think...GFRG Meets Emerging Challenges

Construction today places an unprecedented emphasis on building materials that support the achievement of ambitious green construction standards such as LEED 4.0, deliver superior product durability and design aesthetics, and reduce the time and cost of construction. Simultaneously, the boundaries of design have been extended by use of advanced 3D modelling software that allow for the creation of complex designs that commonly break from traditional architecture.

Two challenges emerge from this confluence of trends—there often lacks materials sufficiently adaptable and cost effective to achieve the design vision, and installing contractors face greater risk when executing projects far more complex than the traditional projects they may be accustomed to. Enter glass fiber reinforced gypsum (GFRG), a material that was introduced to North America from the UK in the late 1970s, that continues to provide a flexible and proven means to simplify execution of a wide range projects around the globe.


Historical GFRG

GFRG is a composite of high-density alpha gypsum cement reinforced with glass fibers and factory-molded into virtually any shape or size. GFRG is commonly specified as a means of simplifying and accelerating the construction of interior spaces, and particularly where a design requires precision geometry and installation. Historically turned to as the “new” alternative to traditional plaster, which is heavy and less durable, use of GFRG accelerated as the pool of skilled traditional plaster trades declined, and the time and cost benefit of factory molded components became quantifiable.

Fast forward to the past two decades where architects and designers have become better-versed in the technical properties of GFRG, and leading producers of the material adopted 3D software and 5-axis CNC machines in their manufacturing processes to create precision patterns and molds. GFRG has become a favoured solution for an extensive array of interior applications—traditional architectural details such as cornice moldings and columns, contemporary ceilings and walls featuring intricate details or compound curves, and acoustical applications where precision cast perforations support achievement of NRC values. GFRG is also used to create the form on which field-applied acoustical material is applied.



Installation Advantage 

Contractors experienced in the installation of GFRG well appreciate the advantages of this material over the common practice of building shapes by framing and drywall, or with traditional site plastering. Aside from the enhanced physical properties of GFRG, such as hardness and flexural strength, the shape of GFRG castings imparts much of its strength, meaning large components can be lightweight and easy to handle. As a result, the complexity and amount of supportive framing required to install GFRG is far less than field-built architectural shapes. This is apparent for shapes that would otherwise require a high labour component to frame, drywall, bead, tape, and skim in the field, all of which translates to a favourable impact on the time and cost of installation.

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Use of GFRG provides numerous advantages for site finishing. Advanced manufacturers of GFRG material utilize 5-axis CNC machines to fabricate master patterns with exacting detail and smooth, uniform surfaces. GFRG components arrive to the job site paint-ready. Reveals specified by the architect or designer may be cast-in at the factory, and through co-ordination between the job site and manufacturer, components can be made with factory-made openings for lighting, sprinklers, or electrical boxes. GFRG components installed in the ceiling are often wire suspended, while wall mounted components are face-fastened to studs. Most of the time, joints are treated by tape and compound (most GFRG components provide a tape joint recess to simplify finishing). Taken together, installing GFRG is faster than traditional construction of architectural features by traditional methods.

GFRG’s Future

Use of GFRG will continue to grow as a leading and preferred material for interior construction. Aside from its green, construction-friendly attributes and non-combustible properties, GFRG has been proven around the world to be durable and cost effective to buy and install. Driven by the emphasis on aesthetics, cost reduction, and flexibility, experienced GFRG producers with enhanced technical capabilities have evolved the material to reproduce intricate patterns and textures, and to create finishes that simulate other materials such as wood and stone. The result is that GFRG will continue to be used in a wide array of applications – simple and complex, small and large, practical or whimsical – and along the way, being a practical means for reducing cost and complexity for project owners and the contractors charged with delivering projects.

Click on the following link for additional information or to request samples and literature... www.formglas.com

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