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Builders warm to Genest Concrete’s Comfort Block

An insulated concrete masonry wall system, with block placed on adhesive or thin set mortar, was among finalists in the Best of IBS Awards/Most Innovative Building Products category, spotlighted last month during the National Association of Home Builders International Builders’ Show (IBS), Orlando. Developed by Sanford, Me., building and hardscape unit producer Genest Concrete, Comfort Block is offered in two- and four-piece versions, CB-8 and CB-16, for 8- or 16-in. thick walls.

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Very uniform unit height attained through precision grinding allows Genest Concrete to promote an alternative to conventional mortar in Comfort Block specs. Shown here on an early residential wall project, a performance adhesive proves easier to apply than mortar, exhibits up to five times the bonding strength and equates to minimal clean up or waste at the end of the day. International Builders’ Show attendees took special note of the Comfort Block system’s rapid construction potential against traditional concrete masonry unit and cementitious mortar combinations.
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The base Comfort Block has two transverse channels running near the unit width; one is for 2.5-in. expanded polystyrene foam insulation inserts, the second for wire and electrical box placement along the inside wythe—affording builders or owners a plaster or stucco finishing option to furring and drywall alternatives. The CB-16 system accommodates three EPS inserts totaling 7.5 inches of insulation sandwiched between four concrete masonry sections. Precision grinding of Comfort Block units to uniform height enables the use of a thin mortar joint or an adhesive exhibiting five times the bonding strength of conventional masonry mortar.

Genest Concrete formally debuted Comfort Block at the IBS following early system installations in New England, including a Maine ranch-style home. Most Innovative Building Products is one of nine Best of IBS Awards categories. Twenty-seven industry and media judges weighed the program’s 300-plus entries on these criteria: Innovative, where product is either new or significantly modified and could be deemed a “game-changer” in its class; Functionality, such that builders or consumers will put the product to good use in their businesses or daily lives; and, Good Design, indicating the product’s potential to help builders and consumers solve a specific issue and add to bottom lines or satisfaction levels.

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Genest Concrete has designed the CB-16 around the main Stretcher unit (8- x 12- x 16-in.), shown here with full insulation, plus full (12-in. long) or half end (6-in. long), corner (10-in. long) and jamb (12- or 6-in. long) units.
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After the commercial launch at Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center, Genest Concrete will spotlight the Comfort Block system this month during the National Concrete Masonry Association’s 2018 Convention and ICON Expo in Indianapolis. System production licensing inquiries can be directed to Chris Genest, president, 207/324-3250 ext. 123; [email protected].