Words and Photos: Best Block
Architectural Masonry Rebuilding the Industry
Masonry has been an essential part of construction for centuries. It has been used to create stunning architectural masterpieces and durable infrastructure. While there are more building material options than ever and new technologies available, few can match the durability, energy efficiency, and aesthetic appeal of classic masonry. Because of this, architectural masonry units are at the forefront of the construction industry and companies like Best BlockTM, a Quikrete company, are leading the way.
Who We Are
Best Block® advances The Quikrete® Companies strategy as an innovative leader offering a comprehensive array of quality products to the commercial building and home improvement industries. Colorado Best Block was acquired in 2018 to further our presence in masonry by manufacturing the best concrete masonry units for the building industry. By combining and leveraging the collective expertise, resources, and capabilities of dozens of successful CMU manufacturers the foundation of a nationally recognized brand was created.
Today, Best Block is providing architects, contractors, and specifiers with the most comprehensive assortment of CMU solutions for projects of all scopes and sizes. From commercial enterprise and educational facilities to residential new construction, Best Block’s footprint continues to expand and when combined with Spec Mix® and other familiar brands within the Quikrete Companies portfolio, we further our capabilities to be the sole source of quality construction materials.
Best on the Block
The masonry industry faces stiff competition from other building materials. The rise of alternative options such as wood, steel, and composite materials has challenged the masonry industry. However, classic concrete masonry units (CMU) offer several benefits that other building materials cannot. As our climate continues to evolve, CMU is a durable material that withstands harsh weather conditions, fire, and other natural disasters. Resilience, combined with a vast variety of finishes, textures, and colors that eliminate the need for additional wall coverings, has architectural CMU breathing new life into reliable classic masonry.
Best Block is a leading manufacturer of concrete block and specialty masonry units that’s committed to delivering the highest value for architects, specifiers, contractors and other customers across the Southeast, Southwest, Midwest and Mountain regions of the U.S. With more than a collective century of proven performance and products, Best Block is a sought-after partner with a broad network of expertise in commercial, residential, and institutional building projects.
Best Block recognizes the unique advantages that CMU products offer and is committed to promoting the use of masonry in construction. The company has a wide range of products to meet changing design needs in a variety of different projects. For example, concrete block anchored veneers up to 16”x32” are finding use in many schools and universities as the cost of natural stone continues to rise. Best Block’s Large Format Masonry (LFM) veneers deliver the natural aesthetics of stone at a cost-effective price point. Designers are also interested in new textures and colors that add visual interest to their elevations. Best Block’s new TERRA split/ground masonry finish is catching the eye of many in architects’ offices, while Best Brik- Best Block’s alternative to clay bricks can be used as veneers as well as in structural wall designs. No matter the product, the company is known to meet the highest standards of quality and durability, to withstand the test of time.
Masonry continues to evolve as design-build delivery methods, chosen for a majority of projects today, are looking for masons and suppliers to accept “delegated design” responsibilities. While new for masonry, it’s important to recognize that masonry competitors in other structural systems have been participating in delegated design for years. Best Block is currently working with several state and regional structural masonry coalitions to help engineers and architects better understand and maximize structural masonry systems.
Many industries are challenged to identify the workforce of tomorrow and masonry is not immune. In fact, one of the more pressing challenges the industry faces is the development of new skilled masons. As baby boomers retire, a need to identify and train masons to take their place exists. This shortage of qualified craftsmen has slowed down the growth of the industry. Promotion and education are key as the next generation is not aware that the masonry industry offers good-paying jobs and provides lucrative opportunities to learn a valuable trade.
Best Block and its sister company, Spec Mix are helping by investing in the education and training of masons. Both companies have partnered with masonry schools and trade organizations across the country to provide scholarships and training programs. These programs are attracting young people to the masonry industry and provide them with the necessary skills to succeed. Best Block and Spec Mix’s investments in education and training is not only beneficial for their respective businesses, but for the industry as well.
High profile events provide a great opportunity to create additional interest in masonry. To this end, Best Block is the title sponsor of the MCAA’s Fastest Trowel on the Block, while Spec Mix’s exciting SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500® is legendary. The companies’ efforts are bringing more attention and awareness to the talented masons, and the industry that accounts for a significant percentage of new construction projects in the United States.
Masonry is an important and growing part of the construction industry and architectural CMU solutions are leading the charge in addressing the challenges the industry is facing. Best Block is committed to the promotion of masonry and to producing sustainable products that redefine the boundaries of design for the next generation of projects.