Residencial code calles for one #5 bar in the center of a mono slab footing
or 2 #4 bars. Anyone know if it's ok to drive a verticle piece of rebar
into the ground to tie these horizontal bars to, or are they so anal
retentive that they think the steel will rust into the concrete?
Anal. (although since it is not a bridge, a high rise, or an overpass, I do
not see why not!)
Most of the times I just use a dobe - concrete block that ties to steel.
Or, make an angle out of a smaller rebar........right angle......say 2' x2'
and rest it on the concrete 3" x 3" dobe and tie the steel to it.
I cannot imagine the rust traveling from the ground........all the way up to
possibly compromise the steel horizontal piece.
Rebar should NOT touch the ground or be driven into the ground as a stake
to support other bars. There is a reason that most specs. call for a minimum
clearance of 2-3 in. from the surface of the concrete or earth contact. As
John stated earlier, use some concrete (NOT RED) bricks for chairs to
suspend the horiz. bars from the ground surface. The rust will travel to the
bars in the concrete over time and cause destruction of the footing or slab.
Surface rust or oxidation on reinforcing steel is harmless if contained,
however when the bars are subject to severe rusting they expand and will
ultimately cause the concrete to fail.
I have always wondered about this, and we always do put steel on concrete
blocking. not red brick......either.
there is a maintained 3" from earth contact in most plans.
Is the steel like a electrical wire that would transmit rust?
I still have trouble visualizing rust following steel.
Anyway, I do use concrete dobies.....
Absolutely, rust will travel along steel (such as rebar) under paint
and protective coatings. Because of the mechanics of how this rust
spreads, it is very difficult to prevent, hence we limit the ability
for water to contact steel.
Think of it this way. You get rust on the edge. Rust is very porous.
Water travels in the rust, to new virgin steel, and rusts it. It is a
continuous process, with the rust able to travel great distances by
water being drawn in by capillary action.
About the only thing that limits it (rust) is to use galvanized
coatings such as hot-coat zinc. (Electroplate zinc is usually not
thick enough to withstand long periods of time...) Not much rebar is
zinc coated however.
What makes things worse is some soils/sands are loaded with stuff that
promotes rust, such as salt! (even inland, you can have corrosive
sand, as the sand is often the result of ocean action over a long
period of pre-history...)
Well that helps explain it better.
I know I have worked on State Jobs....that required epoxy coated rebar and
tie wire.....any cut was coated as well as wire.....
This rebar was in the large size family also....1" and even larger......
I have had to deal with several fairly major repairs where the
steel had rusted and the rust expanded enough to move the
concrete, break the concrete, or cause other damage. One involved
heaving a door mull enough to prevent the panic bars from
latching, unbond the terrazzo, and pressure the transom glass
overhead. Several others have involved shattering stair noses on
exterior concrete steps.
None of these involved rebar driven in the dirt, but rather
moisture through the concrete. I don't have any stories about
failed footing steel and have often wondered about the
requirement. Corps work is adamant about steel cover with no
Keep the whole world singing . . . .
I think Peter and Dan have answered your question, so I won't go into the
tech. end of the whys and wherefores unless you want that info. If you do,
you know how to contact me. Hope the weather is nice in No. CA this time of
Thanks guys. I don't want to do it twice so I'll will not be driving rebar
into the ground as stakes. I will need one #5 bar in the middle of the
footing. Thats about 10" above the ground. So, would you guys suspend it?
Yes, it is quite normal to hang grade beam cages, etc. Another
possibility would be to pour a portion, place the steel, and then
complete the pour. It will mean tying laps and corner bars in
location, and an inspector may not accept your word to install.
Keep the whole world singing . . . .
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