Choosing concrete for a residential or commercial construction project is a great way to ensure you are using a strong, durable material. With all the uses of concrete that are possible, there are several ways to make sure your concrete has the right strength for the job. Concrete changes density when it sets, making it vulnerable to cracking. Concrete also can crack due to changes in temperature or unevenly distributed weight or stress. When pouring concrete for driveways, foundations, or floors, two common ways to reinforce concrete are to use wire mesh or fibers.
Using wire mesh is a common method to reinforce poured concrete. The wire mesh makes a square grid pattern which is laid down before the concrete gets poured. The wire mesh is usually one layer of a two-dimensional grid that runs along the length and width of the poured concrete, but not the height. During the process of pouring the concrete, the workers will raise the wire mesh that has been laid down so it runs along the middle of the concrete height. When the concrete has set around the wire mesh the concrete will end up with a reinforcing material inside that helps to prevent cracking during temperature changes and while the concrete is setting.
Adding fibers to reinforce a ready-mix concrete solution, sometimes called “fiber mesh,” is a relatively new development in concrete pouring. Instead of laying down a wire mesh before the concrete is poured, using fiber mesh involves mixing in different fibers such as glass, steel, synthetic fibers, or natural fibers. Fiber mesh reinforces concrete throughout the entire structure of the concrete rather than just one plane. This comprehensive reinforcement protects against not just cracking due to fluctuating temperatures and changing densities from setting, but also helps prevent water from bleeding out of the concrete and gives the surface of the concrete a higher impact resistance.
In addition to providing a more thorough protection for your concrete pour, fiber mesh typically takes less time than wire mesh to use. This is because the wire mesh has to be carefully measured to fit the site of the pour and needs to hold up at a certain level during the process of pouring. Conversely, fiber mesh can be added straight to the mix, removing the need for an extra step while pouring. Fiber mesh is also more cost-effective since there is less time involved in pouring and the material is used more efficiently. There has been concern among some contractors that the fiber mesh method can create a “hairy” finish due to some of the fibers protruding from the surface. However, this is only temporary since they are often laid down flat when the trowels flatten the surface of the concrete, and any fibers that still protrude are quickly worn down or burned off by the sun if outside.
For any concrete needs for your next big construction project, be sure to contact Knight’s Companies for a job done right.