If you're building a shed, workroom, garage or other adjunct to your home, you've got a few main options. You've probably considered the merits of using brick and mortar vs. purely wooden construction--but have you thought about building with concrete? Concrete structures have been around for a long time, but recent developments in the availability of domestic precast concrete sheets have made them a more accessible choice than ever before.
What are the main advantages of using precast concrete for a home construction project?
- The way these sheets are made—on the ground, in a factory-controlled environment, in consistent moulds and away from the elements—means they're usually of very high quality.
- Concrete itself is a malleable material until it sets, so it can be cast into any shape you like. This is great for curved walls, tight spaces and specific design ideas.
- You can buy concrete sheets designed to fit your project, meaning that assembly is easier than you might imagine—it's a little like putting together a giant building block set!
Are there any extra considerations to bear in mind?
- You'll need to give some special attention to waterproofing the joints. Concrete buildings can last for decades if properly constructed, so make sure you find the right sealing solution.
- Concrete is heavy, so you'll need a firm, solid foundation on which to work. It doesn't matter if the ground itself is soft or uneven—this is one of the benefits of working with concrete over wood--but the base must be well-designed to support the structure.
- Depending on your local area, you may need to apply for planning permission to erect a concrete structure--this is not always true of wooden sheds, so make sure you've checked the lwas where you live.
How easy is it to work with precast concrete at home?
Concrete sheets are large, heavy objects, and they can require some careful handling. If you're not a professional, this is advised for small projects only—and you should discuss your idea with your manufacturer first to get an idea of whether or not your shed or outbuilding is suitable for this method. If it's more than you can handle as a DIY job, though, don't worry!
Many concrete contractors will be able to send you a worker to help out, or put you in touch with a builder who takes this kind of work. You should also take their advice on how to handle the sheets safely. Smaller, lighter precast concrete pieces won't always need specialised machinery to manoeuvre into place, but it's important to consult with a professional before you start your project.
For more information, contact a domestic precast concrete contractor today.