Hand-Crafted Signature Series

Hand Crafted Signature Series

Hand-Crafted Signature Series FAQs

How is the product made?
Hand-Crafted Signature Series concrete masonry units are integrally colored concrete blocks with one or more faces chiseled to expose the variegated colors of the natural aggregates. A special additive is included in the concrete mix design to prevent efflorescence.

Is the color on the surface or all through the block?
The color is integral, i.e. it is uniform throughout the concrete block.

How can I be sure it will not be chipped and scuffed in shipment and jobsite handling?

Northfield takes great care in the manufacturing, packaging and shipping of Hand-Crafted Signature Series units to protect the finished surfaces. The units are placed on sturdy wooden pallets and a layer of heavy cardboard is placed between each layer of blocks. The entire cube is then covered with a heavy gauge plastic bag and strapped with steel banding. Hand-Crafted Signature Series units should be handled as finished material on the jobsite to avoid scuffing, chipping or other damage.

Can any mason install this product?
Any mason can install this product. Masons experienced in laying architectural blocks who are good craftsmen can lay ground face blocks very well. Unfortunately, no matter how well our blocks are manufactured, if they are not laid well, the appearance of the project is diminished.

What is the difference between lightweight, medium-weight and normal-weight blocks?
ASTM C90 specification for load-bearing concrete masonry units defines lightweight as concrete less than 105 lbs per cu. ft., mediumweight as concrete between 105 and 125 Ibs per cu. ft. and normal weight as concrete of 125 lbs per cu. ft. or more.

The aggregate used to make lightweight blocks is usually expanded shale, expanded clay, pumice or some similar type of open-cell material. By its nature such aggregate is porous and will allow some moisture penetration. ASTM C90 sets the maximum rate of absorption at 18 lbs per cu. ft. for lightweight, 15 lbs per cu. ft. for mediumweight and 13 lbs per cu. ft. for normal weight. Hand-Crafted Signature Series units are medium-weight.

What is the life expectancy of the product?
50 years plus, if the building is properly designed and Hand-Crafted Signature Series units are installed correctly.

Can you control the color consistency?
Great care is taken in the Hand-Crafted Signature Series manufacturing processes to ensure a high degree of color consistency. This includes checking incoming raw materials, use of computer controlled precision automatic color injection equipment, precise control of the moisture and curing process. As with any natural product, there are minor color variations from block to block. Final inspection includes dry stacking samples drawn from the production line every half hour and comparing those samples to the master sample for that project. Always request a jobsite field panel to be erected to show the expected unit and mortar color.

Can you match colors?
Yes, within the limitations of the aggregates available at each of our plants.

If I want to put on an addition a year or more after the original installation of Hand-Crafted Signature Series blocks, will the new blocks match the old?
We can usually match previously manufactured colors quite well. However, we recommend that, if possible, a small piece be cut or chipped from the existing wall and sent to us. If that is not possible a new sample of the color should be visually compared to the existing wall and adjustments made to the color if necessary. Aggregates are a product of Mother Nature, however, and can vary over time. Always order a current full size sample to verify color.

What special precautions should be taken in the handling, storage and installation of the product?
Refer to the Hand-Crafted Signature Series Installation & Cleaning sections.

How does one patch this product? Can chips in the wall be repaired?
Damaged or chipped units that do not meet requirements of ASTM C90 for the block should not be installed. If units incur damage during installation or by other trades, a patch kit can be ordered from Northfield. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for best results.

Why should I pay a for Hand-Crafted Signature Series units when there are so many other less expensive ground face blocks, split-face blocks or bricks?
Hand-Crafted Signature Seriesunits are the highest quality blocks available. Northfield specializes exclusively in prefaced and prefinished concrete masonry units. If quality and service are important to you, you should specify and use Hand-Crafted Signature Series units.

What special shapes are available? Can you provide bullnose corners? Are they available in larger sizes?
A large assortment of special shapes are available or can be made. We have numerous molds, jigs, etc. the most in the industry. Give us a drawing or sketch of the special shapes you would like and let us show you what we can do.

What do I use for the washdown to remove mortar and scum?

Refer to the Hand-Crafted Signature Series Installation & Cleaning sections.

What happens if acid is used on Hand-Crafted Signature Series blocks?
Cleaners that use a harsh acid (like HCL) as a base can attack the acrylic sealer, degrading the coating and etch the pigment in the blocks. Use only the recommended cleaner on Northfield products.

Are the blocks UL rated?
Hand-Crafted Signature Series blocks are tested annually to Underwriter Laboratories (UL) standards by various independent testing laboratories. Therefore, they are UL rated although they are not UL listed, as there is no requirement that ground face blocks be UL listed in the United States.

Can I return blocks I do not use?
No, all Hand-Crafted Signature Series blocks are custom made. We require a signed sales contract before we will start manufacturing any order. Since we don’t make any blocks for stock, any Hand-Crafted Signature Series blocks that are ordered in excess must be shipped and cannot be returned.

Is the score cast or cut?
The score is cut into the finished side of Hand-Crafted Signature Series blocks.

Can I get the back side of the exposed, unfinished block scored to match the score on the finished face?

Do I tuckpoint the scored joint?

The scored joints must be tuckpointed to match the rest of the mortar joints. If they are not tuckpointed, the continuity between the scored joint and the mortar joint is lost. Rake joints are not permitted on Hand-Crafted Signature Series.

Is there any special mortar required?
Colored mortar that matches or complements the Hand-Crafted Signature Series colors can create a beautiful effect. For more information on mortars or call Northfield. An approved integral water repellent admixture is recommended for all exterior mortar.