What is GFRC: GFRC vs Poured or Wet Concrete
FYI This is a very basic summary....Any concrete mix has a "matrix", in poured concrete there are four components, water, portland, sand and aggregate (some sort of stone typically maybe glass). Depending on the engineering of the piece they may use extra reinforcement which can be steel, fiberglass, carbon fiber,etc..These reinforcements can be in the shape of rods or mat and is suspended in the mix in one or more levels where it will transfer concretes compressive strength into flexural strength when it is stressed. It is poured into a form, vibrated to release cavities of air and to create a tight finish on the surface (of the mold), it is then demolded and the process goes on from there. Although poured mixes can have fiber reinforcement for certain purposes it is restricted to thin polypropylene or similar fibers that do not show up in the finished surface. GFRC is typically sprayed in layers and instead of the stone aggregate there is sand and alkali resistant (because concrete is basic) recycled fibers in the mix. Sometimes extra reinforcement is necessary as well...GFRC (glass fiber reinforced concrete) is used in many "pre cast applications" and has been used on the facade of high rise buildings, it is a "100 year product". When you look and touch it as far as anyone is concerned it is just like any "poured" concrete, for example if your neighbor had conventionally poured concrete countertops and saw your GFRC countertops they wouldn't think they were any different than theirs. We sometimes do poured concrete in the right application, but very rarely does it come up. We have been working in concrete in all its capacities for over 20 years and have found through our experience that GFRC has more flexural strength and more design capabilities than poured concrete. Our main focus is design and we are followed in our industry and are always written up for our unique designs, other fabricators are always watching us to see what we do next as we have a reputation for pushing the limits and coming up with new applications all the time. We can accomplish this mainly because of the flexibility of our mix. We have a proprietary mix design that is green and high percentage recycled content, higher than typical GFRC. Our mix is much lighter than poured concrete and allows for larger spans without seams and ease of installation. A concrete bathtub is typically over 1000lbs and if wanted on a second story bathroom requires extra reinforcement in the floor. Ours are 450lbs typically and do not need the extra reinforcement. Most poured fabricators do not know how to work in GFRC as it is a much more complex "mix design" as far as I know we are the only decorative GFRC fabricator on the east coast, certainly in the Tri state area, most GFRC fabricators for countertops are on the west coast (where concrete kind of began as a surfacing material).
Now GFRC is the "newest" thing (not actually but they make it sound that way) in the decorative concrete industry, I have heard trade names for it like "earthcrete" it is nothing new, just a better proven system for making concrete and in the slower times, businesses look to expand their reach/markets and try new things. JM Lifestyles wants their clients to know we have been working with GFRC in all forms for 20 years, we have been doing it longer than anyone on this coast (that we know of). You can trust we won’t be going through any trial and error period, we already have it down!
We are also launching GFRC training on the East coast this Spring. If you are interested in learning, email or contact us for further information.