Precast Concrete: Strong and Safe

June 18, 2012 · Posted in Education 

Precast concrete is a construction method that can be used to create a wide variety of building materials by pouring concrete into a mold (which is often reusable) in a factory setting, and then curing and finishing the dried concrete forms before transporting them to a construction site for use. Precast concrete panels and walls are commonly used in all kinds of construction projects because precast concrete has many advantages over concrete poured at the site. The following are some of those advantages.

Regular concrete is poured where it is needed, and often this can be sufficient. However, builders should bear in mind that environmental conditions (such as excessive heat, cold, or moisture) can affect the strength of the concrete and/or the time it takes to cure, as can the expertise of the “generalist” workers who may happen to be working that day. Precast concrete, on the other hand, consists of forms that have been poured into molds at a precast plant under perfect conditions by workers who concentrate on doing just that each day. The quality is simply superior, and the ability to reuse the molds rather than tearing them down after each pour saves a lot of time and money as well.

In addition to quality control, precast concrete saves time (and thus money) by arriving at the construction site ready to be used. Rather than waiting for the concrete to cure before work is able to proceed, work can continue without interruption as the premolded forms are lifted into place. And each piece will have been created to the exact specifications necessary. One after the other, they will fit perfectly.

Strength and durability are hallmarks of precast concrete. It has been demonstrated that precast concrete increases in strength as it gets older, and that it has a useful working life of more than 100 years. Concrete is fire- and chemical-resistant, and does not require much effort in the way of maintenance or cleaning. Concrete is a good sound insulator, as well.

Beyond its strength and durability, precast concrete is an incredibly versatile building material in terms of adding aesthetic appeal to a project. It can be molded into a nearly infinite variety of shapes, including curved surfaces. Different colours and finishes are also available – and because the forms are created in controlled conditions, these can be matched perfectly from piece to piece.

From walls to steps, from traffic barriers to bridge materials, in sports arenas and parking garages and all sorts of buildings in between, the uses for precast concrete are limited only by the imagination of the architects designing with them.

John G. Stone is a freelance blogger who focuses on landscaping renovations and similar issues. He has a primary interest in uses for precast concrete, such as precast concrete panels and walls.

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