Torn Between Precast Concrete and Tilt-up Concrete?

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Colin's Construction Blog: Building a House

Hi, there! My name is Colin. Last year, I finally completed some construction work on my home. For many years, I had been meaning to do lots of jobs around the place. I wanted to install a new bathroom downstairs. However, I had no idea how to do this so I avoided everything. My wife continued to complain about the lack of progress so I eventually contacted a team of contractors. A plumber, an electrician and a construction team visited my home and completed the work. As they did so, they taught me an awful lot about the best way to complete the job. I hope you find my blog useful.

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Torn Between Precast Concrete and Tilt-up Concrete?

12 December 2018
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog


Concrete can be utilised for walls, floors and even roofs. It offers many advantages for both commercial and residential construction. The two standard methods of concrete productions for construction are precast (concrete that is poured off-site and then transported to the site) and tilt-up (concrete that is poured on site). If you are in a dilemma between which of the two to utilise for your construction project, note a few essential things concerning each.

Precast Concrete

The environment where off-site precasting occurs is usually controlled to avoid unsuitable weather conditions that could lead to wastage that occurs in on-site pouring. This environment will also reduce the time it takes to cure concrete as the temperature can be controlled while utilising advanced mixing procedures. You will even notice that the amount of cement used will be lower compared to on-site. The quality of the concrete panels is guaranteed both in finishing and dimension accuracy.

Precast concrete is made strong enough to withstand transport and erection, meaning it is durable and can last for years. This strength comes from the use of various equipment and methods, which can be challenging to achieve on-site. Some of these methods among others include the use of tilting casting tables, vibrating casting tables, accurate placement of inserts, insulation, the addition of termite barriers and flashing.

Tilt-Up Concrete

These are prepared horizontally and then tilted up to a final vertical position. Tilt-up concrete is found a more practical approach when carrying out construction on a small site where site constraints or transport access may prohibit a precast concrete option. The precast concrete panels will be formed on-site near the location where they will be tilted vertically and stacked one on top of the other. Bond breaker compounds may be used to ensure that the slabs separate after curing and if they fail, you will end up wasting both time and money.

Additionally, as the slabs cure, they can hinder other building works as they will consume space. Most of the time to ensure the slabs cure fast, more cement and embodied energy will be used. For larger construction works, this can be a waste. Due to an uncontrolled environment, you should not expect the finishes or slabs to be of impeccable quality.

You may enjoy the benefits of overcoming transport and other logistical issues associated with precast concrete, but tilt-up concrete will take time and lengthen construction time. This is because the walls cannot be poured before the floor are constructed.