In many instances, glass fiber reinforced concrete exceeds the performance of similar architectural materials such as precast concrete, cast stone, and traditional stone while still providing a similar appearance. For this reason, GFRC is a recommended material to use in a majority of new build and exterior renovation projects where a stone or concrete material is required.
However, there are still cases in which concrete, cast stone, or other materials may be a more suitable option than GFRC. Knowing where you can use each and the opportunities for combining GFRC and concrete or stone in a single project can help you maximize your cost savings on any construction work.
Where to Use GFRC or Precast in Building
GFRC has a range of advantages that often make it the top choice in any situation where a stone or concrete style product is desired. Depending on the application, GFRC can often offer better performance in the following ways:
- Lighter Weight – GFRC weighs approximately a third as much as precast concrete and is significantly lighter than stone. This means that it is far more affordable to manufacture, ship, and install.
- Faster Manufacturing Time – GFRC can be demolded as soon as 24 hours after casting. Precast concrete requires approximately 7 days and stone products can have similarly longer timelines. As a result, it is much faster to engineer the products from GFRC. Installation is also often faster because the lighter weight means that no heavy equipment or excessive manpower is necessary.
- Better Longevity – GFRC is extremely long lasting and damage resistant to last for the lifespan of your building. In tests, it often outlasts other products in regard to moisture, corrosion resistance, freeze thaw cycles, and seismic activity.
One drawback of GFRC in comparison with precast or stone is that GFRC is non weight bearing. When an architectural element will support weight, GFRC can generally be used as a facade around an interior supporting structure, such as with GFRC column covers. When this is not possible, concrete or stone may be required.
Fortunately, one of the other main benefits of GFRC is that it can be finished to look like a variety of different materials, including precast concrete, traditional stone, and cast stone. This means that if you do need to use a different material for a weight bearing architectural element or you have existing elements made of these materials, you can still use GFRC for all adjoining or corresponding architectural elements. This makes it possible to maximize cost savings by limiting the use of precast in your construction project while still achieving the same look.
To learn more about how you can incorporate GFRC into a new construction or an update of an existing building, contact GC Products. We are an industry leader in GFRC fabrication and create a wide range of customized GFRC architectural elements to match a range of styles. Call us or send us a message to get a quote.