A History Of Cement

When selling any product, it’s important to have an understanding of where that product came from. Our product, precast concrete walls and fencing, has a rich history that can be traced all the way back to the pyramids and beyond. Throughout the years, humanity as a whole has attempted, over and over again, to find the most sturdy construction materials. Ever since the tower of Babylon was struck down, we’ve been striving toward higher and higher buildings, with stronger and stronger foundations. This drive is backed by more than just a survivalist need to protect and shelter our young, it’s steered by our drive for excellence, for constant self-improvement and our collective disdain for stagnation. So, before you dive into the history of concrete, understand that you’re diving into a story about the human condition as much as you are learning about our need to innovate.

Ancient Concrete

Though the early versions were, not surprisingly, rather simplified versions of the sturdy building material, they were nothing if not innovative and at most times very effective. Concretes earliest application, in a rudimentary form first makes an appearance on the world stage in Egypt as a calcined gypsum compound. The Romans and Greeks used a different type of cement that started off as limestone that was heated and added to sand to create a gritty sort of mortar. They mixed courser, less porous stones with sand for a similar effect to make true concrete to construct buildings that surprisingly still stand today. We’re not simply speaking of Hadrian’s wall and the portions left of the Roman Forum, but of the buildings that act as the very foundation for all of modern-day Rome, where you can glimpse pieces of the ancient world rising from cobblestones and between buildings built in the 70s like a needle presses through cloth. The cement responsible for the foundations of the “lasagna-like” city were often made from this same limestone and sand composite, but the port side towns had to resort to the more innovative form of cement that came sometime after the Roman’s had reached their full glory.

Their new method allowed them to create a concrete that would set beneath water and could be used for the construction of harbors and other submerged structures. They accomplished this by mixing crushed volcanic ash to the same limestone-based cement. When volcanic ash was scarce, they’d start crushing up brick, tile, and other fire-formed rocks to create a similar effect and imitate the strength of these underwater structures. This means that the Romans were the first civilization to create different types of concrete to satisfy different types of projects. After the fall of Roman civilization, this advanced understanding of different types of concrete application disappeared throughout the dark ages and did not reappear until the medieval era. Though, the medieval era pieces of cement concrete are hardly from as skillful of concrete smiths as the Roman examples. Even the most incredible examples of English architecture from those eras relied on almost imitations of the Roman’s methods which were not nearly as effective. The Renaissance, thankfully, brought to light better painting skills and better overall masonry skills as well.

Growing The Concrete Skill-Set

It wasn’t until the British Empire started worrying about building lighthouses during their empire expansion efforts that they rediscovered the Roman method of mixing ground clay and limestone to find the same cement used by the Romans that notoriously hardened underwater. This soon became a widely used stone building method in England. It took until around the year 1845 to figure that firing this same mixture activated some of the materials within this mixture and made it a much stronger version of cement. This led to modern Portland cement that differs mainly from the original Roman version because of the use of rotary kilns, the addition of gypsum to act as a control in the mixture and the introduction of ball mills in the cement production process.

Since cement is one of the most enduring materials from the ancient world, spare maybe paper and gold, it has an interesting and expansive history. However, unlike paper, cement’s recipe hasn’t really changed over the years. You might make the comparison that when we’re building new buildings and pouring new cement, we’re closer to our ancestors than in any other pursuit of human creation. When we started manipulating the status quo surrounding what cement could do, we felt the same innovative drive as they did. The drive to find a better solution to building materials with simple ingredients, and complicated creation processes. It’s true that concrete hasn’t really changed that much in the history of humankind, but the way we think of it has.

AFTEC’s Precast Concrete Walls and Fencing Products

Don’t believe us? Just check out our wide selection of different types of concrete fencing and walls that utilize innovative crafting methods to create easier installations with less money, time, and man hours invested for every single project you complete. We have security focused walls, soundproofing walls and a variety of other specialty methods to craft your wall or fencing that will bring your next project up to the next level.

Reach out to AFTEC today to find out more about how the concrete industry has progressively improved in the last few years and how you can start taking advantage of those improvements for your next project. We’re eager to hear from you and help you accomplish your goals. Reach out to us today.

