Precast concrete wall systems have been a popular option in architectural design for several years. The walls are produced from concrete which is cast into various forms and cured at a precast plant. The walls are then transported to the construction site where they are individually fitted into place. Poured concrete walls are a popular alternative to precast concrete. These require concrete to be poured into various locations at the construction site. The concrete must also be cured on site. Both types of walls have their advantages and disadvantages.
Poured Concrete Wall Advantages
These walls have a higher density than precast concrete walls. The walls also do not incorporate joints which yields a solid wall structure. It gives the building greater resistance to fire than precast walls. This is important especially if you live in a fire-prone area. Poured concrete walls assure you of a stronger, drier basement. This is because the joint free structure of the walls gives the building a high resistance to water which helps to keep water out of your home. The walls also have high compressive strength which reduces water problems in the basement. This makes poured concrete walls especially suited for basements. When properly installed, poured concrete walls have fewer maintenance requirements than precast concrete walls. This helps to downscale your home improvement costs.
Quality may be compromised in the production of poured concrete walls. This is because there is less control over the quality of materials used and workmanship at the construction site. The walls also don’t incorporate steel rods, which gives the building a lower resistance to impact. This makes the walls more susceptible to cracks. Delays as the concrete are poured can cause cold seams which eventually result in cracks. This reduces the structural integrity of the building and lowers durability. Poured concrete walls often require more time because you must schedule for cast-in-place work. Unsuitable weather conditions can delay construction. Wet weather or extreme heat and cold can disrupt the curing process. This extends the construction period and ultimately involves more costs.
Precast Concrete Wall Advantages
Precast concrete walls assure you of high quality and resilience. This is because the walls undergo a rigorous quality control process during manufacture in a controlled plant environment. The walls are also reinforced with steel rods which produces a strong building. It gives the walls greater resistance to the impact caused by strong winds, earthquakes, and explosions. You require less labor and time to install precast concrete walls. This contributes towards ease of installation and quicker turnaround time. Flexibility in design options is yet another advantage of precast concrete. A wide range of shapes, colors, and textures is possible which contributes to higher aesthetics. Finally, precast walls rate highly in energy efficiency. This is because they incorporate Styrofoam insulation panels in the walls which reduces energy wastage.
The sealant and surface protection systems used in precast walls need to be reapplied periodically. The time frame for reapplication ranges from 5 to 20 years for the various systems. The wall joints may also become loose with time. This allows air to filter through which can reduce energy efficiency. Water infiltration can also cause damages to the building.