Most of assume concrete is one of the strongest materials available. However, concrete, like other building materials, is subject to changes to the surface that it is built upon. In many cases, reinforcing the concrete with special materials designed for this purpose is the best way to ensure that concrete will remain strong and intact over the long haul. In this article, we will give you some of the basics about how concrete is reinforced, so you can determine whether your concrete foundation, patio or driveway have the stuff to stand firm.
Fiberglass has been used for some time to reinforce decorative concrete items like planters and fountains. More recently, contractors have discovered the advantages of using this type of concrete reinforcement in other types of concrete projects like countertops. Because typical fiberglass breaks down in an alkaline environment like concrete, a special alkaline-resistant fiberglass must be used in these projects. This material can ensure that concrete remains intact and beautiful in many of the more decorative concrete projects. This is not typically the reinforcement of choice in larger projects, unless it is combined with other types of concrete reinforcement for maximum staying power.
Another common method for reinforcing concrete is to use steel bars or wire mesh in the base of the project. Steel reinforcing bars, also known as rebars, are a very common tool used for reinforcing concrete today. These rods vary in size and diameter, depending on the type of project they will be used for. Hand-tied steel rebars are a common material used to reinforce concrete in foundations, floors and driveways. A less expensive approach is to use concrete reinforced with glass, steel or plastic fibers. In these projects, the size and shape of the fiber will be the key components in ensuring the reinforcement works the way it should. A professional concrete contractor will be well versed in the best kinds of reinforcements to use to keep your concrete surface intact for many, many years.
In some cases, steel is not the best choice in concrete reinforcement because of its tendency to corrode and affect the stability of the concrete. If corrosion is a concern, there are other options in concrete reinforcement as well. Fiber reinforced plastic has become a popular way of reinforcing concrete surfaces without worrying about metal corrosion affecting the stability of the structure. These products are generally made of a combination of carbon, glass and aramid substances that form a rod or grid. The reliability of this substance in concrete reinforcement has been demonstrated across the globe, in a variety of structures and surfaces.
Reinforcing concrete is a good way to ensure the basement foundation, flooring or driveway will last a lifetime with minimum repair. Even cracks in a reinforced concrete surface are usually nothing to worry about and easy to fix. If you are concerned about the type of concrete reinforcement that has been used on a project in your home, ask a concrete contractor for advice on whether your concrete surface is properly supported.