A Complete Guide to Precast Concrete

precast concrete in a neighborhood

This blog post is for those who want to know everything about precast concrete – how it’s used, how it’s made, and why they should use it. If you work in construction and need more information about precast concrete or are just a homeowner who likes to know all they can about the products they use, read our complete guide to precast concrete.

Uses for Precast Concrete

Precast concrete has a ton of different uses. Any time you use regular concrete, you can also use precast concrete.

A few of the most common uses for precast concrete are:

  • Walls and fences (At American Precast, this is our specialty)
  • Waterworks structures like curb inlets, catch basins, and culverts
  • Building foundations
  • Parking garages
  • Bridges
  • Buildings like schools, hospitals, housing, offices, and retail centers

How Precast Concrete is Made

There are 7 main steps that we follow to make precast concrete.

  1. Planning and design. During this step, we have to plan out the precast concrete project and design all the necessary components. This will usually include a visit to the project site and some testing of the ground. What is done here will depend on what is being made from the precast concrete.
  2. Make and prep the forms. Precast concrete is poured into forms or molds. The forms are all put together, secured, and prepped at this stage. Usually, this includes some sort of rebar or reinforcement. We like to have all the forms ready so we can pour them all at once.
  3. Mix the concrete. Concrete is made of Portland cement, water, and aggregate. Occasionally, color is added. The concrete is mixed depending on the strength needed. Part of the planning and design step is figuring out exactly what the concrete mix will be.
  4. Pour the concrete. Once the concrete and forms are ready, the concrete is poured into the forms. We have to be careful at this step to make sure that the concrete reaches all parts of the form. We will use a vibrating tool to move the concrete down into the cracks and hard-to-reach spots.
  5. Cure the concrete. At this point, the concrete needs to cure, or dry. As the concrete dries, the concrete will also harden and develop its strength. Concrete cures best at a certain temperature and humidity. 
  6. Remove the concrete from the forms. Once the concrete has cured to a certain point, it is removed from the form. It will continue curing once out of the form.
  7. Inspect and ship. All of the concrete we produce at American Precast is inspected. If anything is wrong with it, we will redo the part. Once the concrete has passed the inspection, it will be shipped together to the job site.

Why Choose Precast Concrete

There are so many reasons going with precast concrete on your project is the way to go. Here are the top 5:

  1. Lower cost. The efficiency of the process and the reuse of materials like the forms significantly lowers the cost of precast concrete. This is especially true when compared to building materials like stone and brick.
  2. Strong and Durable. Remember how we said that precast concrete cures best at a specific temperature and humidity? With precast concrete, we can make sure our products always cure at that optimal temperature and humidity. This makes for the most robust and durable project available.
  3. Environmentally friendly. There is less waste in the production of precast concrete.
  4. Unique and versatile. We can make precast concrete that matches any design or style.
  5. Quick and easy to install. Once the precast concrete is shipped to the project site, it’s a simple process of stacking the concrete panels together. 

American Precast Concrete

If you are considering precast concrete over other alternatives, contact American Precast today for a free consultation!