Masonry has earned the respect of building owners everywhere due to the attention our contractors and material providers pay to the detail of construction. The combination of strong design, quality products, and hand-held craftsmanship has resulted in legacy masonry structures.

Our industry’s dedication to quality was again proven last week.

CalStar Products, Inc. uses innovative technology that differs from the way fired clay brick is made. The CalStar production process first combines fly ash, sand, water, pigments, and some additives into a wet mixture. The mixture is then poured into forms, consolidated on a vibrocompaction press, and cured overnight.

Recognizing that this product is different from drycast masonry block and clay-fired brick, the company’s engineering team has been actively involved in developing an ASTM standard. This commitment to quality is an investment we haven’t seen from many other alternative material product manufacturers

To clearly distinguish their products from fired clay bricks, CalStar recently agreed to revise its marketing information that described its architectural facing bricks. CalStar will no longer state that their bricks and facing units “meet the performance requirements of ASTM C216 Standard Specification for Facing Brick (Solid Masonry Units Made from Clay or Shale)”. Rather, they will directly cite their third-party testing reports that show their products’ properties such as strength and freeze-thaw durability. In taking this position CalStar has clarified the uniqueness of their products.

It’s a decision that benefits the entire masonry community. Specifiers of masonry products have come to rely on the product standards that outline how masonry units are to be delivered and used on the job site. CalStar will now rely on product standards developed for their units. Specifiers will again have a clear understanding of what they are purchasing.

Gregg Borchelt sent a note to his Brick Industry Association (BIA) membership announcing the agreement with CalStar on their marketing efforts. “Going forward fired clay brick will be competing with fly ash brick with each product being evaluated on its properties and known performance,” wrote Borchelt, BIA’s president and CEO, “Users will then be able to base their purchase decision on facts, not implications, inappropriate data or unfounded gossip,” wrote Borchelt.

Joel Rood, CalStar’s CEO believes last week’s dialog with BIA shows our industry both party’s mutual desire to increase masonry wallshare. "CalStar and the BIA came to this agreement through open communication and a desire to foster both competition and professionalism in the marketplace," said Rood.

Our industry and our clients are best served when they receive correct information about our products and when we work together to support the strength of masonry construction.