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!

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

The What and the Why of RCP Block & Brick

Most of the time we tend to focus on WHAT a business does. We do this because it is how we determine whether we will go to a business to get what we want or what we need. The real trick is to come to know what are the wants and needs of the customer. To align the capabilities of the business with the current and future wants and needs of the customer.

RCP Lemon Grove Location

RCP Lemon Grove Location

For 66 years we here at RCP Block & Brick have been continually seeking to know what our customers want and what they may want in the future. All one needs to do is look at our product offering today and compare it to the products available 20, 30, or 60 years ago, to realize that RCP has done a pretty good job of having what our customers want. For many years we have believed that our masonry and hardscape patrons want a one-stop-shop.

RCP Block & Brick is uniquely that place. Where else can you go to find virtually all of the numerous kinds of masonry and hardscape products? Block, brick, natural and manmade stone, sand, rock (construction grade and landscape), cement, rebar…..the list goes on. And, it won’t stop there. We are passionate about developing and providing products to meet the changing tastes and lifestyles of builders, designers and homeowners alike.

WHAT else does RCP Block & Brick have that adds value to our customers’ experience? How about our SIX conveniently located Masonry and Hardscape centers. Our sites are within 20 minutes of most areas throughout San Diego and South Riverside Counties. You can find the same outstanding products and service that we have come to be known for at any of our locations. Whether you’re a Pro or a do-it-yourselfer, want us to deliver or you pick it up, RCP has the knowledgeable and helpful staff with a wonderful mix of youth and experience ready to assist you.

RCP Customer Service helping customerNow for the WHY. We have many customers that come to RCP for what we do. We have many customers that come back day after day, week after week, and year after year because of WHY we do WHAT we do. First of all this business is in our blood. RCP Block & Brick is a locally owned family business with 1st, 2nd, 3rd generation owners working alongside other families, mothers and sons, fathers and daughters, that have made up the RCP family for most of its 66 years. Like in so many areas of life, who we are can be highly influenced by our ancestry. Additionally, we all enjoy working together and helping our customers in their quest to build beautiful masonry creations.

Whether it is to be a sustainable company and stand up to the rigors of today’s world, there are many reasons WHY we do business in the manner we do. Foremost is our desire that RCP Block & Brick be a valuable resource to its customers. A company that respects its customer, time, hard work, and ability to be profitable. WHY? Because we want our Customers to get what they want. A successful outcome on the projects they embark upon with RCP as their supplier.

Mike Finch, CEO

(Article written for Blocktalk Newsletter – 2013/Q1)

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.


Rest Assured… We Do the Heavy Lifting!

forklift-1At RCP Block & Brick, Inc. customer service and safety are two of our main priorities. To help make your purchase of building materials easier, not only do we have the highest quality building materials available, but we will help load your vehicle for you! When you purchase building materials from RCP you can relax while our highly trained and competent yard staff do the heavy lifting.

You can rest assured that your items will be loaded with the utmost care and respect for both your vehicle and the product you have purchased. All of our Yard staff are highly trained lift truck (forklift) operators. All RCP Block & Brick forklift operators are trained in house by a certified instructor with over 25 years of forklift experience and each operator is required to meet the regulations set forth by CAL-OSHA as well as the high standards of RCP Block & Brick, Inc.

forklift-2The 3 hour forklift classroom curriculum consists of general safety, forklift evaluations and specific RCP loading procedures.  We strongly emphasize how to load a vehicle safely while ensuring the safety of everyone visiting our sites whether on foot or driving through our sales yards.  All operators are trained on how to conduct a pre-shift evaluation of the forklifts to insure that they are in proper working order.  The RCP yard staff is trained on proper loading procedures to insure that all vehicles or trailers are loaded properly so that the load is balanced and the material makes it to the jobsite safely.  After the classroom instruction, the operators must take an extensive 61 question quiz and pass an 18 point evaluation of their forklift operating skills.This is not just a one-time training. Our operators must be trained on any new equipment that RCP may purchase and are required to be retrained every three years with no exceptions.

So REST ASSURED that you are being loaded by the best trained and highest skilled forklift operators in the business. This is just part of our ongoing commitment to give our customers the best possible experience and peace of mind while visiting RCP Block & Brick, Inc.

Anthony Rivera
RCP Block & Brick – Safety Director