Why Masonry

Discover the countless benefits of masonry

Hundreds of Options. Minimal upkeep. Built-in beauty.

Made from cement, aggregates, and water, concrete masonry units (CMUs) are a versatile and durable building material that are easy to install. Matched with the many other benefits of masonry, including outstanding performance and easy maintenance, Echelon Masonry helps you create gorgeous structures that will stand strong for years to come.

Performance Advantages of masonry

The strength of concrete matched with the design versatility of stunning architectural choices make CMUs the premium choice for strong, beautiful buildings.

  • Low Maintenance: Masonry offers beauty that lasts while requiring significantly less upkeep than other building materials.

  • Acoustically Sound: Walls built with masonry benefit from natural insulation to offer exceptional sound control, even at hard to control frequencies. Enhance your building’s acoustics with our Acousta-Wal System, which controls sound transmission on all frequencies.

  • LEED Friendly: Earn LEED credits with masonry. On average, CMUs save 3-5% in reduced greenhouse gas emissions compared to wood. Plus, natural insulation can contribute to lower heating and cooling costs. Increase energy efficiency with our InsulTech System™, which gives the assembled unit an effective R-Value or 16.2 at 75˚F.

  • COLO R S

    Diverse Design: Echelon Masonry offers a comprehensive masonry selection that includes more than 693 standard color options. Discover our virtually limitless product offering.

Build with Masonry for Supreme Strength

how strong is Masonry?

CMUs are one of the strongest building materials available. They are able to withstand many natural disasters including earthquakes, hurricanes, and fires, while staying virtually maintenance-free.

of concrete buildings survive in a fire*

Dependable Ally Against Destruction

A durable building material means longevity for your structure. Masonry resists fire, wind, mold, pests, vandalism and water damage—adding to the long-term value of the structure through decreased maintenance costs, structural integrity and favorable insurance policy premiums.

  • Manage Moisture: Wood rots, masonry does not. CMUs equipped with RainBloc® Integrated Water Repellant System fight moisture, which is the #1 cause of structural deterioration, while also preventing harmful mold growth, which can lead to poor air quality.

  • Prevent Pests: Exterior walls built with masonry naturally help prevent damage caused by pests such as termites and carpenter ants. These insects feed on wood, not on CMUs.

  • Weatherproof: Reinforced concrete masonry has a relatively high mass that helps resist the large uplift and overturning forces of tornadoes, hurricanes and other high-wind events.

A structure built with CMUs can withstand
Winds up to 250 MPH
and resist penetration by a
15-pound 2×4 stud traveling 100 MPH**

Build Safe with the Strength of Masonry

Flame Resistant. Increase Safety. Natural Protection.

Specifying concrete masonry units (CMUs) for commercial buildings can help keep fires contained and prevent total structural loss. That’s because masonry can withstand extremely high temperatures, which helps keep buildings resilient and occupants safe.


Be Stronger Under Fire

Prevent Total Structural Loss with Natural Protection

When comparing concrete masonry to wood or other materials, there is a clear safety advantage: masonry resists flames longer than other building materials. Specifying a fire-resistant building material matters because fire is a real issue in commercial construction. Ask yourself, does your structure stand up to the heat? If it’s built with anything but CMUs, your building may be at risk for increased damage, flame spread or total loss.

In 2015 in the U.S., there were more than half a million structure fires resulting in $10.3B in property damage.***



Concrete masonry units hold the highest flame spread classification, a Class A. As a result, masonry naturally withstands high temperatures, contains fires and meets codes without additional treatments or measures.†


Most wood materials hold the lowest flame spread classification, a Class C. Therefore, additional safety measures and chemical treatments are mandatory to ensure wood is up to code and safe for commercial buildings.‡

Masonry can withstand temperatures up to 1,000ºF.§
Wood can withstand temperatures up to 500ºF.§
Concrete keeps fires contained to the room of origin 93% of the time.||
Heavy timber keeps fires contained to the room of origin 47% of the time.||
4 hours
Masonry can withstand direct exposure to fire for up to 4 hours.
1 hour
Wood can withstand direct exposure to fire for up to 1 hour.

Gain a further grasp on the fire protection and enhanced performance benefits of masonry with our free Modern Masonry: Fire Protection and Enhanced Performance CEU.

Take the Course Now

  • * Study of Insurance Costs for Mid-Rise Wood Frame and Concrete Residential Buildings, Globe Advisors, January 2016.
  • ** Safe Rooms for Tornadoes and Hurricanes, Guidance for Community and Residential Safe Rooms, FEMA P-361, Third Edition, March 2015
  • *** National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Fires in the U.S., 2015
  • Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal Public Safety Services, Information on Construction Requirements (Flame-spread is a relative rating on how fast a fire will spread over the surface of the tested material.)
  • ‡. Stephen L. Quarles, Senior Scientist, Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, Richburg, SC
  • §. Measurement of the Ignition Temperature of Wood by Yudong and Drysdale, Study of Insurance Costs for Mid-Rise Wood Frame and Concrete Residential Buildings, Globe Advisors, January 2016
  • ||. Garis, L and Clare, J. (2014) Fire Outcomes by General Construction Type: A Retrospective Analysis of British Columbia Reported Fires, University of the Fraser Valley
  • ¶. Fire Loss in the United States during 2015, Hylton J.G. Haynes