Grancrete : Spray-Form Building

February 7th, 2005 | Filed under: Architecture, Building Tech, Fabrication Tech, Materials | 229 Comments »

Grancrete (pdf) by Argonne offers a step up from the spray-forming concrete products like Shotcrete available today. The ceramic composite of locally available, biodegradable ingredients is stronger than concrete. Since the material is sprayed onto a simple frame made of Styrofoam or locally woven fibers, we know the process offers a wide architectural formal vocabulary, allowing multiple translations of the material into its specific local customs. The material is currently going through its final testing prior to worldwide distribution for cheap housing.

via World Science : World changing

229 Comments on “Grancrete : Spray-Form Building”

  1. 1 Robert said at 2:58 am on August 21st, 2006:

    Can I get a catalog sent to my home address?

  2. 2 Steve said at 6:54 am on August 21st, 2006:

    I have to agree with Jason’s post on 7/9. I’ve been monitoring this site since I first published a note well over a year ago. Looking back thru the blog Jeff Selph with Grancrete states on 2/3 that ‘ Grancrete Inc. has a very experienced management team’. I can’t say that I agree. We’ve been hearing promises of this great product coming to market with little or no result. While one could classify a management team that misses delivery dates by that far as ‘very experienced’ it might be hard to say that the experience of that team has been very successful. I still think the product has great potential even if the costs are going to be significantly higher than suggested by the Popular Science article that turned me onto Grancrete.

  3. 3 glenn porche said at 1:15 pm on August 27th, 2006:

    Katrina and the Gulf Coast………….Can anyone help?????????????????

  4. 4 Kris said at 2:15 am on September 7th, 2006:

    It looks like its available to order..

    Also, A few people mention how they have used it on this website

  5. 5 jay said at 11:55 pm on October 3rd, 2006:

    Starting to build a home with a SIP panel ( Thermasteel ) a foam and steel panel. Can Grandcrete be used over the panel like stucco for its fire safety and more strength? Address

    Thanks for the help

  6. 6 blind ambition said at 1:19 am on November 21st, 2006:

    i just talked to jim and paul and they said it is tough to work with, but think it could be used to repair the downed alien spacecraft languishing in a top secret hanger within the area 51 air base. could be troweled on. i’m excited! this could be it! also, we talked about the possibilites of infusing stem cells into the mixture to create a “rock man”, never leaking or cracking. he would be like the “thing” from the fantastic four series, but would be more likely to only help poor people in developing countries. also, jim invited me down to the manufacturing plant on swindale court in virginia tomorrow. i’m hoping to bring my camera in to get pics. i’ll keep you guys updated!

  7. 7 Loren said at 8:39 pm on December 19th, 2006:

    Testing models!!

    I am interested in spraying Grancrete over an arched shell of sprayed 2 lb. biobased insulation, that rests on a steel frame. I think grancrete would be strong enough in an arched shape, coating the outside. This is much stronger and cheaper than a two sided flat panel. Also polystyrene is a lousy insulator due to its open cell, and chunky nature. 2.5″ of dense closed cell is roughly 3x better.

    To get past the lack of engineering problem, I suggest that we build a sample arch and throw sand bags on it. This is how Frank L. Wright despensed with the inspectors in Chicago for his famous Johnson building with the flaring columns.

    In Minnesota, here, the snow load is 50 lbs per sq ft. That’s about one sand bag per sq. ft. If the model supports this, then it doesn’t matter what any inspector or engineer says because it has been proven.

    I want to build this sample 30’x1′ arch. Any helpers, advisors, investors, or takers?

    call Loren 952-261-2637 cell 952-448-5863

  8. 8 Ross said at 3:41 am on December 20th, 2006:

    I have worked with Grancrete and have successfully participated in its use on vertical wall applications and self leveling floor applications. I can tell you that this material will perform beautifully with the right equipment. We have demonstrated it as friendly as spraying in a gyp texture like manor. The achievement opens the door for many opportunities if performed properly.

