Rebar Ties: An Important Element of Civil Construction

Anyone who has ever driven past road or bridge construction projects has likely spotted rebar latticework — and its associated rebar ties. Rebar ties join the bars where they meet and are typically placed in repeating patterns, such as at every second, third or fourth intersection. The amount of ties used will vary by project and even by company, but two ties per bar is the standard.

And, while rebar ties’ overall purpose is to help the bars remain in position while concrete placement and other work is underway, the tying process is something of an artform. Let’s dig into rebar tying and the types of rebar ties out there.

How Does Rebar Tying Work?
Rebar tying essentially boils down to forming rebar into its desired shape by bending and twisting metal ties around predetermined intersections. Crews use a metal hooking tool to carry out the work, although pliers also aid in the installation process — and are great for cutting, too. Hand protection is important in such work.

Common Rebar Tie Variations
There are two general approaches to tying rebar, and each offers its own unique benefits.

  • Snap Tie: The most common type of rebar tie, the snap tie consists of a single knot tie that is “snapped” or cut off at the long end. The snap tie is ideal for flat, horizontal concrete work, such as foundations.
  • Wrap and Snap Tie: Similar to the single-knot tie, the wrap and snap method involves joining horizontal and vertical rebar together by pulling the tie around both bars, twisting it and then “snapping” it off at one end. This method is ideal for ensuring horizontal rebar remains in place, keeping it from sliding down.

Rebar Ties That Take the Process a Step Further
Certain circumstances call for rebar with a bit of added security, such as mats and cages that must be able to support construction workers’ weight as they climb up and down during their work. Typically, that added reinforcement simply means incorporating an upgraded tying method into the mix.

  • Saddle Tie: Also commonly referred to as the “U” tie, due to the shape the tie takes around the rebar, the saddle tie involves wrapping the ties into diagonal binds that provide extra reinforcement.
  • Wrap and Saddle Tie: By upgrading the amount of times the tie wraps around the bar slightly — creating a one-and-a-half loop around the steel — crews ensure a more rigid hold.
  • Figure Eight Tie: This method requires wrapping the tie in a pattern that resembles the number eight, and results in a visible “X” design when viewed from above. This tie is considered a secure method for vertical reinforcement.

There are many methods of rebar ties out there, all aimed at keeping rebar in the correct position for the work to come. And, although rebar tying is often underappreciated, it plays a key role in getting the job done — and getting it done safely.

If you have questions regarding this or any other aspect of civil construction work, or if you need support on an upcoming construction project, please feel free to contact us! FUSED is always ready to get to work for you.