The Facts About Granite Will Curb Your Enthusiasm for Concrete
It is widely understood among industry experts that granite is superior to cast concrete in strength, abrasive resistance, durability, cost of maintenance, reusability and aesthetics, so the one and only point of consideration in favoring concrete curbing over granite curbing has been the perception of cost. Granite remains the standard for bridge curbing because it is superior to cast concrete in protecting decks; but although granite remains the better choice for virtually every curbing application, over the past 25 years there has been a significant increase in the use of cast concrete curbing due entirely to an assumption that granite curbing is expensive relative to concrete.
Based on research studies conducted by the New York State Department of Transportation, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation and conducted jointly by the Departments of Engineering at the University of Massachusetts and the University of Connecticut, the facts are clear that granite is the superior choice when long-term costs of maintenance, repair and disposal or resetting expenses are calculated along with initial costs.
- Setting expenses of granite curbing are now comparable to setting expenses for precast concrete due to advances in fabricating granite that produce consistent shape and thickness
- Longevity of precast concrete is estimated at 20 years (far less in severe freeze/thaw zones) while longevity of granite is deemed ‘indefinite” due to its superior strength and resistance to abrasion and to resistance to deterioration from ice melting agents
- Road milling is now a common practice—granite holds up well during the process, concrete does not
- Granite can be reused/reset whereas precast concrete cannot
- High cost and environmental impact of dumping used concrete curbing make concrete a poor choice*
- Granite curbing is in stock and readily available; concrete curbing is not
- Twenty year life expectancy of cast concrete curbing is based on routine maintenance with sealant, which is rarely performed, shortening functional life, increasing cost
- Granite is far less susceptible to damage and requires far fewer repairs than concrete
*It should be noted that one of the studies cited above gave a slight edge of cost effectiveness to cast concrete versus granite when interest rates are high. The study was conducted in 1999 before landfill costs began to rise dramatically. Today the much higher cost of disposal of precast concrete curbing negates this particular conclusion of that study.
The evidence is clear—specifying granite curbing represents the best investment for your dollar. The economic cost and the environmental impact of using precast concrete curbing are wasteful and unnecessary.
Granite curbing is the responsible choice. Please contact us today so that we may assist you.