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.
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.