Foamed concrete holds a unique place in the world of paving and construction materials. Unlike regular concrete, foamed concrete omits most or all of the crushed stone aggregate as an ingredient. Instead, as its name suggests, foamed concrete incorporates a special type of foam that greatly reduces its density.
The low density of foamed concrete allows it to achieve relatively high strengths at a fraction of the weight of normal concrete. This unique constitution makes foamed concrete particularly useful for certain construction and repair purposes. This article takes a closer look at three of the most useful applications for foamed concrete.
1. Void Filling
Due to the lack of aggregate, foamed concrete has a much more slurry-like nature than traditional concrete. Furthermore, the high air content in foamed concrete gives it a compressibility that standard concrete lacks almost completely.
These two features of foamed concrete make it an especially useful option for filling in void spaces. For one thing, contractors can easily pump foamed concrete through a narrow pipe into even the tightest of crevices. For another, the compressible nature of foamed concrete means that contractors can continue adding the concrete until they've completely filled the space.
Foamed concrete also demonstrates an incredible degree of stability, which keeps it from settling or collapsing as it cures. Such settlement often happens with standard concrete, leading to an incompletely filled void space.
At first, void filling may not strike you as being all that useful as a concrete application. Yet such jobs occur quite frequently. Underground tanks, pipes, and tunnels often have to be filled in to prevent collapse or pest infestations. Gaps that open up around well pipes must also be filled in to prevent sand and silt from working their way into the water supply.
Foamed concrete often makes a great choice for filling in unwanted voids that sometimes form around residential foundations as the ground shifts and settles. If allowed to remain, such voids leave foundation walls without the support they need, making cracks and other structural issues much more likely to occur.
2. Roof Deck Insulation
Foamed concrete has such a light weight that it can be used for applications where regular concrete would not fit. One such application comes in the form of roof decking, primarily for buildings with flat roofs. Foamed concrete provides a strong and stable base for the installation of waterproof roofing membranes.
Yet the benefits of foamed concrete don't stop there. The high air content of foamed concrete also makes it an excellent insulator - one that can markedly improve the energy efficiency of a building. In addition, foamed concrete possesses excellent fire-resistant properties, allowing it to better protect your home from the threat of fire.
Finally, foamed concrete offers contractors a great way to improve the level of a flat roof. In other words, foamed concrete can create a gently sloping roof surface in order to promote more efficient water drainage.
3. Roadway Sub-Base
Foamed concrete also offers excellent results when installed as a foundation beneath other structures. For instance, more and more paving contractors have begun to use foamed concrete as a sub-base for high-traffic roadways. Because foamed concrete has a much lighter weight than other sub-base materials, it contributes much less to unwanted compression or shifting of the underlying soil.
Foamed concrete has come to hold an indisputably unique place in the world of building materials. For more information about whether foamed concrete would make a good choice for your next building project, please contact the pros at Black Jack Asphalt and Concrete. We're happy to answer any questions you have.