The use of precast concrete floors is gaining popularity in the construction industry in Australia. Precast concrete is produced by casting concrete and forming it with the use of a reusable mold. It is then cured in a controlled environment and transported to the construction site.
There is a growing preference on the use of precast concrete floors over onsite casting because with the precast system, there is great control over the quality of the material. The product is closely monitored during its mixing, casting and curing processes. Also, the molds can be reused several times even up to a hundred until it needs replacement.
Since the casting and curing is done in a controlled environment, weather wouldnt be a problem as experienced in onsite casting. The controlled environment also suggests that the curing of precast concrete floors can be accelerated when needed through heating, which increases strength of the material.
Precast concrete floors are relatively easy to install therefore it does not only require less labor but also does not demand sophisticated skill to use them in construction. In fact, once the precast floors are delivered on site, these can be installed immediately. There is no need to wait for the product to gain strength plus the modularity of the precast concrete floor allows for quick installation.
There are three generic types of precast concrete floors: hollowcore, beam and block, and lattice girder.Hollowcore is a precast concrete slab with tubular voids that run through the length of the slab. This makes the slabs lighter. However, since the slabs are prestressed, the units are durable even if they are relatively light in weight.
Beam and block flooring is a suspended flooring system in domestic and commercial applications. The system is composed of prestressed, inverted T beams that are infilled with building blocks. This flooring system is fast and easy to install, provides great acoustic effect, fire resistant, not affected by damp and rot, and allows longer spans. These are ideal for ground and upper floors.
Lattice girder is a composite construction of reinforced concrete slabs that are 5 to 8 cm thick with projecting steel 'lattice-girders. This precast concrete is delivered as a semi-finished floor and is installed on the construction site then filled with concrete topping. The lattice girders ensure a durable bond between the precast slab and the applied concrete topping. Knowing the benefits and types of precast concrete floors is a great help in choosing which is most applicable to the structure one wishes to build.