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Everything you need to know about concrete slabs

Reon Products are experts in concrete developments. With over 15 years’ experience in the industry, we know everything there is to know about concrete slabs. From our humble beginnings pouring slabs for garden sheds, to building dream homes all the way to large-scale industrial builds, we know a solid foundation is everything. And we’ll share some of our wisdom with you here, answering some common questions about concrete slabs.

What is a concrete slab?

A concrete slab is a structure made of concrete that’s used to create a flat horizontal surface. They can be used as floors, roof decks and ceilings.

What is the purpose of concrete slabs?

Concrete slabs provide a durable flat surface and/or a covering shelter in buildings. They also provide stability as they’re designed to carry the imposed loading to support walls and non-structural elements. But it also has other functions:

- Energy efficiency - concrete slab floors have a high thermal mass offering thermal comfort and reducing energy demand. This is particularly useful in cool climates and in areas with a high day-night temperature difference.

- Speed of construction - concrete floors can be constructed quickly. Precast systems have an added advantage of reducing the amount of labour required on site.

- Moisture barrier - concrete slabs are non-absorbent and hence resistant to dampness.

- Termite damage prevention - concrete foundations provide a protective barrier against burrowing insects like termites.

- Fire prevention - concrete is non-combustible offering excellent fire-resistance.

Types of concrete slabs:

It’s essential you choose the correct type of slab for your project. The more you know about concrete slabs, the easier that choice will be. For most large projects, an engineer or concreting specialist will evaluate the site. This evaluation examines the soil conditions, slope in the block and presence of trees/ other structures.

Here are some common types of concrete slab:

- One-way concrete slab

This slab is made on site. Formwork is installed with any necessary reinforcement and the concrete is poured into the cast.

- Waffle slab

Waffle slab foundations are now widely used in Australia. The slab is constructed on site by placing single use plastic forms and polystyrene blocks set directly on the ground to create deep square pockets, giving it a ‘waffle’ appearance from above, then a rebar concrete slab is poured, often to a depth of 325mm.

- Glass Fibre Reinforced Polymer (GFRP) slab

GFRP is an innovative way to form and pour concrete that is cost efficient, environmentally friendly, and more durable. At Reon Products our GFRP fibre composite ‘MST Bar’ and Holcims Eco PactTM concrete is 50% better for the environment than traditional steel reinforced concrete slabs. There’s no compromise on quality – it achieves the same slab strength, but is non-corrosive, so will last longer.

- Raft slab

Raft slabs, also known as “mat” slabs are often used when building large homes or commercial buildings in an area with normal soil. The raft slab uses reinforced concrete with integrated concrete beams positioned in both directions. It has a minimum thickness of 100mm to 150mm.

- Infill slab

An infill slab is where the concrete is poured between already existing walls – but not in direct contact with the walls (to allow for expansion/shrinkage). These are commonly used between masonry walls that have been built on a footing, e.g. in a garage.

- Suspended slab

Suspended slabs are most commonly used for commercial purposes. These slabs are not in contact with the ground but suspended above ground level for floors or roofs.

What is formwork in concrete?

Formwork or framework means the form and framing that’s used to contain the wet concrete in a certain shape until it is set hard and can support itself after the concrete is poured on or within the formwork.

At Reon Products we use state-of-the-art and high-quality MSB Form made with zinc-plated steel. MSB stands for Multi Slab Brace. It’s an all-in-one kicker and brace solution for concrete formwork. It’s manufactured by an Australian company who developed to concept to make formwork easy to transport as well as safer and more efficient to use.

How thick does a concrete slab need to be?

In Australia, concrete slabs are regulated by Australian Standards AS 2870 and AS 3600. Slab thickness vary depending on the size of the building and its location/type of soil. For example, a concrete path for light traffic on good soil might only require 75mm thickness, but a double garage holding 2 small cars should be at least 200mm.

What’s the difference between a cement slab and a concrete slab?

Cement is only one of the ingredients that makes up concrete and therefore is rarely used on its own. Instead, it acts a binder to set, harden and bind other materials such as sand and gravel (aggregate) together to make concrete.

How long are concrete slabs supposed to last?

A professionally installed slab is expected to last for 10-50 years depending on the environment and usage. Extremes in temperature or marine environments will obviously be more less long-lasting than areas without these extremes. Some slabs can last for 100 years or more.

Can I pour my own concrete slab?

Pouring a concrete slab takes a lot of skill and know-how. We recommend that you do plenty of research before you start. Ask someone who knows about concrete slabs for advice and/or check out you-tube to learn some techniques. But be warned, by the time you’ve invested in the right tools for the job, created the forms and started mixing and pouring, you may wonder why you started! And if it doesn’t go to plan it can be a costly experience which could make you regret not getting an expert to do it in the first place.

We hope you’ve learned everything you need to know about concrete slabs right here, but if you have any questions, we’d love to hear from you – contact us here

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