Concrete, by its very nature, is a very strong material and once it has been laid correctly can be expected to last for a considerable period of time. However, sometimes the solution will need additional support and especially if it is expected to carry a heavy load. Consequently, if you are developing a sizeable structure such as an extension, then you need to think about ways to strengthen the footings, columns, levels and foundation walls so that they can deal with the everyday load that you can expect. There are a number of ways to strengthen concrete, but steel mesh is a flexible option and one of the most popular. How should you introduce this to your project?
Once laid properly, the supporting mesh will add strength to the finished project and will require little if any maintenance throughout its life. Even though it's made from mild steel, it will, if covered correctly, resist any tendency to corrode and will maintain its original characteristics.
Typically, the steel mesh will come in pre-cut sheets or individual rolls that will need to be sized accordingly. If most of your concrete sections are of a uniform size, then you'll be able to order sheets that are premeasured and ready to install. Sometimes, however, you will need to do measurements on site and especially if you need to make any alterations to the design as the building work goes forward.
Placing the Mesh
To reinforce your project correctly, the steel mesh will need to be placed in the centre of the concrete pour. This will help to ensure that it is completely surrounded and does not come into contact with the outside air at any point. Always remember, therefore, to leave an adequate amount of room for the steel mesh as the concrete is being introduced.
It's not that difficult to introduce the mesh when the concrete is first poured as, of course, the material will be in its liquid state. You will need to ensure that the mesh remains in its intended place as the concrete begins to set and does not "float" to the top or come close to the edge of the finished work. Just remember to use care when handling the steel mesh, as the edges can be particularly sharp.
Work with your component supplier to ensure that you get the right number of sheets pre-cut to specification, or order an adequate number of rolls so that you can finish the job effectively.
For more information and tips, contact your local mesh suppliers.