Rebar is used for more than just reinforcing concrete slabs. It is an essential element in a variety of construction projects from bridge construction to precast concrete products.
Keep reading to explore some of the most common uses for steel reinforcing bars in construction projects.
What Is Steel Rebar?
Steel rebar is a type of reinforcing bar (rebar) used to boost the strength of concrete components. The bars increase the concrete structure’s ability to bear weight.
Some of the advantages of rebar include:
- Superior tensile strength
- Resistance to compression
- Better load distribution
Adding a steel framework inside a concrete slab, column, or building, increases its load capacity. It also helps evenly distribute the weight of the structure above. Distributing the weight more evenly helps prevent the risk of cracking and uneven settling.
Rebar is made from various materials. Along with steel, some projects may benefit from fibreglass, galvanised steel, stainless steel, or epoxy-coated rebar.
Fibreglass is lightweight and corrosion resistant. It is also non-conductive, which may work well in projects that require isolation from electricity. Galvanised steel has a protective coating to help protect against corrosion. Stainless steel also offers great corrosion resistance.
Epoxy-coated rebar may be used in situations where the concrete could be exposed to chemicals or moisture. However, steel rebar is the most economical and trusted choice and found in most concrete structures. It is suitable for all types of projects, including the ones discussed below.
Reinforcing Foundation Footings
Rebar helps reinforce the concrete footings that support the weight of buildings. From single-family homes to skyscrapers, a sturdy foundation is one of the most important features during construction. Structural issues limit the safety and habitability of the property.
Steel rebar remains the most common choice for reinforcing foundation footings. It is made of carbon steel, which features excellent durability and strength. It also comes in a wide range of sizes and grades to meet the requirements of your project.
If you plan on building a self-built home, the foundation is a critical step in ensuring that your new place lasts a lifetime. Using rebar for the footings can improve load distribution and crack control, which can decrease the risk of structural issues in the decades to come.
Constructing Columns and Beams
Steel rebar is often used for the construction of columns and beams made from concrete and other poured materials. The reinforcing bars provide support and resistance to bending.
Reinforced concrete columns (RCCs) are made to withstand compression from the weight above. For example, columns may help support the roof or an upper floor. Without rebar, supporting columns could crumble under the weight of the structure above.
The traditional method of building a concrete column involves casting it in place. A cast-in-place (CIP) column requires a formwork. The formwork is made to hold the poured concrete as it cures and is discarded afterward.
Creating Precast Concrete Products
Concrete pipes, manholes, stairs, culverts, and other precast concrete products are typically made with rebar or wire mesh inside. As with the other projects discussed, precast concrete structures need steel support to act as a frame.
Pre-casting is also used as an alternative to casting in place for concrete columns. Manufacturers cast the columns and beams in a factory and ship them to the work site. The individual components are then connected on site, which requires less concrete casting and labour.
Supporting Retaining Walls
Large retaining walls often require additional support from steel bars. The bars help take some of the weight of the soil off the wall while offering extra reinforcement.
Without rebar, the retaining wall blocks may gradually shift or collapse. Installing a retaining wall with rebar is also a good way to deal with a sloping garden. The rebar helps prevent erosion and damage to the garden.
Reinforcing Bridge and Tunnel Construction
Bridges, tunnels, dams, and reservoirs need to hold up against incredible amounts of weight. This is why you will find rebar in most of these structures. It significantly increases the load bearing capacity.
Steel reinforcing bars are used in abutments, piers, and bridge decks used to construct bridges. They are also used to reinforce the walls and ceilings of tunnels and protect dams and reservoirs against extreme water pressure.
Strengthening Components in Industrial Facilities
Industrial facilities, including water treatment facilities, often include large concrete structures. Many of these structures are reinforced with rebar.
For example, water treatment facilities frequently have massive concrete tanks. Warehouses and factories are often built with thick concrete flooring, walls, and roofs. Without rebar, these structures would be much more prone to failure.
These are just a few of the areas where rebar is commonly used for extra support. Overall, reinforcing bars are a critical component for a wide range of construction projects. If you plan on pouring concrete, your project will likely benefit from the use of steel bars or wire mesh.