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I am extending my back patio and am planning on reinforcing the new slab. I live in South Louisiana. Should I use wire mesh or rebar for this?

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Rebar is better in about every use case. The mesh will have to be installed directly in the middle of the slab. The pourers will have to do a lot of work to make sure that the mesh stays there while being poured and moved. I have seen so many mesh jobs where I can assure you that the mesh just sunk to the bottom and was more or less useless - well maybe 20% functionality.

If the contractor can be trusted to do the mesh right - they should be charging your extra for creating supports for it, then mesh vs rebar probably is of little consequence on a backyard patio. You are paying to not have future cracks - and really in Louisiana this should be easier due to the lack of frost cycles.

Make sure the patio is poured to at least 6" and go with rebar unless the contractor explicitly details their method of keeping the mesh on center of the pour.

  • Add both . And if mats is pulled up as a base is poured it is fine done it tons of times without chairs. Even they get pushed in to sand and do not work / – user101687 Jun 19 at 22:34
  • For a patio 6” is a bit of an over kill, most driveways I see today are only poured at 4”. I use 6 with fiberglass but not on patios the fiberglass leaves tiny sharp points after finishing if bare feet are on the patio it chews skin up with the fiberglass. – Ed Beal Jun 20 at 14:03
  • @EdBeal - I disagree. I will never pour 4" unless it is for a sidewalk that I am segmenting. The fact is that extra 2" costs very little, allows rebar to be used, and will last 30+ years. A 4" patio will have issues in 10 years or less. – DMoore Jun 20 at 16:06
  • Well I have poured many 4” patios and not had an issue 20-30 years later , the patios that usually have problems don’t have a uniform base and or are poured right on the dirt or are uneven so they crack sooner the last one I poured was only 4” has a large hot tub on it and although it has 1 or 2 cracks it has held up quite well for a 10x 20 (poured in early 2000). – Ed Beal Jun 20 at 17:48
  • @EdBeal - I guess I have an expectation of the concrete never cracking. – DMoore Jun 21 at 3:21
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I had to put in a complete ground floor in concrete and the company offered a concrete mix which included chopped fibres - which gave a superior cracking and movement resistance...

May be worth asking if that is available.

  • The trouble with fiber is that it shows. You'll have initial strands on the surface and there will always be some in the surface. – isherwood Jun 19 at 19:44
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    @isherwood no, it did not show, there was a final finishing layer on top of about an inch which was smoothed. And one reason was that we had to specify exactly how much they were to deliver... and any excess they had to take away was very expensive, which meant a finishing coat sorted many problems. – Solar Mike Jun 19 at 19:45
  • I would research the fibres' properties before using them. For the most part a fibre mixture with concrete is ideal for limiting cracks during curing. However it provides very little benefit once cured. For a patio let's say that there is a corner that erodes a bit after a very rainy spring. The fibres will offer little support if the ground is eroded under the slab a bit. On the other hand with rebar the weight would be offset and the concrete would be connected by the steel supports. This is a night and day real scenerio. Fibres are a good choice for a non-loadbearing basement – DMoore Jun 19 at 20:02
  • @DMoore the company we used that supplied the mix used it for hard standing for trucks ... so they had good knowledge of its load bearing characteristics... – Solar Mike Jun 19 at 20:04
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    Ok. I've never heard of concrete being poured in "coats". Fiber is an admix that's usually present throughout the slab. – isherwood Jun 19 at 20:22

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