How to Reinforce a Concrete Slab with Rebar

What You'll Need
Angle grinder
Measuring tape
Metal ties

Concrete is a strong material, but when you reinforce concrete you make it even stronger. A product that you can reinforce concrete with is known as rebar. This dense, cylindrical metal pole with ridges is used to make concrete even stronger and is used almost exclusively in the construction business just for this purpose. You can use rebar to reinforce concrete for standing structures like walls and columns but it can also be used to reinforce concrete sidewalks. Properly installing rebar for use as reinforcement is not rocket science but it does take skill and a lot of hard work. You also have to be able to think in three dimensions in order to get the best reinforcement possible. The information below will show you how to reinforce concrete with rebar.

Step 1 – Amount of Rebar

Rebar is spaced by single foot increments and a foot apart. This is where thinking in three dimensions is very important. If your area is 6 feet square then you would require 4 pieces of rebar for each section spaced at 1 foot apart. That is 16 pieces of cut rebar. This also applies to the height. If it is 6 feet tall then you would also require 16 pieces of cut rebar for each side and each center section. In this case you would require 128 pieces of cut rebar.

 Step 2 – Cutting Rebar

In order for rebar to really do its job it needs to be cut to the size of the job minus a few inches. The rebar should be in the concrete throughout the entire concrete. If you are reinforcing a column then the rebar needs to be the height of the column. It is 6 feet tall then the rebar has be 6 feet tall plus the depth of the excavated hole and an extra foot to account for setting the rebar in the ground. A good rule of thumb is to cut the rebar 2 feet longer than what you need for standing structures. For sidewalks you merely need to make it to the exact dimensions minus and inch. Cut the rebar to length with the tips being cut at a 45 degree angle.

Step 3 – Set the Rebar

Measure one foot from the sides and this is where you will begin placing the rebar for a tall structure. Use the mallet to drive each piece into the ground at least 1 foot. Try to make each piece of rebar as level with the others as possible. Measure 1 foot from this first row and this is where the second row will be placed. If reinforcing a sidewalk place the rebar on the ground in the same manner.

Step 4 – Lashing Together

The cross pieces are places in the same matter as the main pieces of rebar. Hold 1 piece up at a foot mark and wrap the metal ties around the rebar where they connect. Do this for each connection and this is repeated for each intersection regardless of the orientation.