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How do composite materials compare to concrete for contract flooring?

By Stuart Burns December 17, 2013

Concrete is an extremely strong material, and performs extremely well in compression, making it ideal for contract flooring. However, related to this principal quality is concrete’s main drawback – namely its weight. Even small slabs can be difficult, if not impossible, to lift by hand, meaning jobs such as fitting concrete trench covers will require both a lot of time and significant manpower (if not heavy machinery) – all of which can prove costly. What’s more, difficulty moving slabs in and out of position will also make maintenance and routine inspections unnecessarily problematic. Further still, if a load limit is exceeded for some reason, concrete may crack – something that will often lead to a whole site being closed to vehicles because of an inability to guarantee their safety.

Using fibreglass for contract flooring, these problems simply do not exist. Whilst it is possible to fit fibreglass slabs of up to 100mm without the need for any heavy machinery, they are tested to support loads of up to 40 tonnes. The reason such a light material is able to provide such extraordinary strength is because of its engineered construction. Rather than being solid fibreglass, these slabs are pultruded into a truss-like profile, resulting in a strong and consistent final product weighing up to 80% less than steel and concrete alternatives. What’s more, when fibreglass passes its load limit it will deflect rather than crack before returning to its original form.

For more on the many advantages of composite materials when it comes to contract flooring and other building projects, just visit our home page, where you’ll be able to obtain a free copy of my new guide, “How to Choose Composite Building Products”.