Why Everyone Is Ditching Chain Link And Upgrading To Concrete Fencing

Everyone knows of Alcatraz’s notoriously inescapable prison. If you’ve visited, you can likely call to mind the character of the place. It’s an imposing, rocky island that’s half concrete, half barbed wire. It’s a solemn place that’s full of old pain, and strange human experiences. It’s an eerie sort  of destination with loads of history and a general feeling of discomfort, it’s a place of remembering your crimes and appreciating your existence. After all, it is a prison. Coincidentally, it didn’t earn its name of being an impregnable fortress by equipping its walls and many layers of protection with just chain link. While some might make the argument that Alcatraz was a much more expensive and time absorbing building project, that’s mostly because it was the most active in the 1920s and only a little while afterward. Back then, they didn’t have as many options to create imposing concrete structure for less. Fortunately, nowadays we have the means to create concrete fencing and prison walls with ease and with an eye on a modest budget. 

Why Precast Concrete is The Answer To Your Prison Fencing Problems

Obviously, prison walls and fencing has mostly been made to keep prisoners in, as there’s not usually anyone fighting to get in, but there are a number fighting to get out. The scales are switching a bit and some fence types are making it quite easy for connections on the outside to get contraband into the prison. 

The Trouble With Prison Fencing

In general, prisons are, at times, quite hard to keep secure from the outside. This is because of the huge area that the fencing and the guards have to patrol. If a portion of that prison fence is bordering public lands, it becomes even harder for exterior threats to the security of the prison to be assessed.  Because those are public lands, any member of the general public,can approach that portion of the fencing and unless your prison has the budget to provide constant wall surveillance, you likely won’t be able to catch all of the contraband, like prepaid cell phones, drugs, weapons and other contraband materials over the side. So what’s the answer to an issue like this? Building a more secure fence with plenty of buffer space. 

Easy Pour Concrete

The Romans may have lost the recipe for cement, but, luckily we’ve managed to figure it once more and get plenty of time to really start perfecting the construction and the recipe of the formidable substance. So concrete has gotten progressively easier to pour as time has gone on. Thus, precast concrete has progressively gotten more popular for several reasons. Mainly, the cost of the entire project takes less of everything: money, time, and labor. Our precast concrete is specifically designed to account for the specific wind loads, soil types, seismic conditions, site topography, and underground and overhead obstructions from your region and your area. 

The StoneTree System 

Our StoneTree System is artfully designed to be used for security installation needs, i.e. prison fencing options. It’s a manufactured column and panel wall and each section is cast in a single piece to be able to keep the concrete secure and solid when it gets installed. When set in place, they’re installed on top of concrete caissons that are embedded with shockingly rigid and structural steel supports that set in the caisson footing. With this strategy, we can greatly increase the speed with which we can set up the application and construct the precast concrete systems. We can build fences as high as 16 feet with this same structural plan. It’s an extremely effective method and perfect for most prison wall applications. 

If you’re hoping to create a buffer fence that’s equally as high, but perhaps more geared toward keeping the sounds and peace consistent on both sides of the wall, you might look for the SoundTec wall systems. The SoundTec is created like a traditional precast concrete wall is by using columns and panels that are then, stocked up on top of each other You can use either concrete or steel support columns and can be built up to any height you would like. These are incredibly capable at absorbing sounds and keeping noise levels of either side of the walls  on that side of the wall. 

Why Choose AFTEC Precast Concrete Fencing?

Whatever your needs, AFTEC can accommodate them because prefab concrete walls are nothing if not versatile. They’re solid and manufactured with high strength steel and then reinforced with high-quality concrete. They’re wind, fire and weather resistant. We can build them up as high as 32 feet if you need it and it completely protects the line of sight as well as other sensitive infrastructure. The rapid installations and low maintenance needed to create our walls 

Why A Brick Texture On Your Concrete Wall Could Make All The Difference

In regard to concrete fence and wall systems, we can all agree on one major truth: They’re versatile and utilitarian. In fact, the amount of well thought out technology that can be added to a precast concrete wall panel is amazing. They can be so much more than security in that they can act as supporting retaining walls, sound and noise barriers, and as a way to enhance privacy, but they can also truly increase the aesthetic pleasure of an area as well. 

Surely, you can easily recall the look of low, well-worn walls lining paths in picturesque portraits of remote European towns. You can imagine the look of brick walls and foggy mornings for iconic band photoshoots. There’s a reason that those uniform lines of masonry have such appealing imagery. The look of brick implies years of age while hinting at the careful work of a truly skilled builder. If you’re pondering installation of real brick wall, that same skilled masonry that makes those wall units look so appealing is going to be the thing that makes your price per unit skyrocket. 

