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Why GFRC in Concrete Furniture Is a Must

In a time when concrete is used for far more than driveways or warehouse floors, it isn’t any wonder that concrete itself had to evolve. Glass-fiber reinforced concrete - or GFRC for short -takes traditional concrete and adds additional ingredients that solve for issues that arise when design with concrete demands more. 

What is GFRC exactly? It’s Portland cement mixed with fine aggregates (sand), water, acrylic polymer, glass-fibers, de-foaming agents, pozzolanic material, water reducers, pigments, and other additives. What does that mean? It means that GFRC has better compression strength, tensile strength, doesn’t crack like traditional concrete, and it can be used to cast thinner, lighter products. 

GFRC is the concrete of choice for counter and table tops, sinks, wall cladding, - and more. Using GFRC for concrete furniture ensures that each piece will exhibit both the aesthetic and functional attributes expected from heirloom-quality furnishings.

GFRC is Strong 

The key feature of GFRC is its compressive strength, or the capacity of the concrete to withstand a load when pushed upon. It contains a higher level of Portland cement than traditional concrete mixes, which gives it compression strengths well over 6000 PSI. In fact, most GFRC concrete furniture has a compressive strength of 8000-10,000 PSI. 

Tensile strength is another hallmark of GFRC concrete. It is the capacity of the concrete to withstand a load when pulled upon. The glass fibers in the mixture are dispersed evenly and make the cured product stronger internally, which boosts its tensile strength. GFRC concrete furniture can have a tensile strength of 1500 PSI. If the concrete is reinforced from beneath (as with most tables, sinks, and countertops), the tensile strength is increased even more. 

GFRC is Lightweight 

Compared to traditional concrete, GFRC is lighter. This is due to the water reducers and acrylic in the mix —both of which reduce water weight in the cured product. Additionally, because of the nature of GFRC, it can be cast much thinner than a traditional mix, which also decreases the potential finished weight. 

One square foot of concrete poured one-inch thick weighs about 10 pounds. Traditional concrete of the same metrics weighs over 12 pounds. In a large piece of concrete furniture, that makes a big difference. This helps reduce the limitations on concrete artisans to create, unlocking more options for concrete furnishings. 

Wet concrete being cast in the factory.

GFRC Can Be Customized 

One of the consequences of GFRC concrete is that it’s easier to work with. That changes a lot of things for our craftspeople. All our products are made by hand right here in the USA. 

We are also outfitted to create all kinds of custom shapes, sizes, colors, and more with GFRC. That simply isn’t possible with traditional cement. GFRC increases our precision and turns out a product that is as much an art object as it is functional furniture. Take a look at some of our favorite projects made possible by GFRC. 

See What GFRC Can Do

GFRC Performs Better Outdoors 

Much of the concrete you come across is outside - so it’s clearly suitable for the outdoors. However, if you take a closer look, you’ll see that the outdoors can be rough on concrete. Discoloring, cracking, breakage from freeze/thaw cycles, etc. are common occurrences in the outdoors. 

GFRC concrete furniture is enhanced with the addition of a sealer that bolsters it against the outdoor elements.. Our sealer prevents the furniture from absorbing water, , reducing the possibility of cracking (and the breakage that follows). Our sealer is also UV-stable, meaning it will not discolor after continued exposure to the sun. While highly protective, our sealer is VOC compliant and won’t do damage to your health or the environment. 

Though a sealer can be scratched by sharp objects and etched by acids, it is easy to buff out minor scratches and etching. Use some furniture polish to fill hairline scratches and make the piece look as good as new. Sealer can be reapplied every few years for continued protection.

GFRC and concrete furniture are natural partners that enhance one another for a final result that is both stunning and sturdy. It is at once elegant and efficient. When was the last time you heard those terms applied to concrete? GFRC has spawned an entirely new category of furnishings that are quickly becoming the hottest items in designs around the world. 

Want more? Check out what’s trending in concrete furniture.

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