Wire Mesh Vs. Fiber for a Poured Concrete Driveway

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Wire Mesh Vs. Fiber for a Poured Concrete Driveway
Combining wire mesh and fibre reinforcement gives concrete driveways a longer life. (brown and white house image by Stephen Orsillo from Fotolia.com)

Without sufficient reinforcement, poured concrete driveways may crack over time from weather and wear. Two ways to reinforce concrete, increasing its resistance to impact and lengthening its lifespan, are with wire mesh and glass fibres.

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Wire Mesh

Wire mesh is a common alternative to rebar as one of the primary materials concrete workers use for reinforcing driveways. Composed of a welded grid of wire fabric, it comes in sheets or rolls laid out over the driveway slab before the concrete is poured. Wire mesh holds together cracks that form over time, but doesn't help minimise or prevent those cracks from occurring.

Fibre

You can add fibreglass, or glass fibres, to the concrete mix as a secondary reinforcement. Concrete artisans primarily use fibreglass in decorative projects, mixing it in with the concrete before pouring to provide three-dimensional reinforcement to the finished product. The millions of fibres in fibreglass reinforcement block the growth of micro-cracks in the concrete, creating improved tensile strength.

Comparison

Concrete workers and do-it-yourselfers often install wire mesh improperly, trampling it into the sand under the slab in the process of setting the concrete, negating much or all of its reinforcement benefits. Since fibre is added into the concrete mixer prior to pouring, that risk is avoided. However, fibre is not strong enough to resist the impact a driveway sustains, and it doesn't protect as well against slab shrinkage or thermal expansion. Therefore a combination of wire mesh and fibre reinforcement is best.

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