A Concrete Decision

One of the first decisions regarding construction materials was an easy one. When having a discussion about block and the slab pour, John Carr, our General Contractor, had a favorite. His recommendation was A-1 Block, located near downtown Orlando. A-1 is a family owned, local company manufacturing block and mixing concrete since 1952.

Since Jen and I wanted to take an active role in the selection of materials, I visited A-1 in March and met Adam Freeman, President of A-1 and grandson of founder Anthony “Red” DaCato. Red started A-1 in the early 1950s with his wife, Ida, and in the early days spent half the week manufacturing block and the other half delivering it. The company has thrived for 70 years and now has operations in Lake Wales, Sanford and Orlando.

The plant was busy, but Adam gladly took the time I needed because of his belief in our project. In talking with Adam, I learned that nearly all the products used to create block and concrete are not only USA products, but most are local to Central Florida. E.R. Jahna (Lake Wales, FL) supplies the sand and limestone. American Cement Company (Sumterville, FL) supplies the cement. The rock used in the concrete comes from two sources; South Florida and the Yucatan. Understanding our goal, Adam assured us that a batch of South Florida rock would be set aside for our project. Perfect; we would have a rock-solid, American foundation for our home.

In touring the Orlando facility, I saw block of all shapes and sizes. In addition to construction block (standard grey block), A-1 also manufactures split face block, split rib block, ground face block, Swift-Brix, structural veneers, over-sized veneer units, Sea Stone series and block for screen walls and retaining walls. What I found most interesting, and I saw this in action, was the mere eight seconds it takes to press a concrete mixture into a block. Eight seconds. Amazing.

I want to thank Adam for taking the time to show me around. The next time we’ll meet is when then the foundation is poured. You see, Adam said he would be there. What a company!

Learn more about A-1 at http://www.a1block.com


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