Does your concrete driveway or patio deck need reinforcement material to help it stand up to wear and tear? Will adding a material like rebar prevent cracks and other damage to your most frequently used concrete spaces?
While you might think these are questions only asked by commercial property owners that get high traffic from heavy trucks, it’s also a worthwhile concern for residential homeowners. Here’s a closer look at the difference it can make to strengthen your driveway and patio with reinforcing elements.
What Is Rebar?
Short for “reinforcing bar,” rebar refers to the steel alloy rods that you commonly see installed in many concrete surfaces. Used for over 150 years to strengthen concrete, rebar is manufactured with ridges in the steel that poured concrete can easily adhere to.
How Rebar Is Installed
First, the rebar is set in place, in a grid pattern. Rebar comes in different thicknesses, and your concrete contractor will choose the thickness that is best for supporting your particular concrete surface. Thicker rebar in tighter grid patterns creates greater resistance to heavy weight from cars and trucks.
Once the rebar is in place, then the concrete is poured. The result is added strength and durability that provide years of trusted performance.
Rebar vs. Mesh: Which Is Better?
Mesh is an alternative to rebar that may be used in certain instances. This heavy, welded wire is lighter and thinner than rebar, making it an option when your concrete surface needs to be thin and doesn’t need to support substantial weight.
Remember that a thicker pour that uses rebar will be much sturdier and more resistant to wear than a thin layer using mesh. Whenever possible, rebar is simply a smarter option.
How Rebar Benefits Residential Driveways and Patios
Using sturdy reinforcement materials in your concrete spaces is advantageous for several reasons. As you plan your new concrete driveway or patio, remember these reasons for using rebar.
Your Concrete Will Be Stronger and More Resilient
Have you ever noticed that a large, long beam can tend to sag and weaken in the middle if it is supported only at each end? This is referred to as tension stress.
The problem: Tension stress can affect your concrete driveway or patio, resulting in cracks, breaks and other damage.
The solution: Installing rebar before pouring the concrete will provide much-needed support to the middle sections of a large concrete area. The stress of any weight will be more evenly distributed, and the concrete will be less likely to sag, crack, or break.
Your Concrete Won’t Need to Be as Thick
Sometimes, the thickness of a concrete slab can be a concern. For example, you may want to pour the concrete in a place where you can’t dig too deep, meaning the slab will need to be thinner in depth. In addition, ash and other materials, such as pieces of stone, may be added to the concrete, and those substances can make the slab thicker.
The problem: The thicker the concrete slab, the stronger it is. So, if you need a thinner slab, you need to add strength another way.
The solution: Rebar’s added strength means that the concrete doesn’t have to be poured as deeply. The rebar creates a strong support system that helps even a thinner slab have more resilience.
Your Concrete Will Last Longer
One key to a beautiful, durable concrete surface is a perfect pour. A topnotch concrete contractor will take careful, precise steps before, during, and after laying your slab to ensure it gives you the most attractive and lasting results.
The problem: It takes planning to make your concrete last as long as it possibly can—anywhere from 25-30 years or even longer.
The solution: Rebar is easy to set into place, and careful pouring will produce a smooth, strong concrete slab for your driveway or patio. As long as you care for the concrete properly—resealing it regularly, for example—the rebar helps the slab last as long as possible.
Your Concrete Won’t Crack as Easily
Oklahoma’s wet weather and our freeze and thaw cycles can be rough on any home material, including concrete. That, plus the wear and tear of heavy use, can cause concrete to crack and break.
The problem: Your concrete needs reinforcement to withstand the elements.
The solution: Rebar is an effective tool to help concrete slabs handle weather changes. This is because the rebar helps distribute the tension caused by the concrete’s tendency to expand and contract with the temperature and humidity shift.
When to Use Concrete Reinforcement Material
Reinforcing your concrete with rebar is most effective when your slab will be at least 5–6 inches deep, so that the concrete will effectively cover and blend with the thick rebar rods.
You’ll find rebar useful for strengthening:
- Foundation slabs
- Retaining walls
You’ll get years of trusted use from your reinforced concrete residential driveway and patio.
Get Concrete Driveways and Patios that Last Long-Term
When you are planning to pour a new concrete surface—such as a residential driveway, patio, or retaining wall—our team at R&M Concrete is ready to answer your questions and provide solutions and designs that delight you. Discover how our concrete driveway options can add curb appeal to your home. Contact us to learn more and get a free estimate.