Allan Block

Contractor News

September 20, 2017

We at Allan Block are always striving to be Always Better and bringing you, our contracting customers, valuable information that can be incorporated into your business which is vital to our success. Our third quarter of 2017 newsletter will strive to bring insight that will (1) help you find ways to bring value to your business by providing programs/tools to help you drive revenue and (2) provide market information to better educate on industry standards, initiatives and/or best practices to assist with installation efficiencies. If you would like to register for this newsletter, have questions, comments or topics you would like to see addressed, please submit HERE. We look forward to hearing from you!

In this issue: Newsletter Subscription


AB Aztec

What's New At AB:
AB Aztec Collection

AB Aztec is off to a great launch in 2017. Projects continue to be installed all over North America and we can’t wait to participate with you on future projects. We have seen AB Aztec installed on DOT projects and numerous commercial and residential projects all over North America including a 25,000 sf project in FL due to the architectural demand for a more modern look. AB Aztec provides many great qualities which include:

  1. AB Aztec blocks are the exact shapes as those within our AB Collection. The Classic, Junior, Lite, Junior Lite, Corner and Cap are identical to the products you are already familiar with installing and can all be used to create a nice ashlar pattern or used individually to meet the needs of your customer.
  2. The product offers a modern, sleek look with clean lines and a molded slate face. Based on market research this look is sought after by designers and/or owners in markets throughout North America.

What does this mean for you? You will enjoy the same speed and efficiency when installing AB Aztec as you do with our AB Collection. None of our products are going away so this is just another system for you to differentiate your business and close more work.

Allan Block Aztec

In addition, and as a reminder we are running an incentive for purchases of AB Aztec during 2017. Every dollar you spend on AB Aztec will qualify you for AB Stamps. The more units you buy the more AB Stamps you earn and can use towards Apple products. Check out our site to learn more about AB Aztec and talk to your production and/or distribution partner to learn more about the launch program that will help you become more successful.



Allan Block Certification Program:
Get comes the training season!

It is hard to believe the fourth quarter of 2017 is a short two weeks away. What does that mean? It means we all need to push hard and drive the ball across the goal line to close out the season and finish strong. In addition, it means the Allan Block Training Season is right around the corner. As business grows, so too will the workforce required to build backyard patios, retaining walls and retail projects to support the growth of new residential developments. Will you have the same group of people working with/for you next season as you do now? Will you add to your number of crews? Will that workforce be familiar with how SRW’s are installed? Use the winter season to assist in the training of your current and/or future employees to help with the efficiencies and production quality next year.

We already have several classes on the calendar and more are being added. Check out our training schedule to find a class near you or call us today to let us know where we need to schedule our next class. Finish the season strong and we look forward to seeing you in your market soon!

AB Fieldstone

Featured Collection: AB Fieldstone

AB Fieldstone is one of the most unique products on the market today. With the variety of sizes, facing options and unit depths this collection will provide you flexibility and aesthetics to meet customers’ demands.

What is AB Fieldstone? AB Fieldstone is a two-piece retaining wall product that provides you with a non-split face, natural stone look which owners are after. There are a variety of benefits to AB Fieldstone which include:


  • The lighter-weight two-piece system makes it easy to handle. These ergonomically-friendly blocks are easy to lift from a pallet and carry across difficult jobsites.

Easy Installation

Built-in Corners & Height Control

  • The exciting advantages of the facing unit with its built-in corner and height control, where every facing unit is the exact same height, makes building with AB Fieldstone a hassle free experience.

AB Fieldstone

In addition to the above-mentioned advantages, AB Fieldstone will provide you with an opportunity to build taller gravity walls when using the long anchoring unit and facing options. This will prove to be advantageous on tight sites when you may not have the room to build with geogrid and don’t want to pay the additional cost for big block products. Check out the maximum gravity wall height chart for additional information.

Contractor Talk: No-Fines Concrete (NFC)

Have you heard of “no-fines concrete?” Not a new concept, no-fines concrete was created in the 1800’s and has been used with SRW and AB Walls for over 25 years.

What is NFC? NFC is a very dry, porous cement, aggregate and water mixture that is used within the cores of the AB units and behind the wall. You can review our NFC tech sheet to learn more about the mix design.

no fines concrete

Why is NFC used? NFC is used for a variety of applications because it reduces the depth of excavation needed when compared to a geogrid reinforced retaining wall from approximately 60% (geogrid) of wall height to 30-40% (NFC) of wall height. This provides benefits to owners, designers and contractors on applications with conditions that include:

  1. Limited excavation capabilities
    1. Such as property line or easement constraints
    2. Utility locations
  2. Existing structures behind/above the location of the wall which cannot be disturbed
  3. Big Block specifications
  4. Poor fill soils onsite


How do you mix it? There are many ways to mix NFC. Depending on the size, complexity and access to the site you may employ the use of a ready-mix truck directly from a local plant, use a portable on-site concrete mixer, or a ribbon mixer attachment on a skid steer. However your NFC is mixed, the next step is getting it to the wall.

