January 20, 2017

What is AB Courtyard and Where Did it Come From?

Did you know Allan Block Courtyard (CY) was launched in 2004 and was the fastest growing Allan Block product ever.  What is CY?  Why was it so quick to take off?  CY is a double sided decorative wall material used to build seating areas, fire pits, grill surrounds, bars, columns, benches, water features and many other options for an existing patio and/or a new patio installation.  

This product can be installed directly on top of a properly based paver or concrete patio or along the outer edge of the patio with appropriate base material placed directly under it.  It comes in both non-tumbled and tumbled versions and is intended to be an economical decorative wall for your outdoor entertaining area/s.  This efficient system allows you or a selected contractor to get on the job and off the job quicker.  

All units are 6” tall and they come in five different shapes – a York, Dublin, Corner, Wall Caps and Post Cap Halves.  Easy to use estimating tools and product information can be found here so ask your sales representative for pricing today!





January 13, 2017

Making the Most out of AB Courtyard Wall Blocks


The AB Courtyard patio wall system is a grouping of modular concrete blocks.  The blocks stack easily together to build great enhancements to your patio.

One of the benefits is the size of the two main blocks – AB York and AB Dublin.  The AB Dublin is exactly double the size of the AB York stacked next to each other.  This makes it easy to switch between the blocks or substitute one AB Dublin for 2 AB Yorks in the project.


When building with both blocks they can be stacked with no set pattern and end up with an impressive final project.



January 6, 2017

The Allan Block Wall of Fame

During Allan Block’s history, we have had the great privilege to work with hundreds of great production partners:  owners, managers, sales associates, marketers, plant managers and the list goes on and on.  Early in 2016, we began discussing opportunities to promote individuals from our production partners’ business who have made a lasting impact on the industry, their company along with Allan Block.  Their efforts during their tenure have been noticed by all of us at AB, their respective company, many customers, competitors, industry organizations among others.  To honor those individuals and future recipients, in 2016 we began the Allan Block Always Better Wall of Fame and we recognized nine individuals: 

  • Cecil Fitzpatrick – Key Account Manager, Expocrete
  • Russ Kissinger – General Manager, AirVol
  • Gordy Rich – President and Owner, Reading Rock
  • Bill Clayton Sr. – Founder, Clayton Companies
  • John Barr – Retired Legend, Clayton Companies
  • Steve Keller – Retired Legend, Reading Rock
  • Niecie Banach – Sales, Basalite
  • Butch Corbett – Architectural Sales, Anchor Concrete Products
  • Bruce Stickney – Key Account Manager, Expocrete



Each of these individuals will be memorialized with a permanent plaque on showcase at Allan Block along with a replica for their own use and a special note of thanks for their exceptional work.  Stay tuned for more recipients during 2017.





December 30, 2016

Winterizing your Cabin - Keeping your Summer Home Safe Through the Winter

It’s that time of the year…winter has arrived and you may be flying south for the winter.  Whether you go someplace warm for the winter months or you have a cabin which you need to closer up for the year, here are some steps to consider before taking off.
  1. If this is your summer residence, make it look like someone is there throughout the winter.  Have the driveway plowed, put lights on different timer settings, forward your mail, and ask a neighbor to collect fliers.
  2. Secure your doors and windows.  If you have a security system, make sure it is active and set.  Make sure you don’t have valuables in plain sight or lock them way if a break in does take place.
  3. If you don’t plan on heating the house all winter, make sure you winterize your pipes.  This can be shutting off the water supply and draining all the pipes by opening all faucets and valves.  You can even hook up an air compressor to the highest location and blow out all the lines to verify they are dry.  Leave all lines and valves open for the winter months.
  4. Make sure all appliances are shut off (gas) or that items that require electricity have a backup power source if power is lost.
  5. Remove foods that might attract our friendly neighborhood mice or other pests.  It is best to remove all food from the refrigerator and/or cupboards upon leaving for the year since most of these items won’t be usable when returning in the spring/summer.
  6. Finally, tell a nearby neighbor that you will be gone for an extended amount of time so that they can notify you if they see something out of the ordinary.  You can even set up a home monitoring system to provide you with real-time video and operations on your house while you are away.

Although this might not be all items to consider if you are leaving for the winter, it does give you a starting point to make sure that you come back to your place just how you left it!


December 23, 2016

Best Practices for Christmas??

Here we go again with the hustle and bustle of the Holiday season.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays and look forward to them every year.  However, the extra pressure of parties, presents and “additional pounds” can where a guy out.  If somebody could give me a prescriptive plan of show to stay on top of it all that would be very beneficial.  Obviously, you have the planners and the people that have had their shopping done since July, but that is not me.  And I don’t think I am alone here.  I see the same look on the other faces I meet. 

Working for Allan Block we have a Best Practices for Segmental Retaining Wall Design to help engineers who design walls.  It is a prescriptive plan that outlines things that should be considered. And for the engineers that only work on retaining wall projects once or twice a year it is a life saver since it covers all topics from design to construction.


If I do an internet search for “Best Practices for Christmas” I get pages that reference shopping, cooking or traveling techniques.  Some even lead to more confusion.  Nothing, that really gives me a prescriptive plan.  I guess I will do what I always do every year and drink more eggnog. 😊