Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of our most frequently asked questions regarding our innovative Helix® Micro Rebar® product. Please read the short answers, and if you would like much more detailed explanations, please reach out to us – we are here to help!

How much time will I save by using Helix® Micro Rebar®?

This depends on the type of project you’re undertaking, as well as its size. For projects involving large concrete slabs, it is not unusual for our customers to save one full day of construction for every 10,000 square feet (1,000 square meters) of rebar replaced with Helix® Micro Rebar®

For precast businesses, we have seen reinforcement time cut by over 70%. A precast vault that takes 90 hours to produce can be done with Helix® Micro Rebar® in only 25 hours – no backbreaking labor required. 

Receiving an accurate estimate of the amount of time you can save is possible by reaching out to one of our in-house sales and engineering representatives. Remember that Helix® Micro Rebar® can be delivered to your jobsite in as little as two business days.

How much does Helix® Micro Rebar® cost?

The labor and material cost is often the same as installed rebar (up to 20% if it is replacing two layers of rebar), but when you factor in the installation time reduction, labor savings, engineering savings and other benefits, the cost is drastically less. To receive a no-obligation quote for your specific project, please submit your project details online.

Can Helix® Micro Rebar® reduce the amount of concrete needed on my project?

This depends on the scope of your project. 

Since Helix® Micro Rebar® increases concrete’s flexural strength, many concrete slab projects can reduce the amount of concrete needed, as well as the pour time.

To receive a no-obligation quote to determine your concrete needs, please submit your project details online and our in-house engineers will review it shortly.

How do I calculate an accurate Helix® Micro Rebar® reinforcement dosage?

One of the benefits of Helix® Micro Rebar® is that you do not need to worry about calculating this. Our professional engineers work with you to determine the exact dosage your specific application requires.

Check out the tools available in our specification guide, including application guides with design tables for common situations. You’re always welcome to submit your project for our team’s review.

What’s the difference between Helix® Micro Rebar® and fiber concrete reinforcement?

There are many! 

Helix® Micro Rebar® has a patented twisted design which resists concrete pulling apart, resulting in higher modulus of rupture ratings. Steel is 800% stiffer than concrete and the best polymer has only 38% the stiffness of concrete. [Element reports ESP017071P (7/24/14):  Polymer Fiber (Tuffstrand), ESP011215P, (3/6/20124): Helix 5-25, ESP 010572P:  Plain Concrete Control]

Independent studies have shown that plastic, synthetic and steel fibers can improve post-crack performance but they do not affect pre-crack performance like Helix® Micro Rebar® does. [Carnovale, David, “Behaviour and Analysis of Steel and Macro-synthetic Fibre Reinforced Concrete Subjected to Reversed Cyclic Loading”, University of Toronto, 2013, pp 84–86.]

Many studies show that plastic fibers decrease flexural strength! [Abimael-Campoy, Noé & Omar, Chavez & Zamora, Sergio & Luz, Ma & Pérez-Rea, María & Rojas, Eduardo. (2017). RIGID PAVEMENTS PERFORMANCE BY MEANS OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF FIBERS. REVIEW. 441. 10.5281/zenodo.293769.]

Helix® Micro Rebar® is often used at lower doses than fibers, resulting in easier pours and finishing.

Also, nearly all steel fibers are limited to replacing temperature crack control steel reinforcement (rebar/mesh) in concrete. Currently, Helix® Micro Rebar® is the single exception, and can be used as replacement for structural reinforcement under the provision of ACI 318-14 section 1.10.

Do I need rebar if I use Helix® Micro Rebar®?

In some cases, yes. 

Many precast products can have 100% rebar replacement, but vault lids and suspended slabs may still require rebar. Helix® Micro Rebar® is also seeing frequent use in tilt-up panels, replacing up to 50% of the rebar.

Here are some typical rebar replacement numbers:

Slabs on grade 100%

Precast products 90% (except in lids)

Tilt panels 40%

Basement walls 80%

ICF walls 80%

Footings 60%

We encourage you to reach out to the Helix Steel team to discuss your project scope to determine if rebar is still required.

What concrete applications can I use Helix® Micro Rebar® for?

