Steel mesh is an essential component of a sturdy build and few people besides those working in trades knows what is does. That is, unless you watch one of the dozens of renovation shows on television. Here are some basics about this material you should know if you’re looking to renovate or get into the building industry.
What is it? An image associated with “mesh” is typically a fly screen or sliding door leading to a patio. Reinforcement mesh is different. The mesh is made of steel bars welded together to make a square or rectangular pattern.
What does it do? Reinforcement mesh is an extra measure used to strengthen foundations. It's laid out before the concrete is poured. The bars of the mesh are never smooth; there are grooves to “catch” the concrete. These two together make a near-unbreakable slab that’s resistant to cracks.
Is there only one type? Absolutely not. Materials are custom ordered from major suppliers every day and there are many varieties on top of that. For simplicity’s sake, we have listed the three most common here.
- Square mesh The all-rounder material. This type is used for flat concrete projects, like pathways, floor slabs and driveways.
- Rectangular mesh This mesh is used for project where strength is needed in a certain direction. Like square mesh, it's also used for footpaths and concrete slabs. However, rectangular mesh is required for walls and some foundation lays.
- Trench mesh When you’re building from the ground up, you put the trench mesh in. This type is used for foundation support in homes and industrial spaces.
Steel mesh makes up the bones of any concrete structure. There are different types for different projects, whether it be square of custom made. This material reinforces concrete so that it can take hundreds of thousands of kilograms of pressure before cracks appear.
Photo credit: Rob de Vries, via VisualHunt.com / CC BY