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Friday, May 17, 2024

Precast vs Prestressed Concrete: What’s the Difference?

Concrete has been around for much longer than many of us assume. Far from being a modern invention, it’s a building material with a rich history. Go as far back as the Romans and you’ll find them using recognisable forms of it in their buildings.

Times do change and methods of production alter – so here’s a guide to two more modern aspects of concrete – precast and prestressed as we look at the differences and their benefits.

Precast vs Prestressed Concrete

On modern construction sites, concrete was often mixed and poured onsite when it was required. Over the last few decades, newer ways of concrete construction have developed, and precast and prestressed concrete are two of these.

They allow for the offsite manufacture of concrete slabs and other products as we undertake here at JP Concrete (www.jpconcrete.co.uk/). These are pre-made to be traded in industrial, commercial, infrastructure, and residential projects.

Prestressed Concrete

Let’s now take a look at prestressed concrete. This initial compression is used by contractors on the mixture and then applying an external load. Strong steel wires will be put into each beam to stretch and anchor the loads. Concrete is then poured into the formwork and it’s allowed to solidify around the steel structure.

The formwork is then taken away and the naturally compressed concrete will be much less likely to crack if it comes into contact with any external forces that could damage it.

It’s a particularly strong form of concrete and can be used in residential and industrial buildings. It works well on bridges and high structures as it will withstand heavy traffic.

Builders will use it in commercial construction projects such as garages and shopping centres. It’s also great for use in theatres and gyms due to features like the ability to provide open spaces and even some acoustic properties.

It’s higher in strength when compared to precast concrete and it’s slightly more resistant to extreme weather. It’s a very safe, durable form of concrete that requires little to no maintenance.

Whether you choose precast or prestressed concrete for your building structure or construction project you’ll get a material that’s safe, durable, and built to last.

Precast Concrete

Precast concrete is a form of concrete that is mixed off-site. It’s usually cast in a factory using a wet-cast technique. However, some manufacturers create them as tilt-up panels. A wet-cast process means concrete is poured into a cast and vibrated.

It’s used for construction in flats and apartment buildings, hotels, and even offices and nursing homes. It has excellent fire-resisting properties and superior noise control.

It’s a very easy product to work with as it’s manufactured in a controlled environment. This means it’s easier to work with and find the right placement for. It’s a high-quality, durable product that has lower production costs.

It’s also a bit more environmentally friendly as recycled materials can be added to it in production. It requires little to no maintenance once used and can be left untouched in situ – thus maximising its thermal mass benefits. When it’s being produced, construction workers can also reuse the moulds it’s made in.

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