How do I place it within the wall? The most common way to transport the NFC mix is in the bucket of your skid steer. This will allow you to transport a large quantity to even the most difficult wall locations on site. Ultimately each site will dictate the most effective mixing and transportation option that will be the most cost effective for your project.

What are the advantages with NFC? There are many advantages to using NFC. Contractors can build walls quickly and with less excavation in difficult sites to solve a variety of negative site conditions. The use of NFC backfill also eliminates the need for compaction and compaction testing of the reinforced soil and it provides superior wall drainage since the entire “wall” mass is permeable. NFC eliminates the need for wall rock in the cores and behind the wall facing. The use of NFC to overcome the various site obstacles can greatly reduce costs on many projects compared to other options.

Check out our installation recommendations for additional information on NFC.

no fines concrete

no fines concrete
Remove one wing per block

Get to Know an Allan Block Master Wall Builder: Slaton Bros Inc.

As a recap, an Allan Block Master Wall Builder  is an individual who has reached the third and final step in the AB Contractor Certification Program (level 1 = AB Certified Contractor and level 2 = AB Experienced Wall Builder). Contractors that reach this level have both the knowledge and the skills to build top quality Allan Block walls. To learn more check out the details associated with each certification level.

Allan Block Master Wall Builder Slaton Bros

Our MWB this quarter is focused on Slaton Bros. Inc. out of Denver, CO. Presently 10 of the many AB Certified Contractors at Slaton Brothers are MWB. So in lieu of highlighting one individual, we want to focus on who Slaton Brothers is as a company and how they all work together to install several hundred thousand square feet of SRW products each year.

Slaton Bros. Inc. was founded in 1995 by Joe Slaton and Frank Dehoff in Denver, CO and they have been working with AB Production Partner, Basalite since that time. The primary focus when Joe and Frank began was installation of SRW products for residential and commercial projects. Today Slaton Bros. Inc. has offices in Denver, CO and Dallas, TX. They are a subsidiary of Solentanche Freyssinet and they are a multimillion-dollar specialty retaining wall contractor that completes work throughout the Western US, but have a primary focus within 100 miles of their two offices.

Blaine Finch, VP of Sales and Marketing for Slaton Bros. Inc. has spent seven years with Slaton and has enjoyed “seeing the residential and commercial development rebound.” All of Slaton Bros. Inc. work funnels into the commercial market, their diversification into transportation (70%) and private sector (30%) work, this allows them to thrive in all markets they work within.

Blaine also shared “we see a big benefit in Best Practices for SRW Design and getting walls designed earlier in the process because it helps level the playing field and it provides the owner with an apples to apples comparison during bid stage. Having Niecie (Banach) and Paul (Gaul) from Basalite educate engineers and assist with the design earlier in the process is a win/win.” Blaine also went on to say the versatility of Slaton Bros. Inc. and their ability to solve complex problems for their various clients has helped them succeed over the years. “We work on complex projects and assist with design/build situations all the time and that is what differentiates us many times.” Blaine is absolutely right and we have recently seen their experience and hard work pay off when they tackled a project many ran from – a significant Allan Block Fence project that is retaining up to 12’ of soil in sections while providing above grade sound and sight abatement with fence heights up to 8’ – a situation that pushed our internal engineering team to new levels as well.

Blaine, it has been a pleasure to work with you and please pass on our thanks to everyone at Slaton Bros. Inc. I know I can speak for everyone at AB when I say that we appreciate the opportunities you have provided us and look forward to many more great projects.

hot topics

Outdoor Living Design Trends

ASLA (American Society of Landscape Architects) and AIA (American Institute of Architects) recently ran independent surveys to better understand current design trends and outdoor living still remains a consistent theme. The results (which can be viewed at AIA Home Design Trend Survey and ASLA Survey) range from drought tolerant plants to wireless internet connectivity outside, but most importantly for all the AB and hardscape fans out there they have seen demand for fire pits, reduced lawn areas and permeable pavers.

AIA found that outdoor living was among the top growth opportunities for residential construction. Architects are being asked to design an outdoor living room with kitchens, bars and general living areas to align with the growing casual interior design. AB Courtyard products help fulfill these requests with the various Courtyard Elements, Courtyard Patio Package options and/or custom designs built by contractors.

ASLA found that low maintenance was key to successful design and hardscape products such as permeable pavers and outdoor fire pits were integral parts of design requests. Again, Courtyard products used in conjunction with pavers available from most of our production partners can facilitate these demands.

Check out both studies to learn more and see how you can incorporate what many customers are after before they may even know it themselves.

Allan Block Design Ideas Allan Block Design Ideas Allan Block Design Ideas
Allan Block Corporation
7424 W. 78th Street, Bloomington, MN 55439
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