What Are Concrete Slabs? - Explained By Converge

May 5, 2022

Concrete slabs

A concrete slab is a structural unit used in construction. It is made of concrete and is usually multiple inches thick and has its weight supported by for example beams or columns. When used in construction its purpose is to make flat and horizontal areas that need to be strong and durable. For instance, concrete floor slabs or concrete foundation slabs.


You can find several types of concrete slabs that are used and invented for different purposes. We will give you more detailed information about some of those down below.


Read more: Concrete maturity and the difference between cement and concrete.


Different types of slabs

There are many different types of concrete slabs, and they all have different areas of usage. We will go through seven common types of slabs a little further down below.


Flat slab

A flat concrete slab (also known as a beamless slab), is reinforced and the weight goes instantly on the columns. By using this type of slab, you don’t need to use beams to hold the slab up.


Conventional slab

This type of slab is being supported by beams and the weight is being transferred over to them instead of the slab itself. There are two different kinds of conventional slabs:


  1. A one-way conventional slab: Has he support from two beams on opposite sides and transfer the weight one-way.
  2. A two-way conventional slab: Has the support from four beams on all sides and transfer the weight in two-ways.


Composite slab

The composite slab is made of reinforced concrete and poured over profiled steel. The steel makes an external protection of the slab.


Hollow-core ribbed slab

This type of slab has voids throughout the entity. The voids make the slab lower its own weight. Hollow-core ribbed slabs are also very cost-effective since the cost of the material is lowered by the voids.


Inclined slab

The inclined slab is mostly used on roofs that need to be inclined due to rain or snow that will otherwise gather on top of the roof.


Solid slab raft

This is a very shallow type of slab that often covers a lot of area. For example, it is used as a footprint of a large building.


Slab with arches

Slabs with arches were originally built with bricks or stones but are today constructed with reinforced concrete. The arches help the bridges to withstand horizontal loads that come from wind or moving trucks and cars.


Reading tips: Good things to know if you are thinking about pouring concrete in cold temperatures.


How concrete slabs are made

Easily explained, these are the steps of making a concrete slab:


  1. Choose a concrete mix that is made of ingredients that has the characteristics you need for the purpose of your slab.
  2. Mix the concrete carefully and properly.
  3. Make or choose a form in the shape and measurements that you want your concrete slab to be in.
  4. Pour the concrete in the form you chose.
  5. Let the concrete set and let the curing of the concrete take its time.


This is just an overview of the process. If you are making complicated slabs that must be of high quality to ensure safety, you should always consult an expert before doing anything yourself.


Reading tips: Concrete slump test and concrete cube test.


If you want to be more efficient…

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ConcreteDNA will help you save both money and time on your building projects. You can save time with the predictions of when the curing will be done, because you won't have to hire staff on the weekends that stand around with nothing to do due to wrongful calculations. You will save time by being able to schedule the right people, at the right place, at the right time.


Frequently asked questions


Are slabs made of concrete or cement?

Slabs are made of concrete since the concrete give durability and strength. Cement is an ingredient of concrete and is a binding material.


How thick is a concrete slab?

It varies depending on the purpose of the slab. concrete floor slabs, for example, are usually approximately 10 cm (4 inches) thick. If it is being used in a way where it needs to carry a lot of weight from time to time, the recommended thickness is 12,7-15,2 cm (5 to 6 inches).


When can you use a concrete slab?

There are many different kinds of concrete slabs, and they all have distinct uses. For example, slabs with arches are usually used when building bridges since it can take a lot of horizontal load, and inclined slabs are used on small houses that need water or snow to slide off the roof.

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