What is the difference between bar and rebar?

  • 24.10.21
  • Reinforcing

Steel reinforcement bars have been a key construction material since the 1880s. But in recent times, they’ve transformed, paving the way for rebar reinforcement. Discover the distinct difference between bar and rebar in this comprehensive guide.

In many ways, steel is the ideal building material. Thanks to its unique properties, steel offers incredible tensile strength and enables you to recycle it without compromising its long-lasting toughness.

Yet, even the very best building materials can be improved. This has certainly been the case with traditional steel, the use of which is declining year after year. Like other metals such as aluminium and iron, our reliance on the material is dwindling. However, it’s being replaced by a better version of itself. Think of it as a bar reinforcement 2.0.

Such a bar (or “rebar”) is even stronger, lighter and more hardened to all the troublesome elements that impact construction. Read on to get a clearer overview of the difference between bar and rebar.

What is a reinforcement bar, and what’s the difference between bar and rebar? Learn everything you need to know about these key construction materials in this guide.

Steel Bar - Hickman & Love

What is a reinforcement bar?

A reinforcement bar, otherwise known as rebar, is made from carbon steel – an iron-carbon alloy often referred to as “black bar” due to the carbon colour.

The carbon steel is then roll-pressed at temperatures of over 900°C. To simply describe this process, we industry insiders say that the steel is “hot rolled”.

At these temperatures, the carbon steel crystallises and reshaped into deformation patterns. These complement and exaggerate the material’s existing properties.

Also, these patterns enable the rebar to form sturdier bonds with the concrete, increasing its strength far more than an ordinary steel bar.

Yet, this difference is just one of many. Using steel reinforcement bars comes with several other benefits that explain its rising popularity, which goes hand-in-hand with the decline of traditional steel bars.

What is the difference between bar and rebar?

The first key difference to note is within the strength of the two bars. The rebar has a much higher tensile and maximum bending strength. Such properties make it the perfect material for fortifying concrete.

In doing just that, the rebar can withhold its molecular integrity for well over 100 years. Add to this a super threshold for high impacts, and the rebar reinforcement is fit for even the harshest of environments.

For modern environments where connectivity is crucial like an office, rebars are perfect as they are more transparent to radio waves than traditional steel. As a result, this helps increase connectivity within the building.

Against all elements, such properties remain intact. Rebars are even impervious to chemical attacks and moisture. Issues like rust become problems of the past, as builders can be assured of its long-term power.

Yet, let’s now put our practical helmets on. Moving steel products is so often a problem. It’s heavy and drains your team’s time.

Luckily, these constraints are yesterday’s news. Rebars are a quarter of the weight of traditional bars. Just think of all the productivity gains, as builders can install it much easier and work much faster.

Additional differences between the two materials include the fact that the rebar is non-corrosive, non-conductive and thermally insulating. Each of the properties is ideal for those within the construction sector.

The different types of reinforcement bar

Rebars typically refer to deformed steel bars. However, they do come in many shapes and sizes to fit different construction needs.

With that in mind, let’s share four different types of rebars and explore how they differ from one another.

Epoxy-coated rebars – Many rebars come with epoxy-coating. This makes them more resistant to corrosion than traditional steel reinforcement bars. Unfortunately, the coating is quite delicate, meaning it becomes more susceptible to corrosion when damaged.

Galvanized rebars – When steel is galvanized, a zinc coating is applied to protect the material and prevent rusting. Such a coating offers even better shielding of the steel than the epoxy. Yet, it’s not so easy on the purse strings, as it’s 30-40% more expensive.

Glass fibre rebars – Often referred to as glass-fibre-reinforced-polymer or GFRP, this incredibly light rebar consists of carbon fibre and is extremely resistant to corrosion. The downside is that it cannot bend without cracking and is much more costly than most other rebars.

Stainless steel rebars – The most expensive reinforcement bar is made of stainless steel. Its structural integrity results in much longer life limits, better fire and corrosion resistance. Due to their price point, stainless steel rebars are often reserved for bigger projects, such as strengthening historical structures, motorway bridges and tunnels.

Find the right bar reinforcement for your next project

Ready to select the right rebars/reinforcement bar for your next construction project? At Hickman & Love, we can help you find the best rebar for the job.

Our full product range sets new standards for steel reinforcement across both the UK and Ireland.

For further information or to order please call +44 (0)121-557-2191 or email enquiries@hickmanandlove.co.uk we look forward to hearing from you. Or like us on Facebook to keep up to date with projects and news.


“We have large selection of bar reinforcement for your project, call 0121-557-2191 to order today.”