In today's construction industry, property developers are looking for upfront economics as well as buildings that meet global quality standards. Thanks to innovation, tilt-up panels are increasingly finding application in contemporary property designs. Notably, contractors are no longer limited to the boring boxy shape, flat exteriors, and 90-degree corners that were traditionally associated with tilt-up panels. However, even though tilt-up panels can be configured to take different intricate shapes, you still need to integrate different architectural finishing options. It is the only way you can create an aesthetically appealing structure that incorporates tilt-up panels. This article highlights some of the latest and most popular architectural finishes for tilt-up panel structures.
The type of finish gets its name from the small bricks that are used, and it is by far the most popular decorative architectural finish for pre-cast concrete panels. The bricks are first kiln-fired and then secured in place on the panel forms while still in the horizontal position. It is followed by pouring concrete on the casting bed and letting the concrete cure before the tilt-up panels are lifted and fitted into place. It is essential that the brick surfaces are coated with a thin layer of wax to prevent the discolouration effect of cement paste. The coating is then washed off, and the tilt-up panels are raised. For a unique appearance, thin bricks can be arranged in any configuration — stacked or running. Besides, the bricks are available in a variety of colours, textures, and shapes.
While most contractors opt to paint tilt-up panels, advances in textured coatings offer the much-needed flexibility that lacks in traditional paint. Textured coatings are the go-to finishing method because they create unrivalled, visually stimulating tilt-up panels. The best part is that coatings that are designed for tilt-up panels are available in varying grades. Further, some of the highest-quality textured coatings can last up to 25 years.
If you are going for a masonry look on a tilt-up structure, then compact blocks are a better finishing choice than thin brick. The good news is that thin bricks, and light blocks use the same installation process. The only difference is that thin block installation features a facer which is placed on the panels in the desired pattern. Each facer is then clipped to an adjacent facer for stabilization purposes and also to seal the joints and prevent the cement paste from bleeding through. One advantage with thin block finishing is that it helps contractors to achieve a masonry scale design finish without the handwork associated with traditional block and mortar construction. Moreover, since the blocks are embedded in the concrete tilt-up panels, you do not have to worry about gravity constraints on the units.