Helix® Micro Rebar® is proven able to replace rebar in all of these concrete applications: slabs on grade, foundations, walls, roads, precast, tunnel linings, ICF, slabs on metal deck and high-performance uses.

How do I pour concrete with Helix® Micro Rebar®?

It’s very similar to how you would normally pour concrete. Please read our Helix® Micro Rebar® dosing and mixing instructions.

How do I check the dosage of Helix® Micro Rebar® in concrete?

Please refer to our UES Evaluation Report 279 that includes a washout test procedure with more specifics. Contact us with any questions you may have.

Can I vibrate an ICF wall that uses Helix® Micro Rebar®?

Use regular practices when vibrating your ICF walls, but avoid over-vibrating.

Can I use Helix® Micro Rebar® to replace an overpass deck?

Yes, in certain circumstances. We recently replaced the bridge deck of an overpass in Missouri, which not only saved considerable money for our customer, but also increased the concrete’s shear strength by 1132%, durability by 142%, toughness by 800% and modulus of rupture by 42%. 

Read more about the Bridge Deck Replacement project here.

What is the Helix® Micro Rebar® dosage for my precast product?

We have some of the more popular dosages in our Precast Projects Reference List, but to ensure we provide you with accurate solutions, complete our “Submit a Project” form and our engineers will work with you on dosages.

Can Helix® Micro Rebar® be pumped?

Absolutely. You can use a 3” line due to the aggregate size, but a 4” line is recommended.

Does Helix® Micro Rebar® work with PEX radiant floor tubing?

Yes, Helix® Micro Rebar® has been used in many homes with radiant floor tubing. By replacing mesh with Helix® Micro Rebar®, you may have to find other solutions to tie the tubing when you pour the concrete.

What types of ICF are compatible for rebar replacement with Helix® Micro Rebar®?

Helix is compatible with all ‘Flat’ ICF. There are two other types of ICF, waffle and screen-grid. With those two types, Helix® Micro Rebar® can be mixed in with the concrete in addition to rebar, but our evaluation reports do not allow for full replacement of rebar in those two types. If you are unsure what type of ICF you want to use, contact our sales team to assist you.

Can Helix® Micro Rebar® replace rebar in beams and columns?

Columns are outside the scope of our evaluation reports, and beams must be a combination of Helix® Micro Rebar® and rebar, although some reduction in rebar is possible.

Can Helix® Micro Rebar® replace rebar in ICF deck and roof systems?

Helix® Micro Rebar® can replace mesh in the slab portion of metal deck and roof systems. Helix Steel’s engineering team will gladly review your plans and the specific system you will use to determine the rebar that can be replaced. Contact us today!

Is Helix® Micro Rebar® an entry point for moisture over time? Will it rust and leave marks?

Each one-inch (25-mm) twisted steel reinforcement is coated and individually sealed to withstand elements. Proper concrete finishing techniques will ensure that the steel is forced below the surface. Helix does not provide additional entry points for moisture.

Is Helix® Micro Rebar® sharp to walk or drive on when the concrete is cured?

No. Proper concrete finishing techniques will ensure that the steel is not exposed.

How high can a building with Helix® Micro Rebar® be?

Helix Steel has used Helix® Micro Rebar® in a building 20 stories tall. Depending on the application, it could be used in a 100-story building! Please contact us to discuss your project’s needs.

I’m an electrician, and I use an “ufer” ground. How can I still use this with Helix® Micro Rebar®?

Grounding can still be accomplished in accordance with the National Electrical Code. Typically this can be handled by embedding a single piece of rebar for grounding purposes only. Your electrical engineer will have additional details.

Can I pour concrete with Helix® Micro Rebar® over electrical conduits?

Yes! Concrete mixed with Helix® Micro Rebar® pours very similarly to what you’re used to.

Can I use Helix® Micro Rebar® for suspended slabs?

Yes, although it depends on the thickness and length of the slab. Submit your project for our engineers’ review and we will let you know how Helix® Micro Rebar® can save you time, money and frustrations.

Can Helix® Micro Rebar® handle cold temperatures?

