5 Ways Composite Rebar Beats Steel for Cement Flatwork Reinforcement

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Cement flatwork doesn't always require the use of rebar reinforcement, but the advantages of improved strength and increased longevity are compelling reasons for contractors to include it. The average contractor will likely turn to steel rebar for this purpose, being an easily accessible material, not realizing there are superior options on the market.

Advancements in material technology have led to composite rebar products like GatorBar. GatorBar is a fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) rebar that can be used in place of steel for cement flatwork. FBR rebar isn't a new idea and has been around for over 30 years. Over the past decade or so, the trend of smarter building designs has really pushed composite materials to the forefront, bringing products like GatorBar with it.

Contractors that primarily use steel in cement flatwork should consider the advantages gained by switching to a composite rebar, such as GatorBar. Here are the primary reasons why many contractors have decided to make the change.

1. Lighter Weight Material Reduces Labor and Boosts Profits

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(photo by neuvokascorp.com)

Heavy, unwieldy steel rebar isn't an easy material to work with. The weight of steel rebar means it's expensive to transport or ship and difficult to unload from trucks. The process of handling it, cutting it to size, and tying grids takes multiple people. Comparing this to composite, it's clear who the winner is.

Composite rebar is much lighter in weight, GatorBar being 7x lighter than typical steel rebar. This significantly reduces costs for transportation and makes handling the material a breeze. An average size grid of 25 pieces of GatorBar weighs only 47 lbs and can easily be carried by two people.

The lightweight nature of GatorBar will save money when it comes to transportation and allows crew members to work faster and more safely. These two factors will boost your profits from each job you choose composite rebar over steel.

2. High Tensile Strength Meets Structural Flexibility

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(photo by neuvokascorp.com)

A balance between strength and flexibility is a vital factor in essentially every type of construction. Steel rebar is quite strong, but it lacks flexibility. This can lead to rebar damage more easily than a composite material that has some give.

GatorBar is an exceptionally strong material with a very high tensile strength, so much so that #3 ⅜" GatorBar is used to replace #4 ½" steel rebar. As a composite, GatorBar also isn't as rigid as steel rebar. Instead, it has a level of flexibility that prevents it from becoming damaged or bent before the concrete is poured over top of it.

Steel rebar can become damaged if the grid is walked or driven on before cement has been poured and cured. If this happens, the steel rebar won’t provide any support to the concrete. With the slight flex GatorBar has, which avoids this type of damage, it will remain in the middle of the cement flatwork, providing the best support possible.

3. Inability to Rust Eliminates Corrosion Cracking

When moisture enters cement flatwork and contacts steel rebar, corrosion cracking can occur. Although proper installation can reduce the chance of steel rebar rusting, there is no way to stop it completely.

GatorBar composite rebar is completely rust-proof and non-corrosive. It's impervious to chloride ions and chemicals. This can be a huge selling point for clients concerned with corrosion cracking of the cement flatwork on their property.

4. Composite Rebar is Unaffected by Climbing Steel Prices

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(photo by neuvokascorp.com)

Steel prices have been rising, leaving contractors having to pay more for their rebar than they did a few years ago. There isn't much contractors can do to combat the increasing prices on steel, leaving many of them looking for alternatives.

Composite rebar, including GatorBar, isn't subject to the climbing prices of raw and manufactured steel materials. Pricing of composites is fairly stable in comparison and therefore, much more reliably priced. Combined with the cost savings mentioned earlier, GatorBar is a financially wise choice for contractors with large and small businesses alike.

5. Converting to Composite Requires No Special Equipment

Contractors may balk at the idea of replacing their go-to with an alternative, namely because it may mean they will need to purchase new (and expensive) tools and equipment. Thankfully, this isn't a concern with composite rebar.

GatorBar can be cut and tied exactly like steel rebar, without contractors needing to purchase any type of special equipment or tying hardware. Contractors can easily make the change to GatorBar without having to make any major changes to their business.

Smart contractors will always look for ways they can improve their crew's productivity, boost their bottom line, and provide the highest quality cement flatwork services possible for their clients. Replacing steel rebar with GatorBar is a simple and effective way for contractors to achieve these goals.