Precast, or prefabricated, concrete is a process that uses reusable concrete molds to cast individual, concrete pieces from. This process is done in a controlled environment, which assures that no outside contaminates will permeate your concrete and weaken it. Once these pieces have had time to cure, and set, they are then trucked in to your work site where they are lifted up and in to place. Precast concrete has actually been done since ancient Roman times and, over the years, has managed to evolve in to a modern, perfected process.
Just like in concrete slabs, pre-cast concrete is also, often, reinforced with steel or iron. Concrete is plenty sturdy on its own, but under immense pressure and weight, it is prone to cracking and buckling. The addition of steel helps any prefabricated concrete piece to be able to withstand large loads, for extended periods of time. Steel and concrete have similar thermal retention properties, which means that both are prone to expanding and contracting in different temperatures. However, because these two materials will do this in tandem, it actually prevents any cracks from forming. Reinforced, prefabricated concrete is the most common type of prefabricated concrete that there is.
The uses for prefabricated concrete are numerous and plentiful. Once of the most widely used proposed of prefabricated concrete is the building of parking structures and large buildings. Interior columns, flooring panels and retaining walls can all be trucked in and assembled to build out a parking structure. Another common use for this type of concrete is large, outdoor retaining walls. If properties are built on sloping land, these walls can be used to make sure that earth doesn’t move during rain. In addition to this, prefab concrete is used for: culverts, bridges, septic tanks, hazardous material storage, utility vaults, cemeteries and modular paving.
Insulated Double Wall
In the modern age, one of the revolutionary ways that prefab concrete is being used is to make residential homes out of insulated double concrete walls, or “sandwich walls”. These types of walls are precast, and are made from two, opposing walls, that are reinforced with a composite rebar (usually fiberglass) and insulated between them. These panels are constructed off-site and then trucked in, where they can be lifted and assembled in a manner of days. This lends itself to cost-effective homes, that are able to withstand nearly any outside forces.
The benefits of prefab concrete are plentiful and, because of that, the prefab concrete market is exploding. Prefab concrete is energy efficient, being able to retain internal temperatures very well. Prefab concrete is easy to construct and takes very little time to put in to place. Prefab concrete is also incredibly cost effective; costing far less than any other building type (softly from the lack of labor involved). The other major benefit of prefab concrete is that it is green friendly and sustainable. For all of these reasons, prefab concrete has become an industry titan in building applications.