Yes, better than concrete with rebar, mesh or fibers. The twisted design helps to limit the effects of freeze-thaw.

Where is Helix® Micro Rebar® manufactured?

Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Will having to do any work after the slab is poured destroy my tools?

Helix Micro Rebar will not cause damage to your equipment. You can still drill into the slab, even with large dosages. Be sure to keep your tools sharp and when cutting concrete only use sharp blades.

Will Helix® Micro Rebar® poke out of the top and destroying boots and tires?

Standard concrete finishing techniques will ensure that the steel is not exposed. Over 20 years, Helix Steel has never had anyone tell us that it has punctured tires.

How do the pieces stay equally distributed across the mixture without sinking to the bottom before it cures?

Simply follow best practices and the Helix Micro Rebar will behave no different than the aggregate itself. Too much shaking/vibrating will separate the material like other products. 

When the proper mixture is used, the Helix Micro Rebar is evenly distributed to ensure a complete reinforcement throughout the concrete mixture. Like when you mix blueberries into pancake batter, if you have the right consistency, the blueberries will be evenly spread.

Demolition is difficult and ruins tools; can the concrete be recycled?

Helix Micro Rebar is 100% recyclable. The concrete can be pulverized and magnetically separated. Please contact us for details.

How can a solution with thousands of metal pieces be “safer”?

When you use rebar, you are eventually going to trip and potentially be injured. Rebar can take weeks of laborious effort to install for a large slab, while its heavy and rusty material is ripe for unsafe work practices.

Standard PPE is necessary when working on any construction site. Wearing gloves will help to minimize Helix Micro Rebar contact with your skin. Also, every order of Helix Micro Rebar is shipped in cardboard boxes to further reduce contact with the product.

Can Helix® Micro Rebar® work with a volumetric mixer?

Yes, but this requires either preblending of Helix® Micro Rebar® into the sand or the use of an accessory added to the mixer that adds Helix to the volumetric mixer belt along with the other materials. Contact us for details.

Why should I trust a new innovation and not something that has been used for one hundred years and known by all contractors?

Helix Micro Rebar is made from 100% steel and coated with zinc to last longer than rebar. By increasing concrete’s fatigue resistance by up to 300% and the flexural strength by up to 33%, Helix Micro Rebar reduces cracks and water penetrating concrete’s surface.

Although phones still exist, we would never even consider using a candlestick phone. Technology continually improves as does concrete reinforcement. Will you evolve your perspectives as technology does?

Doesn’t shortening schedules mean “cutting corners”?

Helix Steel’s philosophy is to optimize the concrete reinforcement design for our customer’s needs and not to overdesign. Cutting a corner is when you compromise in some way and what we do is improve with no compromises.

Our reinforcement has pre-approved plans in residential applications and additional evaluation reports ensuring full compliance with building codes. 

Just like automotive manufacturers use robots to take on certain tasks, there are many ways we can automate the construction process to save time and money without cutting corners.  

Some Engineers say Helix® Micro Rebar® is only good for slabs, will rust, and destroy finishing equipment. Is that true?

Steel fibers historically have only been used in slabs, but Helix Micro Rebar can be used in a wide range of applications including walls and foundations. No matter the application, Helix Micro Rebar will not damage your equipment when instructions are followed.

Is Helix® Micro Rebar® actually cheaper?

The cost to purchase Helix Micro Rebar is approximately the same as standard rebar. Significant cost savings can be achieved when you consider the many benefits of using Helix Micro Rebar: reduced shipping time, installation time savings (one day saved for every 10,000 sq. ft. in the case of slab placement), rebar installation cost reductions, product readily availability, long-lasting concrete durability and much more.

Does Helix Micro Rebar create fewer jobs for the industry?

Development in the United States has been moving forward at a record pace. Instead of valuable laborers working on back-breaking tasks like tying rebar for weeks on end, their talents can be used in other aspects of the construction project.

Just like automotive manufacturers use robots to take on certain tasks, there are many ways we can automate the construction process to save time and money while diverting skilled labor to other areas.

Does Helix® Micro Rebar® have an Environmental Product Declaration?

Yes. Our ASTM Declaration Number is EPD 287. Contact us for details.