    We want to assisted in helping the application be properly performed. We are a trainer and contractor. Please call Ross at Energy Smart Solutions 214-663-4886 Central Time

  9. 9 B.C. said at 5:10 pm on January 11th, 2007:

    Great news about Grancrete! The guys in charge of spearheading the operation at Grancrete Solutions Inc. will have a booth at the World Concrete Convention in Las Vegas. Lots of exciting things are about to happen, just check them out at, search grancrete and see their new video. Contact me with questions.

  10. 10 T.S. said at 3:47 am on January 20th, 2007:

    This material sounds fantastic and if it is a strong as they claim it to be, I can see this type of material being used by the U.S. military in rapid construction and or hardening practices of buildings/revetments. I’m a Civil Engineer Contingency Training Instructor for the Air Force, so I see many different ideas just springing up in my head as I read through this thread. I will continue to visit this site so please provide updates whenever possible.

  11. 11 T Nowell said at 9:07 am on January 20th, 2007:

    I have been using Grancrete in small outdoor projects with great success. Certainly it shows much promise for many other applications. As for larger projects–military, heavy construction–and such issues as cost savings over concrete and reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, I highly suggest looking into geopolymers. There is a lot of fascinating technical information on this subject available on the internet.

  12. 12 B.C. said at 12:36 pm on January 20th, 2007:

    Grancrete would be excellent for military applications. Filling in roadside bomb holes is a daily struggle for our troops in Iraq, and grancrete’s quick curing time would be excellent in getting them out of harms way very quickly. Say goodbye to the sand Hesco barriers they use for protection, because grancrete can prove 50 times as strong as explosion and small arms protection when coupled with sand, And there is plenty of sand there, let me tell ya. I have let Grancrete Solutions Inc. in Dallas, hear about my idea with that, and it seems that they allready have something in progress as far as that goes. I can’t wait to see.

  13. 13 B.C. said at 12:36 pm on January 20th, 2007:

    Grancrete would be excellent for military applications. Filling in roadside bomb holes is a daily struggle for our troops in Iraq, and grancrete’s quick curing time would be excellent in getting them out of harms way very quickly. Say goodbye to the sand Hesco barriers they use for protection, because grancrete can prove 50 times as strong as explosion and small arms protection when coupled with sand, And there is plenty of sand there, let me tell ya. I have let Grancrete Solutions Inc. in Dallas, hear about my idea with that, and it seems that they allready have something in progress as far as that goes. I can’t wait to see.

  14. 14 T.S. said at 8:57 pm on January 20th, 2007:

    We sent one of our guys to Vegas to the World of Concrete show. I understand that Grancrete will be holding a demonstration there. It will be great to find out what he has learned. And of course he will be asking questions so I will be happy to update depending on the information I get back.

  15. 15 Tom Costello said at 2:59 pm on January 22nd, 2007:

    There is a cementitious material that can be sprayed on to EPS that has been approved by ICC. Not sure if Grancrete has those types of credentials or not but if not, it will be a struggle to get this stuff through a muni department.

  16. 16 marshall warren said at 11:26 am on February 12th, 2007:

    grancrete sounds nice but difficult to use and expensive. Plus as this forum shows, a lot of questions. What is the problem with applying a bonding agent to eps and than expanded metal mesh and trowelling cement onto the surface? It seems you would end up with the same structural integrity as a sip using cement board.

  17. 17 Blayne said at 2:51 pm on April 18th, 2007:

    Anyone still reading this site have any updates on their esperiences with grancrete or gigacrete? Anyone know of any homemade mixes for geopolymers or anything else comparable and cheaper in price?

    I am a former masonry and concrete contractor and have been looking for cheaper alternatives for 25+ years. Concrete is still hard to beat in terms material price but is labor intensive.

    One thing I have learned in all this is if we’re going to really find a significantly cheaper better material/method were going to have to do it ourselves and spread it word of mouth. But most of us are too busy making and living and living life to put the time and research into doing it.

    One thing is for sure anytime some company such as grancrete finds something then the coporate politics always seems to throw a wrench in the gears and or maybe it’s just greed as far as the cost savings not to mention building departments.

