Many a home-improvement hobbyist have been surprised to learn just how crucial rebar is to most concrete projects. That discovery invariable leads to the question: does concrete always need rebar? Let’s take a look at what rebar is, what it does for concrete, and when it’s actually needed.
Rebar is shorthand for reinforcing bar; a title that does a pretty good job of explaining what it does. Rebar refers to metal bars that are used to provide additional support to concrete structures. The presence of rebar in a concrete project gives the final project considerably more strength than concrete alone. This strength is crucial for things like buildings, roads and driveways.
Rebar is not necessary for every concrete project. The general rule of thumb is that if you are pouring concrete that is more than 5 inches in depth, you are probably going to want to add in some rebar to help reinforce the entire structure.
If you’re not doing a commercial-level project but still want some additional reinforcement for your concrete, a wire mesh is a great (and cheaper) alternative to rebar. Wire mesh use is becoming much more common for projects like a home driveway.
Reinforcing concrete with rebar or wire mesh not only makes the concrete strong, but it also significantly curtails the number of cracks that appear in that concrete down the line. This can save you money on repair work and keep your concrete aesthetically pleasing for years to come.
To make things more complicated, there are actually several different kinds of rebar to choose from. The basic types are: welded wire, expandable metal, stainless steel, sheet metal and epoxy coated. Each type is suited for specific types of projects, so be sure to do your research before deciding what type of rebar is right for you.
Welded Wire Fabric: Usually used slab-on-ground-slabs on compacted ground.
Expandable Metal: This is the wire mesh option we wrote about earlier. This is a great option for smaller home improvement projects.
Stainless Steel Rebar: Stainless steel is uniquely resistant to corrosion. This is a great option for any concrete projects in areas that are more prone to corrosion. This type of rebar does tend to be more expensive than other alternatives.
Sheet Metal: This option is most commonly used for concrete floors, roofs and stairs.
Epoxy Coated Rebar: Epoxy is even more resistant to corrosion than stainless steel. This is one of the most durable types of rebar but it is also the most expensive.
In short, no you do not always need to use rebar in concrete projects. However, rebar is an incredibly useful tool. Do your research before starting in on any project.
If you feel as though you might be out of your depth, consult with a professional! The staff at Razorback Concrete are always willing to help. Visit www.razorbackconcrete.com to learn more.