Air Vol Block believes that anyone can build a fire ring — or, for that matter, a fountain, a planter or a barbecue island. What’s more, company officials insist it can be done in a single day.
The San Luis Obispobased company has recent ly begun selling doit-yourself kits using its MorroStone blocks, which are concrete blocks that have been tumbled and tinted to look like stone. There are kits for a fire ring, Santa Maria Style BBQ, outdoor fireplace, lighted waterfall, decorative column, and oval raised planter with decorative arch. Prices range from $283 for the decorative column to $363 for the fire ring to $1,849 for the 8-foot, 10-inch-long lighted waterfall flanked by columns.
“We give you a step-by-step roadmap, so even if you have no idea what you’re doing, you can build it to look just like the picture in the ad,” said sales manager, Russ Kissinger.
Each kit comes with everything needed for the project, including adhesives (no concrete or mortar is required). The fountain includes Mexican pebbles and a pump. The decorative column kit has glass blocks which can be fitted with a light source. The fireplace includes a spark arrestor and firebrick to line the interior. Cuts are made in advance, so there is no need for a masonry saw. The heaviest block in any kit is just 27 pounds.
Kissinger maintains that even a home-improvement novice can put a kit together in one afternoon. The fire pit, he said, can be built in about an hour. It is also the simplest project because it requires no adhesive.
Although each kit comes with the basics, there are myriad ways to customize. You can purchase upgrades. For instance, the fire ring has a standard metal insert, but you can also buy a spark arrestor or pivoting grill. The Santa Maria Style barbecue can also be fitted with a gas grill. Or, if you’re extra handy, you could deck yours out with an access door and countertop made of tile, stone or granite.
Air Vol Block offers the kits in three colors of stone: cream/brown, sandstone and gray/charcoal. Each kit also uses a variety of block sizes, but even this can be changed.
“There’s not just one way to build them,” he said. “You can mix and match, or use all one size.”
The most challenging part of the project may be the prep work. Unless you are building on a concrete slab, Kissinger said, you will need to create a very level base with a material such as gravel.
“It will only be as good as the base you put it on,” he noted.
The kits aren’t just assembled locally — they use a local product. Air Vol Block manufactures their concrete retaining wall blocks, bricks and pavers in San Luis Obispo using local raw materials. The rock comes from Santa Margarita and the sand from Sisquoc, which is southeast of Santa Maria.
“Products made in San Luis Obispo are becoming more and more rare, so it gives me alevel of pride to sell them,” Kissinger said.
Air Vol Block has an outdoor showroom demonstrating many applications for its products, including its landscape accent kits.
Air Vol Block is at 1 Suburban Road in San Luis Obispo, 543-1314.