    I have heard rumors the military has some sort of polymer mix they can mix with just about any soil and it is stronger then concrete. They supposedly use it to make quick runways and other hard surfaces but they don’t want to make it available to the public as it would destroy the building materials market for concrete and asphalt etc. as it is so cheap and easy blah blah. But you know how rumors go…

  18. 18 R. K. Corbett, Jr. said at 7:44 am on May 6th, 2007:

    I understand you are located in Virginia. I would like to see some examples of your construction.

  19. 19 Norm B. said at 12:14 pm on November 4th, 2007:

    I’m hoping to test build a small (garage) structure using 8″ to 12″ geofoam with grancrete in the next year. I’d like to use the technique for some structures in the Bahamas. Due to terminites possibly nesting in the foam I want to use Borax impregnated geofoam.

    One of issues I see is connection of panels, roofs etc. My current plan is to use long plastic/polyester screws, and use stainless steel screening bent around various connections – corners, cornices etc. Additionally I may run various strapping from foundations. I’m also anticipating some glue.

    For window and door bucking, I’m looking to use all plastic/composite wood materials – again trying to avoid termites. I don’t want any wood in the house except in cabinets and furniture and even then the termites are sure to find that wood.

    Some other possibilites for a geofoam/grancrete combo:
    * geodesic domes. You could precut all the triangles, put up the dome in hours and spray. I believe you could do this without rebar. If desired, metal mesh could be fairly easily installed over the exterior. This would be much easier and cheaper than the air-form, spray foam, rebar, concrete monolithic dome technique. It would also be even better insulated. I’m thinking of 1ft thick geofoam for this.

    * quonset hut structures of large size. Geofoam panels come in up to 3x4x16 ft panels. Cut the panels slightly to make a classic roman arch – with 4ft thick walls – and you could cover a football field. The foam is quite good in compression that is provided by the arch. You may want to add reinforcing metal, but perhaps only on the exterior where it would be easy to apply. For a football field of 180+ft wide x lets say by 380ft long, you’d need 24 arches each 16ft wide (1 block) , with each each comprised of about 94 blocks for a total of 2256 geofoam blocks. Though this is way too simplistic thinking and would require more engineering, its nontheless intriguing. Talk about superinsulation – 4 ft thick foam should be sufficient… Note that if you use the highest 2lb density geofoam (I’d anticipate multiple densities – high at base, low at top of arch), geofoam cost should be under $1.4million for this. I estimate 220K sq ft of 1″ to 2″ grancrete at about $400,000 not including labor – so lets say roughly $2million for the shell materials. Double that for labor, add $1.5million for the field itself, and for $5million you have a superinsulated football/soccer/lacrosse field house. Add another million and you might be able to include a track. Just a crazy estimate without sufficient engineering.

    * Another fun idea – spray the grancrete around 3x4x16 geofoam blocks, then use grancrete to attach these together into a barge for a floating home.. Then use 8″ geofoam (3″ for interior walls) for building the house structure itself. Although Grancrete is waterproof, I might still consider coating the exterior with a spray-on/roll-on pickup bed liner material like DuraBak.

    * Seems that geofoam and grancrete, again due to its waterproof nature, might be excellent for creating a ferro-cement boat. But you might be able to drop the “ferro”. Create your bulkheads out of geofoam, cover with a couple of layers of 1″ thick flexible EPS panel strips (with a fine layer of grancrete between?), use a very fine gunite sprayer to apply grancrete inside and out and you’ve got your boat. And its highly fire resistant. I’m thinking of a large catamaran…

  20. 20 jon said at 6:16 pm on December 29th, 2007:

    I have worked extensivley with grancrete in exterior installations. My background is in stucco systems. What I have found is the product doesn’t fully live up to it’s claimes. we have had problems with cracking, color fadeing and delamination. I feel there needs to be more true testing in different enviorments (not a lab). We have also encountered problems with Grancrete standing behind the product the way we feel they should. I have a 13,000 sq. ft. project that is half finished and is stalled until spring in hopes that Grancrete can figure things out. Even with the problems my self and the homeowners hope to be able to continue to work with Grancrete but if we can’t get answers form them on why we are haveing the problems we will be forced to go back to synthetic or conventional stucco. we have been consulting grancrete before and during the project to apply the material the way they suggest.

