Category Archives: Products

Volunteers Sandbagging

The Rain is Coming… Get your Sand Bags Ready!

El Nino 2015As you may have heard, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s forecast, a stronger than normal El Nino weather pattern is developing that is expected to bring cooler, wetter weather to the Southern California area. How much rain we will receive this winter is still anybody’s guess, but if it is anything like the lesser 1997 El Nino, we can expect quite a bit of rain and flooding. That being said, now time to start preparing for potential flooding and erosion problems.


Flood Control Bags (Sand Bags)

The use of sand bags is a simple but effective way to prevent or reduce flood water damage. Properly filled and placed sandbags canSand Bags Protecting Door act as a barrier to divert moving water around, instead of through, buildings. Sandbags by themselves do not guarantee a water-tight seal, but are satisfactory for use in most situations. Sandbags can also be used successfully in conjunction with plastic sheeting to create a more water-tight barrier to hold back flowing or standing water.

Types of Bags

There are a couple types of bags that are commonly used in flood control and erosion control situations. Untreated burlap sacks are available at most local feed stores. The problem with these bags is that they can quickly deteriorate when exposed to the elements or filled with the wrong material. A better option are the pre-filled woven polypropylene bags which are designed to hold up to the elements (Water and UV resistance) and filled with the appropriate materials. RCP Block & Brick Flood Control bags are of the 100% woven Polypropylene variety and are each filled with approximately ½ cuft of concrete sand.

Sandbags are generally filled to around half of their capacity in order to prevent the bags from getting too heavy and also permit the bags to be stacked with a good seal.

Flood Control Bag Usage and Placement:

  • Remove any debris from the area where the bags are to be placed.
  • sandbag-placementPlace bags lengthwise and parallel to the direction of water flow, with the open end (if filled at site) or sewn end (if using pre-filled bags) facing against the water flow.
  • Line the bags up, placing each new bag atop the unfilled portion of the previous bag. This creates a good seal between the bags. Tamp into place to eliminate any voids and form a tight seal.
  • For multiple layers, stagger the joints similar to how a brick wall is constructed. With the center of the bags of the upper row positioned over the joints of the bottom row.
  • This basic stacking method can be used in an unsupported construction of 3 layers. For higher, unsupported construction, you should use the Pyramid Placement Method. If supported, as up against a building, you can continue to add layers.
  • sandbag-pyramdPyramid Placement Method is used to increase the height of sandbag protection in an unsupported construction scenario. This is accomplished by placing the sandbags to form a pyramid by alternating header courses (bags placed crosswise) and stretcher courses (bags placed lengthwise).
  • In instances where an additional barrier of water protection is needed, such as when protecting a structure from water entering, a layer of plastic sheeting such as Visqueen can be used behind the sand bags, tucking the bottom edge of plastic under the first row of bags.

Erosion Control Bags

In instances where soil erosion is a concern, the use of Erosion Control Bags may be needed. Erosion Control Bags are similar to Flood Control Bags in bag material, size, and weight; but differ in the material with which they are filled. Unlike the Flood Control Bags which are filled with concrete sand, the Erosion Control Bags from RCP Block & Brick are filled with 1/2cuft of 3/8” pea gravel.

The use of aggregate as opposed to sand brings a more permeable quality to the bags, allowing some water to move through the bags instead of diverting or holding back the majority of water flow. Although Erosion Control Bags will still divert water, these bags are designed to reduce soil erosion by both stabilizing the soil on which they are laid as well as reducing the strength of water-flow that may carry soil away.


For more information on available rain, flood, and erosion control products, please call an RCP Block & Brick location near you!

Decorative Rock Landscape Design

Product Guide: Yard Design with Decorative Rock & Stone

With the California drought continuing with no end in sight, RCP continues to promote water wise landscaping options as an alternative to high water usage grass landscaping. We’ve already covered rebates offered by state and local agencies to promote water wise landscaping and products that help cut water usage. The State Water Resources Control Board recently encouraged homeowners to let their lawns die as part of their greater plan to conserve water through mandatory water usage restrictions. That doesn’t mean you have to settle for ugly, dusty patches of brown dirt around your property. There are plenty of natural products available at RCP that reduce your water usage while maintaining an attractive landscaped yard.

