The Scoop On Precast Concrete, Part 1
We know what you’re thinking; “Tell me more about precast concrete.” Today, in the first of two blog posts covering the topic, we oblige.
The first thing to know about precast concrete is that people want it—a lot of people. A recent report by The Freedonia Group indicates that demand for precast concrete products is expected to reach $12.3 billion by 2020, a result of yearly advances of 4.1%. In fact, both nonresidential and residential markets for the material are on the rise, a trend that experts attribute to its performance ability and relative ease of installation.
But what is it, exactly?
The most obvious difference between precast and poured concrete–the concrete you probably already know and love—is that precast is made in the plant rather than on site. As its name suggests, it’s poured into a mold, where it forms over rebar and then is cured. Rather than be deposited straight into the site, subject to the elements, precast’s journey is completely controlled. It’s so well taken care of, it even cures under a tarp, in a precast plant, under the watchful gaze of experts.
The shape of the concrete—in this case, wall-shaped—is determined by a design engineer who works closely with a drafting team. They consider all aspects of the project, including structural requirements and site restrictions. Even the concrete mix itself is tested. The team is looking to ensure that the aggregate included in the mix hasn’t segregated too much. When it’s perfect, the concrete is moved by cranes to the molds. The molds are leveled off at the top, just like baking a very precise cake. Once the concrete has molded and cured, it’s “stripped,” or removed from the molds. When it passes inspection muster, it’s labeled and sent off for installation. Easy peasy.
In Part Two, we’ll cover what happens to our precast products once they arrive on site. Hint: a lot.