Concrete Fence and Wall Systems Could Be The Solution

Gone are the days of seeing concrete fencing systems as a nod at brutalist architecture. Nowadays, they can be embossed with a variety of textures including brick texturizing. In one concrete wall system, you can get superior soundproofing and exceptional privacy while not sacrificing the look of your development or the exterior grounds of your property. 

AFTEC’s Precast Concrete Fence Systems

Fascinated by the possibilities and freedom offered by concrete fencing? We are too! Our concrete wall solutions are crafted with our trademarked processes for superior texturizing, sound-proofing and ease of installation. The best part is that they’re far more cost-effective than hand laying individual bricks for the sake of providing a certain look. Find out more about our precast concrete fence systems now. 


Enhance the Aesthetics of Your Concrete Wall With Stone Texture

When it comes to concrete fence and wall systems for residential, commercial, industrial, and public works projects, you want to find the best solution that combines protection, durability, and beauty all-in-one. While some wall and fence materials such as wood or stone may look attractive, they fall short when it comes to the superior security and longevity that AFTEC precast concrete fence systems provide.

One of the aspects that sets AFTEC apart is that we can customize our precast walls and fences with beautiful textures that resemble natural stone, but which also offer a range of benefits that natural stone does not. Let’s compare concrete walls and fences with stone texture versus natural stone fences.

Benefits of Stone Texture vs. Natural Stone

Natural Stone

Natural stone is beautiful and adds a lot of character to a property when used in walls and fences. Natural stone may be a better option for smaller DIY residential projects for these three benefits:

  • Made from natural materials
  • Attractive
  • Traditional style
  • Can create stone retaining walls without mortar

Natural stone, when being considered for larger projects, falls short of concrete walls and fences because stone masonry is:

  • More expensive
  • More labor intensive
  • Harder to maintain
  • Not as effective for large walls and fences
  • Deteriorated faster

Concrete Fence with Stone Texture

Concrete, on the other hand, offers numerous benefits for larger residential, commercial, and industrial projects. These advantages include:

  • Affordability
  • Less labor intensive
  • Attractive versatility
  • Durability and longevity
  • Little-to-no maintenance
  • Withstand extreme weather and environmental conditions

While it does not have the natural stone appeal on its own, AFTEC can customize any concrete wall or fence with a texture resembling natural stone, delivering the aesthetic of stone combined with the strength and durability of concrete. Better yet, the texture is applied to both sides of the wall system, offering beauty and elegance in all directions.    

Experience the AFTEC Advantage

If you are ready to invest in a concrete fence system outfitted with stone texture, reach out to AFTEC, the world’s leading precast concrete fence and wall manufacturer. We would be happy to help you find the perfect texture for your project.

Resort Project Managers: Here’s Why You Should Use Precast Concrete Fence Systems

Managing a hotel resort development project is quite an undertaking. One that takes a lot of planning to ensure all the safety, architectural, and landscape features come together flawlessly so that future guests feel comfortable and secure during their stay. When it comes to deciding on which type of fence or wall system to use for your resort project, there are a lot of options. Some fence and wall materials provide security and exclusivity, but significantly lack when it comes to the aesthetics. That’s where we come in.

Benefits of Precast Concrete Fence and Wall Systems for Resorts

Whether your resort project is a renovation or a new construction project, finding a secure, long-lasting, and cost-effective fence or wall system for the resort is essential during the design and development plan. While you have many materials and fencing systems to choose from, choosing a precast concrete fence for your project is a decision you can feel confident in, and here’s why.

#1. Excellent Security and Protection

When it comes to resorts, safety is a top concern. Not only can developers and project managers make a resort look and feel secure, but you can actually make a resort property safe and secure with high-quality, long-lasting enclosures. Concrete walls and fences offer superior security when compared to other materials due in part to their strength and height. In fact, AFTEC concrete walls can be customized in heights of three-feet reaching up to 16-feet, providing instant security for resort guests and employees.

What’s more, concrete wall systems can be easily outfitted with a range of security systems, such as cameras, alarms, gates, and so much more, helping to keep potential trespassers and vandals out while keeping those inside the resort walls safer. Learn more about AFTEC concrete security walls that offer optimal security and a long-lasting perimeter around the resort property.    