Decomposed Granite

  • Decomposed Granite Pathway

    Decomposed Granite Pathway with Crushed Gravel Planter Areas

    What is it: Decomposed Granite, or DG as it’s commonly called, is a compactable material formed from the natural weathering and erosion of granitic rock. DG is typically of easily compactable rock particles 3/8” and smaller.

  • Benefits: DG is an ideal product for various projects because it is inexpensive, its permeability allows for good drainage, and is more stable than other natural ground cover materials such as gravel. DG can be used for garden pathways, rustic patios, or as a base for stepping stones, pavers, flagstone, and synthetic turf.
  • Maintenance: placing a weed blocking landscape fabric underneath the DG helps prevent weeds from growing popping while allowing water to still drain through into the soil below. Adding a pathway stabilizing liquid onto your compacted DG area can help prevent shifting of loose DG and the tracking of DG into the house on the bottoms of shoes. However, over time some DG will break down and shift with exposure to weather and foot traffic. This can be easily remedied by adding a little more DG and compacting it in these areas as needed.

Crushed Gravel

  • Decorative Crushed Gravel Landscape

    Decorative Crushed Gravel Landscpe Design

    What is it: Gravel is chunks of jagged, crushed up rock, usually crushed to sizes of 3/8” and 3/4” and comes in various colors.

  • Benefits: Crushed gravel provides good drainage, causes less dirt to be tracked into the house than with DG, and achieves a contemporary look. Multiple color options give you a variety of choices and the ability to mix different gravels to create unique designs. Gravel can be used to cover large areas of your yard, for smaller walkways, or to break up areas of plants.
  • Maintenance: Like with DG, laying down a weed taming fabric will help block weeds from appearing. Foot traffic can cause shifting and thinning of some areas but small quantities of replacement gravel will remedy this.

River Rock

  • River Rock Planter Area

    River Rock Planter Area.

    What is it: River rock is rounded and multicolored. RCP carries two types of river rock: smaller 1”-3” that is sold by the yard and larger sizes of 3”-12” sold by the pound.

  • Benefits: there are a variety of sizes and colors available to fit any project. River rocks can be used to create realistic dry river beds and are the perfect way to create an appealing border between paved and landscaped areas.
  • Maintenance: Weed taming fabric. Using a blower is a good way to remove debris such as fallen leaves and dirt.

Beach Pebble

  • Beach Pebble Landscape Design

    Beach Pebble Planter Border

    What is it: Beach pebbles are rounded, flat rocks. They range in size from 1/2” to 3” and come in a greyish-black color and a mixed color option. Beach pebbles are only available in bags and not by the yard some they can be an expensive option for larger applications

  • Advantages: Beach pebbles provide an elegant and sophisticated style and can be used for a variety of projects such as to topdress container plantings, to puddle around plants or boulders, pathways, or as borders around planters and paved areas.
  • Maintenance: Similar to river rocks, you can use weed taming fabric and a blower to keep the area clear of weeds and debris.

Flagstone & Slate

  • Flagstone Pathway

    Flagstone Pathway on Decomposed Granite with River Rock Accents

    What is it: Flagstone refers to large, irregular flat stones used to pave an area. Flagstone comes in a variety of colors, sizes, and textures and is sold by the pound.

  • Advantages: Flagstone is easy to install, low maintenance, and an affordable way to pave a patio or walkway. The variety of colors and types of stones like sandstone, quartzite, or slate means there is a flagstone to fit any project. You can use a variety of materials between the stones to achieve different looks such as gravel, river rocks and pebbles, DG, and moss.
  • Maintenance: Weed taming fabric. Debris can be removed from the area using a blower or broom. Using a stone sealer can protect the stone over time and enhance the natural color of the stone.

The Original Keystone Wall Products

Keystone Legacy Retaining Wall Block SystemWhen planning your retaining wall project, it is important to pick a retaining wall product that has proven to last, is backed by solid engineering, and designed for your particular project. RCP Block & Brick is an authorized manufacturer of the original Keystone Retaining Wall Systems. Keystone Retaining Wall products come in a variety sizes and styles to fit the structural and aesthetic needs of any retaining wall project. See RCP’s Selection of Retaining Wall Products

Which Keystone Wall Product is Right for Your Project?

