Rebar 101: How-to Work with Rebar

how to work with rebar

Every building, bridge and concrete structure you see consists of rebar in some way. Reinforced steel bars provide the framework and form to keep concrete from shifting and cracking over time. Think of the function of rebar as equal to that of the human spine (from a support perspective). Without the latter, our bodies would not be able to stand up. We would actually cease to exist, and in a way this is how reinforced steel works. Inside every concrete foundation is a systematically arranged network of rebar that is holding the structure on top of it together. The vastly enhanced durability and safety that this material provides cannot be overstated, which is why it is widely considered one of the most important inventions in the construction industry.

If you are a contractor, knowing how to use rebar properly is a must-have skill. This is not as it easy at it may sound, especially considering the fact that reinforced steel does not come preassembled. It is typically manufactured in long sticks that need to be cut to size and subsequently bent to shape during the installation process. Without the right tools and methods, this job can quickly turn into a nightmare. To prevent compromising the structural integrity of the structure you are working on, and to facilitate the smooth completion of the project in question, here are some helpful rebar tips.

Fool-Proof Ways to Work with Reinforced Steel

Cut first, bend later: the number of rebar pieces you will need is going to vary greatly depending on the scope of the job. Regardless of how small or large this may be, however, taking proper measurements and cutting the sticks to appropriate lengths should be the first step you take. People have discovered clever ways of sizing rebar when they lack proper cutting gear, and although these methods may work alright sometimes, they should not be relied on as a permanent solution. Do yourself a favor and invest in a set of rebar cutters like the MBC-16B or BNCE-20. The former tool actually doubles as a bending tool as well, which is great if you are working with a limited budget.

cutting edge saw

Bend it right: just like cutting, you can find examples of people bending rebar in unorthodox ways. We have seen a few clips on YouTube of individuals standing on the rebar with their partners pushing up on the metal in order to bend it to the right angle. Not only is this method inaccurate (and a bit dangerous), it is also excessively time-consuming. Using professional construction tools, such as the 22-RB22 or the DBD-20X rebar benders, will significantly reduce the time of this task, not to mention these tools provide consistently, precise measurements.

Tie it up: during the installation process, the only way to keep individual rebar sticks together (aside from welding each junction point) is to tie them. Instead of doing this manually with a pair of pliers and wire, rebar tiers can easily make short work of even the most intensive jobs.