What is better? Beam and block floor or concrete slab?

The article aims to answer the question, “What is better? Beam and block floor or concrete slab?”. It will also discuss the advantages of  Beam and block flooring. Read on to know more:

Which is better? Beam and block floor or concrete slab?

Beam and block floor has some major advantages over concrete slabs. In recent years, the beam and block suspended floor has grown in popularity as an alternative to the more expensive concrete slab. However, it is somewhat more costly, particularly for minor works. However, it is hard to surpass in terms of speed and convenience.

The platform (the oversite) on which your house will be constructed may be chosen after the footings have been laid. Installing floors over wood joists was the go-to option decades ago. In contemporary self-builds, suspended wood constructions aren’t ideal since they’re prone to draughts and noise.

Currently, the simplest method is to use a concrete slab on top of hardcore that has been compacted. In addition to the damp-proof barrier, the rigid foam insulation would be topped with a coating of sand (known as blinding) to protect it from sharp edges.

Even though this is a popular option, the amount of time it takes for the concrete to harden is substantial. It’s impossible to keep up with new technology. High-end greenhouses, for example, may use fully integrated insulated slabs. It is more customary to employ beam and block for the oversite and maybe intermediate levels.

What is a beam and block floor?

Continue reading the article to understand what a beam and block floor is:

Inverted T-beams built of pre-stressed concrete, which resemble railway tracks in profile, make up the system. The construction blueprints predetermine the length of these beams. To construct the inner leaf of the footings, they are placed perpendicular to the supporting blockwork walls (at ground floor level). 

Because they sit on a moisture-proof barrier, the rails span the whole width of the blockwork on that inner leaf. The beams are placed such that standard-sized lightweight aircrete or dense aggregate blocks may be loaded into them until the whole slab surface has been covered, and then they are leveled. 

To fill up the cracks, a 4:1 dry mix of sharp sand and cement is dusted over the floor structure. No cement or adhesives are needed in this operation, so the slab becomes an immediate working platform for your subsequent trades.

Because every project is unique, the firm will design each installation specifically for it. Beam arrangement and orientation, block specifications, and other building requirements will all be included in full blueprints with the system.

Why do we use beam and block floor?

The primary reason for this is, of course, speed. Fast installation of Beam and Block is partly possible due to the lack of ground preparation required. Despite the greater cost of the components, the savings in labor make this a highly cost-effective option.

Enhanced acoustic properties, increased thermal mass, and enhanced fire resistance are just a few advantages. The inert beams and blocks also mean they are impervious to moisture, rot, and vermin. In addition, they may be employed with any ground-floor structural systems, including masonry, ICF, and other timber-frame approaches.

A camber, or curve, will be integrated into the pre-stressed beams. The more extreme the bending is, the longer the beam must be to produce it. This is not an issue with a screed since the completed floor levels can easily be adjusted. 

To meet the project’s performance requirements, rigid insulation is laid on the beam and block structure before the screed is placed. To avoid unattractive gaps beneath the stair rails, installing a floating floor of decking supported by firm foam insulation may be necessary. Although a self-leveling compound may help, I usually recommend using a screed to eliminate this issue.

Depending on the beam profile set, the maximum rail length that may be utilized is slightly under 8 meters. Additional support, such as dwarf walls or reinforcing pillars, may be necessary if the floor bounces beyond this point.

Fewer excavations are required with beam and block than with a typical floor slab. The soil must have a ventilation gap of no less than 150 millimeters between it and the bottom of the beams.

With a little site leveling, this issue may be remedied. Cranked ventilators provide fresh air into the damp-proof course area at regular intervals around the perimeter. Z-shaped vents let air in but keep light out, preventing undesirable plants from growing under the floor.

What are the advantages of using beam and block flooring?

There are several advantages to placing intermediate beams and blocks in your design, such as:

  • So that youngsters (or adults) can’t disturb your serenity with their noise, the density of the floor materials helps to deaden sound transmission between floors.
  • Flames won’t distort, twist or fall on flooring made of beams and blocks due to their fire resistance. As a result, any breakouts will have more time to be contained, and those in need of rescue will have more alternatives for escaping.
  • There is a lot of room up there: You can employ blockwork for any upper-story partition, not only the supporting walls since the floor can handle heavier weights. Solid constructions, such as bookcases and TVs, may be included wherever you choose.
  • A screeded configuration is still the most effective solution for warm water underfloor heating (UFH) since it transforms the whole floor into an emitter. However, products developed for lightweight floor systems have evolved tremendously. As long as you use beam and block intermediate flooring, UFH may be installed on the second and third floors with the same ease and effectiveness as on the first.
  • No squeaks: The dreaded creaking floorboard is a thing of the past, thanks to the absence of any floorboards or decking.

Conclusion

Because they don’t need curing time, beam and block flooring is preferable to concrete slabs. Once the floor is built, precast pieces are ready to go, allowing construction to begin immediately. This is in contrast to the time-consuming cast-in-place floor slabs. They may be installed without the need for formwork. 

The system is self-sustaining since they have already matured. The in-situ cast slab is heavier than beam and block flooring. Note that the hollow core blocks used in the beam and block method lower the slab’s weight, which may alleviate concerns about decreasing the building’s cost using less material. Because of this, the load is reduced, resulting in a smaller column and less reinforcement needed.

Frequently asked questions (FAQS): Which is better? Beam and block floor or concrete slab?

Which is better? Beam and block floor or concrete slab?

Beam and block floor has some major advantages over concrete slabs. In recent years, the beam and block suspended floor has grown in popularity as an alternative to the more expensive concrete slab. However, it is somewhat more costly, particularly for minor works. However, it is hard to surpass in terms of speed and convenience.

The platform (the oversite) on which your house will be constructed may be chosen after the footings have been laid. Installing floors over wood joists was the go-to option decades ago. In contemporary self-builds, suspended wood constructions aren’t ideal since they’re prone to draughts and noise.

What is a beam and block floor?

Inverted T-beams built of pre-stressed concrete, which resemble railway tracks in profile, make up the system. The construction blueprints predetermine the length of these beams. To construct the inner leaf of the footings, they are placed perpendicular to the supporting blockwork walls (at ground floor level). 

Why do we use beam and block floor?

The primary reason for this is, of course, speed. Fast installation of Beam and Block is partly possible due to the lack of ground preparation required. Despite the greater cost of the components, the savings in labor make this a highly cost-effective option.

Enhanced acoustic properties, increased thermal mass, and enhanced fire resistance are just a few advantages. The inert beams and blocks also mean they are impervious to moisture, rot, and vermin. In addition, they may be employed with any ground-floor structural systems, including masonry, ICF, and other timber-frame approaches.

Bibliography

Beam and block slab system. Everything you need to know. Retrieved from: https://jenganami.com/construction/beam-and-block-slab-system-everything-you-need-to-know/

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