An important first step before choosing which Keystone wall system is right for your project is determining the height of your wall. Certain Keystone wall block systems have height restrictions, making them unsuitable in applications where the needed height of the wall extends beyond their engineered use. Another important early step is to consult with the building department of your local municipality to determine if there are any permit requirements, engineering requirements, or building restrictions that may affect your project. RCP can help you Figure out the Building Permit Process.

Keystone Garden Wall Retaining Wall System

Keystone Garden Wall

For smaller retaining walls and planter boxes, consider our smaller blocks Keystone Country Cottage and Keystone Garden Wall.  Both are light weight making them easy to work with and set in place. The varieties of colors these products are available in ensure your finished product will be unique. But keep in mind these products are best suited for smaller projects as the Country Cottage has a maximum height of 20”, while the Garden Wall can be built up to 24”.

Keystone Country Manor Wall

Keystone Country Manor Wall

The Keystone line provides even more options for larger walls. The Keystone Legacy retaining wall block provides a similar look as the Garden Wall with the increased maximum height of 36”. For taller walls, look no further than the Keystone Compac II, Keystone Century Wall, Keystone Country Manor, and Keystone Verazzo 4-Face Stone wall systems. These four systems provide different looks to satisfy any taste, while all of them are pre-engineered for walls up to 6’ in height.

Finish Your Keystone Wall with a Matching Wall Cap Unit

Keystone Wall Cap Unit

Keystone Country Cap

RCP Block & Brick also provides a number of matching wall cap options for your Keystone Retaining Wall Systems, as well as all the accessories needed to complete your project such as a fiberglass pins for select wall systems, masonry adhesive for securing caps, drainage pipe, and ¾” crushed gravel.

For more information on the different Keystone Retaining Wall Systems and all wall systems available at RCP Block & Brick, including installation guides, visit one of our six convenient retail locations and speak with one of our experts behind the counter. We look forward to helping you with your next project!

Water Conservation with RCP Products

It seems as though it is a topic that finds itself constantly in the press. We continuously see its effects in both the decreasing levels of San Diego’s once teeming reservoirs, as well as in the increasing presence of wild fires around the county. The current drought situation in the state of California, more-so in the desert landscape of San Diego, is a problem that affects all California residents.

drought-signWith California facing one of the most severe droughts in history, a State of Emergency has been declared by the Governor. State officials, as well as the residents of California, are being called upon to take any and all necessary steps to conserve one of our state’s most precious resources.

One of the most noticeable results of California’s water shortage is evident in the water bills of its residents. Due to the shortage, the price of water service has increased dramatically in recent years. This is a price we pay for living in the desert landscape. Of course, this also means that the idea of water conservation equates directly with a lower water bill. The trick is figuring the best place to cut out water use.

It has been estimated that nearly 60% of a person’s household water footprint can be attributed to lawn and garden maintenance. Residents care about the aesthetic of their homes so much, that they spend more than half of their water in an effort to keep their yards looking nice. Cutting this watering out can have a dramatic effect on reducing a household’s water bill, but it will also leave your lawn and plants withering in the soaring temperatures of summer.

Finding a balance between water conservation and making sure the aesthetic of your outdoor area does not succumb to the heat is a battle faced by many homeowners around the county. Many residents have found their answer through an assortment of products available at RCP Block & Brick.

Incorporating Natural Rock & Stone

Rock LandscapeA popular option chosen by many homeowners has been to either completely replace or limit unused lawn areas with natural rock and stone. Incorporating this type of product into the landscape design of your yard can completely eliminate the need for watering while still leaving an aesthetically pleasing yard. Although some residents find it easiest to simply cover the area with one of our available decorative rock ground-covers, other have planned out beautiful rock landscapes (such as dry stream beds), that incorporate a mixture of decomposed granite, decorative rock ground cover, medium sized cobble stone, and larger landscape boulders. It is amazing what you can create with a little bit of imagination and the available products at RCP Block & Brick. For every bit of natural rock and stone that you use in your landscape design is that much less water you need to keep your yard looking great. Some residents have completely eliminated the need for water while still having an aesthetically pleasing landscape design.