#2. Long-Lasting and Low-Maintenance

Concrete fence systems are designed to last. They are also easy to maintain and require low maintenance. Concrete walls can stand up to the threat of deterioration better than traditional wall materials. Additionally, a concrete fence resists weathering actions, high winds, inclement weather, rot, rusting, UV rays, pests and rodents, abrasion, and even chemicals. Plus, concrete actually hardens over time, making it more dense and stronger with time.     

#3. Aesthetic Versatility

Concrete fences offer something that, say, chain link fences don’t: aesthetics. Textured concrete walls offer attractive and stunning textures that can enhance the beauty and elegance of your resort project. You can customize your concrete fence with a textured design of your choosing. From concrete block to brick, stone, or stucco, each texture features exceptional realism and resembles various types of masonry materials, but with all the benefits that only precast concrete fence solutions offer. The best part? Textures are featured on both sides of the concrete fence for stunning beauty from all directions.

In addition to an extensive selection of texture options, AFTEC walls are colored on-site to complement the color, style, and landscape features of your resort development project. Precast concrete walls can also feature beautiful columns that are finished with a custom complimentary stone texture to further elevate the aesthetic of your concrete fence.

#4. Clear Property Boundary

Concrete walls for resorts offers a clear boundary marker. This is especially beneficial for hotel resorts located in major tourist destinations that feature hundreds of resorts that are built in close proximity to one another. A concrete fence is a clear indicator that can alert hotel guests — and guests staying at other resorts — of where the resort property ends and begins.  

#5. Many Options to Choose From

Choosing commercial precast concrete walls and fences for your resort project is a smart move simply for the variety of options you will have. Depending on the type of resort, style, its location, and more, you can choose from sound barrier fences, security walls, boundary and perimeter walls, and combination walls to meet your needs.

#6. Noise Barriers

If your resort development is near a busy highway or roadway, an industrial area, or a railway, you will want to choose a sound barrier fence for optimal protection against noise pollution. Unlike wood, vinyl, and brick walls, a precast concrete noise barrier wall can protect future guests and employees from noises that can interrupt their stay, reduce their comfort, and induce stress. AFTEC noise barrier walls absorb and reflect noise pollution and create a more comfortable environment ideal for any resort. Want to learn more about AFTEC SoundTec™ noise barrier technology? Read our recent article, What You Need to Know About Precast Concrete Wall Noise Barriers, to enhance your knowledge.

#7. Efficient Installation

AFTEC’s concrete fence systems offer speedy, yet safe installations. Unlike other wall materials, the column and panel are integrated into one unit and cast vertically. Once the thick steel I-beam footings are constructed, the concrete panels are installed into column voids by stacking them on each other. Thanks to AFTEC’s proprietary rigid footing support system, there is no need for shoring, bracing, or grouting the system to prevent falling. As a result, installation takes half the time of traditional fence systems, allowing for safe and efficient installations, reduced labor costs, and instant security and safety.

#8. Long-Term Value

Choosing a concrete fence or wall system for your resort project is a cost-effective investment for your project. Not only will you save on installation and labor costs, but you will also be providing the resort owner with a long-term value that far exceeds any other wall or fence material.

Chain link fences break and rust, wood fences need constant maintenance, and brick wall materials are susceptible to deterioration and damage that concrete walls are not. By making a smart choice for your wall or fence system during the design and development phase, you will provide your client with years of value and add to the property value should they choose to sell. It’s a win-win for everyone!

#9. Affordable Solution

To put it simply, concrete fence and wall systems are incredibly affordable. When you combine all the benefits we have mentioned, you, project manager, are keeping costs down for installation, labor, and even worker’s comp claims, thanks to the safe installation process. Additionally, AFTEC’s integrated forming systems means you can reduce the costs of materials and equipment to install a wall or fence. Even better, you can enjoy customizable texture options and color options without spending thousands or even tens of thousands more to include aesthetic features on your wall or fence.

#10. Available Nationwide

Whether you are building a luxury beach resort in Florida or a ski resort in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, AFTEC precast concrete fence and walls systems are available nationwide and engineered for any and all hotel resort applications. Our design-build team is ready to assist you with your project no matter where you are.

Choose The AFTEC Advantage For Your Next Project

If you’re a project manager in search of the perfect fence or wall material that offers security, longevity, is cost-effective, and features double-sided textures for the superior aesthetics, choose the global leader in precast concrete fence and wall systems. AFTEC provides prefab concrete walls to customers in the United States to meet their construction needs. Contact our team to get started and experience the AFTEC Advantage for your next project.