Does Wire Mesh Strengthen Concrete? The 2 Things You Need to Know

Written by Brittany Allen

The short answer is yes. When wire mesh is added to concrete, it will strengthen it, and even if it does crack, the wire mesh will prevent the concrete from splitting too far apart for repairs to be done. If you’re looking to replace your old concrete driveway or pour a new one, you might be looking at the cost of an expert concrete craftsman and gasping. Yes, concrete is expensive, and finding ways to make it more affordable is understandable. So let’s talk about the few things that should be noted when considering reinforcements for concrete. 

Wire Mesh vs. Fiber Mesh

There are always those looking for the next best thing, which typically creates a fantastic opportunity for ingenuity and progress. However, sometimes newer options just aren’t as reliable or stable as those that have been around for years. For example, fiber mesh is a newer technology that some contractors have been using. It’s cheaper, lighter, and easier to install. This makes it faster, too, and ultimately can significantly lower the price of a concrete installation. Unfortunately, those who have started using the fiber mesh have seen an uptick in cracked concrete on those specific jobs. So, in the long run, they aren’t saving the contractor or the homeowner time or money. 

Wire mesh is heavy, durable, and takes time to install it. So it will cost more money to have a concrete slab installed with wire mesh, but you’re less likely to see cracks in the future. Even if you do get a break down the road, the wire mesh keeps the two sides close enough together to be easily repaired. 

Wire Mesh Needs to be Installed Properly

Poorly installed wire mesh is not better than no wire mesh at all. To save time and money, sometimes, the wire mesh is just rolled out onto the base, and the concrete is poured over the top. This will do the concrete virtually no good and won’t protect it against cracking. Instead, the wire mesh must be held above the base with things called “chairs” so that when the concrete is poured, the wire mesh is in the bottom third of the concrete slab. This is the ideal installation of wire mesh so that it can strengthen the concrete. 

 

So while there’s no way around the investment of expertly installed concrete, you can rest assured that there is a good reason behind the high numbers. It takes time and practice to get this craft right, and in the end, you’ll be happy you took the time and expense to have it done correctly.

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