Rebar, or reinforcing steel bars, is used to strengthen concrete under tension and prevent cracks. While rebar is often used in commercial building projects, some homeowners may be surprised to learn that it can be used for residential projects as well. If you are planning on laying concrete for a new patio, you may be wondering if you need to have this component installed. Read on to find answers to your questions.
When Do You Need Rebar for Your Patio?
First, you will need to determine if you are laying pavers or paving slabs. Concrete pavers are pre-formed concrete pieces and are often tightly sealed together with compacted sand or resin. Slabs, on the other hand, are poured; paving slabs typically need rebar if they are more than a few inches thick. If you are planning on placing outdoor grills, hot tubs, or other heavy objects on the patio, then rebar is often recommended to better support these heavy items.
Can You Use Other Reinforcement Methods?
If you are on a tight budget, you may want to opt for a wire mesh instead of rebar. While rebar may have more upfront costs, it may be better than a mesh since it contains ridges, which make it stronger than smooth wire meshes. Plus, some wire mesh is only suitable for horizontal slabs and may not be flexible for curved patios. Lastly, you should check your local building codes and/or HOA for reinforcement specifications. Some building codes may require homeowners to use rebar for concrete slabs instead of other reinforcement methods based on patio length and thickness.
Which Kind of Rebar Do You Need for Your Patio?
Doityourself.com says that concrete patios often use a #3 size rebar, which is about 3/8-inch in diameter. Besides getting the right diameter, there are different types of rebar materials that you can purchase depending on your needs and budget, such as epoxy-coated rebar, stainless steel rebar, or carbon steel rebar.
Epoxy-coated rebars and stainless steel rebars are high-quality products that work well in more humid and wet environments since they are resistant to corrosion. The main downside of those options is that they are pricier. While carbon steel rebar isn't as resistant to corrosion, it's still quite durable and has a more reasonable cost.
Should You Have a Professional Install Rebar or Do it Yourself?
You may want to install the entire patio yourself, but at the very least, you should have a professional builder or industrial equipment supplier inspect the rebar before the concrete is poured. Why? Because the tiniest spacing errors can reduce the strength of the rebar. For instance, the National Precast Concrete Association says that if a #5 rebar was placed with 5-inch spacing instead of a 4-inch spacing, the product's strength could be reduced by 20%! You want your patio to last a long time, so having a professional inspect the structures before pouring is incredibly helpful.
Reach out to an industrial equipment supplier for more information on rebar installation.