What Is Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete?
Glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC) is a unique material used by an increasing number of outdoor living manufacturers, including American Fyre Designs and Prism Hardscapes. GFRC is composed of specially formulated cement, glass fibers, aggregates, and polymers. Instead of using steel for reinforcement, GFRC uses special alkaline resistant glass fibers and polymers. Weaving these materials into the build allows such products to be crafted with a thin, hollow construction that can weigh a fraction of the weight of a traditional pre-cast concrete fire pit. In other words? GFRC is an investment that’s often notably lighter and designed to entertain for years beyond its contemporaries.
Benefits of a GFRC Fire Pit
Lightweight & Strong
GFRC offers superior strength while allowing for thinner construction which results in a product that weighs considerably less than solid concrete.
Glass fibers reinforce the fire pits structure so it won't rust, crumble, or crack like traditional concrete — even in the harshest environmental conditions.
GFRC fire pits provide the look and feel of natural stone and because the pigments are mixed in, the color is cast throughout the product and won’t peel or chip.
Recycling naturally occurring minerals and aggregates into its design, GFRC shrinks the cement footprint often left by equivalent amounts of concrete.
How is GFRC Made?
GFRC is a slightly more complex process than a typical concrete pour, requiring a lot more attention to detail. Instead of pouring concrete into a form in a single fluid motion, the GFRC is layered within the mold, each layer having a specific function to the success of the piece. The part is constructed upside down on a flat surface and the layers are either hand laid or sprayed into the mold. The first layer of concrete is about 1/8 inch thick. After this layer hardens, but before it dries out, a second thin layer is added, this time with fibers in the mix. This layer is then rolled out to eradicate any lingering air pockets and this mechanically bonds the layers together. Finally, the rest of the concrete with the now-infused fiber can be added into the mold to finish the process. This finished product is a thin, hollow construction of GFRC, and is typically ½ inch to ¾ of an inch thick.
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