Concrete Reinforcement

The next step in the process of pouring your own concrete patio is to add concrete reinforcement to make sure that the concrete holds up well. Do this step after you have compacted the fill and made your final grade.

Materials - The most common reinforcements used in patios are fiber mesh, rebar, and wire mesh. You may use one or a combo of any of these. Using all three will result in a stronger patio.

  • Fiber Mesh - This concrete reinforcement is an additive that comes in the concrete mix. If you are having your concrete delivered, you will need to request to have this material in your concrete. You will pay your concrete supplier for this, but it will not involve any additional labor on your behalf. Fiber mesh is a great option to prevent cracking in the concrete. But, if the concrete does crack, even after adding fiber mesh, the fiber mesh itself will not prevent expansion of the crack. But, rebar and wire mesh will. That is why it is good to use a combination of fiber mesh with rebar/wire mesh.
  • Rebar - Is probably your best option at keeping the patio from falling apart through the years. In addition to purchasing rebar you will need wire ties or a spool of wire, and optional are rebar stands.
  • Wire Mesh - Is cheaper than rebar, but not as strong. It is the happy medium between rebar and fiber mesh when it comes to strength. It is also easier to install than rebar, but it is cumbersome to deal with the rolls of wire mesh, and it involves more labor during the concrete pouring step as you will need to frequently pull it up so it does not sink to the bottom of the wet concrete. You will also need a bolt cutter, or a metal saw to cut wire mesh.

Installation of Rebar Concrete Reinforcement

Step #1

Determine how much rebar you need. Rebar comes in 20 ft sticks and can be obtained through any home improvement store or lumber yard. Rebar also comes in different sizes (gauges) - 3/8", 1/2", 5/8" and up. For your patio, it is common to use 1/2" - but 3/8" would also be sufficient and would be less expensive. If you need to cut your rebar, you can use a skill saw with a metal blade or any tool with a metal blade. To determine how much rebar you will need, read the steps below and measure appropriately.

Step #2

Lay the rebar by setting up small grids. The grid lines are typically 4 ft long. But, if you want it stronger, you can make the grids smaller. If there is bad soil, you may want to consider this option. At the intersections, take your wire ties and tie the crossing rebar sticks together. You can buy a special tool called a tying tool to tie the wires at the intersections. You can typically obtain this tool for under $10.

rebar

Step #3

Once the grids are all tied, the rebar will need to be lifted off of the ground. To do this, you can purchase rebar stands or you can use pieces of brick, block and stones. The object is to get all of the rebar off of the ground and in the center of the patio. Since our patio will be 4 inches thick, the rebar should be raised 2 inches off of the ground. We just used some simple stones for this purpose:

concrete reinforcement

Installation of Wire Mesh Concrete Reinforcement

Step #1

Roll out your wire mesh to match the size of your patio. Wire mesh comes in a roll that is 5 ft. wide by 100 ft. long (therefore covering 500 square ft.). You can purchase it through a home improvement store. You can also purchase wire mesh in 10 X 10 sheets. This is the easiest option (because you will not need to unroll it), but is more expensive than buying it in a roll.

If you buy wire mesh in the roll, you will need another person to help you roll it out.

Step #2

Cut the wire mesh with a bolt cutter or a metal saw. Since the wire mesh wants to rebound back to its roll position, you and your partner should flip the wire mesh over. Place the mesh flush to your concrete forms.

Step #3

As you continue to cut and place wire mesh, make sure that the seams overlap each other a minimum of 6 inches. This will help to prevent cracking.

Step #4

This is what you will actually do when you pour your concrete. As you pour the concrete, the wire mesh will need to be "pulled up" so that it is not sitting on the ground. As you start to pour, hold up the wire mesh with your hand and pour through it. As you let go of the wire mesh, it will lay in the center of the concrete. You may need to push it down a little so that it doesn't show. It must be at least an inch below the surface.

The next step in pouring your own concrete patio is to install concrete expansion joints.

If installing your own concrete reinforcement seems like too much work and you live in the Minneapolis and surrounding suburbs area, request a quote on your concrete project here.

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