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Concrete Reinforcing

Using Steel Fibers in Concrete

Question: I have a 35 year old home and the concrete in the basement has cracked and lifted. A friend suggested that I consider using steel fiber reinforced concrete to replace the basement concrete. Is steel fiber concrete what I should use? I really don’t want this to happen again.

Answer: Unless you are planning on landing 747 jumbo jets in your basement, the use of steel fiber concrete is somewhat of an over kill. It is like driving a finishing nail with a 20 pound sledge hammer.

Steel fiber reinforced concrete is primarily used where there are very heavy loads, such as container ports, airplane runways and military bases where tanks are being driven.

Before you invest in a new basement you should try to determine why the old basement concrete floor cracked and heaved. Without actually seeing it, it is difficult to give you a definitive cause. However, it sounds to me as if the subsoil beneath the concrete basement pad was not properly prepared which also includes a lack of proper drainage. I would suggest calling your local building department and seeing if they offer that service. If not, you should be able to find a local structural engineer who can help.

It makes little sense to pour a new concrete floor if you have not corrected the problem that caused the old concrete floor to crack and buckle.

Standard 6 inch wire mesh is all you should require for the concrete reinforcement in a basement floor, providing the subsoil is properly prepared and drainage has been adequately installed.

Additional information on pouring concrete slabs.