What is the Difference Between Modular Fencing and Precast Concrete?

Precast concrete fence outside of an apartment complex

One question we hear a lot is, “What is the difference between modular fencing and precast concrete?” In the construction world, terms get thrown around. Such various terms can leave you feeling confused about it all. To clear things up, we will go over what exactly modular wall systems are and how they compare to precast concrete.

What Are Modular Wall Systems?

Modular wall systems are a post and panel-style wall. The posts are typically high tensile galvanized steel, while the panels consist of a lightweight EPS inner core with a fiber cement outer skin. EPS stands for Expanded Polystyrene, a cellular plastic material made of small hollow balls or beads.

 Most commonly used as a sound barrier or for its masonry look, modular wall systems are very lightweight and allow quick construction times. They are constructed offsite and assembled onsite. No heavy machinery is needed to install.

How are Modular Wall Systems and Precast Concrete Similar?

  1. Both are made of panels and posts that are constructed offsite. They are also easy to install and cheaper to install than other methods. 
  2. Both are environmentally friendly options. Precast concrete and modular wall systems waste minimal materials in their construction. Precast concrete even allows for the reuse of the forms repeatedly. These forms are typically thrown away each time with cast-in-place concrete.
  3. Both are great at blocking noise. Precast concrete is a very solid barrier that helps block the sounds. Modular wall systems stop noise thanks to the EPS inner core that absorbs the sound vibrations.
  4. The process of installation is very similar. Since both methods rely on a post and panel process, they are installed by placing posts at specific intervals and placing the panels in slots on the posts.
  5. Both require little maintenance and are easy to repair. They both hold up well to the daily wear and tear. It is simple to remove and replace the damaged panel if there is any damage. Both need an annual inspection and a wash.

How are Modular Wall Systems and Precast Concrete Different?

  1. Their construction involves different materials. Precast concrete consists of solid concrete – often with steel reinforcement included. Modular wall systems consists of EPS inner cores wrapped in an outer fiber skin. 
  2. Their methods of construction are different. Precast concrete is poured into forms and cured. Modular wall systems use a sandwiching technique with two other materials during construction.
  3. Modular wall systems are lightweight. Precast concrete is not considered lightweight. Modular walls systems’ lightweight can be suitable in some cases. In other cases, it makes modular wall systems unusable– such as for retaining walls. 
  4. Modular wall systems are less durable. Solid concrete with a steel reinforcement will be more durable than EPS core with a fiber cement outer skin. While modular wall systems aren’t bad, precast concrete is the way to go if you depend on security and durability.
  5. Modular wall systems typically don’t have footers, expanding their use into areas where a footer isn’t allowed or suitable.

If you have any questions about precast concrete or would like suggestions on your project, contact us today. We are eager to help you.