There’s an innovative solution to conventional labor-intensive, time-consuming processes in ICF construction and it’s only produced by Helix Steel.

It’s called Helix Micro Rebar, a one-inch twisted piece of steel that is taking the ICF world by storm. Recently, Helix Steel’s Senior Account Executive Erica Marr was invited onto the popular “Build With ICF” podcast to share with listeners the value of building with this tiny, yet revolutionary reinforcement.

“Everyone’s talking about Helix,” started podcast co-host Trevor Brown. “When we talk about the future of the industry, it’s probably one of the first things that come up.”

Why Helix Micro Rebar?

Concrete Needs Reinforcement. There’s a Rebar Alternative That’s More Than Just a Fiber - Helix Steel 01

“Helix Micro Rebar is a replacement for rebar and mesh in precast, ICF and slabs,” says Erica Marr. “Any application where you have concrete, there’s a place for Helix to make labor easier, and to speed up your time schedules. Helix is the solution.”

Marr explains in the podcast that the concrete reinforcement is the only code-approved replacement for rebar in vertical structures. By adding it into concrete instead of using rebar, there will be significant savings in time and labor.

Most veteran contractors are often left frustrated and overworked with having to deal with rebar. They dislike the installation processes and the current labor challenges.

“It really sells to the guys on the job site,” commented podcast co-host Heather Herring-Brown. “How would you like not to have to cut or bend rebar?” The result is less rebar, less less time waiting for inspections and less time installing rebar and concrete placement.

There’s also the issue of rebar rusting. Most contractors have rebar sitting outside in the elements rusting away. Helix Micro Rebar is galvanized, so it is more than able to withstand corrosion before it’s mixed with concrete.

Rebar and its frustrating installation method is one of the worst aspects of ICF construction commented Brown. “It’s the negative of installing…Most guys love two-pound blocks and slamming them together like Lego for big kids.”

Helix Micro Rebar is here to let contractors know that they don’t have to struggle with their challenges alone. There’s help in Helix!

Getting Started With Helix Micro Rebar

Brown wanted to know more about how contractors can switch to Helix Micro Rebar and said to Marr, “Let’s say a new customer wants to use it. Their engineer is not familiar with it. Their jurisdiction may or may not be familiar with it. How do they get started working with Helix and go through those approvals?”

Marr explained that the first step when someone contacts their team is often showing them Helix Steel’s ICC evaluation report. Marr added, “We’re really trying to make [Helix Micro Rebar] accessible. One of the things we’ve been focusing on is the ICC evaluation reports to make it easy…You can take it to a ready-mixer or engineer.”

This document covers information needed to understand common dosages and calculations for single-family houses, two-family houses (duplexes) and buildings consisting of three or more townhouse units.

For unique projects that fit outside the tables, Helix Steel’s in-house engineering team works on a solution and can deliver a customized dosage calculation.

“We have a full structural engineering team,” Marr said. “If I don’t know something, I know someone who does.” She added that Helix Steel has connections with all of the major ICF distributors and can easily obtain all of the information for contractors to use any of them with Helix Micro Rebar.

“I do the legwork for you,” said Marr. “I’ll take calls from code officials. I’ll field calls from an engineer with questions. I go out and call DOTs. I get approvals for my customers.”

Helix Steel is always striving to make changes when it comes to code – to move the industry forward. More people than ever are realizing that ICF is the future, with some American school districts choosing to exclusively build with ICF. And Helix Micro Rebar is playing a big role in making this happen.

Adding Helix Micro Rebar in Concrete for ICF Builds

ICF Handeeman

Most of the time, Helix Micro Rebar is added at the batch plant. Often, Marr said in the podcast, the ready-mixer has a conveyor to add the Helix Micro Rebar in quickly and easily. The concrete arrives at the construction site ready to pour.

Is it difficult? Absolutely not. There’s no guessing since Helix Steel has its own batching, dosing and mixing instructions. Helix Steel’s team even walks ready-mixers through the process.

Take the Next Step to Better the World

Listen to the full podcast to learn more about one of Marr’s most memorable Helix Steel experiences, and continue your ICF journey with the many other interesting discussions regularly being updated by our friends at the “Build With ICF” podcast.