Native and Drought Tolerant Plants

Although absolutely gorgeous landscapes can be created from rock and stone alone, plants add an organic, natural element to all landscapes that just cannot be duplicated. Expanding on the above idea of adding rock and stone in your landscape design, consider adding native or drought tolerant plants to the design. These plants will thrive in their natural outdoor environment while requiring only the most minimal watering. They will also add that finishing touch the design as a whole.

Replace Your Lawn with Artificial Turf

artificial turfFor those who simply do not want to give up the look of their lush, green lawn but are being hit hard by the high water bills, there is still hope. RCP Block & Brick carries an expansive line of the highest quality, most realistic artificial turf available.

If you haven’t seen it, come check it out. Our artificial turf is not your standard “Astro-turf” or fake looking grass. Through years of development and testing, our turf providers have come up with a line of highly realistic fake grass. Using a variety of blade lengths, colors, and textures, they have come up with a line of artificial turf that closely matches the beauty of real grass. RCP Block & Brick has all the turf supplies needed to installing artificial turf in your yard.

Brick in the Toilet

brick in toiletIt sounds like a joke, but has actually been standard practice for years with older, non-water conservation toilets. By placing a fired clay brick in the reservoir of your toilet, you can displace the amount of water that is used every time the toilet is flushed. So for every flush, you are using a brick amount less in volume of water. Over the course of time, you can save hundreds of gallons! RCP Block & Brick has a variety of brick sizes in assorted colors and styles. Not that the color and style matter, but we have them for those customers that want to have a little bit of extra flare in their toilet tanks.

Note: Be sure to not add too many bricks. If you displace too much water, a single flush might not “do the job” and then require a second flush… thus negating the water savings that you were trying to achieve. Also, be sure to use fired clay brick as they are less likely to dissolve in water and affect your plumbing. It might even be a good idea to wrap the brick in heavy plastic just to be safe.

water tolerant landscapeThese are just a few ideas on how you can save on your water bill with products available from RCP Block & Brick. Hopefully some of these suggestions can help keep your hard earned money in your wallet as opposed to being used to water your lawn, or flushing it down the toilet.

For more information on any of the above products, or to speak with one of RCP Block & Brick’s knowledgeable sales staff, please contact an RCP location near you!

A Fresh New Look with Concrete Stain

Driveway with Concrete Stain

Driveway Stained with Silica Shield

Staining is a simple way to upgrade, enhance and enrich the appearance of many kinds of concrete products. Whether it be a tired old gray concrete slab (patio or driveway) or an existing retaining wall, paved area, or stonework; with concrete and masonry stain it is easy to give a fresh new look to your home. Though the process is simple below are five things to take into consideration before beginning your staining project. 

1. Choosing the Right Stain

First you want to evaluate the condition of the concrete, conditions of use of the area, application conditions and desired appearance. These will determine which type of stain you will use for your project.

RCP Block and Brick carries two types of stain: CAM Stain and Silica Shield. While products can be applied indoors and outdoors and are environmentally safe, the different aspects of your project will determine which one best suits your project.

CAM Stain Product CutsheetCAM Stain (Concrete and Masonry Stain) is a semi-transparent, water based modified acrylic that is easily applied with fewer restrictions than the Silica Shield. CAM Stain is ideal for staining an area that may have been previously sealed. It is not ideal for driveway applications as it does not have as good of a hot tire resistance as the Silica Shield. Fore more information on CAM Stain, click the product info thumbnail to the left.

Silica Shield Cut SheetSilica Shield is a water based, modified silicate stain that provides a highly transparent appearance. Silica Shield penetrate the concrete to make chemical bond with concrete, this is why it is NOT good to use on an area that has been previously sealed. It is recommended for use on driveways and other areas of high traffic due to the fact that is provides a great hot tire resistance than the CAM Stain.

If you have any questions, or need help determining which type of stain will work best for your application, please contact an RCP Block & Brick near you and we can help answer your questions!

2. Surface Preparation

Proper surface preparation is the most important thing to ensuring the successful application of a stain. Dirt, oil, grease, bond breaker, sealer, and paints will hinder the preparation and bonding of the stain, therefore these must be removed from the concrete before application of stain. An Etching Cleaner is recommended to open the pores of the concrete and to clean the surface. Dense concrete will require a strong solution while porous concrete will need a diluted solution. Scrub surface with a broom or brush and remove with a solution of baking soda to neutralize the surface.

