We have been innovators in the concrete block industry for over 70 years, always searching for a way to improve on the manufacture of the concrete masonry unit (CMU). We are more than just a local producer of gray block — we aim to elevate the applications of block through our line of finishes and our spectrum of colors, providing block that is cost effective, environmentally-safe, strong and decorative.
Innovation means more than just introducing a new product or providing a different spin on an industry standard. To us, innovation means striving to deliver the highest quality goods, and creating unique products that stand out among the rest — a block that is both structural and decorative made out of recycled glass? We can do that!
In the 1980s, we introduced insulation product line, eliminating the need for on-site labor to insulate masonry walls, increasing the R-value and improving the dew point and sound transmission resistance of CMU. In the 1990s, we helped develop Decro Face, a stylish alternative to the rugged texture of Split Face. Realizing that CMUs could add intrigue to both interiors and exteriors, we began crafting our extensive line of colors. At the request of architects nationwide, that collection has grown to over 300 unique color and aggregate combinations, and continues to grow today.
In the 2000s we expanded our line to include both Ground Face and Polished Face, a finish that exposes the natural beauty of the aggregates used in their manufacture. Each unit undergoes a precise three-stage process of manufacture, grinding, and polishing to add a shine and luster similar to that of marble or granite. These integrally colored blocks resist fading and will maintain their inherent beauty throughout the life of the building with little or no maintenance in both interior and exterior applications.
This decade we launched our exclusive line of Polished Textured block with a smooth polished texture, and the dimensionality of natural aggregate. As each block goes through the high-shine polishing process, the natural texture of the aggregate is retained and reflected in the surface texture.
We are constantly looking to respond to the needs of the architectural and construction (AEC) community. If you have a specific need or application and can’t find what you’re looking for, we’d like to hear from you.
Since 1940, Westbrook Concrete Block has been committed to providing the construction industry with the highest quality, most modern and largest selection of CMU available.
This tradition of quality and innovation continues with our commitment to green initiatives. We have reduced our carbon footprint by sourcing 100% of our raw material used in the manufacture of our CMU within a 500 mile radius. Our recycled aggregates result in a certified CMU with between 20% and 86% recycled content.
Every Westbrook Concrete Block Lightweight CMU has a minimum of 40% certified recycled content. Our Fire-Rated CMU also comes standard with a minimum 40% certified recycled content and carries the UL Fire-Rated classification in 2, 3, and 4-hour configurations.
We continue to investigate and innovate, delivering materials to architects and builders that not only contribute to green building and sustainability, but also improve standards. Westbrook Concrete Block is poised to lead the industry into the 21st century and work with you to make your next project as green as it can be.
A company could hardly have had a more modest beginning. In 1940, as the Great Depression was ending and just before the United States entered World War II, a time when anything seemed possible in America, John Orsina purchased his first block-making machine from Sears and Roebuck. Although this type of machinery was available from other sources, financing was not. For one dollar down and a commitment to pay one dollar per week on the balance owed, Westbrook Block was born. John set up this hand-operated machine in the backyard of his farmhouse in Westbrook , Connecticut.
At the beginning, manufacturing concrete blocks was a part time endeavor. Blocks were produced nights and weekends while the founder maintained a full time job and ran a small farm to generate income. During the early years, his blocks were used primarily in place of stone in the construction of house foundations with only one size available, 8 x 8 x 16 inch.
As demand for John’s products grew, making block became a full time occupation. More machinery was added to reduce the manual labor required to produce a block. Even with this equipment, however, manual work defined the major ingredient needed for success, with each block having to be handled several times before it was ultimately used by the mason. Persistence, perseverance and just plain hard work by John and his wife Lena , who was the company’s bookkeeper, were the defining characteristics that sustained the business during the early years.
Around 1945, the business was moved from his back yard to another part of the farm. A new building was built specifically for the production of block, and modern equipment was added to the operation. Production grew from 100 units per day to approximately 900 units. After a number of modifications and additions over the years at the family farm, the business was again moved in 1973 to its present location on 50 acres of land on Route 1 (Boston Post Road) in Westbrook. Today, this location houses two separate facilities, manufacturing and processing.
The manufacturing portion is housed in a 43,000 square foot building. Equipment consists of two fully automated block-making machines ( Columbia and Besser), each capable of producing one thousand 8″ equivalent units per hour, twenty-four hours a day. Learning from the experience of our founder, who was always ready to adapt the business to the needs of his customers, adequate space was left in this facility for the introduction of a third machine when the demand of our customers warrants increased production. This production facility manufactures conventional masonry units, units for grinding and polishing, profile units (split face, split rib, brick block, etc.), retaining wall units and pavers. In addition, it is here that we produce all of the special shapes and sizes of block we have developed over the years.
Our processing facility is located adjacent to the production operation. It is here that blocks are ground, polished and decro-faced (sand blasted). Also housed in this facility is our masonry cutting machinery designed and custom built by our staff for the cutting of special shapes and sizes of masonry units, particularly ground and polished block. We are presently developing equipment to produce different types of profile blocks which will also be housed here.
Westbrook Block utilizes the most up-to-date equipment available to the industry. However, as with any company, our main asset is our employees.
The ownership and management of this company is entering its third generation. Our delivery staff has been with us an average of 10 years. We believe our office staff and sales force are the most knowledgeable in the industry. The heart of our operation, our manufacturing personnel, have been with us an average of 15 years, with some having as much as 35 years of experience and customer knowledge. This longevity is important to us and to our customers. It is also essential in mentoring our new generation of employees whose service will extend these same ethics and quality craftsmanship well into the 21 st century. In a word, we are dedicated, committed people who are as enthusiastic about what we do as John and Lena Orsina were in 1940.
Over the years Westbrook Block has provided both the design community and construction professionals the widest selection of modern masonry materials available. We’ll continue to do this so that our customers can express themselves in creative and innovative ways with the use of masonry.
Today, the blocks that John Orsina manufactured for the foundations of homes that adorn the Connecticut shoreline can still be seen, as can those used in the facades and foundations of many of the newer schools, civic buildings, office complexes, cultural centers etc. whose designers and contractors selected the quality material manufactured by Westbrook Block. We expect the same to be true for years to come.