If you have a question about using Helix Micro Rebar in ICF construction, reach out to Erica Marr, Senior Account Executive at Helix Steel, at erica.marr@helixsteel.com or call 734-322-2114.

 

Whether you’re building below-grade or above-grade, the tiny twisted concrete reinforcement known as Helix Micro Rebar is taking the construction world in new directions.

As Helix Micro Rebar continues to expand its presence across North America, more contractors are realizing its benefits not just in concrete slabs, but in concrete footings and Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) applications.

Those who have used Helix Micro Rebar know that although it is small, this alternative reinforcement is far superior to traditional rebar in both residential and commercial builds due to its strength, time savings and operational efficiency.

How-to Helix: Your Ultimate Concrete Helper

Boxes of Helix Micro Rebar are effortlessly mixed into concrete, often using a conveyer belt that leads into a concrete mixer at the batch plant, by following simple dosing and mixing instructions. Doing this offsite reduces the need for time-consuming onsite labor and accelerates the construction timeline.

Once it’s ready to go, the concrete can be delivered and poured with ease.

Below Grade: Using the Alternative Concrete Reinforcement in Footings

Whether you build foundations for homes or the footings of commercial warehouses, you need Helix Micro Rebar. If you have ever had to build concrete footings, you know that it’s not a task that is fondly looked forward to by anyone. Having to haul, bend and tie endless amounts of rebar is not only laborious, but time-consuming.

Since it is uniformly dispersed throughout the concrete, Helix Micro Rebar reinforces the entire structure with very little rebar needed. Not only does this mean you don’t need to order as much rebar, but it also simplifies the placement process, resists cracks and increases the concrete’s load-bearing capacity. Just pour it in as specified and never worry about rusty rebar cages again.

“I chose Helix Micro-Rebar reinforcement for my homes’ foundations to improve the overall quality of my homes and cost-effectiveness of my projects.”

— BOB YOST, DALE YOST CONSTRUCTION CO.

Above Grade: Building ICF With Helix Micro Rebar

Loch Berry Road Residence - Featured Image

Helix Micro Rebar is the only code-approved replacement for rebar in vertical structures. For that reason, it’s invaluable to contractors and developers who are building ICF homes and businesses.

As you likely know, ICF offers exceptional insulation properties and structural stability. Unfortunately, rebar has created many challenges: lugging heavy products, cutting to size, and working for days to get the job done.

Helix Micro Rebar addresses this issue head-on by mixing with the concrete to create a cohesive form while speeding up the concrete process. And perhaps most importantly you get a structure that is more durable than ever before.

Where to Build From Here? 

As the concrete construction industry continues to evolve, especially in the areas of footings and ICF construction, Helix Micro Rebar stands as the leading alternative to rusty rebar.

We know that you want to build your vertical walls and footings better than ever before, so how do you start? Trust Helix Steel. We’ve been progressing our alternative concrete reinforcement for 20 years, with decades of experience that has benefited countless ICF homes, industrial facilities, fulfillment centers and many other projects

We understand your needs and will work with you to make everything better. Consider moving your business forward in one of these three ways:

  1. Log into our exclusive Specification Tool to learn more about the specific requirements behind using Helix Micro Rebar in footings, foundations and ICF applications. 
  2. Submit your project specs and our team will review them with a no-cost quote to get the ball rolling.

If you would like to speak with a real person about your specific application or how Helix Micro Rebar can help, get in touch with us here. We are here to move the construction industry – and your business – forward!

 

Rethink everything you know about rebar – a one-inch (22-mm) twisted piece of metal is here to deliver shorter construction schedules and cost savings for every insulated concrete form project.

Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) construction is a practical construction technique that improves construction processes, while also providing many other benefits for residents. ICF is often chosen as a superior material to construct homes for its energy efficiency, structural integrity, acoustic insulation and construction simplicity. But not everything with ICF is an advantage – installing rebar and flowing concrete around it can be a time-consuming, difficult and expensive process. In most ICF applications, more rebar is required when compared to conventional construction, so although it can be argued that ICF is stronger than standard concrete-poured foundations, it can also be more costly. Frustrations often continue to arise with rebar inspections, which can set a project back valuable days.

