Archive: May 2021

Fiberglass vs. Concrete

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Cost-Effectiveness

The cost savings advantage of fiberglass is seen over concrete in the durability and longevity of the product.

Fiberglass products outperform precast concrete in almost all aspects except one: product cost. Precast concrete products are typically less expensive than fiberglass. However, the savings are short-lived. You may save money on your initial purchase cost, but once the additional costs associated with difficult installations, complex on-site repairs, or even needing to replace the entire product due to deterioration, will lead to increased cost in the long term.

Fiberglass products will not rot, corrode, warp, contract, expand, rust, dent, bow, shrink, twist, fade, blister, split, crack, deteriorate, or distort. Once the longevity of the product is factored into the equation, fiberglass is clearly the superior choice — ensuring maintenance-free and long-lasting performance.

Ease of Installation

Fiberglass is an ideal material for installation in terms of both time and ease.

Fiberglass products typically weigh substantially less than precast concrete products, therefore installation is accomplished with less manpower and time. Additionally, in the rare occasion that a fiberglass product becomes damaged and needs repair, fiberglass can be field repaired much more easily than concrete, including on-site repairs.

Corrosion Resistance 

The intrinsically corrosion-resistant nature of fiberglass makes it an ideal choice.

It is hard to give an average life span for precast concrete products since there are many factors that may cause deterioration at different rates. Concrete is susceptible to Microbial Induced Concrete Corrosion (MICC). MICC is a process by which sulfuric acid, found in most wastewater systems when hydrogen sulfide gas and bacteria react, attacks and degrades the concrete.

Fiberglass products, on the other hand, can withstand drastic and unpredictable chemical and environmental challenges. Fiberglass products are resistant to hydrogen sulfide and many other forms of corrosion. Simply stated, fiberglass will not corrode like concrete and has a much longer life span.

Structure

The structure of fiberglass lends itself to structural soundness and durability.

Fiberglass products are as structurally strong as concrete; in fact, the strength-to-weight ratio for fiberglass is astonishing. Items made from fiberglass will not rot or rust, expand or contract, crack, or deteriorate the way alternative materials would.

Unlike concrete, a fiberglass product that is 30 years old is just as structurally sound as it was the day it was made. Concrete products can appear structurally sound at first, but over time corrosion and cracks caused by expansion and contraction severely affect the structural integrity of the concrete. Fiberglass products, however, experience no loss in strength over time.

Fabrication

When it comes to fabrication, there are several advantages to working with fiberglass.

Fiberglass products are fabricated from a lightweight, non-porous material in strong one-piece molds. Precast concrete is typically created and installed in sections due to its massive weight.

Since there are no joints in fiberglass products, unlike concrete, infiltration, and contamination at the site are highly unlikely. Concrete is also vulnerable to penetration and damage from underground roots. When fresh groundwater enters the system, it can cause an increase in wastewater levels, leading to an increase in treatment costs and even a possible need for oversized water treatment plants.