Contractors have a few options when it’s time to reinforce concrete, including rebar and wire mesh. However, trying to decide which one is the best option can leave contractors unsure of which solution is right for their project.
Welded Wire Mesh vs. Rebar: The Basics
“Rebar vs. wire mesh, which one is better?” is a common question among DIY enthusiasts and contractors, and it comes with varying answers. Sometimes, you want to use steel rebar, and other projects work best with wire mesh.
If you are new to working with concrete, it helps to know a little about both options.
What is Rebar?
Rebar (reinforcing bar) products are made from steel and are used to help prevent cracks from forming in concrete slabs, AKA concrete reinforcement. These steel bars are hot rolled and come in various sizes, grades, and finishes. Most rebar features heavy ridges to assist in attaching the reinforcement to the concrete.
Steel rebar is beneficial as a tensioning device to support structures and hold the concrete in a compressed state. While concrete is strong in compression, it has virtually no strength in tension. To compensate for this imbalance, fabricated rebar is cast into the concrete to carry the tensile loads.
Rebar is a versatile option, which is why it is widely used in the construction industry. Contractors can arrange the bars to meet each job’s specifications. One downside, however, is the weight and size of the bars. The bar’s length usually matches the concrete slab, and the weight depends on the thickness.
As you compare rebar vs. mesh, rebar often requires more space in the concrete than the mesh. The concrete also needs to be thicker to prevent the steel bars from being flush or above the surface.
What is Welded Wire Reinforcement?
Welded Wire Reinforcement (WWR), also known as Wire Mesh, is made from steel, but the manufacturing process is slightly different. The steel is formed into mesh during its coolest stage, but the thinner wires also diminish its strength.
The wire mesh is inserted into the concrete mixture to provide support and help prevent chips, cracks, and crevices from forming. Like steel rebar, wire mesh can significantly help prolong the life of the concrete slab.
Rebar vs. Wire Mesh: Things to Consider
While both rebar and wire mesh provide support, they also have their differences. Sometimes, one material is better suited for a project than the other.
Concrete is prone to cracking, especially older slabs, but it can be minimized by using rebar or wire mesh. The mesh provides added strength that can prevent cracking caused by fluctuating temperatures. In addition, the mesh flexes as the concrete expands and contracts, helping to prevent damage. However, steel rebar also provides considerable strength to any structure, especially for larger projects.
When comparing rebar vs. light/standard mesh, the wire diameters are thinner than the rebar. But when comparing engineering mesh vs. rebar, it is the opposite since the wire is G80, allowing you to use less steel vs. the rebar and do the same reinforcing.
If you are comparing rebar versus wire mesh based on cost, there is a difference. Rebar is less expensive but requires more man hours/labor to install vs. mesh.
The placement time affects the project’s schedule, which is definitely worth considering. It does take longer to install rebar vs. mesh in the concrete. The bars are placed separately and require ties in each intersection to keep them in place (or, at times, even welded).
Meanwhile, wire mesh is unrolled (if using rolls) or placed if using sheets and cut to fit the slab’s size. So, if you have a short timeline and/or want to save on labor, wire mesh may be the best solution.
Which One for the Job?
Deciding between rebar versus wire mesh comes down to your project.
Wire mesh works well in residential applications. It can help prevent driveways from cracking, along with walkways and other paved areas. Since the material is easy to work with, it’s also a good choice for DIY projects.
On the other hand, rebar can be less expensive, but it also takes longer to install. So with the extra labor, it may end up costing more than using mesh. Heavy-duty industrial and commercial construction projects need the support they get from rebar.
The bars provide a solid support for walls, flooring, and other load-bearing structures.
DWR is Your Trusted Reinforcing & Steel Solutions Manufacturer
Whether you are installing a concrete patio as a weekend project or getting ready to build a structural support wall, our team at DWR is here to help. Contact us today to learn more about using rebar versus wire mesh for your reinforced concrete project. Whether you use rebar or mesh, we can help you with both.