3. Applying the Stain

Applying StainStain can be applied with a brush, roller, sponge, or sprayer. Practice applying the colors for your desired look on an inconspicuous area or on a cement board. Concrete should be minimum of 7 days old for Silica Shield and 3 days old for CAM Stain, but the longer water has to leave the new concrete the better. Do not apply stains in temperatures above 100 degrees F or below 45 degrees F. Applying in direct sunlight or on hot surfaces can cause rapid curing. Dampening the surface prior to applying stain will help hide brush or roller marks. Allow 24-48 hours for stain to cure before exposing to rain.

4. Suitable Surface Applications

  •             Concrete patios
  •             Artificial Rock
  •             Concrete Driveways
  •             Concrete Pavers
  •             Precast Concrete
  •             Garage Floors
  •             Concrete blocks- precision and split face
  •             Brick
  •             Clay Pavers
  •             Natural Rock (sandstone)
  •             Concrete Roof Tile

5. Maintenance & Removal of Stain

Routine cleaning and resealing will help extend the life and appearance of stained surfaces. Touch-ups are best done with CAM Stain. If removal of stain is required, stain can be removed after curing with a stripper, grinder, or sand blasting.

Using concrete and masonry stain to improved the look of your tired old concrete surfaces really is an easy project that anyone can handle. If you have any questions along the way, just give us a call… remember that we are here to help you get the job done right!

Outdoor Fire Pits: The Popular Backyard Summer Project

Enjoying Fire PitThere is nothing more enjoyable than adoring a beautiful summer sunset in your backyard with loved ones and a glass of wine or cold beer. But as the sun fades away so does the warm air. But what do you do when the night air turns chilly and you aren’t ready to wrap up your outdoor party? RCP Block and Brick’s Bella Vista custom fire pit kits can help. These simple yet aesthetic creations can transform your yard into an outdoor entertainment hot spot! There is no wonder outdoor fire pits have been one of the most popular back yard projects. Whether you are choosing from one of our preset designs or flexing your creative muscle with your own design, this addition guarantees your backyard will be the envy of all your friends and family.

Custom Gas Fire Pit - Country Manor Block

Custom Gas Fire Pit – Country Manor Block

With RCP Block & Brick’s versatile line of Bella Vista fire pit products, the size, shape, color, and style of your fire pit can vary as much as your imagination or you can simply stick with a pre-designed fire pit kit. By choosing a pre-designed fire pit kit, you just need to choose an available color in the style you want, and then bring the kit home. Simply stacking the block in a pre-designed pattern will be one of the easiest DIY projects you have ever done! Of course, if a bit more creativity and originality is more to your liking, you can use almost every style of Bella Vista landscape wall block, or standard concrete masonry wall block to build your fire pit. It is as easy as if you were building out of Legos! Just pick the block style and color, and start building! Using this method, you can customize your fire pit width, height, shape, and color to match your project area perfectly.

Fireglass and Firerock

Fireglass Beads and Fire Rock for Gas Burning Pits

Not only can you choose the style, size, and color of your fire pit; but you can even choose what kind of flame burns in the pit. By leaving the pit empty, in other words, just stacking and securing the outer block walls, you can have a wood burning fire pit. For a more decorative look with a controlled flame, use our gas fire pit accessories by running a gas line, include a gas burner and cover with attractive fill medium such as black and red lava rock or contemporary fire glass. The choice is really up to you. RCP Block & Brick does suggest both hiring a NFI Certified Technician when making any natural gas or propane connections for any fire pit, fireplace, or fire feature; and checking with your local building codes as they pertain to outdoor fire features before starting your project.

Fire pits are an inexpensive and easy way to upgrade any outdoor entertainment space.  RCP Block and Brick is your source for all of your fire pit needs. Our sales yards regularly stock the materials you need for constructing your new fire pit as well as all your fire pit accessories, including lava rock, fire glass, ring burners and “H” burners and gas connectors and valves. With a little work and maybe some help from a friend, a new Bella Vista fire pit will transform your yard into an entertaining oasis by this weekend!

If you have any questions along the way, or would like to discuss your outdoor fire pit idea, please contact an RCP Block & Brick near you and speak to one of our knowledgeable sales staff. We look forward to helping you with your next project!