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Concrete Is the New Wood: How Concrete Can Be Used in Safe and Beautiful Homes

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Concrete is the new wood: how concrete can be used in safe and beautiful homes

After their traditional log home was tragically burned down, the Smith family chose to rebuild their home using concrete instead of wood. What they did with their home will leave homeowners everywhere wondering if concrete is a better option for building homes.

When the family planned the rebuilding of their home, it was important that the material used would be fire-safe, eco-friendly, and esthetically pleasing. During the initial planning states, the family expressed that they wanted to feel safe in their home. But, it was also important for them to be able to play around with the design elements and be creative. It may surprise many people that concrete was their best option -- it ensured all these qualities, most importantly providing the family with the security of knowing that they would never lose their home to a fire again.

A major problem with using concrete is its lack of esthetic appeal. However, the use of decorative concrete easily solves this problem. The new Smith home features decorative concrete on the kitchen and bathroom counters, floors, as well as the patio and driveway. The concrete was stamped and textured to provide a modern and unique design. Decorative concrete allows for enhanced home design as it can flexibly mold into three dimensional shapes versus traditionally planar designs made from wood.

The kitchen counters, walls, and floors all designed with decorative concrete.

Such exciting designs are because of new methods to cast (i.e., to mold or shape) concrete. In this article, we will take a look at how concrete is traditionally formed and how this new method works.

Traditional Practice

As early as the mid-1800s, concrete has been formed by pouring it into wood or steel molds. Sand and gravel are the main components of concrete because they can withstand compression. The sand and gravel is known as the aggregate. Cement is the part of the concrete which hardens. When you mix cement and aggregate together, concrete is formed.

Normal rectangular concrete is much easier to create than three dimensional designs, but it generally requires a more bulky framework because of the molds being used. Concrete is poured into a wood or steel mold, almost like pouring Jell-O into a container. Eventually it will become solid and, in the case of concrete, the wood or steel mold is usually thrown away.

If a typical wood or steel mold is replaced with reusable flexible fabric, the concrete can be made with less material in the same amount of space. It also creates the possibility of making more interesting designs. This type of mold is called a fabric formwork.

Advantages of Fabric Formworks

Using fabric formworks is much better than traditional methods. Here we will take a look at just a few of the great advantages.

1 - Lightweight and Cheap

Fabric formworks are much lighter than using wood or steel to form concrete. For example, two sheets of fabric weighing only 17 pounds can be used to make a concrete column that is over 6700 pounds. That's the difference between a puppy and a pick-up truck!

Using fabric is also cheaper - there is less material

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