What is a Dowel Bar and Why are They Important for Concrete Project?

Concrete is popular choice of material for the construction of pavements. To ensure solid pavements that can hold heavy traffic, builders use dowel bars. Choosing high quality dowel bars guarantees strength and durability. In this post, we look at what a dowel bar is and why it is used in the construction of pavements. Keep reading to discover more about the usage of dowel bars in concrete projects.

What is a dowel bar?


A dowel bar is a short steel bar often installed in concrete slabs. The use of dowel bars in concreting projects provides for mechanical connection without restricting horizontal movement. Dowels are strong enough to reduce joint deflection and stress to add to the effectiveness of concrete slabs. Typically, dowel bars are used in the construction of concrete pavements, but they can also be used in the construction of a building for extra strength.

What are the benefits of applying dowel bars?


Dowel bars provide a variety of benefits to any construction project. Here are the main reasons to use them when constructing a pavement.

1. Dowel bars transfer load without restricting the horizontal joint movements.

Consider that concrete expands when subjected to heat and it shrinks when cooled. Therefore, in the summer, the pavement will most likely expand, while in winter there is contraction. Whenever there is change in temperature, concrete slabs move horizontally. Dowel bars transfer heat equitably, without restricting the resulting horizontal movement.

2. Increases the load-carrying capacity of slabs

Steel dowels help increase strength of a concrete surface. Ideally, concrete is resistant to compression, but it has a low tensile strength and ductility. Without steel dowels, concrete pavements will not resist the forces of compression. Steel dowels ensure the concrete surface bonds well with concrete. In addition, steel dowels expand and contract as the temperature changes, ensuring adequate load carrying capacity.

3. Dowel bars reduce joint faulting and corner cracking

Short steel bars provide for mechanical connection between slabs and allow them to assume some of the load. This reduces joint deflection and stress and avoids corner cracking. Ideally, dowel bars are inserted at the mid-slab depth and coated using a bond-breaking substance. This prevents bonding and helps the dowel bars transfer the load to the adjacent slab.

How do I choose the right dowel bar?

The first consideration when purchasing dowel steel bars is size. Normally, the size of a dowel bar depends upon pavement thickness. Usually, dowel bars are 1 meter long and 16 MM to 25 MM in diameter. In addition, dowel bars are often spaced 300 mm apart to ensure proper strength levels.

Apart from size, it is important to verify the material used in the manufacturing of dowel bars. Steel dowel bars provide a high level of strength, guaranteeing durability. Therefore, order dowel bars from an experienced steel supplier in Brisbane.


Dowel bars are an important part of a construction project. To ensure that dowel bars provide value to your project, make sure you source high-quality steel. Reocrete is the leading supplier of dowel bars for any project.