GRC is glass reinforced concrete. It’s a versatile material that uses glass fibres instead of traditional steel reinforcement.
In a nutshell:
- GRC (glass reinforced concrete) is a popular material for architectural façades
- GRC uses glass fibres instead of traditional steel reinforcement
- GRC can be produced in many shapes, sizes and finishes, and is able to achieve A1 rating for fire retardancy
- Coating options are limited, and GRC panels can be fragile
- Installing GRC can be labour-intensive, making it more expensive than some other façade materials
It’s made in the same way as precast concrete using bespoke moulds, but it can be made in thinner (and therefore lighter) sections. That means it is a popular material for architectural façades. It can be formed into virtually any shape, size or finish – and, like aluminium, it is able to achieve an A1 rating for fire retardancy.
Why mention aluminium?
Aluminium is considered the go-to material for architectural façades. It is used extensively for solid, perforated and expanded mesh panels, rainscreen cladding, architectural fins and brise soleil.
There’s still a place for GRC – particularly for its ability to be moulded into complicated shapes. However, there are downsides.
What are the disadvantages of using GRC?
- Coating options are limited – aluminium is suitable for powder-coating and anodising
- Once the concrete is set, that’s it – aluminium can be expanded, folded or twisted
- GRC is relatively fragile, and requires great care when transporting and installing
- Installing GRC can potentially be labour-intensive, making it more expensive as a whole than some other façade materials
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