Wire mesh in the middle of a concrete slab provides a modest level of reinforcement, making the slab better able to support weight placed upon it. With this increase in support, you can use thinner slabs to greater effect, cutting down the thickness of everything from concrete countertops to walkways for less expensive concrete projects. To be effective though, the wire must settle in the center of the slab. To do this, you’ll need to hold the wire up while pouring the concrete, keeping the wire centered so that it can provide the greatest level of reinforcement possible.
Things You'll Need
- Tape measure
- Wire mesh
- Work gloves
- Safety goggles
- Bolt cutter
- Wire ties
- Precast concrete blocks
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Measure the surface area of the slab that you plan to cover in concrete with a tape measure. Purchase enough mesh to cover the area plus an additional 10 percent to provide overlap material for the mesh edges.
Put on a pair of work gloves to avoid cutting your hands on the mesh material. Put on safety goggles as well in case of flying pieces of cut mesh. Cut the mesh to fit using a bolt cutter. Roll the mesh into position, placing the mesh so that when the edges attempt to roll back up, they dig into the soil instead. Overlap adjacent pieces 6 inches at the edge, and fill the entire surface to within about an inch of the concrete form edge.
Place wire ties over the overlapped edges every 8 inches to form a single mesh surface.
Lift the edge of the mesh nearest the concrete pour site by hand, until it’s at the halfway mark up the concrete form. Pour the concrete into the form while holding the mesh into position. The poured concrete will flow through the holes in the mesh, filling the lower half of the form. Release the mesh once the concrete reaches the halfway mark, then move down the length of the form lifting the wire mesh in place.
Continue filling the form until you reach the top. The mesh should settle where you left it at the halfway mark. Push the mesh back down into position with a finger or a stick if it begins to rise.
Scatter precast concrete blocks around the base of the form, half the height of your form in size, as an alternative to positioning the mesh by hand. Place the blocks every 5 feet throughout the form before unrolling and tying the mesh in place. Place the mesh onto the forms, and then use the weight of the concrete pour to hold the wire in place in the form’s center.