Concrete driveways are a great addition to homes. Many people who have explored ways to add value to their homes have found that concrete driveways offer the much-needed solution. Being affordable and available in different colors and textures, concrete driveways appear to be the perfect home improvement choice. Lately, most homeowners have also started appreciating the importance of rebar to most concrete driveways. In the past, the durability of concrete driveways was associated only with the thickness of the concrete. However, any stamped concrete patio company will admit to the effectiveness of rebar in improving the strength and durability of concrete driveways.
This discovery has therefore put a common question on the lips of property owners, are rebars always needed? Before addressing the question, one needs to understand what rebar is, what it adds to concrete, and when to consider adding it to one’s concrete driveway.
What is Rebar?
Rebar is a technical shorthand for Reinforcing bars. Reinforcing bars are made from steel, and as the name suggests, it does the job of reinforcement. These metal bars, when added to concrete driveways, provide additional support and increases the lifespan and durability of the cast. Rebars are not a compulsory addition to concrete structures. However, a general contracting rule of thumb is that they are required when more than 5 inches of concrete is to be cast. This is to ensure reinforcement of the concrete structure and also resist sagging.
Rebars are great for commercial-level concrete driveway projects, especially those that will be used by heavy trucks and machinery. However, when installing a residential driveway with minimal traffic, a wire mesh will do just fine. Using wire mesh or concrete rebars not only makes concrete strong but can also help prevent common problems like cracks. In essence, investing in concrete bars and wire mesh can help save money in repairs in the coming years.
Types of Rebar
Reinforcing bars are available in different types. Each of these types offers different levels of strength. This is one more reason why you need an experienced concrete installation contractor when installing your concrete driveway. Knowing which of the concrete rebar options to choose from can be crucial to the success of your project. Selecting the wrong one can cost you money now and in the future. Below are some of the common types of rebar.
1. Welded Wire Fabric
This type is used best on compacted ground. It is a favorite choice for slab-on-ground-slabs.
2. Expandable Metal
This is also known as wire mesh. It is a solid option for home improvement concrete installations.
3. Stainless Steel Rebar
Stainless steel is a choice material due to its corrosion-resistant properties. This type of rebar is a great option for concrete projects to be done in corrosion-prone areas. It is important to note that steel is an expensive material, and this rebar will be a little more expensive than other options.
4. Sheet Metal
Sheet metal is a common rebar option used to reinforce concrete floors, stairs, and roofs.
5. Epoxy Coated Rebar
Epoxy offers more protection against corrosion compared to stainless steel. If you live in a corrosion-prone area, using this type of rebar offers you durability and long-lasting protection. Please note that epoxy-coated rebar is more expensive compared to others.
Rebar vs. Mesh
Welded wire mesh offers a level of reinforcement that can be compared to that of rebar. With welded wire mesh, you get a galvanized panel of welded wire that can offer a level of protection and reinforcement. However, in terms of strength, the galvanized panel of welded wire does not stand close to the rebar, especially for heavy-duty commercial concrete applications. As a rule of thumb, commercial concrete driveway installations benefit more from rebar.
If the concrete driveway is designed for low-level to mid-level traffic, a 4 inches concrete thickness may be used with a wire mesh reinforcement. In the absence of wire mesh, the concrete thickness may be increased to about 6 inches to improve the driveway’s strength and durability. Heavy commercial driveways, however, cannot withstand the load capacity when the wire mesh is used.
For heavy commercial driveways, a combination of rebar and a concrete thickness of 5 to 6 inches is recommended. To ensure longer-lasting results, the edges of the driveway may be further reinforced with one or two inches of concrete.