It is time to make ICF even better. That’s why Helix® Micro Rebar™ was created. It is a one-inch twisted piece of metal that is mixed with concrete right in the truck. The patented twist in the metal gives it incredible strength that stops concrete cracks before they even start, outbeating rebar in practically every category.

How to Save Time on ICF Reinforcement

Think of all of the time spent on ordering rebar, delivering rebar, storing rebar, moving rebar, bending rebar, cutting rebar, installing rebar, tying rebar and inspecting rebar. For a single home, it can add up to days of man-hours – wasted. 

Produced by Michigan’s Helix Steel, Helix® Micro Rebar™ can reduce the need for rebar in entire ICF structures, from the basement concrete slab all of the way to the top of the ICF walls. A construction schedule that was once a complex and logistically challenging plan can be drastically cut, which means tenant or homeowner occupancy will happen sooner, and the construction crew will move onto their next project faster. 

Since Helix Steel is an American-based manufacturing company (ISO 9001: 2015, ISO 17065), delivery can take place in as little as two days, and arrives in easy-to-handle boxes. The Helix® Micro Rebar™ is poured directly into the concrete mixer, then pumped into ICF, which expedites the pour time and eases onsite frustrations. Its lighter doses help the concrete to smoothly flow down the forms.

How to Save Money on ICF Reinforcement

The purchase price of Helix® Micro Rebar™ is similar to standard rebar, but the real savings of 20% to 30% is seen when you consider all of the other cost-saving advantages.

The biggest cost savings benefit is that a reduction in rebar installation also reduces all of the hours that laborers would have spent on the project. 

There are also cost efficiencies with the engineered strength and durability of Helix® Micro Rebar™ in an ICF project. For example, a typical ICF basement wall is eight inches wide, but with Helix® Micro Rebar™ it may only require six inches. This could save significant concrete costs and pour time.

The importance of safety on a jobsite as a time saving benefit can not be underestimated. Helix® Micro Rebar™ results in fewer laborers, less time, smaller storage requirements and less contact with steel reinforcement – all of which add up to a safer environment. In many cases, choosing Helix® Micro Rebar™can also reduce the use of pumps and cranes.

Simplifying and Savings with ICF

Helix® Micro Rebar™ saves time, saves money and simplifies the jobsite. From what was a complex, costly and time-consuming process is now just three words: “stack and pour”.

Compound the benefits with complimentary engineering support for dosing, mixing and pouring, and you end up with the perfect concrete reinforcement.

Helix Steel’s team of in-house engineers have engineering tables pre-designed for most form sizes and conditions. We also have the tables stamped and approved in our ICC report, and full code approval to carry building loads under the ACI 318, IBC and IRC.

ICF Improved With Helix® Micro Rebar Concrete Reinforcement

We all know that ICF is a great product, but add in proactive Helix® Micro Rebar and you will have more time to spare, lower costs and all of the benefits you would expect from one of America’s leading concrete innovation businesses, Helix Steel. 

Learn more about some of the thousands of ICF projects that Helix Steel has played a role in using our online Helix® Micro Rebarproject finder.

For more information on using Helix® Micro Rebar in your ICF project contact Helix Steel right now.

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Insulated-Concrete-Form (ICF) homes and condominium buildings are experiencing somewhat of a renaissance. In this time of perpetual growth coupled with ever-changing consumer trends, there has never been a better time to rethink your go-to construction methods and find efficiencies every place you can.

ICF can be a smarter way to build, resulting in buildings with few air leaks and higher efficiency ratings. But even with ICF, rebar installation is complex and unwieldy, resulting in wasted time, higher costs and frustration among laborers, especially for cold-weather winter pours.

By incorporating Helix® Micro Rebar reinforcement into walls, your ICF buildings and large residential structures have all of the advantages of rebar installation, without many of the disadvantages.

Reimagining Rebar Reinforcement

So, what exactly is it? Well, it is not cheap fiber (which fails to add flexural strength), and it is not rebar (large pieces of metal that easily corrode and are costly to install). Helix® Micro Rebar reinforcement is a tiny one-inch (25-mm) twisted steel rod that’s mixed with concrete prior to being poured into its final destination. Thousands of these pieces together form a practically impenetrable bond with concrete that resists cracks before they even start.

