Reinforcement mesh is a type of reinforcement product that consists of a lattice of steel bars or wires, also known as rebar or steel fabric, that are embedded in concrete slabs to improve their structural strength and durability. Reinforcement mesh helps the concrete resist tensile forces caused by subgrade settlement, heavy loads, drying shrinkage, and thermal expansion and contraction. Reinforcement mesh also reduces the need for control joints and minimizes crack formation and width in concrete slabs.
Reinforcement mesh is available in different sizes and grades, depending on the application and the expected load on the concrete slab. The British Standard denominations (such as A193 or B785) indicate the cross-sectional area of the mesh per square meter. For example, A193 mesh has 193 mm2 of steel in each 1 m width of mesh. The most common type of reinforcement mesh for domestic applications, such as pathways, driveways, and garden groundwork, is A142, which has 6 mm longitudinal and cross wires. For heavier duty domestic applications, such as house extensions and high load driveways, A193 and A252 are recommended.
Rebar mesh can be made of carbon steel, stainless steel, or epoxy-coated steel. Carbon steel rebar is the most widely used type for residential projects, but it is susceptible to corrosion. Stainless steel rebar is more resistant to corrosion, but it is more expensive and usually reserved for projects where corrosion is a major concern. Epoxy-coated rebar is a carbon steel rebar covered with a protective layer of epoxy to prevent corrosion.
Reinforcing steel rebar mesh should be properly positioned at or just above the mid-depth of the slab to be effective and to avoid problems such as rebar exposure or corrosion. The minimum cover for reinforcement mesh in concrete slabs should be 25 mm or twice the diameter of the largest bar, whichever is greater.