Reinforced concrete construction can be a relatively tricky process, so it is a good idea to research and find out as much as you can about what you're doing before you start. Concrete is resilient to compressive forces, which push inward as if to reduce the volume of the concrete, but susceptible to tension, or a pulling force that stretches the concrete in two different directions. Concrete structures can be subjected to compressive forces when 2 objects on either side start to expand or move closer together, and they can be subjected to tensile forces when the ground underneath the structure starts to expand in either direction. The following list of tips will help you better understand reinforced concrete and how you can make a good quality reinforced concrete construction.
Tip 1 - Know How Reinforced Concrete Works
Before you start to make a reinforced concrete structure, you need to know the basic ideas behind reinforced concrete. Concrete structures are usually reinforced with steel bars called rebars that come in various thicknesses and feature ridges along the whole length of the bar that serve to create a better mechanical connection between the concrete and the steel. The steel is there to absorb any tensile forces that are applied to the structure, and diffuse it across a wider area to minimize damage. Because of how rebar works to reinforce concrete against tension, you should place the bars laterally along the areas where you think the structure will be subjected to tension. Do not make the bars too close together. Evenly space them throughout the concrete so that tension can be easily diffused over a greater area.
Tip 2 - Hook the Rebar
The ridges along the bars are meant to prevent them from losing contact with the concrete and slipping, but if there is enough stress it is possible for rebar to slip. To prevent the bars from slipping inside of the concrete, bend the ends of each bar so that they point backwards toward the inside of the structure when they are put in place. This anchors them much more effectively to the concrete.
Tip 3 - Choose the Right Gauge
The thickness of rebar is measured in eighths of an inch, such that a #8 bar is 8 eighths of an inch, or 1 whole inch, in diameter. Choose what gauge of rebar you want to use based on how strong you want your reinforced concrete to be. Keep in mind that you will have to bend the bars, and you may have trouble if they are too thick.
Tip 4 - Don't Use Two Layers of Concrete
When making reinforced concrete structures, people often try to get the rebar embedded into the concrete by making one layer of concrete, then placing the rebar on top of it, then pouring another layer of concrete on top of that. The two layers of concrete will not connect properly, so you will have to pour the concrete all at once with the rebar placed in the middle and held up using plastic supports.
Because concrete structures are so susceptible to tension, if you want your concrete construction to last as long as possible, you should reinforce it. This is a relatively tricky process, so you should thoroughly research the subject before you start working.