If you’ve ever watched a concrete slab for a building being poured, you will have seen the reinforcing steel, ‘rebar’ or concrete mesh being installed prior to the cement being poured. This reinforcing gives additional strength to the cement and to help it retain its strength even under stress. If you’re planning on doing any concreting around your house you want to make sure your handiwork lasts by reinforcing it properly.
Concrete mesh provides strength
Reinforcing steel in your cement turns it into a composite material that is better able to withstand movement once the cement is set and prevent future cracking or other critical failures. Even though we can’t feel it, the ground is constantly moving and shifting and if your concrete is not reinforced properly then over time this tension can cause cracking. Concrete is hard and strong when it is squashed but the addition of steel ensures it is also flexible when it is stretched.
Tips for using concrete mesh
If you are going to reinforce your concrete with mesh you need to ensure that the mesh does not sag between supports or rest on the base, it must be completely enclosed by cement. Ideally the concrete mesh reinforcement should be at least 5cm above the base and 4cm or so below the top of the slab. Plastic bar chairs can be used to support the mesh and will be a great help in making sure you do a fantastic job.