  21. 21 jimi said at 8:38 am on March 17th, 2008:

    For a product that has theoretically been available for 2 1/2 years, it’s surprisingly difficult to get. An hour of searching the web found nothing but dead “you can buy it now” links to the grancrete site. The material seems impressive, and I would of bought some today if I could of… If anyone from Grancrete LLC reads this, a couple of suggestions. If you “reorganize” your website, figure out how to deal with calls to old pages… it’s not too hard. Also, you have a product people want, it would be nice for you to sell it to them. None of your “distributors” have websites listed. I was able to determine one from the email address, but his site didn’t sell Grancrete. Maybe I’m just confused on the meaning of distributor?

    FYI: – Link to the “distibutor”

  22. 22 Idaho Grancrete said at 2:29 am on April 17th, 2008:

    We do sell Grancrete and would be more than happy to sell you some or get you in contact with the distributor for your area. Please feel free to contact us at [email protected] or visit our website and fill out our contact form and we will get right back to you, most likely the same day.

  23. 23 Idaho Grancrete said at 2:30 am on April 17th, 2008:

    Grancrete has only been available to the public for just over a year and in that time has undergone some major growing pains. For example some of the initial compressive testing data put Grancrete at 6,880 PSI after 28 days under the original mixing instructions. Now with lessons learned and a better way of mixing Grancrete is now getting 12,590 PSI after only 3 days. Some valuable installation lessons learned are to mix Grancrete by hand with a drill mixer at a very high speed slowly adding the powder to the water. The amount of water used in the formula is very key to the final strength. The best performance comes when 18 to 22% water is used by weight on the “PC” formula and down as low as 11% on the “B” formula. We have also found that mesh is another key component to preventing check cracking. Currently the color fades during curing under direct sunlight. If used outdoors or where sunlight will affect the final color we recommend using a synthetic finish. There are still more lessons to be learned from Grancrete and the best way so far has been on the ground by people who recognize Grancrete’s ultimate potential in changing the way people build. Grancrete is moving in the right direction and has produced some beautiful homes, countertops, faux walls, fireplaces, bathrooms, floors and even as a fireproofing for steal. We feel that the surface of what Grancrete is capable of has only been scratched. We have a lot of on the ground experience with Grancrete and appreciate people like Plaster Jon who are willing to give Grancrete a chance and are sorry that things didn’t work out for him. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us at [email protected] or visit us on the web at

  24. 24 Robert said at 8:53 am on April 17th, 2008:

    I was one of the first fourm writters and yet to hear when I can be come your seller or partial product owner..When am I going to get more information from you guys? Please hurry many biological clocks are ticking and we want to enjoy our fruits of our investments…Proffessional Marketing, Robert

  25. 25 Idaho Grancrete said at 11:20 am on April 18th, 2008:

    Robert, If you would like some information on Grancrete email us at [email protected] and we will get you the information you need or get you in contact with the right group.

  26. 26 Milind R Patil said at 11:37 am on August 28th, 2008:

    I am a manufacturer of EPS in India and am interested in trying out Grancrete in Pune Maharashtra State. I am keen on a franchise arrangement. If interested you can contact me on [email protected].

  27. 27 Deborah Stephenson said at 1:36 pm on August 18th, 2015:

    It is 2015 and Grancrete seems to have disappeared without a trace. Anyone know why? Has the portland concrete industry managed to push them out entirely (or have they merely moved to China with all the other magnesium cement concerns)?

  28. 28 Martin said at 9:55 pm on September 3rd, 2015:

    This is the evolution of “grancrete”. A much more consistent and further refined product.

  29. 29 L.SURYA PRAKASH said at 10:00 am on October 28th, 2015:

    what is the present cost of grancrete
    and what is the proportion of grancrete we can mix with water.
    Advantages and disadvantages of grancrete.
    stress-srain characterstics of grancrete.
    impact strength of grancrete
    cyclic loading on grancrete.

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