It’s certainly a question that is worth asking, particularly if you’re on the fence about it. If you’re about to plan a big construction job that will require a significant amount of concrete, there’s a good chance that some of it will need to be reinforced. But what needs to be reinforced, exactly? And how much reinforcement do you actually need to do? If you’ve found yourself in this position before, or if you’re looking into it for a job in the future, there are certainly a few things you should know – in this article, we take a look at a few of these aspects to ensure you stay informed.
Understanding how concrete mesh works
Before you rush out and search for any and all in your area, you should have a good understanding of your rebar and reinforcing mesh options. If you’re planning on reinforcing concrete, you’ll usually need to be considering either of these – rebar (which is an abbreviation of reinforcing bar) is a steel rod that is available in a wide variety of thicknesses depending on the needs of the project. You might recognise rebar by its ribbed structure, which is provided to ensure extra grip when handling it. The other option is wired mesh, which is a steel mesh made up of wires welded to form a flat grid-like sheet. Like rebar, it is available in a wide variety of sizes and thickness to cater to the specific requirements of a project. Rebar and mesh can be paired depending on the needs of the project, but they do not necessarily require the inclusion of one another. For both of these structural supports, though, the steel is not stainless, as it cannot rust while it is firmly embedded in concrete due to the lack of oxygen.
Does my project need reinforcement?
It’s certainly the case that not all concrete projects demand steel reinforcement, but the issue then is understanding when they do. For the most part, it’s only the larger projects that require the extra support due to the nature of their added weight. The inclusion of a reinforcing mesh can also prevent cracking, so it’s also worth considering if you need your project to stand up to extra abuse. Sometimes it is the case that you’ll need reinforcing steel regardless of the size of the project – it is usually the case that this occurs in certain locations or for certain clients (and most commonly occurs in public buildings). If you’re unsure whether your project is one of these, having a careful look over the plans might give you a better idea. If you’re still unsure what might generally require reinforcement, think things that experience frequent heavy loads – things like supporting walls, areas with lots of foot traffic and similar foundational areas are good examples.
When you don’t need it
Although it might seem safe to just go out and secure some concrete mesh, doing so can significantly increase the price of the project (and often opportunities for headaches, too). Concrete-related jobs in residential areas typically don’t need reinforcing, even if they experience heavy loads (such as in a driveway). Even still, reinforcing a driveway is by no means uncommon, so it’s completely up to you whether you think you need it or not.