Concrete mesh is steel reinforcement that usually comes in sheets, and is used to help the tensile strength of concrete and to minimize the chances of concrete cracking.
The mesh is usually added during the prep stages of a new concrete pad and is suspended just above ground height so that concrete can mold around the mesh as it is being poured.
What Is Concrete Mesh?
Is many different sizes and grades of steel, concrete mesh is steel reinforcing that comes in sheets that are laid out in the prep stage ready for concrete to be poured around.
There are many different grades of concrete mesh available and all serve a specific job title.
The grade of concrete mech can vary on the type of steel, the size of the steel, and the size of the squares the sheets are made at.
The most common in New Zealand for driveways, house floors, garages, etc is 665 Normal grade.
If you are on a budget the 668 grade size will work,
What Is Concrete Mesh Used For?
In the concrete industry, it is very rare to be placing concrete without any concrete mesh or reinforcing rods involved.
However! there is a product called fiber mesh which is mixed into the concrete during the concrete mixing process at dispatch and is used to replace the steel mesh and for some jobs, this is a great substitute.
All in all concrete wire mesh sheets are perfect to help reinforce your concrete and give your concrete extra tensile strength.
Just to make sure we all understand the difference between compression strength and tensile strength I will leave a short explanation of the two.
What is Compression strength?
Concrete will cure to a certain compression strength and the strength of your concrete will be determined by the amount of cement added to the mixture and also the types and ratios of aggregates, water quantity, and temperature on the day of being placed, but all this aside, the compression strength is in regards to the amount of weight downwards it can handle.
What Is Tensile Strength
Tensile strength refers to the amount of sideways pressure there is or will be.
For example, if we watch the short video below, tensile strength and why adding rebar and/or concrete mesh to your concrete is worth while.
Concrete Wire Mesh Sheets vs Fiber Mesh
The price of steel and steel products like concrete mesh is not cheap, and for larger jobs, the price can add up very quickly when you need hundreds or even thousands of concrete mesh sheets.
So do we really need concrete mesh sheets in your concrete pad?
Do You Have To Use Concrete Mesh?
In my experience, if you are concreting a driveway, shed floor, or anything that will have weight-bearing loads on it, I would always recommend using steel reinforcing concrete mesh, but this is just my recommendation.
If you are concreting footpaths, patios, or smaller jobs that will not have much load on them afterward, you can substitute the steel mesh for concrete fiber mesh.
Steel mesh is steel, and this really does hold the concrete in place while it is curing and helps minimize cracking later on in the concrete’s lifespan.
Short answer…I would recommend steel concrete mesh for almost all jobs, but I am also a fan of concrete fiber mesh, and the price difference is massive. Fiber mesh is very, very, affordable.
Can I Use Concrete Fiber Mesh For Any Job?
Fiber mesh is becoming more and more popular as the years tick on, and for most of it fiber mesh is still a very new term.
There is much confusion as to which reinforcement is better, or stronger and I will talk more about this later on in this blog.
Steel mesh corrodes and breaks down quicker, especially around coastal properties, whereas concrete fiber mesh will not corrode at all.
For structural concrete and supporting overhanging, steel beams, steel rods, and concrete mesh will be required.
What Is Concrete Fiber Mesh?
Fiber mesh is typically made up of fibrous materials like fiberglass (synthetic fibers ) glass fibers, natural fibers, and in some cases steel fibers.
When we add it to concrete, the fiber strands are about 3 or 4 cm long each, and there are thousands of strands in each pack, typically we use one bag of fiber per cube of concrete.
There are major advantages to using fiber mesh and the biggest one is that there is no manual labor in getting the steel mesh, getting it into position, and tying the sheets of mesh altogether.
I have spent months tying mesh and rebar together and trust me, on large jobs it can be a long, tedious process, and is rather mind-numbing.
Concrete fiber mesh is usually added during the mixing and dispatch stage, or onsite where the concrete is going to be poured.
The fiber mesh takes about 5 – 10 minuets to mix in properly, and if in doubt, mix it for longer.
Main Advantages Of Using Concrete Fiber Mesh
- There is no manual labor involved in manhandling or tying up steel sheets.
- As there is no labor involved there is no cost in this process.
- Concrete fiber mesh is easy to work with and makes the placing process faster.
- There are fewer trip hazards with fiber mesh, and walking over steel concrete mesh can be hard work, especially if it is double-layered.
- Unlike steel concrete mesh, fiber mesh will not corrode.
- Next to no space needed to store fiber mesh in comparison to needing a trailer or truck to move steel mesh, and a large area to store it.
- The actual cost of fiber mesh is often much cheaper than steel mesh
Concrete Mesh Size Chart
Here is a size chart with the references that we use in New Zealand, I found this very helpful in identifying the correct type of concrete mesh that I needed.
This chart is from United Steel New Zealand
Thanks for reading and I hope this has cleared up the question of what is concrete mesh and how it increases the tensile strength of concrete.
As always, any comments or questions please do leave them below and I will be sure to read and/or reply.