Frequently asked questions
1 Is Litecrete better than standard construction materials such as timber, masonry or bricks?
Litecrete out-performs timber, masonry or bricks. It is the only durable, structural, thermal and fire-resistant material all in the one product. For example, in timber and/or brick construction, building paper, insulation and plasterboard must be added to make the wall fire-resistant and thermally compliant. Litecrete has in-built insulation which complies with the Building Code requirements, has superior acoustic properties, is non-organic, fire-resistant, rot proof and moisture and pest-resistant.
2 How does Litecrete compare in price to the other construction materials mentioned above?
Litecrete is initially more expensive than those materials, however the speed of installation, built-in insulation, cost-effective finishing systems, energy savings and low maintenance offered with a concrete house more than pays for itself.
3 Does the exterior face of Litecrete require finishing?
Litecrete exterior walls can be painted or plastered or left as a natural concrete finish. However all concrete varies in colour from batch to batch.The minerals in the pumice aggregate can sometimes result in more surface figuring than for normal precast concrete. Many designers like the "honesty" which Litecrete offers in its natural state. However, we recommend that a matt finish clear sealer is applied to the natural concrete surface to enable ease of cleaning. If a more consistent colour is required we suggest mineral-based stains, paint or plaster systems.
4 If plastering or painting, what type of systems should be used?
Vapour-permeable elastomeric paint systems, such as Resene X200 (www.resene.co.nz), or silica-based masonry paint, is recommended for use with Litecrete. There is also a wide range of proprietary exterior plaster systems to choose from.
5 Is Litecrete fire resistant?
Yes. BRANZ Fire Resistance Test 3524 confirms that minimum 150 mm thick Litecrete panels achieved a 240-minute fire resistance rating.
6 With the leaky house syndrome being of concern these days, do Litecrete walls encourage mould growth?
No. Mould is dependant upon organic materials such as timber, plywood sheathing and the paper facing on plasterboard for growth. The cement, pumice and polypropylene fibre used in the manufacture of Litecrete are totally inorganic and will not harbour mould and fungi.
7 Is Litecrete energy efficient?
Yes. Concrete has an inherent capacity (related to its mass) to absorb and store thermal energy. This quality is referred to as 'thermal mass'. The homogeneous nature of Litecrete means that the thermal resistance of the material is consistent throughout the material. Quite simply, it will absorb thermal energy, store it, and release it when the internal house temperature drops below that of the concrete. This buffering effect means that the intermittent nature of heat sources such as space heaters and the sun becomes less apparent - temperature fluctuations are reduced and a more comfortable home is the result.
8Do Litecrete walls meet the insulation requirements of the Building Code?
The Building Code defines three Climate Zones in New Zealand: Zone 1 - Northland, Auckland and Coromandel Peninsula; Zone 2 - rest of North Island except the Volcanic Plateau (Taupo, Rotorua, etc); Zone 3 - Volcanic Plateau and South Island. For Litecrete to comply in Zone 1 the external walls are 220 mm thick; Zone 2, 280 mm thick; Zone 3, 330 mm thick.
9 How durable is Litecrete?
Lightweight pumice concrete has proven to be a very durable material. There are numerous structures built over 70 years ago with lightweight concrete that are still standing today and require very little maintenance. Lightweight concrete will not rot, corrode, or otherwise decompose. Litecrete provides a very low maintenance building material that will save considerable time and money in upkeep over the life of the building. Although damage is unlikely, repair is simple using an acrylic or cement plaster.
10 Can Litecrete be used for floors, mid-floors and roofs?
No, Litecrete is only suitable for external and internal walls.
11 I am interested in using Litecrete for my new home. What do I need to get an estimate of the cost?
Email us a set of architectural drawings or sketches showing floor plans, elevation drawings with dimensions for walls and openings and also advise the building site address.
12 Who should I contact to design my project; a draftsman or an architect?
Check out this link for a possible answer to this hoary question
Litecrete lightweight precast concrete wall panels were used to construct four 2-storey houses in a residential development at Flatbush, South Auckland. There were four differen.. read more »