, in addition to fire rated concrete floors and ceilings, you can minimize damage from the time that containment buys fire crews. Concrete block can withstand high temperatures and water pressure from fire hoses better than other materials deemed fire resistant such as fiber-reinforced gypsum panels.

San Diego Wild Fires: Wooden pallet burned, concrete block remained.

Wooden pallet burned, concrete block remained.

Mr. Hargest concludes his article with this thought: “In a laboratory, we have the luxury of duplicating tests and debating the merits of one material over the other. Real life offers only one chance. Concrete masonry can’t prevent fire, but it is the best way we have to contain and maintain its structural integrity, to help increase our chances of survival.”

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.