What is the difference between rebar and wire mesh in my concrete foundation?

It has been quite a few years now since we have used welded wire fabric. We now have any blueprints, that require mesh, swapped over to a rebar grid. I flat refuse to use it. Before taking this stand we had 3 jobs in a row, containing WWF, randomly crack. Coincidence? Perhaps, but I have made some observations I will share.

WWF is laid flat on the ground and as the concrete is placed, the mesh is pulled up. Unfortunately, in order to screed the concrete, 2-3 guys have to walk out into the field driving the mesh back down with every step. This creates, at best, reinforcing that undulates up and down through your concrete (which is where the random cracking comes from imo).

When removing old concrete with mesh in it, however, most of the WWF is at the very bottom in partial contact with the soil.

Rebar on the other hand, when installed correctly, remains in the concrete at proper elevation. In order to assure the location, intersections are tied with wire and plastic chairs are used to hold height. Please don’t waste your money on wire mesh. For a little money you gain big peace of mind.

In summary, rebar vs wire mesh can have costly differences. Rebar remains stronger and ensures consistent contact in the soil where as wire mesh is unpredictable and often results in a week concrete foundation.

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