What is the Difference Between Precast Concrete and Hollow Blocks?

precast fence that resembles concrete or brick walls

When researching precast concrete walls, you probably will come across another option – hollow blocks. This might lead you to the question: What is the difference between precast concrete and hollow blocks? In this blog post, we will be going over the two options and the differences between them.

Precast Concrete is Solid, and Hollow Blocks are Not

Precast concrete is a solid slab of concrete. Hollow blocks are blocks that are hollow in the middle, as the name suggests. Hollow blocks are typically lighter because they are hollow.

Both options have to be reinforced with a steel rebar. For precast concrete, the reinforcing bars are cast into the concrete. With the hollow blocks, the reinforcement is inserted into the hollow space in the middle and mortared into place.

It is Faster and Easier to Install Precast Concrete

Precast concrete is mainly made in a warehouse. Once the parts are complete, the precast concrete is shipped to the project location. 

After the ground has been prepped, the support posts are cemented into place. Finally, the precast concrete panels are slid into place and locked in with the post cap.

The process for installing hollow blocks couldn’t be more different. The ground is typically prepared the same way, but after that, the similarities end. The hollow blocks are stacked like bricks and mortared into place.

What this all means is precast concrete is easier and faster to install. A section of precast concrete can be built in a few hours. That same length will take a lot longer to build with hollow bricks. Each brick has to be stacked and mortared one by one.

Precast Concrete is Stronger and More Durable

In a lab setting, precast concrete and hollow blocks should be equal in strength. After all, both are made from concrete, and both are typically reinforced with steel.

However, hollow blocks end up being not as durable and strong in the real world thanks to the many mortared joints. Those types of joints are less strong than the concrete itself. Precast concrete is large slabs of solid concrete, and this makes it much stronger and able to resist cracking.

Precast Concrete Equals Less Maintenance

Because precast concrete is stronger and more durable thanks to the way it’s built, it also comes with less maintenance.

All precast concrete typically needs is an annual inspection and a quick wash if there are damaged sections; it’s quick and straightforward to remove the post caps, remove the broken section, and replace it with a new one.

On the other hand, if hollow blocks are damaged, they will first need to be removed block by block. Then the part of the wall that was damaged will need to be stacked and mortared all over again.

Precast Concrete Is Cheaper in the Long Run

Precast concrete and hollow block could be equal in cost to install. This really depends on where the wall is being installed and who is doing the work. 

Regardless of the initial costs, precast concrete does win in the long run. There is less maintenance. Repairs are quick and easy. And precast concrete lasts longer than hollow blocks. 

When you are ready to begin your precast concrete wall, contact American Precast Concrete Inc. today!