What is Steel Rebar?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 08 September 2019
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Steel rebar is bars of steel commonly used in construction, especially for reinforcing concrete structures such as driveways, foundations, walls, and columns. These bars come in different sizes and strength grades, and can be smooth or may include deformations that provide greater adhesion for concrete poured over the bars. When used in poured concrete, the bars are typically placed in a grid pattern, the concrete poured over them, and then readjusted to maintain the proper shape while the concrete sets. Steel rebar can be purchased from a number of manufacturers and is often found at construction retailers or large hardware stores.

Also called reinforcing bars, steel rebar is metal bars often used in construction for pouring concrete or supporting walls and columns. The rebar can be smooth, though they are frequently manufactured with deformations that create greater texture to which concrete can adhere, creating a stronger bond that helps prevent cracking of concrete. These deformations do not create weaknesses in the rebar, and when rebar is measured to determine its diameter, it is typically measured at the narrowest point. Strength grades indicate the amount of pressure the steel rebar can withstand, and grade and diameter are typically presented in both imperial and metric units.


As the name suggests, steel rebar is often used to reinforce and strengthen concrete, which can help prevent concrete from cracking as quickly or easily. This often utilizes poured concrete for construction purposes, such as creating a driveway, porch, or foundation for a building. The steel rebar is typically laid out in a grid pattern, with equal spacing between each piece to create a grid that consists of equal-sized squares. Bricks or supports can be used to keep the rebar off the ground, and once the concrete is poured over the rebar, it is typically adjusted to ensure proper spacing as the concrete dries.

Steel rebar can be purchased in many different lengths from a variety of manufacturers and retailers. Some stores, including small hardware stores, often carry short lengths of rebar, up to about 6 feet (2 meters) in length. Construction retail locations, and larger hardware stores that also carry building supplies, may carry and sell much greater lengths of steel rebar. Rebar of 10 feet (3 meters), 20 feet (6 meters), and even 60 feet (18 meters) in length can be fairly common, and bent pieces are often available for use in corners when pouring concrete over a grid.


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