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Concrete a sound idea for habitat home - Fire Clay Brick - High Alumina Brick by fdhjkl rfghjtkl

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Concrete a sound idea for habitat home - Fire Clay Brick - High Alumina Brick by
Article Posted: 04/02/2013
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Articles Written: 2148
Word Count: 554
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Concrete a sound idea for habitat home - Fire Clay Brick - High Alumina Brick

Business,Business News,Business Opportunities
There s a block party going on in St. Albert a concrete blockparty, that is. A construction site on Arlington Drive is home to an initiativethat partners Habitat for Humanity Edmonton with the AlbertaMasonry Council. Masonry party walls and concrete-block foundationsare being used in the construction of two of the 15 duplexes beingbuilt on the site by Habitat, a non-profit organization dedicatedto creating affordable housing for low-income families. It s a classic win/win scenario, as it serves as an opportunityfor the AMC to support Habitat s efforts in the community, whileat the same time demonstrating the strengths of masonryconstruction techniques and materials.

Mark Hagel became executive director of the AMC in September 2011.Prior to that, he worked in Calgary as a structural and buildingenvelope engineer. One of the most important aspects of masonry,Hagel says, is its performance in the event of a fire. Thefireproof nature of concrete block is in contrast to thefire-resistant characteristics of gypsum walls. Non-combustibleconcrete will be more effective in keeping a fire from spreadingfrom unit to unit.

With masonry, the main thing is fire compartmentalization. Thereis a true separation of the living spaces, says Hagel. Inaddition to preventing the spread of fire, masonry can limit waterdamage during firefighting efforts. High-pressure fire hoses cansmash through fire-compromised gypsum walls, sending watercascading into the adjoining living space. Masonry, on the other hand, will stand up to the impact, a traitthat is demonstrated dramatically on videos hosted on the AMCwebsite (

But there are also other, more everyday advantages of masonryconstruction. I think you find with gypsum, even with the insulation, there isstill some sound transmission, Hagel says. When you have theconcrete block wall, there s a reduction of noise, particularly inthe lower frequencies. That s because the material is denser andmore robust than the typical wood products. Another advantage of concrete block is that it s non-organic, sothat it doesn t rot or mould.

When it gets wet, it actually gainsstrength, because that is hydrating the concrete. Hagel says the choice of a concrete-block foundation isn t typicalfor Alberta construction. For the most part, foundations are pouredconcrete. There s not a huge advantage, one over the other.

The one thingwith concrete block is that it is a little more versatile. (Poured)concrete takes the shape of its container, so you need to do thatform work in order to pour the walls. If you want to add a door ora window later to poured concrete, that s very difficult to do,whereas with masonry, you can just add blocks or knock outblocks. The AMC s involvement in the project was something that grew overtime. We started off with just the concrete block firewall, but thenexpanded things by donating the products for the concrete blockfoundation wall, Hagel says.

We actually ended up donating thematerial for the siding, as well. It was originally going to bevinyl siding, but now it will be concrete brick.
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