The innovative product was brought to market after years of testing at the University of Michigan, where the science behind Helix® Micro Rebar reinforcement was confirmed. Today, Helix Steel manufactures in Grand Rapids, Michigan and distributes its product around the world, offering with it complimentary engineering to applications including a Ferris wheel in Seattle to warehouses in Texas to tunnels in Mexico.

ICF and residential builders are experiencing the benefits of Helix® Micro Rebar reinforcement firsthand, and are sharing their favorite highlights for others who are seeking to improve their construction processes, products and business.

Better Concrete Reinforcement with Less

When the construction industry is humming, it’s practically impossible to find good-quality laborers to install rebar. The difficulties in training, managing and ensuring high-production capabilities make rebar installation a prime candidate for automation. 

Helix® Micro Rebar reinforcement simplifies the installation process. First, the tiny steel pieces are poured from a cardboard box right into a concrete mixer, where it is mixed with cement and then transferred to a pump and flowed between the ICF panels – much less rebar is required. This reduces the site crew numbers and lessens safety concerns.

Saving Time in Concrete Reinforcement

Cutting out the laborious task of installing rebar, and simplifying the concrete pouring process, has the ability to transform a work schedule, since time is frequently lost to rebar inspections and congestions around horizontal rebar blocking the flow of concrete.

Helix® Micro Rebar reinforcement removes most rebar from the process, eases pumping and improves the concrete flow into the forms. Although no two structures are alike, every 10,000 sq. ft. of rebar replaced with Micro Rebar™ saves approximately one full day of construction, allowing ICF builders to move onto other jobs much faster. 

Incorporating Helix® Micro Rebar reinforcement into the ICF walls of the condos in the Vela Development at Grand Cayman resulted in a more resilient building that’s resistant to hurricane-force winds. The twisted reinforcement enabled a full replacement of rebar in the pilasters. What originally was estimated to take 10 weeks was reduced to two weeks due to the efficiency gained.

Improving Jobsite Safety Through Concrete Reinforcement Upgrades

Whether your crew is on the third floor of a hotel under construction, or twisting ties onto rebar in a home’s ICF wall, crew safety is paramount. Unfortunately, rebar use is not always completely safe to work with when you consider the number of additional crew members you need, the heavy steel, the back injuries and the equipment used to move the tons of reinforcement. 

Helix® Micro Rebarreinforcement is the safer alternative. It is poured directly in the concrete truck, and so does not require any physical contact with crew members; it requires less pouring time, which means less time open for accidents; there is no rebar improperly being stocked; and fewer concrete pumps, trip hazards, cranes and onside storage needed. Helix® Micro Rebarreinforcement also results in ICF having a simple “stack and pour” process with no waiting around for inspections or rebar installation.  

Essentially, Helix® Micro Rebarreinforcement makes ICF safer for everyone.

No One Said Engineering for Concrete Reinforcement Was Easy

The process of securing, hiring and working with engineers does not always go smoothly. Even if it is for a seemingly simple change to a building or reinforcement design. 

Helix Steel was founded by a professional engineer, who is now president of the business. Luke Pinkerton, also Chief Technology Officer, and his in-house team of engineers, offer complimentary engineering support either in-person or over the phone. This gives builders access to exact dosing, mixing, finishing and polishing instructions at no extra cost. In many cases, Helix Steel has the engineering tables approved in the ICC report. Helix Steel has full code approval to carry building loads under the ACI 318, IBC and IRC.

Building on ICF Builders’ Love for Energy Efficiency

Many builders say that their buildings are energy efficient, but only a few actually are. Helix® Micro Rebarreinforcement uses 50% recycled steel, which assists in LEED certification, and in helping to make buildings last longer. And how could we forget about the tons of steel diverted from rebar installation. The benefits of Helix® Micro Rebarreinforcement make our environment a better place in which to live, work and play.

ICF Benefits from Better Concrete Reinforcement

In an industry where there are few differentiation factors, Helix® Micro Rebarreinforcement has the competitive advantages that builders need. Safer jobsites, shorter timelines, an estimated 20–30% savings in reinforcement costs and proven success from failure, Helix Steel’s Micro Rebarmakes residential buildings ready for the demands of the future.

For more information on Helix® Micro Rebar reinforcement, a better way to build with concrete, contact Helix Steel today. 

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Ready to see the value Helix can offer on your project?

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