Does CalStar offer Lunch and Learns or continuing education courses?
CalStar offers an AIA- and GBCI-approved continuing education course, “Reducing Embodied Energy in Masonry Construction.” It provides one learning unit (LU) and qualifies for HSW and SD. There are two options for earning CEU credits from CalStar:
- Request a Lunch and Learn from CalStar by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 877-700-9501.
- Take the course online through McGraw Hill Construction.
How can we obtain sample boards?
Samples are available through CalStar’s distributors, or call CalStar Sales at 877-700-9501 for assistance.
Where can I get brochures for CalStar’s products?
Do CalStar products cost more than conventional products?
The very things that make CalStar products more sustainable (recycled content, no kiln firing) actually make them more affordable. CalStar can often save on your masonry cost. See our sustainability section for more on how our products save you money.
Who is my sales representative?
Contact us and we’ll be happy to connect you to the right person.
What types of projects have used CalStar’s products?
CalStar has completed over 100 projects using our brick, Thru-Wall structural units and pavers. You can see information on selected projects in our project gallery.
Where can I see one of your projects?
Addresses to some of our public projects are listed in the project gallery. You can also ask your sales representative.
Do you have any project case studies?
Yes and we are adding case studies all the time. Click here for the most recent studies.
What colors are available?
What shapes are available?
CalStar currently offers:
- Modular Brick (3 5/8” x 2 ¼” x 7 5/8”)
- Utility Brick (3 5/8” x 3 5/8” x 11 5/8”)
- Facing Units (3 5/8” x 8” x 24”)
- Thru-Wall Units (sometimes called structural brick)
- (7 5/8” x 3 5/8” x 15 5/8”)
- (11 5/8” x 3 5/8” x 15 5/8”)
- Holland Pavers (4” x 8” x 60mm)
- Permeable Pavers (4.7” x 9.4” x 80mm)
Can you make custom orders?
You bet. Our forming and coloring process is quite flexible. If it can be molded or cast, we can probably make it. Please contact us to discuss your particular job.
What standards do they meet?
CalStar pavers meet ASTM C936 Standard Specification for Solid Concrete Interlocking Paving Units. View our paver test reports.
CalStar thru-wall units meet ASTM C90 Standard Specification for Loadbearing Concrete Masonry Units. View our thru-wall test reports.
CalStar bricks and facing units meet or exceed industry expectations for strength, absorption, and freeze/thaw durability. View our brick test reports.
Are CalStar’s products durable?
Have the products been tested by independent third-party labs?
Absolutely. We only use independent, accredited, third-party labs for our external testing. View our many test reports here.
Building with CalStar Products
How do I specify CalStar Products?
Specify CalStar products the same way you would specify any masonry or paver product. For the thru-wall and pavers units, reference ASTM C90 Standard Specification for Loadbearing Concrete Masonry Units and C936 Standard Specification for Solid Concrete Interlocking Paving Units, respectively. For CalStar bricks and facing units, specify the units must have minimum compressive strength of 3000 psi, maximum absorption of 17%, and must pass the freezing and thawing test in ASTM C67, with maximum 0.5% weight loss. We have had numerous successful projects that have specified our products. CalStar offers three-part specifications for CalStar Brick, Thru-Wall units and Pavers. Contact us if you have any questions.
What type of mortar do I use?
CalStar products are compatible with standard mortars, such as Type N and Type S.
How should I space movement joints?
Like many construction materials, CalStar units will shrink modestly through time. (Clay is one of the more uncommon materials that expands over time.) To accommodate the material movement, place movement joints where good building practice dictates (e.g. at stress concentrations, near building corners, and re-entrant corners of large windows and bays, at changes in wall height, etc.) In areas with long, unbroken spans, control joints should be placed every 20 feet, on center.
Can I combine CalStar with other materials?
Absolutely. Standard practices for good construction should be followed. Bond-breaker or slip-planes should be used between dissimilar materials to accommodate differential material movement. For example, if you have a clay brick façade with a cast-stone base course, you would want to place a slip-plane or bond-breaker between these two different materials. Do the same with CalStar products and different materials.
How do I clean CalStar products?
The surface of the Thru-Wall units look like brick, but the shape looks like CMU. What is it?
The Thru-Wall units combine CalStar’s premium look with ASTM C90 Standard Specification for Loadbearing Concrete Masonry Units performance. They meet ASTM C90 exactly, and can be designed with using NCMA design guidelines and details.
My project called for brick veneer over concrete block but I’m over budget, how can CalStar help?
Consider using CalStar Thru-Wall units to achieve the look of brick with the performance of block in one unit. You can reduce your materials and labor cost by laying one product instead of two.
How are CalStar’s products made?
CalStar combines fly ash, sand, water, pigments, and some additives. We form the products on a vibrocompaction press and cure them overnight in a sauna-like environment.
What is Fly Ash?
Fly ash is a byproduct of burning coal to generate power. It is commonly used as partial replacement for cement in concrete. Fly ash that is not beneficially reused or recycled is typically disposed of landfills. More information on our fly ash page.
How does CalStar reduce the embodied energy and carbon footprint of products?
Clay products are typically kiln-fired using fossil fuels for up to 4 days at about 2000 degrees F. Concrete products use portland cement, which is a carbon-intensive material. CalStar doesn’t fire products or use portland cement, so much less energy is required to form the products, and much less CO2 is associated with the products, which reduces the embodied energy of our products by up to 81% and CO2 by 84%.
Are CalStar’s products safe?
Yes. Unequivocally. But don’t just take our word for it. We had an independent firm analyze product safety. View their test report.
Is fly ash safe to use in building materials?
Fly ash has a long track record of safe use in building materials. Fly ash is commonly used as a partial replacement for cement in concrete. Fly ash has been used in building materials for over 80 years. The Hoover Dam has fly ash in its concrete. Virtually all high-performance concrete mixes in the world have fly ash in them. At CalStar, we rigorously test our products for safety. More information and test results are located on our environmental information page.
Are the bricks safe for a mason to handle?
Yes. Based on third-party environmental health and safety assessments, CalStar products do not pose any greater risk than normal clay brick to masons. Masons can handle CalStar products the same way they should handle conventional products.
How does CalStar reduce the embodied energy and carbon footprint of their?
Clay products are typically kiln-fired using fossil fuels for 1-4 days at about 2000 degrees F. Concrete products use portland cement, which is a carbon-intensive material. CalStar doesn’t fire products or use portland cement, so much less energy is required to form the products, and much less CO2 is associated with the products. By not firing and not using portland cement, CalStar reduces the embodied energy of our products by up to 81% and CO2 by 84%.
How do I know how much CO2 and energy my project will save?
CalStar has published a LEED calculator that will calculate the environmental savings on your project. Give it a try!
How much CO2, energy and landfill space does CalStar save?
For every modular brick manufactured CalStar saves almost a pound of CO2 emissions, 5,000 BTU of energy and over 1.5 pounds of material otherwise destined for landfill. It adds up quickly!
In 2010, projects that replaced conventional products with CalStar products saved:
- 0.5 trillion BTU (enough energy to power 4 homes)
- 79 tons of CO2 (like taking 14 cars off the road for a year)
- 178 tons of landfill space.
In 2011, we saved:
- 5.6 trillion BTU (enough energy to power 45 homes)
- 805 tons of CO2 (like taking 144 cars off the road for a year)
- 1690 tons of landfill space.
Come back at the end of 2012 to see how we did this year.
Are CalStar’s products durable?