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Concrete has great strength under compression. Under tension, however, concrete doesn’t fare so well. For example, as concrete cures, it loses water, which causes it to shrink and crack. Similar cracks open as concrete endures the rigors of changing seasons. Reinforcing concrete ensures that the cracks that do develop don’t go far, which could lead to substantial failure. To reinforce concrete, you can use rebar or welded-wire mesh. Either material can be engineered to work in almost any application. With a few exceptions, there is no difference in the tensile strength between each material as long as they’re installed correctly. Choosing the reinforcement becomes a matter of the job-site conditions, the availability of the product, and the way you prefer to work. Rebar Roe A. Osborn Rebar is nothing more than common steel rods that come in sizes ranging from #3 (3/8 in. dia.) to #18 (2-1/4 in. dia.). For residential use, #6 rebar is usually the largest size used. Rebar’s use depends on its application. In a sidewalk, driveway, or slab, rebar is wire-tied into a grid pattern, usually 12 in. or 18 in. on center, then is supported above grade on small piers so that…
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