Reinforced concrete slab | Floor

Concrete is a widely used construction material. It’s very popular in reinforcement concrete slab building.

Its composition consists of silica sand, cement, water and gravel (sometimes also crushed or ground stone), and sometimes some additional element is added to add some extra feature. The mixture can be made by hand or in a machine – a concrete mixer.

The variation in the proportion of the elements used to make this mixture will decide the desired result. A mix that has more water will be easier to handle, while a higher proportion of cement generates more durability. The choice will depend on the objective being pursued.

The size of grains used will depend on the what you are looking for. There are several types of finishes for concrete floors that can be done after using concrete.

If the gravel is fine, it will have a smoother finish and can be effortlessly polished. Coarse gravel or crushed stones are used when the objective is to create something rustic that does not need a final process to improve the aesthetics of the structure being designed. It does not influence the quality of the result, it is only something aesthetic and that will have different characteristics of use.

A smooth effect is usually used in interiors where a refined and delicate finish is sought. The coarse grains of the gravel are more used in exteriors, where roughness is not a problem.

A mould must be made in which the mixture is to be poured, to use the concrete. The moulds are used for the construction of a floor and pillars. Most commonly, this mould has steel beams inside to generate resistance in the slab.

reinforced concrete floor slab

What is a reinforced concrete floor

A reinforced concrete floor is one that is made from a slab, which is a flat plate made of concrete, that has both surfaces parallel to each other and inside has steel beams that support the structure.

One aspect to highlight is that if steel bars are incorporated into the concrete, what is known as reinforced concrete is formed. This type of concrete is ideal for use in constructions that require high durability.

How to design a reinforced concrete slab

Each reinforcement concrete slab must go through a build process that is not complex, but must be strictly followed. Before even starting to make the concrete mix, the ground where the slab is to be placed must be prepared. You have to:

  • Remove all plant elements.
  • Flatten the ground. If it is necessary to fill some part of the ground to level it in the lower parts, it is best to use caliche (a type of sedimentary rock) because it is easy to compact. The upperparts are levelled by digging. This step is essential to make the slab completely flat.
  • Find the right humidity level. If there is too much moisture, the ground will be a viscous mass, which will make the structure unstable. If there’s too little moisture, the ground will be too wet, which will cause it to break up. Depending on the type of ground, the optimal moisture level must be found. Water must be added or the ground must be aerated with the plough to raise or lower the moisture level.
  • Compact the ground. After determining the areas where caliche is to be used, the layers to be added must be very thin so that they can be compacted with rollers. Each new layer on top must be very thin and then the roller is used, until the desired level is reached. This process will give the ground stability.

Doing all these steps in the correct order is important for the stability of the reinforcement concrete slab.

After the ground is adequately prepared, the wooden mould must be made. Then, the steel beams with a diameter of 4 or 6 mm are placed inside, in the shape of a mesh.

Between the beams there can be 15 x 15 cm or 15 x 25 cm separation. The function of this mesh is to distribute the weight of the structure and to offer resistance against the cracks that could suffer the reinforcement concrete slab.

The recommended thickness for each reinforcement concrete slab will vary depending on the desired resistance:

  • Low resistance, suitable for people: 10-12 cm.
  • Medium resistance, suitable for light vehicles: 13-15 cm. It is essential to make the reinforced concrete slab expansion joint.
  • High resistance, suitable for heavy machinery: 16 or more cm.

After finishing the pouring of the mixture, you can create rough finishes or create the reinforced concrete slab expansion joint, which is a process recommended for floors that are going to be subjected to a lot of weight. It is preferable to do this work with fresh concrete, without drying, because afterwards it will be challenging.

Advantages of the reinforced concrete slab

After the reinforcement concrete slab has dried, it is advisable to do a subsequent process for treating the floor, suitable for generating water and abrasion resistance. The result will be a high quality reinforced polished concrete slab flooring.

Advantages of the reinforced concrete slab

  • Durability. A reinforced concrete slab can last indefinitely, if properly maintained.
  • Resistance. Concrete is a material that is almost impossible to damage, even in extreme conditions. If it is subjected to too much weight, just make the expansion joint of the slab, and it will remain in perfect condition. It is even fire resistant for 3 hours.
  • Easy maintenance. The concrete can be cleaned with neutral agents and remains in perfect condition. 
  • Versatility. The surface remaining on a slab made of concrete is flat. It is possible to make any structure on top of this floor.
  • Accessibility. Materials are easily available anywhere in the world.
  • Aesthetic applications. There is a wide variety of designs that can be applied to a reinforced concrete slab. The joints, if they are to be used for aesthetic purposes, can have any design. And nowadays some chemicals are used to colour the concrete. The use of reinforcement concrete slab is widespread in architectural structures that seek to give priority to aesthetics and do not neglect quality.

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