How-to Micro Rebar - ICF Builders’ Guide to Innovative Concrete Reinforcement - Helix Steel - Banner Image

How-to Micro Rebar: ICF Builders’ Guide to Innovative Concrete Reinforcement

As you already know ICF is the better way to build homes. It saves money, time, energy, and reduces environmental impacts. Have you considered combining the advantages of ICF with a superior concrete reinforcement?

You choose to build with ICF because it is faster to build, and has the power to transform basic houses into efficient homes for its occupants. Of course, you’re absolutely right. (Yes again!) But now it’s time that you took the brilliance of ICF to a whole new level by making one ‘small’ adjustment – upgrading your concrete reinforcement.

When you reduce the quantity of your rebar and rely on Helix® Micro Rebar, you will be part of a growing number of ICF builders who think smarter, faster and better than ever before. 

Helix® Micro Rebar is a one-inch piece of twisted steel that creates a strong bond with concrete. When Helix® Micro Rebar is combined with thousands of other pieces, an ICF wall has an increase in its flexural strength, allowing it to also carry significant loads. 

Helix Steel’s flagship product is the only code-approved rebar alternative that can proactively resist cracking in the first place – all other ICF concrete reinforcements allow concrete to crack first. Helix Steel does not give up on concrete; we make concrete better!

Why Helix® Micro Rebar Concrete Reinforcement Instead of Rebar in Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF)?

Reduced Labor Costs

Lugging around rebar takes time and energy. With less wear and tear on your crew and fewer infections/cuts from rusty rebar, you will see a reduction in your labor costs.

Decreased Concrete Reinforcement Costs

Consider the purchase price of rebar and the lower labor costs – Helix® Micro Rebar can reduce your complete concrete reinforcement costs by 20%–30%! Don’t believe us? Speak with one of our sales representatives to determine your exact dosages and potential savings.

LEED Certification

Energy conservation is the future of the construction industry and one of the key reasons why you build with ICF. When you use Helix® Micro Rebar you’re using up to 50% recycled steel and contributing to a high R value. Review our ICF project profiles to also discover how Helix Steel helps you to reduce your CO2 footprint with large reductions in steel.

Save Time on Construction Schedules

Every homeowner wants a quality build with occupancy as fast as possible. By not wasting time on rebar installation (up to 70% less rebar in most cases), an entire day and unnecessary  hassles can be cut from your project.

Increased Durability and Longevity of Concrete

Energy efficiency is key with ICF, but add in hurricane-strength durability and your build will have attributes unlike most other ICF builders you compete with. Helix® Micro Rebar has five times the tensile strength of rebar, increasing compressive strength by 20–30% and doubling the force needed to break concrete (1,600 to 2,000 PSI).

Engineering Support 

Learning about innovation in the construction industry can be challenging. That’s why Helix Steel has a team of in-house engineers and concrete reinforcement professionals who can determine exactly what you need, and when you need it.

How-to Micro Rebar - ICF Builders’ Guide to Innovative Concrete Reinforcement - Helix Steel 01

Helix® Micro RebarConcrete Reinforcement Mixing & Pouring for ICF

1. Helix Mix Design and Slump Recommendations 

  • Refer to the Alternative Design solution for each element of your project to confirm the MPa and the engineers’ notes for the slump requirements for each element. 
  • Water reducing admixture is to be used to achieve the specified slump levels (no additional water to be added).

2. Loading and Mixing Instructions 

Directly loading at batch plants is preferred.

Option 1: Ready Mix Plants (Dry) – Truck

  1. Add all Helix® Micro Rebar to the truck drum. Typically this is done by hand, dumping the entire contents of the box into the drum while it is at idle speed. If available, this is done from a slump check stand.
  2. Drive the truck into the plant.
  3. Once the truck is in the position under the chute, increase the drum to full charging speed and add a minimum of 50% of the batch water to the truck (more than 50% is okay).
  4. Allow the Helix® Micro Rebar and the water to mix for no less than 45 seconds while delaying the addition of the remaining materials. NOTE: Once the water and Helix® Micro Rebar are in the drum and the drum is at charging speed, the drum must NOT decrease in speed until all batching is complete.
  5. Add aggregate, sand, cement and remaining water to the truck and mix in the normal matter (60 revolutions minimum).

Please view our Dry Mix Ready-Mix Plant video for a visual demonstration of this method. 

Option 2: Site Batching into Mix Trucks (Loaded Trucks as Construction Sites)

  1. Set the drum to charging speed.
  2. Sift Helix® Micro Rebar through a 2’’x 2’’ (50mm x 50mm) mesh or use a Helix® Micro Rebar Dosing Unit (contact Helix Steel to order). The dosing unit breaks up clumps and ensures Helix® Micro Rebar goes into the truck at a controlled rate (approximately one box per minute). When Helix® Micro Rebar is added at this stage, it must enter the mixer clump free.
  3. When adding Helix® Micro Rebar, it may collect on residual concrete on the interior surfaces of the hopper. Push the Helix® Micro Rebar into the drum avoiding clumps. Adding a slippery lining, such as PVC sheeting, to the hopper may help avoid these buildups.
  4. Mix at charging speed for five minutes (60 revolutions) after Helix® Micro Rebar is added.

Option 3: Pan Mixer or Drum Mixer

  1. Set the mixer to the proper speed.
  2. Add Helix® Micro Rebar at a rate of 45–60 seconds per 45 lbs (20 kgs).
  3. Helix® Micro Rebar should be added with the aggregates.
  4. Mix at maximum speed for five minutes after Helix® Micro Rebar is added.

3. Pouring Instructions 

Step 1. Assemble and brace your ICF modules as you normally would.

Step 2. You may need to install some rebar (mostly around openings and windows), but much of the remaining reinforcement can be accomplished by Helix® Micro Rebar. Be sure to contact Helix Steel to discuss your dosage requirements.

Step 3. Pump as you normally would – either directly from the concrete truck or using a concrete pump, depending on the application. 

Helix Steel is Looking for Builders Who Want to Make ICF Even Better

Are you interested in taking the next step in your ICF business? Now is the time to innovate and try out Helix® Micro Rebar, the concrete reinforcement that’s easier to handle, faster to install, less expensive to purchase and offers your homeowners long-term economic and environmental value. 

Read about the many ICF success stories and benefits for your ICF business. You can also contact our American sales team to discuss your unique project and how Helix® Micro Rebar will take it to another level.